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All will consent that the States could not make such
arbitrary distinctions the ground for denial of political
privileges; that it would be a violation of the first article of
the XIV. Amendment; that it would be abridging the privileges of
citizens. And yet the denial of the elective franchise to
citizens on account of sex is equally as arbitrary as the
distinction on account of stature, or color of hair, or any other
physical distinction. These privileges of the citizen exist
independent of the Constitution. They are not derived from the
Constitution or the laws, but are the means of asserting and
protecting rights that existed before any civil governments were
formed--the right of life, liberty and property. Says Paine, in
his Dissertation upon the Principles of Government:

The right of voting for representatives is the primary
right, by which other rights are protected. To take away
this right is to reduce man to a state of slavery, for
slavery consists in being subject to the will of another;
and he that has not a vote in the election of
representatives is, in this case. The proposal, therefore,
to disfranchise any class of men is as criminal as the
proposal to take away property.

In a state of nature, before governments were formed, each person
possessed a natural right to defend his liberty, his life and his
property from the aggressions of his fellow men. When he enters
into the free government he does not surrender that right, but
agrees to exercise it, not by brute force, but by the ballot, by
his individual voice in making the laws that dispose of, control
and regulate those rights. The right to a voice in the government
is but the natural right of protection of one's life, liberty and
property, by personal strength and brute force, so modified as to
be exercised in the form of a vote, through the machinery of a
free government. The right of self-protection, it will not be
denied, exists in all equally in a state of nature, and the
substitute for it exists equally in all the citizens after a free
government is formed, for the free government is by all and for
all.

The people "ordained and established" the Constitution. Such is
the preamble. "We, the people." Can it be said that the people
acquire their privileges from the instrument that they themselves
establish? Does the creature extend rights, privileges and
immunities to the creator? No; the people retain all the rights
which they have not surrendered; and if the people have not given
to the Government the power to deprive them of their elective
franchise, they possess it by virtue of citizenship. The true
theory of this Government, and of all free governments, was laid
down by our fathers in the Declaration of Independence, and
declared to be "self-evident." "All men are endowed by their
Creator with certain inalienable rights; among these are life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these
rights governments are instituted among men, deriving all their
just powers from the consent of the governed." Here is the great
truth, the vital principle, upon which our Government is founded,
and which demonstrates that the right of a voice in the conduct
of the government, and the selection of the rulers, is a right
and privilege of all citizens. Another of the self-evident truths
laid down in that instrument is:

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of
these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or
abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its
foundations on such principles, and organizing its powers in
such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their
safety and happiness.

How can the people carry out this right without the exercise of
the ballot; and is not the ballot then a fundamental right and
privilege of the citizen, not given to him by the Constitution,
but inherent, as a necessity, from the very nature of the
government?

Benjamin Franklin wrote:

That every man of the commonalty, except infants, insane
persons, and criminals, is, of common right, and by the laws
of God, a freeman, and entitled to the free enjoyment of
liberty. That liberty or freedom consists in having an
actual share in the appointment of those who frame the laws,
and who are to be the guardians of every man; life,
property, and peace; for the all of one man is as dear to
him as the all of another, and the poor man has an equal
right but more need to have representatives in the
legislature than the rich one. That they who have no voice
nor vote in the electing of representatives do not enjoy
liberty, but are absolutely enslaved to those who have votes
and to their representatives; for, to be enslaved is to have
governors whom other men have set over us, and be subject to
laws made by the representatives of others, without having
had representatives of our own to give consent in our
behalf. (Franklin's Works, vol. 2. p. 372.)

James Madison said:

Under every view of the subject it seems indispensable that
the mass of the citizens should not be without a voice in
making the laws which they are to obey, and in choosing the
magistrates who are to administer them. (Madison Papers,
vol. 3, p. 14.)

Taxation without representation is abhorrent to every principle
of natural or civil liberty. It was this injustice that drove our
fathers into revolution against the mother country.

The very act of taxing exercised over those who are not
represented appears to me to be depriving them of one of
their most essential rights as freemen, and if continued,
seems to be, in effect, an entire disfranchisement of every
civil right. For what one civil right is worth a rush after
a man's property is subject to be taken from him at pleasure
without his consent? If a man is not his own assessor, in
person or by deputy, his liberty is gone, or he is entirely
at the mercy of others. (Otis's Rights of the Colonies, p.
58.)

Nor are these principles original with the people of this
country. Long before they were ever uttered on this continent
they were declared by Englishmen. Said Lord Summers, a truly
great lawyer of England:

Amongst all the rights and privileges appertaining unto us,
that of having a share in the legislation, and being
governed by such laws as we ourselves shall cause, is the
most fundamental and essential, as well as the most
advantageous and beneficial.

Said the learned and profound Hooker:

By the natural law whereunto Almighty God hath made all
subject, the lawful power of making laws to command whole
politic societies of men, belongeth so properly unto the
same entire societies, that for any prince or potentate of
what kind soever upon earth to exercise the same of himself
(or themselves), and not either by express commission
immediately received from God, or else by authority derived
at the first from their consent upon whose persons they
impose laws, it is no better than mere tyranny! Agreeable to
the same just privileges of natural equity, is that maxim
for the English constitution, that "Law to bind all must be
assented to by all"; and there can be no legal appearance of
assent without some degree of representation.

The great champion of liberty, Granville Sharpe, declared that--

All British subjects, whether in Great Britain, Ireland, or
the colonies, are equally free by the laws of nature; they
certainly are equally entitled to the same natural rights
that are essential for their own preservation, because this
privilege of "having a share in the legislation" is not
merely a British right, peculiar to this island, but it is
also a natural right, which can not without the most
flagrant and stimulating injustice be withdrawn from any
part of the British empire by any worldly authority
whatsoever. No tax can be levied without manifest robbery
and injustice where this legal and constitutional
representation is wanting, because the English law abhors
the idea of taking the least property from freemen without
their consent. It is iniquitous (_iniquum est_, says the
maxim) that freemen should not have the free disposal of
their own effects, and whatever is iniquitous can never be
made lawful by any authority on earth, not even by the
united authority of king, lords, and commons, for that
would be contrary to the eternal laws of God, which are
supreme.


In an essay upon the "first principles of government," by
Priestly, an English writer of great ability, written over a
century since, is the following definition of political liberty:

Political liberty I would say, consists in power, which the
members of the State reserve to themselves, of arriving at
the public offices, or at least of having votes in the
nomination of those who fill them. In countries where every
member of the society enjoys an equal power of arriving at
the supreme offices, and consequently of directing the
strength and sentiments of the whole community, there is a
state of the most perfect political liberty.

On the other hand, in countries where a man is excluded from
these offices, or from the power of voting for the proper
persons to fill them, that man, whatever be the form of the
government, has no share in the government and therefore has
no political liberty at all.



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