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The
protection of citizens of the Nation, by the Nation, is the
national duty.

This is the second tendency of which I spoke. Most persons who
have been awake to the evils of State centralization, have
applied the same rules of judgment to National centralization.
The two are dissimilar as are darkness and light. State
centralization is tyranny; National centralization is freedom.
State centralization means special laws; National centralization
means general laws. The continued habit of States to make laws
for every part of their own boundaries brought to the surface the
"State rights" theory which precipitated upon us our civil war.
States had become so absolute in themselves that out of it grew
the feeling of absoluteness in regard to the Nation. But is it
not strange that after the late sad experience there can still be
found people so stupid as not to see that the security of
individual citizens of the Nation in matters pertaining to their
personal political rights, does lie, and in the very fact of our
Nationality must lie, in National power superior to State power?
The corner-stone of our Nation is political equality. Our
ancestors came here for civil and religious freedom. To secure
political freedom they formed themselves into a Nation; if the
United States has no power to protect its citizens it is not a
Nation.

The eighth step in centralization, the XIV. Amendment,
specifically declares that "all persons born or naturalized in
the United States, are citizens of the United States, and of the
States in which they reside." Notwithstanding this plain
language--notwithstanding the corner-stone of this Nation is
political equality--notwithstanding the chief right of
citizenship in this country is a right to share in making its
laws--notwithstanding the Constitution and laws of the United
States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, are declared to
be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every State
shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or law of
any State to the contrary notwithstanding, yet 10,000 naturalized
citizens of the United States have, during this session of
Congress, petitioned that body for protection of their rights as
citizens of the United States against the State in which they
live.

"State rights" is again rearing its head. Rhode Island is again
raising her hand against National power. She again assumes to be
superior to the United States. All foreign-born citizens of that
State, not possessed of a freehold estate of $134 value, or
property amounting to an annual rental of $7, are, by State law,
forbidden to vote. These men were naturalized under a law of the
United States, not under a law of Rhode Island. The United States
not only made them citizens, but expressly in the XIV. Amendment
declares them to be citizens, and yet little Rhode Island
presumes to be stronger than the United States.

Here again arises what I have shown to be the question of the
hour. Is the United States a Nation? If it does not possess
powers to protect its own citizens it is not a Nation. Citizens
of the United States are entitled to protection, whether they are
robbed of their liberties in a Spanish dungeon, or in the States
of Rhode Island or New York. The Judiciary Committee of Congress
has reported adversely upon the petition of the 10,000
naturalized citizens of Rhode Island. Does Congress intend to
sustain State Rights? What better is it for those 10,000 men that
they became naturalized? If they are first citizens of the United
States, as the XIV. Amendment declares, they should be protected
in their rights of citizenship by the United States against the
States, and their thirty-seven isolated methods of legislation.
This adverse report of the Judiciary Committee in regard to the
10,000 disfranchised men of Rhode Island, foreshadows the course
of Congress in regard to the great class of citizens now knocking
at its door. Women claim National protection as citizens of the
Nation.

The original Constitution in its fourth article touches upon
State control, for it declares that the Constitution shall
guarantee to every State a republican form of government. The
"shall" is imperative. It shall! Even as long ago as 1787 it was
declared that the people of the States should no longer be
dependent upon State caprice for their rights, but the general
government took upon itself the authority and the duty of
enforcing in each State a republican form of government. Either
this article is a mere sounding phrase, or the Constitution has
such power, although until the XIV. Amendment the real status of
citizenship had not been settled. People thought of themselves as
first citizens of the States, then of the United States, but now
such a position can not be taken. The eighth step in
centralization settled that point; "every person," not every male
person--but "every person born or naturalized in the United
States"--"is a citizen of the United States, and of the State in
which he resides." First, entitled to national protection, and
through the Nation to State protection. Moreover,

The Constitution and the laws made in pursuance thereof, are
by article sixth of the Constitution, declared to be the
supreme law of the land, and the Judges in every State shall
be bound thereby; anything in the Constitution or laws of
any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

Is the Constitution supreme in the case of the 10,000 naturalized
citizens of Rhode Island, whose petition the honorable judiciary
reported adversely upon, the 12th of December?

The naturalized citizens of our country should rise _en masse_
against his attack upon their liberties. If Rhode Island can say
that a naturalized citizen shall not vote unless possessed of a
certain amount of property, any State can, with equal justice,
enact a law declaring that only those naturalized citizens who
live in brick houses shall vote; a law, equally as binding as the
present property qualification in Rhode Island, can be enacted,
that only those foreign-born citizens who come over in a Cunarder
shall vote. Why not? If a State has a right to deprive one class
of citizens of its vote for one cause, it has a right to deprive
any other class of its vote for any reason.

The power and the mischief do not stop here. If a State has power
over the political rights of a naturalized citizen of the United
States, it has like power over the native-born citizen. If a
State has power over the franchise of the women citizens of the
United States, it also has power over the men citizens. Unjust
laws, like curses, go home to roost; they can always be made to
plague their enactors. When the rights of any one class of
citizens are assailed, a blow is struck against the rights of
all. The danger to individual liberty lies in special laws. If
States are powerful enough to weaken the National constitution,
then are we weak indeed. The safety of the citizen lies in a
strong National constitution: it lies in a National
centralization of power that shall override the States in their
attempt to destroy individual rights.

If the National government has not power over the ballot in the
several States, where did the United States Commissioner get his
authority to institute proceedings against Miss Anthony for
voting in the State of New York? If the ballot is in the control
of the States, then is the United States guilty of a high-handed
outrage against New York, in the case of the fourteen women who
are now bound over for trial in Rochester for voting at the last
election. If the control of the franchise is the right of each
State as sovereign, then the National law of 1870 in regard to
frauds in voting was an unauthorized interference of the United
States in a matter belonging solely to the respective States. On
the contrary, if the question as to who may vote in any
State--exclusive of black men, over whom it is conceded the
nation has thrown its ęgis of protection--is one of National
control, how does it happen that the Judiciary Committee of the
present Congress reported adversely upon the petition of the
10,000 naturalized citizens of Rhode Island? If, then, voting is
a matter of State control alone, what authority had the United
States to prosecute Susan B. Anthony? One of two things is
plainly true. Either the United States authorities had no right
to prosecute Miss Anthony in the State of New York, or, if they
had, then they had the right to regulate suffrage in Rhode
Island. If the general government could not extend suffrage to
Irishmen in Rhode Island, it could not abolish it for women in
New York.

The time has passed when men can take their choice between "State
sovereignty" and "centralized power." What State of the
thirty-seven has power to make a treaty, to form an alliance, to
declare war? Not one, because not one of them is a sovereign
State. An attempt would be treason against the Nation. If the
general government can not be secure with a diversity of laws in
regard to war, or the tariff, in regard to questions of property,
how much less secure is it with diverse laws in regard to
personal rights; in regard to the elective franchise, the vital
principle of our government.

This government does not stand to-day on free trade, or tariff,
or the war-power, or its right to manage post-offices, or to coin
money, or to make treaties.



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