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Defining the Franchise (1656)

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Hening's Statutes at Large
SUMMARY

The following law, passed by the General Assembly in its March 1656 session, revises a previous, more restrictive law to define the franchise as consisting of all freemen. Some spelling has been modernized.

FULL TEXT

Hening's Statutes at Large

WHEREAS we conceive it something hard and unagreeable to reason that any persons shall pay equall taxes and yet have no votes in elections, Therefore it is enacted by this present Grand Assembly, That soe much of the act for chooseing Burgesses be repealed as excludes freemen from votes, Provided allwaies that they fairly give their votes by subscription and not in a tumultuous way, and it is further provided by this act that the rest of the act of March, 1654, concerning choosing Burgesses (this clause only excepted) be and remain in full force, any act provided to the contrary notwithstanding.

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TIMELINE
March 1656
The General Assembly passes a law again extending the right to vote to all "freemen," or any man who is not a slave or an indentured servant. A year earlier, the assembly restricted the franchise to heads of households.
CITE THIS ENTRY
APA Citation:
General Assembly. Defining the Franchise (1656). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/defining-the-franchise-1656.
MLA Citation:
General Assembly. "Defining the Franchise (1656)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 18 Oct. 2021
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