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Democracy vs. Aristocracy in Virginia in 1830

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Democracy vs. Aristocracy in Virginia in 1830

By Jeffrey R. Brackett on Jun 14, 2019

There is in some of our libraries a certain book which the writer of this article ventures to believe is not gener­ally as familiar as it should be to the student of politics. For himself, he chanced one day, several years ago, to blow the dust from off its time-worn binding and nine hun­dred dreary-looking pages of fine print, to read it through with zeal, and he opens it with interest to-day. It depicts the critical moment of the fierce struggle which was waged between the democratic and aristocratic forces of Virginia two generations ago; but the principles involved in that struggle belonged to no one State then, concern us to-day, and will concern generations to come.

The strategic points of the struggle in Virginia were the qualifications for suffrage and the basis of representa­tion in the General Assembly. In the early days of the colony, when a few men were jostled together in the hard­ships of settlement, all freemen were expected to vote. In 1654-5 the suffrage was restricted to housekeepers and to one person in a family;   :snip:

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