'Canvassing for Votes' by William Hogarth, 1755

‘Canvassing for Votes’ by William Hogarth, 1755

There is an interesting history of voting in America and how the first popularly elected legislative assembly in America came about.

Jamestown was initially a “company colony,” run by the 1606 Charter of the Virginia Company, which had bylaws and an appointed a governor. The many unforeseen crises, famines, diseases, Indian attacks, insufficient labor and the struggle to establish a cash crop necessitated the calling of the first meeting of the Virginia House of Burgesses, July 30, 1619.

A burgess was a citizen elected to represent “burg” (city) or “borough” (town or neighborhood). There were 11 Jamestown boroughs which elected 22 representatives who met in the church choir loft.

Master John Pory, who was appointed as the assembly’s speaker, wrote “A Reporte of the Manner of Proceeding in the General Assembly Convented at James City,” July 30, 1619: “But forasmuch as men’s affaires doe litle prosper where God’s service is neglected, all the Burgesses tooke their places in the Quire (choir) till a prayer was said by Mr. Bucke, the Minister, that it would please God to guide and sanctifie all our proceedings to his own glory and the good of this Plantation. … The Speaker … delivered in briefe to the whole assembly the occasions of their meeting. Which done he read unto them the commission for establishing the Counsell of Estate and the general Assembly, wherein their duties were described to the life. … And forasmuch as our intente is to establish one equall and uniforme kinde of government over all Virginia &c.”

The House of Burgesses set the price of tobacco at three shillings per pound, and passed prohibitions against gambling, drunkenness, idleness, and made it mandatory to observe the Sabbath.

The continued epidemics, freezing winters, and the Indian attack of March 22, 1622, massacring some 400 colonists, led to the Virginia Company’s charter being revoked. In 1624, Virginia went from being a “company colony” to a “crown colony” ruled directly by the king through his royal appointed governor. As the king did not pay his salary, the royal appointed governor instructed the House of Burgesses to provide his funding, and allowed them to otherwise function largely on their own.

England went through a Civil War, 1642-1651, and King Charles I had his head chopped off. During this time the House of Burgesses took an increased role in running the Colony. In 1660, King Charles II was returned to the throne and Virginia’s liberties were restricted, leading to Nathaniel Bacon’s rebellion in 1674.

Virginia’s House of Burgesses served as a model for other colonies.

In New England, pastors and their congregations started colonies, where they sought to apply biblical principles to voting. Rev. Thomas Hooker’s sermons resulted in the “Fundamental Orders of Connecticut,” 1639, and him being referred to as the “Father of American Democracy.”

President Calvin Coolidge, on July 5, 1926, described how “whole congregations with their pastors migrated to the Colonies”: “The principles … which went into the Declaration of Independence…are found in … the sermons … of the early colonial clergy who were earnestly undertaking to instruct their congregations in the great mystery of how to live. They preached equality because they believed in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. They justified freedom by the text that we are all created in the divine image. … Placing every man on a plane where he acknowledged no superiors, where no one possessed any right to rule over him, he must inevitably choose his own rulers through a system of self-government.”

By the time of the Revolutionary War, Americans had 157 years of gradually learning self-government. This training in self-government is one of the reasons why America’s revolution did not end as simply “a regime change,” which unfortunately is the case with most other revolutions.

President Millard Fillmore commented on this, Dec. 6, 1852, comparing the American Revolution with France’s revolutions: “Our own free institutions were not the offspring of our Revolution. They existed before. They were planted in the free charters of self-government under which the English colonies grew up, and our Revolution only freed us from the dominion of a foreign power whose government was at variance with those institutions. But European nations have had no such training for self-government, and every effort to establish it by bloody revolutions has been, and must without that preparation continue to be, a failure.”

In colonial Virginia, landowners were the first to vote, as they had to determine who would give money to support the royal governor. Voting was extended to include those owning a certain amount of personal property.

After the Revolution, states gradually let those without land or personal property to vote, provided they paid taxes, though many states continued religious and literacy tests. In 1870, the 15th Amendment let former slaves vote. In 1920, the 19th Amendment let women vote.

President Nixon stated March 24, 1970: “In other areas, too, there were long struggles to eliminate discrimination. … Property and even religious qualifications for voting persisted well into the 19th century – and not until 1920 were women finally guaranteed the right to vote.”

In 1924, American Indians could vote in Federal Elections.

In 1961, the 23rd Amendment let District of Columbia residents vote in Federal Elections.

In 1964, the 24th Amendment let vote those who could not pay a poll tax.

In 1965, the Voting Rights Act removed literacy tests.

On June 22, 1970, President Nixon extended the Voting Rights Act to let 18 year olds vote. The Supreme Court, in Oregon v. Mitchell, limited this right so the 26th Amendment was passed in 1971 to confirm it.

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President Nixon stated August 24, 1972: “For the first time in the 195 year history of this country, men and women 18 to 21 years of age will have the chance to vote.”

As the voting public grew, so did efforts to manipulate their votes through:

  • vote buying
  • race-baiting
  • fear mongering
  • October surprises
  • biased media coverage
  • entitlement dependency
  • selective IRS auditing
  • confusing ballot language
  • registering of non-citizens
  • suppression of voter turnout
  • uneducated “low information” voters
  • unions and globalist corporate influences
  • malicious instigation of FEC investigations, and more

President William Henry Harrison stated March 4, 1841: “As long as the understanding of men can be warped and their affections changed by operations upon their passions and prejudices, so long will the liberties of a people depend on their constant attention to its preservation.”

As society at large became subject to a lessening of moral restraints, there has been a corresponding increase in methods of voter fraud:

  • stuffing ballot boxes
  • tampering with voting machines
  • insecure absentee and same day voting
  • foreign ownership of voting machine companies, and more

Joseph Stalin stated: “It doesn’t matter who votes, it matters who counts the votes.”

Noah Webster wrote in an article titled, “Letters to a Young Gentleman Commencing His Education,” New Haven, 1823: “When a citizen gives his suffrage (vote) to a man of known immorality, he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor, and he betrays the interest of his country.”

In 1832, Noah Webster wrote in his “History of the United States”: “When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers ‘just men who will rule in the fear of God.’ The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty. …”

Noah Webster continued: “If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made not for the public good so much as for the selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.”

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