EVOLUTION OF SUFFRAGE :
The history of suffrage is quite long, and is full of revolution and sacrifices. Garner points out, 'The most remarkable phenomenon in the history of democracy in the past century has been the steady evolution of the suffrage from a narrow, frequently, unequal, and indirect system to one which is now virtually universal, direct and equal'.
Several restrictions imposed on the right to vote, on the basis of sex, property and education have all disappeared.
Property or tax paying as a qualification :
In the nineteenth century the main qualification for franchise was the possession of property or the payment of taxes. The justification for this qualification was that possession of property was a trustworthy indication that its possession was educated and therefore was competent to take part in public affairs.
In japan until 1925, only a tax payee was given this franchise. A large portion of the population was denied the right to vote.
Educational qualification :
J.S. Mill, advocated educational qualification for voting right. It is argued that people who cannot read or write cannot and should not participate in public affairs.
In some countries like Brazil, and Chile, illiterates are excluded from voting. But, whether political intelligence and education go together is a question, which cannot be answered.
It is not logical to believe that ignorant masses will not be able to know what to vote for. Again, literacy
cannot be equated with education.
Sex qualification :
As per this qualification, only male members of the society are eligible to vote. Some societies strongly believe that politics is only a man's business and women have no role in that.
Hence even now in some states, women are denied this right to vote. However this attitude is fast changing and most of the countries now offer voting right to women also.
Nationality Qualification :
Modern states grant this rights to vote only to their nationals i.e. those who are citizens of that state.
Age Qualification :
Age is definitely one factor, which brings in maturity of thinking among and individual. So in no county, are children given the right to vote. However, the minimum age required for franchise varied between 18 and 21. in India, Originally 21 years of age was prescribed for franchise. But later, in 1980, it was reduced to 18.
Universal Suffrage :
There are different theories and opinion as to who should have the right to vote and who should be denied the right to vote. As democracy implies people's participation, to the wider extent possible, universal adult suffrage is advocated.
In modern times, most of the countries around the world have opted for universal adult franchise.
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11th 12th std standard Political Science History goverment rule laws life Higher secondary school College Notes : Evolution Of Suffrage |