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Speech in the Virginia Constitutional Convention. 1

WithRichard A. Epstein

The right of suffrage being of vital importance, and approving an extension of it to House keepers & heads of families, the author suggests a few considerations which govern my judgment on the subject. It is a law of nature, well understood, that the earth under a civilized cultivation is capable of yielding subsistence for a large surplus of consumers, beyond those having an immediate interest in the soil; a surplus which must increase with the increasing improvements in agriculture, and the labor-saving arts applied to it. And it is a lot of humanity that of this surplus a large proportion is necessarily reduced by a competition for employment to wages which afford them the bare necessaries of life. It would be happy if a State of Society could be found or framed, in which an equal voice in making the laws might be allowed to every individual bound to obey them.