Property qualification

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A property qualification is a clause or rule by which those without property (land), or those without property of a set appraised value, or those without income of a set value, are not enfranchised to vote in elections, to stand for election, to hold office or from other activities.


The Eighteenth Century Militia of England and Wales did not sell commissions in the way that the British Army did at the time, but instead restricted them property owners and those with income of a set minimum value.

In jurisdictions where the political and economic spheres are dominated by one ethnic, religious or racial group, property qualifications have been used as a way to exclude members of other ethnic, religious or racial groups that may disproportionately lack the required resources. This was the case in Northern Ireland, where a property requirement was used to exclude indigenous Irish Catholics from voting in elections for seats in the Stormont Parliament until 1969.[1] Prior to the 1921 Partition of Ireland, the Protestant Ascendancy had similarly barred most of the native Irish Catholics from voting for Irish seats in the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland once the last bar to Catholics voting in the United Kingdom had been lifted by the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829. The property qualification remained in place for United Kingdom elections until the passage of the Representation of the People Act 1918.

In the 18th-century Thirteen Colonies, suffrage was restricted to white males with the following property qualifications:[2]


  1. ^ A History of the Ulster Unionist Party: Protest, Pragmatism and Pessimism, by Graham Walker. Page 162. Manchester Studies in Modern History. ISBN 978-0-7190-6109-7
  2. ^ Barck, Oscar T.; Lefler, Hugh T. (1958). Colonial America. New York: Macmillan. pp. 259–260.
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