Boston Public Library
Exhibitions

Expanding the Franchise – Map 5 of 6

“Property Qualifications for Suffrage, 1800 [and] … 1830” from Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright, Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States (Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution; New York: American Geographical Society, 1932).
“Property Qualifications for Suffrage, 1800 [and] … 1830” from Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright, Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States (Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution; New York: American Geographical Society, 1932).
When the country was founded, the framers of the Constitution believed that property ownership was a strong indicator of the virtue necessary to participate in the government. Taken together, these two maps tell the story of the evolution of property requirements for voting. In 1789, most of the original 13 states had property or taxed-based criteria. By 1830, between westward expansion, the acquisition of inexpensive land, and the advent of Jacksonian democracy, the notion of property requirements had fallen away. The beginnings of an urban working class, who had little hope of acquiring land, also contributed to the demise of this criterion.

 

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