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Day 36 of the Convention

Monday, February 24, 1868 

The Convention was called to order on Monday at 10 o’clock, Mr. Pres. Cowles in the Chair.

The committee on final adjournment submitted its report that the convention will adjourn sine die on Tuesday the 10th day of March. No action was taken in regard to this recommendation for the final date of the convention.

Once again, suffrage was brought up. Mr. Pool, chairman of the Committee on Suffrage and Eligibility to Office remarked , “[t]his subject has now been in discussion for a week, and it does not seem there will ever be an end of the discussion, after a few remarks, I will call for the previous question. After more discussion, debate was finally closed.

Mr. Heaton proposed an amendment to Section 1 to shorten the residency period in the county before being eligible to vote from three months to 30 days. 

SEC. 1. Every male person born in the United States, and every male person who has been naturalized, twenty-one years old or upward, who shall have resided in this State twelve months next preceding the election, and three months 30 days in the County, in which he offers to vote, shall be deemed an elector.

There was brief debate on the amendment*:

Mr. King, of Lenoir: in counties along the State lines this alteration would encourage innumerable frauds.

Mr. Heaton: residence in the State would be required for one year, and thirty days in a county were sufficient. In most of the States the times above mentioned were in force and usage.

Mr. McDonald, of Chatham: I oppose. Copperheads will import voters from one county to the other for fraudulent purposes.

Mr. Abbott: The colored people frequently go from county to county in search of work. If not adopted, this section as it stood would much diminish their vote.

The amendment was adopted.

The convention continued to discuss suffrage through the day and once reconvened for the evening session. There was much discussion of political disabilities and oaths of office. 

At 11:00 p.m.on motion the Convention adjourned.

 

Resources

Ferrell, Joseph, ed., Compilation of the Official Report of the Proceedings of the Convention (Chapel Hill, N.C.: unpublished manuscript 2007). (See day 8 for fuller explanation of this resource.)

 

*The debate and other quotes are close to verbatim from the reported resources with some adjustment to put all comments in first person, present tense.

 

Ann McColl

Ann McColl is an attorney practicing in the field of education law since 1991. She currently serves as co-founder and president of the Innovation Project.