In 1877 Lowell, who had mingled so little in party politics that the sole public office he had held was the nominal one of elector in the Presidential election of 1876, was appointed by President Hayes minister resident at the court of Spain.
The effect of his exhortations, as well as of his personal character and public acts, upon the standards and spirit of official life in the United States, was a pronounced one in attracting to the federal service a group o men who took up their work of public office with the same spirit of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice that actuates the military volunteer in time of war.
With him in France were his grandsons, William Temple Franklin, William Franklin's natural son, who acted as private secretary to his grandfather, and Benjamin Franklin Bache (1769-1798), Sarah's son, whom he sent to Geneva to be educated, for whom he later asked public office of Washington, and who became editor of the Aurora, one of the leading journals in the Republican attacks on Washington.
His demands were not small; for, with an ambition mingled, as his letters show, with strong family affection, he aimed at placing all his relatives in positions of affluence and dignity; and many a rich benefice and important public office was appropriated by him to that purpose.
The members of the curia who assisted the magistrates in the cities, crushed by the burden of taxes, now evaded as far as possible public office or senatorial honors.
It was largely due to him that state laws were passed for taxing railways according to valuation (1903), for nominating all candidates for public office by direct vote of the people (1904), and for regulating the railways in the state through a state commission (1905).
The right of suffrage is exercised by Venezuelan males over 21 years of age, and all electors are eligible to public office except where the constitution declares otherwise.