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which was the last Monday in November and the day following, the 24th and 25th. A plurality would elect. District residence was not required. William Loughton Smith made an address in St. Michaels Church at Charleston on or about November 26, in which he said: "Although one of my opponents has endeavoured to prejudice you against me by disingenuous insinuations, yet standing under this sacred roof. . . ill would it become me ill would it become me . . . to add to his depression. Should my fellow citizens in the other parishes of Charleston district concur . . gratitude will be added to other ties, This is the only bit of detail which is now available concerning the election.
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Charles Pinckney wrote Rufus King on January 26, 1789, that the senators, Ralph Izard and Pierce Butler, who were probably chosen early in that month, were "both strong federalists." Pinckney added that he could probably have been a senator himself, but "considerations of a private nature prevented me from becoming a candidate." 62 Butler, whose Federalism proved not of sterling quality, was a signer of the Constitution; Izard had had some diplomatic experience and both had been members of the Continental Congress. Besides Smith, there was one other Federalist representative, Daniel Huger. General Sumter and Aedanus Burke had been elected as Antifederalists. Burke had made himself conspicuous by his opposition to the Society of the Cincinnati, and to the ratification of the Constitution. Of the proclivities of the fifth representative, Dr. Thomas Tudor Tucker, Pinckney professed no knowledge. Smith's election was contested on the plea that he had not been a resident of the United States during the requisite period. He was a native of South Carolina, but had been abroad during the Revolution, and therefore had not been within the "United States," and a citizen thereof, for seven years. The House of Representatives confirmed his election. David Ramsay, the contestant, wrote John Eliot on November 26, 1788, that he was defeated at the polls "on two grounds. One was that I was a northern man [he was born in Pennsylvania], & the other that I was represented as favoring the abolition of slavery." Governor Thomas Pinckney sent to each of the representatives-elect an official letter of announcement which according to the law was to serve as a commission.64
ALL THAT We know of the Georgia arrangement is that the act on representatives was passed on January 23, 1789, and that on January 27 the governor issued a proclamation for voting for three persons "to
be of three years standing residence in the three brigade districts respectively"; that is, while the freemen voted for three persons, they had to choose one from each district, a plan similar to that used in Maryland. The earliest act of Georgia upon this subject of which the text is available is that of February 22, 1796, the fourth law on the matter. This also requires residence of three years and regular payment of taxes during that time. This 1796 act, however, provided for a straight election at large of the two representatives to which the state was then entitled. No act on senators or electors is indicated in 1789, both being functions reserved there to the legislature itself. The election for representatives took place on February 9, 1789, and the returns were to be sent in within fifteen days. The successful candidates were announced in Savannah by February 26. Abraham Baldwin, a signer of the Constitution and member of the Continental Congress was one; James Jackson and George Mathews were the others, the latter having been governor of the state. The senators were William Few, also a signer and member of the Old Congress, and James Gunn. They were elected either on or just before January 22, 1789. Job Sumner wrote General Knox from Savannah: "Our friend Wayne, aims at a Senatorial appointment . . . Wayne, Few, Telfair, and Mathews are mentioned as Candidates, & Baldwin, if he gives up his appointment by Congress."'65 Baldwin was commissioner of Georgia accounts with the general government. He did not resign until April 30, 1789, ten days after he took his seat as representative.
THIS account shows the conditions under which the various legislatures more or less groped out their respective systems, all of which were tentative, and most of which were soon superseded. Representatives were elected by general vote in four states, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey; by districts in four, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, and South Carolina; and by a combination in two, Maryland and Georgia: but the drift toward a more general use of the district system was soon indicated. Delaware elected only one representative. Electors were chosen popularly in four states, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware; by the legislature in the first instance in three, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Georgia; by the legislature in New Hampshire out of a popular list, because of the lack of proper majority in the popular election; by popular nomination in Massachusetts except for the two at large, with the ultimate vote by joint ballot of the General Court; and by the governor and council in New Jersey.
In New York there was no choice. The vote for senators was by joint ballot in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware, and concurrent in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York, while the method employed in Connecticut, South Carolina, and Georgia is uncertain. The Pennsylvania legislature was unicameral.
On the whole, popular interest in the elections seems to have been rather slight. Remarks respecting the stay-at-homes in New Hampshire and Virginia have been given above; and it is a fair estimate that only about three or three and a half percent of the free population voted, and perhaps on an average not more than one-third of those eligible to vote. If the statement of 69,000 electors in Pennsylvania is accurate, probably less than a fourth of them voted.
The Presidential Election
THE ELECTION of representatives and senators has been discussed in the last chapter, where, also, the appointment of the electors was studied. According to the requirements of the Constitution, the presidential electors should assemble by states and vote all on the same day; and by the ordinance of the Continental Congress the date was the first Wednesday in February 1789, which was the 4th. Also the Constitution prescribed that the number of electors for each state be equal to the number of representatives and senators. On January 7, 1789, all of the states that had ratified the Constitution, except New York, chose their presidential electors, some popularly, others by legislative act, still others by a combination of these, and in New Jersey by the governor and council. New York was deprived of her right by the inability of the legislature to decide how the two houses of that body should proceed to the election of the electors; and New Hampshire barely succeeded in making her selection before midnight of January 7. The question whether January 7 was legally the last day on which electors could be appointed, is discussed in Chapter II. The place where the electors should assemble and vote was prescribed in each case by the act or resolution concerning them. Usually the place was at the state capital. Also provisions were made for the per diem and traveling expenses of the electors.
WASHINGTON FOR PRESIDENT
THE POLITICAL lineup, so far as one existed for electors, was much the same as that for representatives; where there were tickets, they were Federalist and Antifederalist, but without hard and fast distinction, as some on the Antifederalist tickets were known to have favored ratification, and it was well understood that for the election of the President at least politics stood adjourned. There was only one candidate, one demanded unanimously throughout the country
except by one man the reluctant candidate himself. The desire for George Washington as civil head of the nation went back to the days when he was the military head and when he so sternly suppressed a movement to make him king. His attendance at the Convention of 1787 that drafted the Constitution was recognized as a political necessity not only in Virginia but throughout the land by the advocates of the convention; and his choice as president of the convention followed as a matter of course. Otto, the French chargé, wrote home on June 10, 1787: "The general convention has begun its meetings, after unanimously electing General Washingon as President. This appointment will certainly give additional prestige to all which may emanate from that important and respectable assemblage. It is to be hoped that the resolutions will bear the seal of the wisdom, moderation, and foresight which form the chief traits in the general's character." 1
Though the fact was politely suppressed in the debates of the convention, it was generally recognized that the expectation of his leadership was potent in the organization given the executive in the development of the Constitution; and reliance was placed on this expectancy as an equally potent argument for ratification by the state conventions. Pierce Butler, a member of the Convention, wrote to a relative in England on May 5, 1788: "The President of the United States is the Supreme Executive Officer. . I am free to acknowledge that His Powers are full great, and greater than I was disposed to make them. Nor, Entre Nous, do I believe they would have been so great had not many of the members cast their eyes towards General Washington as President; and shaped their Ideas of the Powers to be given to a President, by their opinions of his Virtue." Even before the plan of the Constitution was known outside, Benjamin Rush wrote Timothy Pickering from Philadelphia, August 30, 1787, that "General Washington it is said will be placed at the head of the new Government"; while on October 11, 1787, less than a month after the Convention adjourned, an unidentified correspondent informed Jefferson that "General Washington lives; & as he will be appointed President, jealousy on this head vanishes." 4
FOLLOWING the accomplishment of ratification, the evidences of the public wish and expectation in newspapers and correspondence became marked. It was on July 4, 1788, that the celebration turned for the first time upon the hopes for the prosperity of the new government, and the civil trend of the toasts to Washington is noticeable.