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
It exists, of
course, independent of sex or condition, manhood or
womanhood. To admit it in the adult and deny it to the youth
would be to abridge the right and ignore the principle. Now,
sir, in practice its extension to women would contravene all
our notions of the family; "put asunder" husband and wife,
and subvert the fundamental principles of family government,
in which the husband is, by all usage and law, human and
divine, the representative head. Besides, it ignores woman,
womanhood, and all that is womanly; all those distinctions
of sex whose objects are apparent in creation, essential in
character, and vital to society, these all disappear in the
manly and impressive demonstration of balloting at a popular
election. Here maids, women, wives, men, and husbands
promiscuously assemble to vindicate the rights of human
nature.

Moreover, it associates the wife and mother with policies of
State, with public affairs, with making, interpreting, and
executing the laws, with police and war, and necessarily
disseverates her from purely domestic affairs, peculiar care
for and duties of the family; and, worst of all, assigns her
duties revolting to her nature and constitution, and wholly
incompatible with those which spring from womanhood.

Besides, the ballot is the inseparable concomitant of the
bayonet. Those who practice the one must be prepared to
exercise the other. To introduce woman at the polls is to
enroll her in the militia; to transfer her from the class of
non-combatants to the class of combatants.--_Congressional
Globe_, part 1, second session Thirty-ninth Congress,
1866-'67, page 40.

Mr. SARGENT.--I have no doubt of the consistency of my friend
from Maine on this proposition and on every other. I have no
doubt that the remarks which he made formerly on this subject he
repeats to-day with the same idea of their entire correctness;
but I differ with him upon both the propositions which he
advances. He says that women do not desire the right of suffrage
and there is no evidence before Congress that they do desire it.
Why, sir, the tables of your committee-rooms have been loaded
with petitions from every State in this Union on this subject,
and they come forward day after day.

Mr. EDMUNDS.--And remonstrances also.

Mr. SARGENT.--Very few indeed.

Mr. STEWART.--I suggest to my friend from California if the only
question is whether women desire the right of suffrage or not,
that can only be determined by submitting it to them. When we
wish to ascertain whether the male citizens of the country desire
a proposition, we submit the question to them and let them vote
upon it.

Mr. SARGENT.--That suggestion is very just. But the fact that
there are remonstrances against the extension of the suffrage to
women shows that there is agitation, and agitation shows interest
in the matter. If this opinion were not in danger of prevailing,
if it were not sweeping over the country, we would get no
remonstrances; it would be looked upon as mere idle wind blowing
nowhere and amounting to nothing. I say these petitions are
coming here in every form. There are large and popular
conventions, attended by ladies and attended by a great many men,
making strong efforts to this end. There is as much agitation on
this point as there was for the abolition of slavery before the
war broke out.

Now I come to the other proposition of my friend from Maine. He
says the ballot and the bayonet go together, and that he who
handles the one must be prepared to handle the other. What do you
do with men who are past the years of military service and
exempted by your laws? Do you deprive them of the ballot? That of
itself is a sufficient answer to that argument. They are not
inseparable. Fortunately for our country the necessity for the
use of the bayonet occurs very seldom; but when it does occur
there are large classes of male voters who are not called to the
field, but are exempted by the policy of our law. No one believes
that if women had this privilege, or this immunity, or this
right--whatever you may call it--put into their hands we would
therefore require of them to do things that would degrade or
unsex them, or that would be improper for them to perform. I
believe that men would have the same respect for women with the
ballot in their hands as without it.

It is not for the few women who remonstrate from luxurious
parlors, sitting upon sofas, in the glare of the gaslight,
changing and choosing their phrases, but for the great class of
laboring women in the country that I appeal for this redress. I
appeal for the women who have been struggling on in these
Government offices, doing the same work that men do, aye, and in
many cases doing it better, for about one-half of the pay. Do you
suppose if they had ballots they would not make their voices
heard here and get for the same work the same pay? Who ever knew
a labor strike of women to succeed? When women in New York City
and other places are bowed down to the earth by their
labor--making shirts at a shilling a day--and they strike for
more pay, for more bread, for an opportunity to live, who ever
heard of one of their strikes succeeding? Men strike from their
workshops and they succeed, and why? Because they have the
ballot; because they have political force, because they have the
power of citizenship behind them in its fullest sense. Give these
poor struggling women the same chance and they can make their way
to a fair remuneration of wages in the public offices, and they
can make their way in the workshops, and these toiling mothers,
widows, and sisters supporting orphan brothers and sisters will
have some opportunity to vindicate their rights and to procure
not merely political rights, but a chance to live, and a chance
to avoid infamy.

Senators talk about this question as if the ballot was not
demanded for women. Will you tell me why it was that the great
party which controls both branches of Congress and holds the
Executive, when it met in Philadelphia at that grand convention,
put a plank in its platform stating that these demands for
further rights should be respectfully considered? Do you think
there was no agitation, no desire on the part of women for the
ballot when that great convention could be moved to a declaration
like this:

The Republican party is mindful of its obligations to the
loyal women or America for their noble devotion to the cause
of freedom. Their admission to higher fields of usefulness
is viewed with satisfaction, and the honest demand of any
class of citizens for additional rights shall be treated
with respectful consideration.

Was that mere euphuism, mere phrasing? Did that mean nothing? Did
it respond to no demand? Ay, sir, did it not only respond to a
demand which was there pressed, but did it not imply a duty, a
pledge which this party ought to redeem?

But the Senator from Maine, as well as the Senator from North
Carolina, asserts that the XIV. Amendment of the Constitution has
no relation whatever to political rights, that it relates to
something with reference to social equality, something in the far
distance, but does not touch this question at all. When I called
the attention of the Senator from North Carolina to the XV.
Amendment which says "the right of citizens to vote shall not be
denied or abridged," assuming the right to exist, not saying that
the right hereafter shall exist and shall not be abridged; but
the right now existing by fair intendment shall not be abridged,
he replied "that I deduced this right by an inference," and he
thought a right of this kind ought not to stand on mere
inference. His argument for the opposite construction, that the
right to vote may be abridged for any other cause than those
enumerated in the amendment, is drawn only by an inference from
it. The affirmative language is that the right shall not be
abridged for certain causes; and then by an inference the Senator
says it may be abridged for others. In other words, his argument
is that I am not at liberty to infer from the Constitution of the
United States rights for women or rights for mankind. I shall not
extend it by inference in favor of freedom, but any inference
which will limit its operation, which will destroy or curtail its
meaning, is legitimate.

Mr. MERRIMON: What clause of the Constitution does the Senator
assert creates the right?

Mr. SARGENT: The first section of the XV. Amendment declares that
the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be
denied or abridged--speaking of it as an affirmative right; not
speaking of it as here established but as a right which of course
must have been established by the XIV. Amendment.

Now, sir, to show that I do not strain the interpretation of the
Constitution, I desire to refer to some few authorities even
under the old Constitution which go very far to answer the
authority that the Senator cited. Bushrod Washington, a member of
the United States Supreme Court, and well known as a jurist of
high attainments and great powers of mind, in the case of
Corfield _vs._ Coryell declared what I shall read, which is
approvingly cited by Kent, the master writer upon American law,
in the second volume of his Commentaries:

It was declared in Corfield _vs._ Coryell that the
privileges and immunities conceded by the Constitution of
the United States to citizens in the several States were to
be confined to those which were in their nature fundamental,
and belonged of right to the citizens of all free
governments.



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.