Property and Convention
M^r Gov^r Morris . . . . [P]roperty was the main object of Society . . . .
M^r Rutlidge . . . . Property was certainly the principal object of Society . . . .
M^r King . . . . [P]roperty was the primary object of Society . . . .
M^r Butler . . . . [P]roperty . . . was the great object of Govern^t; the great cause of war; the great means of carrying it on.
M^r Butler . . . . Government . . . was instituted principally for the protection of property, and was itself to be supported by property.
M^r Wilson . . . . H]e could not agree that property was the sole or primary object of Gov^t & society. The cultivation & improvement of the human mind was the most noble object.
M^r Dickinson . . . . He doubted the policy of interweaving into a Republican constitution a veneration for wealth. He had always understood that a veneration for poverty & virtue, were the objects of republican encouragement. It seemed improper that any man of merit should be subjected to disabilities in a Republic where merit was understood to form the great title to public trust, honors & rewards.
Doct^r Franklin expressed his dislike of every thing that tended to debase the spirit of the common people. If honesty was often the companion of wealth, and if poverty was exposed to peculiar temptation, it was not less true that the possession of property increased the desire of more property. Some of the greatest rogues he was ever acquainted with, were the richest rogues.
M^r Mercer. It is a first principle in political science, that whenever the rights of property are secured, an aristocracy will grow out of it. Elective Governments also necessarily become aristocratic, because the rulers being few can & will draw emoluments for themselves from the many. The Governments of America will become aristocracies. They are so already. The public measures are calculated for the benefit of the Governors, not of the people. The people are dissatisfied & complain. They change their rulers, and the public measures are changed, but it is only a change of one scheme of emolument to the rulers, for another.
[No property qualifications for office or voting were retained in the final version of the Constitution.]