A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
Nothing
else remained that it could confer; and this view alone silences
cavil, even. If this section does not confer or guarantee the
exercise of the elective franchise, then at infinite pains have
we mined among the foundations of our marvelous structure, and
have deposited there as one of them an utter sham, full of the
emptiness of nothing. Let him escape this who may.

If there can still remain a question of doubt about this, I beg
the attention of the doubters to the further words of the
Constitution, to be found in the XV. Amendment. And here I am met
with the apt inquiry, "Why, Mr. Riddle, if women are a part of
'all persons,' colored men are also a part of the same 'all
persons,' and if women are made citizens and clothed with the
immunities and privileges of citizenship by the XIV. Amendment,
so were colored men; why, then, was it necessary to enact the XV.
Amendment? This fact is fatal to your argument." Well, there was
no necessity for it. It was a stupid piece of business, very
stupid, and when we recover the lost art of blushing, some faces
will color when that XV. Amendment is recalled. But it does us
this good service; it settles the construction of this XIV.
Amendment, as we contend for it, beyond all cavil. The general
impression is, that the XV. Amendment confers the elective
franchise upon the colored man. If it does not, then our opposers
must give it up, for colored men rightfully vote. What does this
article say? That the elective franchise is conferred upon
persons of African descent, or those who have suffered from a
previous condition of servitude? Not a word of it. It does say:
"The right of citizens"--not the right of persons of African
descent--"the right of citizens of the United States to vote,
shall not be denied." That is what it says--"Shall not be denied
or abridged, by the United States or by the several States." That
does not confer suffrage; _it recognizes a right already
conferred_, and says that it shall not be denied or abridged. A
gentleman of the committee this morning took the ground that this
amendment granted the franchise because it declares that the
right to it shall not be denied! This is in effect that when a
thing can not be denied, the lack of power to deny it creates it.
(Laughter.) I confess I could not see it. (Laughter.) I have
thought of it since, and I do not see it now. "Shall not be
denied or _abridged_." How can you abridge a thing that does not
exist? And would the gentleman also contend that a lack of power
to cut off a thing not in existence also creates the thing? This
XV. Article then treats the right of the citizen to vote as
already existing, and it specifies classes, as persons of color,
of certain race, and of previous servitude, as especially having
the right to vote.

Where, when, and how did they get it? Was it by virtue of the
XIV. Amendment? If so, it was because they were a part of the
"all persons" named in it, of whom women are also a much larger
and much more important part. So, past cavil, if the African
received this franchise by the XIV. Article, then did women also
receive it, and more abundantly! If you go back to the starting
point of American politics, and say that the right is inherent in
the colored man, then by the law of nature it is inherent in
woman. I do not care which of these formulas you adopt. Not at
all. In either event it is recognized as existing in a citizen of
the United States. But my learned and subtle friend from Illinois
said to me to-day, "Why, don't you see, Mr. Riddle, that they
have limited the franchise in this XV. Amendment, so that it
shall not be denied in the case of persons of color, and of a
certain race, and previous condition of servitude, and does that
not permit the States to deny it in other cases?" Well, the XV.
Amendment alone would, perhaps, under the artificial rules of
law, but I referred the gentleman immediately, as I refer you
now, back to the XIV. Amendment where the right is conferred, and
where in its great, broad, sweeping language it is declared that
no State shall either enact or enforce any law that abridges the
privileges and immunities of any citizen.

The XV. Amendment in no way changes the XIV., nor does it add an
iota to the privileges and immunities of the citizen. It could
not. It reiterates for the benefit of these classes the
declaration of the XIV.; and as that declares that no State shall
deny the rights of the citizen, this adds to the list the United
States, and its real force is spent in conferring upon Congress
power to legislate in favor of the classes named in it, a power
not granted by the XIV. Well, really, this must be the end of the
argument. And I repeat, you find the XIV. Amendment declares that
all persons are citizens; that they have the privilege and
immunities of citizens, and the XV. declares that among the
privileges and immunities of citizens is the right to suffrage,
because it says in words that that shall not be denied, though
men do deny it. How is the XV. Amendment declaring that it shall
not be denied on account of either race, color, or previous
condition of servitude, to be regarded? It spends its force in
these two things. The XIV. Amendment only denied the power to the
several States to abridge the privileges of citizenship. The XV.
Amendment goes further, and says that neither any State nor the
United States shall do it, using the term "deny" with the term
"abrogate" of the other. It goes further; for the purposes of
these three conditions it confers express power upon Congress to
legislate, while the XIV. Amendment does not. But there is just
one little thing further that I drop for the henpecked to pick
at. There are three classes whose right to vote shall not be
denied according to the XV. Amendment--persons of color, persons
on account of race, and persons who have suffered from previous
condition of servitude. Now, ladies, what is really the legal
status of marriage, so far as the condition of the wife is
concerned?

SUSAN B. ANTHONY.--One of servitude, and of the hardest kind, and
just for board and clothes, at that, too. (Laughter and
applause.)

Mr. RIDDLE.--And they frequently have to make and pay for their
clothes, and board themselves--(renewed laughter)--and not only
themselves, but board also the lord and master, who calls himself
the head of the family. But that is not all of it. It is not
cant; it is not popular phraseology, but it is the language of
the law. The condition of the married woman is that of servitude.
The law calls her husband "baron," and she is simply a
woman--"feme." The law gives her to the man, not the man to her,
nor the two mutually to each other. They become one, and that one
is the husband--such as he is. Her name is blotted out from the
living, or at best it is appended to that of the husband. She
belongs to her master; all that she has belongs to him. All that
she earns is his, because she is his. If she does anything that
binds him, it is simply as his servant. If she makes a contract
that is binding even upon herself, it is because he consents to
it. She does not own anything; she does not own the children that
are born of her. The husband exclusively controls them while
living, and by his will he may, and often does, bequeath to
somebody else the custody and care of them after his death. And
the law which we men make enforces all this to-day. I trust that
most of us are a great deal better than the law. If the wife of a
man should suffer by an accident on a railroad, and suit should
be brought to recover against the company for injury to her
person, the suit brought by the husband would be upon the ground
that his wife was his servant, and he had lost her service. If he
did not, he could not recover.

Mrs. STANTON.--Is such the law in case of a daughter?

Mr. RIDDLE.--So far as that is concerned, where the daughter is a
minor, it is the same as the case of a son a minor; but the wife
is always the servant of the husband; she never graduates from
him; she never becomes of age or arrives at the years of
discretion. (Sotto voce.) If she had, she never would have
entered into that condition. Miss Anthony would say the law
pronounces the state of matrimony to be a condition of servitude
for the wife in express terms. How does the XV. Amendment apply
to her? Here is the previous condition of servitude provided for;
and this XV. Amendment in its effect was but to enforce the XIV.
in favor of persons held in a previous and, of course, a
continuing condition of servitude. Does this really abrogate the
servitude of the wife, and invoke in her favor the action of
Congress? My distinguished brother, Butler, said this morning,
that the clause relative to the previous condition of servitude
applied only to widows. (Laughter.)

But, ladies and gentlemen, aside from badinage, for the subject
is too grave and too solemn, it comes back to this thing. The
Constitution of the United States solemnly declares that every
person born and naturalized in the United States, and within its
jurisdiction, are citizens; and that no State shall pass, or
enforce a law to abrogate the privileges and immunities of
citizenship. We do not need any XVI. Amendment. We need only
intelligent, firm decisive, and deciding--reasonably brave
courts, and to have a question made and brought to their
adjudication.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | 143 | | 144 | | 145 | | 146 | | 147 | | 148 | | 149 | | 150 | | 151 | | 152 | | 153 | | 154 | | 155 | | 156 | | 157 | | 158 | | 159 | | 160 | | 161 | | 162 | | 163 | | 164 | | 165 | | 166 | | 167 | | 168 | | 169 | | 170 | | 171 | | 172 | | 173 | | 174 | | 175 | | 176 | | 177 | | 178 | | 179 | | 180 | | 181 | | 182 | | 183 | | 184 | | 185 | | 186 | | 187 | | 188 | | 189 | | 190 | | 191 | | 192 | | 193 | | 194 | | 195 | | 196 | | 197 | | 198 | | 199 | | 200 | | 201 | | 202 | | 203 | | 204 | | 205 | | 206 | | 207 | | 208 | | 209 | | 210 | | 211 | | 212 | | 213 | | 214 | | 215 | | 216 | | 217 | | 218 | | 219 | | 220 | | 221 | | 222 | | 223 | | 224 | | 225 | | 226 | | 227 | | 228 | | 229 | | 230 | | 231 | | 232 | | 233 | | 234 | | 235 | | 236 | | 237 | | 238 | | 239 | | 240 | | 241 | | 242 | | 243 | | 244 | | 245 | | 246 | | 247 | | 248 | | 249 | | 250 | | 251 | | 252 | | 253 | | 254 | | 255 | | 256 | | 257 | | 258 | | 259 | | 260 | | 261 | | 262 | | 263 | | 264 | | 265 | | 266 | | 267 | | 268 | | 269 | | 270 | | 271 | | 272 | | 273 | | 274 | | 275 | | 276 | | 277 | | 278 | | 279 | | 280 | | 281 | | 282 | | 283 | | 284 | | 285 | | 286 | | 287 | | 288 | | 289 | | 290 | | 291 | | 292 | | 293 | | 294 | | 295 | | 296 | | 297 | | 298 | | 299 | | 300 | | 301 | | 302 | | 303 | | 304 | | 305 | | 306 | | 307 | | 308 | | 309 | | 310 | | 311 | | 312 | | 313 | | 314 | | 315 | | 316 | | 317 | | 318 | | 319 | | 320 | | 321 | | 322 | | 323 | | 324 | | 325 | | 326 | | 327 | | 328 | | 329 | | 330 | | 331 | | 332 | | 333 | | 334 | | 335 | | 336 | | 337 | | 338 | | 339 | | 340 | | 341 | | 342 | | 343 | | 344 | | 345 | | 346 | | 347 | | 348 | | 349 | | 350 | | 351 | | 352 | | 353 | | 354 | | 355 | | 356 | | 357 | | 358 | | 359 | | 360 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.