550 History of Wake Forest College
Societies debated the question, but both voted decisively in favor of
popular election. Until 1858 only those possessed of a freehold of
fifty acres could vote for the State Senators. The question of "free
suffrage" which had been championed by David S. Reid, first came
up in the Legislature of 1848, but that it was much earlier a vital
question is suggested by the fact that the Euzelians were debating it in
October, 1843; the vote was 6 to 5 in favor of the freehold
qualification. Another constitutional question was the manner of
election of judges and another their term of office. Until after the
Civil War judges held their office "during good behavior," and were
elected by the Legislature. Doubtless reflecting public interest the
Euzelian Society, in April 1847, debated the question, "Should judges
be elected for life?" and in March, 1851, the Philomathesians
discussed whether "The election of judges should be given to the
people?" In both Societies the minutes indicate a lively debate, and in
both the conservative view prevailed. Another restriction of the
constitution of 1776 that caused much chafing was the exclusion of
ministers of the gospel from membership in the General Assembly.
After the Convention of 1835 had failed to correct this inequality the
Euzelian Society made it a matter of debate, and voted that this
exclusion was not consistent with religious liberty.39 On May 3, 1862,
as the College was discontinuing for the War, the same Society
approved the question for debate, showing that public interest in the
matter had not been altogether lost.
One other North Carolina question must by no means be omitted,
that of the authenticity of the Mecklenburg Declaration of
Independence. The Euzelians debated it first in March, 1844, when
the only question was whether Jefferson or the author of the
Mecklenburg Declaration deserved more honor. They debated it again
after their interest had been renewed by the sane discussion of the
matter by Colonel R. M. Saunders, at the Wake
39 Eu. Records, April 10,
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