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At last, in the United States Supreme Court,
Associate Justice Miller reversed the decisions of all the lower
tribunals, and ordered the land back to the heirs of Mrs.
Cruthers. The Court said:

In construing a benevolent statute of the government, made
for the benefit of its own citizens, inviting and
encouraging them to settle on its distant public lands, the
words "single man," and "unmarried man" may, especially if
aided by the context and other parts of the statute, be
taken in a generic sense. Held, accordingly, that the fourth
section of the Act of Congress, of September 27th, 1850,
granting by way of donation, lands in Oregon Territory, to
every white settler or occupant, American half-breed Indians
included, embraced within the term single man an unmarried
woman.

And the attorney, who carried this question to its final success,
is now the Senator elect from Oregon, Hon. J. H. Mitchell, in
whom the cause of equal rights to women has an added power on the
floor of the United States Senate.

Though the words persons, people, inhabitants, electors,
citizens, are all used indiscriminately in the National and State
constitutions, there was always a conflict of opinion, prior to
the war, as to whether they were synonymous terms, as for
instance:

No _person_ shall be a representative who shall not have
been seven years a _citizen_, and who shall not, when
elected, be an _inhabitant_ of that State in which he is
chosen. No _person_ shall be a senator who shall not have
been a _citizen_ of the United States, and an _inhabitant_
of that State in which he is chosen.

But, whatever room there was for a doubt, under the old regime,
the adoption of the XIV. Amendment settled that question forever,
in its first sentence:

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.

And the second settles the equal status of all persons--all
citizens:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge
the privileges or immunities of citizens; nor shall any
State deprive any person of life, liberty or property,
without due process of law, nor deny to any person within
its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The only question left to be settled now, is: Are women persons?
And I hardly believe any of our opponents will have the hardihood
to say they are not. Being persons, then, women are citizens, and
no State has a right to make any new law, or to enforce any old
law, that shall abridge their privileges or immunities. Hence,
every discrimination against women in the constitutions and laws
of the several States, is to-day null and void, precisely as is
every one against negroes. Is the right to vote one of the
privileges or immunities of citizens? I think the disfranchised
ex-rebels, and the ex-state prisoners will all agree with me,
that it is not only one of them, but _the one without which all
the others are nothing_. Seek first the kingdom of the ballot,
and all things else shall be given thee, is the political
injunction.

Webster, Worcester and Bouvier all define citizen to be a person,
in the United States, entitled to vote and hold office. And prior
to the adoption of the XIII. Amendment, by which slavery was
forever abolished, and black men transformed from property to
persons, the judicial opinions of the country had always been in
harmony with these definitions. To be a person was to be a
citizen, and to be a citizen was to be a voter. Associate Justice
Washington, in defining the privileges and immunities of the
citizen, more than fifty years ago, said:

They included all such privileges as were fundamental in
their nature. And among them is the right to exercise the
elective franchise and to hold office.

Even the "Dred Scott" decision, pronounced by the Abolitionists
and Republicans infamous, because it virtually declared "black
men had no rights white men were bound to respect," gave this
true and logical conclusion, that to be one of the people was to
be a citizen and a voter. Chief Judge Daniels said:

There is not, it is believed, to be found in the theories of
writers on government, or in any actual experiment
heretofore tried, an exposition of the term citizen, which
has not been considered as conferring the actual possession
and enjoyment of the perfect right of acquisition and
enjoyment of an entire equality of privileges, civil and
political.

Associate Justice Taney said:

The words "people of the United States" and "citizens," are
synonymous terms, and mean the same thing. They both
describe the political body, who, according to our
republican institutions, form the sovereignty, and who hold
the power and conduct the government, through their
representatives. They are what we familiarly call the
sovereign people, and every citizen is one of this people,
and a constituent member of this sovereignty.

Thus does Judge Taney's decision, which was such a terrible ban
to the black man while he was a slave, now that he is a person,
no longer property, pronounce him a citizen, possessed of an
entire equality of privileges, civil and political. And not only
the black man, but the black woman, and all women as well. And it
was not until after the abolition of slavery, by which the
negroes became free men, hence citizens, that the United States
Attorney-General Bates rendered a contrary opinion:

The Constitution uses the word "citizen" only to express the
political quality (not equality, mark) of the individual in
his relation to the nation; to declare that he is a member
of the body politic, and bound to it by the reciprocal
obligations of allegiance on the one side, and protection on
the other. The phrase "a citizen of the United States,"
without addition or qualification, means neither more nor
less than a member of the nation.

Then, to be a citizen of this Republic, is no more than to be a
subject of an Empire. You and I, and all true and patriotic
citizens must repudiate this base conclusion. We all know that
American citizenship, without addition or qualification, means
the possession of equal rights, civil and political. We all know
that the crowning glory of every citizen of the United States is,
that he can either give or withhold his vote from every law and
every legislator under the government. Did "I am a Roman
citizen," mean nothing more than that I am a "member" of the body
politic of the Republic of Rome, bound to it by the reciprocal
obligations of allegiance on the one side, and protection on the
other? When you, young man, shall travel abroad among the
monarchies of the old world, and there proudly boast yourself an
"American citizen," will you thereby declare yourself neither
more nor less than a "member" of the American nation?

And this opinion of Attorney-General Bates, that a black citizen
was not a voter, made merely to suit the political exigency of
the Republican party in that transition hour between emancipation
and enfranchisement, was no less infamous, in spirit or purpose,
than was the decision of Judge Taney, that a black man was not
one of the people, rendered in the interest and at the behest of
the old Democratic party, in its darkest hour of subjection to
the Slave power. Nevertheless, all of the adverse arguments,
adverse congressional reports and judicial opinions, thus far,
have been based on this purely partisan, time-serving opinion of
General Bates, that the normal condition of the citizen of the
United States is that of disfranchisement. That only such classes
of citizens as have had special legislative guarantee have a
legal right to vote. And if this decision of Attorney-General
Bates was infamous, as against black men, but yesterday
plantation slaves, what shall we pronounce upon Judge Bingham, in
the House of Representatives, and Carpenter, in the Senate of the
United States, for citing it against the women of the entire
nation, vast numbers of whom are the peers of those honorable
gentlemen themselves, in morals, intellect, culture, wealth,
family--paying taxes on large estates, and contributing equally
with them and their sex, in every direction, to the growth,
prosperity, and well-being of the Republic? And what shall be
said of the judicial opinions of Judges Cartter, Jameson, McKay,
and Sharswood, all based upon this aristocratic monarchical idea,
of the right of one class to govern another?

I am proud to mention the names of the two United States judges
who have given opinions honorable to our Republican idea, and
honorable to themselves--Judge Howe, of Wyoming Territory, and
Judge Underwood, of Virginia. The former gave it as his opinion a
year ago, when the Legislature seemed likely to revoke the law
enfranchising the women of that Territory, that, in case they
succeeded, the women would still possess the right to vote under
the XIV. Amendment. Judge Underwood, of Virginia, in noticing the
recent decision of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia,
denying to women the right to vote, under the XIV.



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