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It is
not, in my opinion, a question of woman's rights merely, but, in
a far greater degree, a question of man's rights. When God
created man, he announced the law of his being, that it was not
well for him to be alone, and so He created woman to be his
helpmate and companion. Commencing with the barbarism of the
East, and journeying through the nations toward the bright light
of civilization in the West, it will everywhere be found that,
just in proportion to the equality of women with men in the
enjoyment of social and civil rights and privileges, both sexes
are proportionately advanced in refinement and all that ennobles
human nature. In our own country, where women are received on an
equality with men, we find good order and good manners
prevailing. Because women frequent railroad cars and steamboats,
markets, shops, and post-offices, those places must be, and are,
conducted with order and decency. The only great resorts from
which woman is excluded by law are the election places; and the
violence, rowdyism, profanity, and obscenity of the gathering
there in our largest cities are sufficient to drive decent men,
even, away from the polls. If our wives, sisters, and daughters
were going to the polls, we should go with them, and good order
would be observed, or a row would follow, which would secure
order in the future. I have more faith in female suffrage, to
reform the abuses of our election system in the large cities,
than I have in the penal election laws to be enforced by soldiers
and marines. Who believes that, if ladies were admitted to seats
in Congress, or upon the bench, or were participating in
discussions at the bar, such proceedings would thereby be
rendered less refined, or that less regard would be paid to the
rights of all?

But whether women should be admitted to the right of suffrage, is
one thing; whether this end has already been accomplished, is
quite another. The XIV. Amendment forbids the States to make or
enforce any law which shall abridge "the privileges or
immunities" of a citizen. But whether the right to vote is
covered by the phrase "privileges and immunities," was much
discussed under the provisions of the old Constitution; and at
least one of the earliest decisions drew a distinction between
"privileges and immunities" and political rights. On the other
hand, Mr. Justice Washington, in a celebrated case, expressed the
opinion, that the right to vote and hold office was included in
this phrase. But in neither of the cases was this point directly
involved, and both opinions are _obiter dicta_ in relation to it.

But the XIV. and XV. Amendments seem to settle this question
against the right of female suffrage. These amendments seem to
recognize the distinction at first pointed out between
"privileges and immunities," and the right to vote. The XIV.
Amendment declares,

[Illustration: Myra Bradwell.]

All persons born and naturalized in the United States, etc.,
are citizens of the United States, and of the State wherein
they reside.

Of course, women, as well as men, are included in this provision,
and recognized as citizens. This Amendment further declares:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge
the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United
States.

If the privileges and immunities of a citizen can not be
abridged, then, of course, the privileges and immunities of all
citizens must be the same. The second section of this Amendment
provides that

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several
States according to their respective numbers, counting the
whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians,
not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election, etc.,
is denied to any of the male inhabitants, being twenty-one
years of age, etc., the basis of representation therein
shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such
male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male
citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

It can not be denied, that the right or power of a State to
exclude a portion of its male citizens from the right to vote, is
recognized by this second section; from which it follows, that
the right to vote is not one of the "privileges or immunities"
which the first section declares shall not be abridged by any
State. The right of female suffrage is also inferentially denied
by that provision of the second section, above quoted, which
provides that when a State shall deny the right to vote to any
male citizen,

The basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the
proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear
to the whole number of male citizens in such State.

In the first place, it is to be observed that the basis of
representation in a State, which is the whole number of
persons--male and female, adults and infants--is only to be
reduced when the State shall exclude a portion "of the male
inhabitants of such State." The exclusion of female inhabitants,
and infants under the age of twenty-one years, does not effect a
reduction of the basis of representation in such State. And,
again, when a State does exclude a portion of its male
inhabitants, etc., the basis of representation in such State is
not reduced in the proportion which the number of such excluded
males bears to the number of persons--male and female--in such
State; but only

In the proportion which the number of such (excluded) male
citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens
twenty-one years of age in such State.

This provision assumes that females are no part of the voting
population of a State. The XV. Amendment is equally decisive. It
recognizes the right--that is, power--of any State to exclude a
portion of its citizens from the right to vote, and only narrows
this right in favor of a particular class. Its language is:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not
be denied or abridged, etc., on account of race, color, or
previous condition of servitude.

This amendment was wholly unnecessary upon the theory that the
XIV. Amendment had established or recognized the right of every
citizen to vote. It recognizes the right of a State to exclude a
portion of its citizens, and only restrains that power so far as
to provide that citizens shall not be excluded on account of
race, color, or previous condition of servitude. In every other
case, the power of exclusion recognized by the XIV. Amendment is
untouched by the XV. It is also worthy of notice that, throughout
the XIV. and XV. Amendments, voting is not treated as, or
denominated a privilege, and evidently was not intended to be,
nor regarded as included in the "privileges or immunities" of a
citizen, which no State can abridge for any cause whatever. I
have taken this pains to distinguish between the "privileges and
immunities" of a citizen, and the "right" of a citizen to vote,
not because I feared that this court would deny one, even if the
other would follow, but to quiet the fears of the timid and
conservative.

I come now to the narrower and precise question before the court:
Can a female citizen, duly qualified in respect of age,
character, and learning, claim, under the XIV. Amendment, the
privilege of earning a livelihood by practicing at the bar of a
judicial court? It was provided by the original Constitution:

The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all
privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.

Under this provision each State could determine for itself what
the privileges and immunities of its citizens should be. A
citizen emigrating from one State to another carried with him,
not the privileges and immunities he enjoyed in his native State,
but was entitled, in the State of his adoption, to such
privileges and immunities as were enjoyed by the class of
citizens to which he belonged by the laws of such adopted State.
A white citizen of one State, where no property qualification for
voting was required, emigrating to a State which required such
qualification, must conform to it before he could claim the right
to vote. A colored citizen, authorized to hold property in
Massachusetts, emigrating to South Carolina, where all colored
persons were excluded from such right, derived no aid, in this
respect, from the Constitution of the United States, but was
compelled to submit to all the incapacities laid by the laws of
that State upon free persons of color born and residing therein.
A married woman, a citizen of the State of Wisconsin, where by
law she was capable of holding separate estate, and making
contracts concerning the same, emigrating to a State where the
common law in this regard prevailed, could not buy and sell
property in her own name, or contract in reference thereto.

But the XIV. Amendment executes itself in every State of the
Union. Whatever are the privileges and immunities of a citizen in
the State of New York, such citizen, emigrating, carries them
with him into any other State of the Union. It utters the will of
the United States in every State, and silences every State
constitution, usage, or law which conflicts with it. If to be
admitted to the bar, on attaining the age and learning required
by law, be one of the privileges of a white citizen in the State
of New York, it is equally the privilege of a colored citizen in
that State; and if in that State, then in any State.



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