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So that if the force of its language compels you to construe
the XIV. Amendment as authorizing woman to vote, you will have
the satisfaction of knowing that it but restores her to her old
common law right in the persons of her American daughters.

THIRD. I am now to deal directly with the Amendments. The first
clause of Section 1 of the XIV Amendment I now read:

SECTION 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United
States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are
citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they
reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall
abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the
United States.

Until this was promulgated there was no absolute standard or rule
of citizenship in the United States. Each State made a rule for
itself, and its rule was not always clearly expressed, as you
will see by these constitutions. Some of them say that the male
citizens of the State, being inhabitants, etc., shall vote, yet
do not declare in what citizenship shall consist. Others, that
citizens of the United States, etc., shall vote, while no person
was a citizen of the United States except as he had become a
citizen of a State. Many States permitted aliens, on a short
residence, to vote, without naturalization, and they, in that
indirect way, became citizens of such State, and hence of the
United States. This Amendment puts an end to doubt and cavil, and
broadly declares that all persons born or naturalized in the
United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are
citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they
reside, etc....

By an unwritten article of the American Constitution--for whoever
looks to the written text will not find the whole of the
Constitution--persons, no matter where born, or however unnatural
they may be, are permitted to become domiciled, gain settlements,
hold lands, bring suits, and acquire and enjoy every possible
right, privilege, and immunity of native born persons. Nor has
Congress, nor has any State ever attempted, by law or ordinance,
to discriminate against them, nor will either ever dare to do so,
nor could or would such a law be enforced. The unwritten
Constitution, by the name of public policy, or without any name,
would prevent it. The only possible things which a resident alien
may not do, are, he can not vote or hold office. There need be no
mistake about this, and it can be reduced to an absolute
certainty. What, pray, does the resident alien acquire by the
transmuting process of naturalization? What is the sum total of
his citizenship? He acquires the right of suffrage, and the right
to hold office, and no other thing under the heavens and the
Star-Spangled Banner. Does he acquire these rights by virtue of
any word or special provision of our naturalization laws, which
annexes suffrage to naturalization as its special perquisite? Not
a word of it. Nor is there a word in any act of Congress or law
of a State that confers suffrage upon the naturalized American as
a thing incident to or consequent upon his act of naturalization.
He thereby becomes a citizen, and takes up and enjoys its
peculiar and distinguishing right. He gets naturalized for that
and for no other purpose. Naturalization confers suffrage, then,
because suffrage is a property of citizenship.

* * * * *

Colored male citizens now vote constitutionally and rightfully,
although the word "white" stands as before in most of the State
constitutions; and yet they vote in spite of it. Some potent
alembic has destroyed the force of this word, although the text
remains as of old. We are at once referred to the XV. Amendment
for a solution. That has conferred the power of voting upon them,
and it is superior to the State constitutions and statutes, and
executes itself, as is claimed. I concede, your honors, that if
the XV. Amendment does confer suffrage, or remove the exclusion
so that colored citizens can vote; if they have derived the
franchise from that, then the argument is against me. But, if it
does confer it, then judgment must go for me. Let us read it:

ARTICLE XV., Section 1. The right of citizens of the United
States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United
States or by any State on account of race, color, or
previous condition of servitude.

Sec. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this
article by appropriate legislation. (15 Stat., p. 316.)

You see in a moment this does not confer anything. It uses no
words of grant or grace, apt or otherwise, nor does it profess
to. It expressly recognizes, as an already existing fact, that
the citizens of the United States have the right to vote. The
right which shall thus be respected is a right peculiar to the
citizen--it is not a personal right, but a political right; and a
right to vote, the same one mentioned in the second section of
the XIV. Amendment--a right not created or conferred by the XV.
Amendment. It could not be, for it existed, and, as I have just
said, was spoken of in the XIV. Amendment; so that it must be as
old as that at the least. This amendment is a solemn mandate to
all concerned not to deny this right, because it existed, and
because it was of the highest value.

Justice WYLIE: It is not to be denied for either of the three
reasons mentioned.

Mr. RIDDLE: Yes, your honor, I have not reached that; I am now
only showing that it is a right--a citizen right--and older than
the XV. Amendment; but, if your honor intends to infer that,
because the right can not be denied in any one of those cases,
that, therefore, it may be in all others, then you have another
instance of a constitutional right to deny a constitutional
right; and, without vanity, I have already pulverized that
assumption. It is thus absolutely certain that colored male
citizens do not claim their admitted right to vote from this XV.
Amendment. They had it before, and this came in to protect and
secure them in its enjoyment. Whence did they derive it? From the
XIV. Amendment? If so, then did women acquire it by the same
amendment? Was it an inherent right in them as a part of "the
people?" So women are a much larger and more important part of
"the people."

The right to vote shall not be denied on account of race, color,
or previous condition of servitude, was not used to make the
right sacred in male negroes alone, while the rights of all
others were left to political caprice, or to be controlled
hereafter by these same colored males mayhap; but this amendment
was aimed fully at the mischief of the second section of the XIV.
Amendment, and there its force is expended. It fossilizes the
second section of that amendment. While the broad language of its
first section secures, beyond the abridging hand of the States,
the great rights it secures--rights which Congress can not
abridge on any pretext, for it can exercise no power not granted,
and the Constitution confers on it no power to abridge the
"privileges or immunities of the citizen" in any instance.

And here I rest this solemn argument. I have brought this cause
of woman, and of man as well--of the race--into the presence of
the court, surrounded by the severe atmosphere of the law, beyond
the reach of chronic ribaldry, and into the region of argument,
where it must be estimated by its legal merits. I have applied to
it the rules of law. I have pushed away the dead exfoliations
that cumber the path; and have gone to the foundations, to the
ever fresh and preserving spirit of the rules of the common law,
and have sought to apply them with candor....

FRANCIS MILLER following Mr. Riddle, said: May it please the
Court; ... Clearly the XV. Amendment does not confer any right of
suffrage. Clearly, prior to the XIV. Amendment, colored men had
no right to vote. The XIII. Amendment, which emancipated them,
did not give them the right of suffrage, because the States had
the constitutional power to say they should not vote. But between
the XIII. and XV. Amendments, in some way or other, the colored
man came into possession of this right of suffrage; and the
question is, where did he get it? If he did not get it under the
XIV. Amendment, by what possible authority are they voting by
hundreds of thousands throughout this country? The legislative
and constitutional provisions that prohibit their voting still
remain unrepealed upon the statute books of many of the States,
but yet they do vote. There is no possible, no conceivable, means
by which they legally can vote, except by the operation of the
XIV. Amendment. It may be said that if that is the case the XV.
Amendment was not necessary. Well, admit it was not. It was very
well said by Justice Swayne, in the case of the United States
_vs._ Rhodes, in answer to the argument that if the XIII.
Amendment conferred certain rights upon the colored man it was
unnecessary to pass the Civil Rights Bill; "that it was not
necessary, but it was well to do it to prevent doubts and
differences of opinion." It is not well to leave any man's rights
and liberties subject even to a doubt, and the Congress of the
United States had better adopt amendment after amendment than to
allow the slightest cloud to rest upon the tenure of the rights
of the American citizen....

The Constitution has formulated into law the Declaration of
Independence.



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