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
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. Amendment,
says:

If the people of the United States, by amendment of their
Constitution, could expunge, without any explanatory or
assisting legislation, an adjective of five letters from all
State constitutions, and thereby raise millions of our most
ignorant fellow-citizens to all the rights and privileges of
electors, why should not the same people, by the same
Amendment, expunge an adjective of four letters from the
same State constitutions, and thereby raise other millions
of more educated and better informed citizens to equal
rights and privileges, without explanatory or assisting
legislation?

If the XIV. Amendment does not secure to all citizens the right
to vote, for what purpose was that grand old charter of the
fathers lumbered with its unwieldy proportions? The Republican
party, and Judges Howard and Bingham, who drafted the document,
pretended it was to do something for black men; and if that
something was not to secure them in their right to vote and hold
office, what could it have been? For, by the XIII. Amendment,
black men had become people, and hence were entitled to all the
privileges and immunities of the Government, precisely as were
the women of the country and foreign men not naturalized.
According to Associate Justice Washington, they already had the

Protection of the Government, the enjoyment of life and
liberty, with the right to acquire and possess property of
every kind, and to pursue and obtain happiness and safety,
subject to such restraints as the Government may justly
prescribe for the general welfare of the whole; the right of
a citizen of one State to pass through or to reside in any
other State for the purpose of trade, agriculture,
professional pursuit, or otherwise; to claim the benefit of
the writ of habeas corpus, to institute and maintain actions
of any kind in the courts of the State; to take, hold, and
dispose of property, either real or personal, and an
exemption from higher taxes or impositions than are paid by
the other citizens of the State.

Thus, you see, those newly-made freed men were in possession of
every possible right, privilege, and immunity of the Government,
except that of suffrage, and hence, needed no constitutional
amendment for any other purpose. What right, I ask you, has the
Irishman the day after he receives his naturalization papers that
he did not possess the day before, save the right to vote and
hold office? And the Chinamen, now crowding our Pacific coast,
are in precisely the same position. What privilege or immunity
has California or Oregon the constitutional right to deny them,
save that of the ballot? Clearly, then, if the XIV. Amendment was
not to secure to black men their right to vote, it did nothing
for them, since they possessed everything else before. But if it
was meant to be a prohibition of the States to deny or abridge
their right to vote--which I fully believe--then it did the same
for all persons, white women included, born or naturalized in the
United States, for the amendment does not say all male persons of
African descent, but all persons are citizens.

The second section is simply a threat to punish the States, by
reducing their representation on the floor of Congress, should
they disfranchise any class of male citizens, and does not allow
of the inference that the States may disfranchise from any, or
all other causes; nor in anywise weaken or invalidate the
universal guarantee of the first section. What rule of law or
logic would allow the conclusion, that the prohibition of a crime
to one person, on severe pains and penalties, was a sanction of
that crime to any and all other persons save that one? But,
however much the doctors of the law may disagree, as to whether
people and citizens, in the original constitution, were one and
the same, or whether the privileges and immunities in the XIV.
Amendment include the right of suffrage, the question of the
right of the citizen to vote is settled forever by the XV.
Amendment:

The citizen's right to vote shall not be denied by the
United States, nor any State thereof; on account of race,
color, or previous condition of servitude.

How can the State deny or abridge the right of the citizen, if
the citizen does not possess it? There is no escape from the
conclusion, that to vote is the citizen's right, and the
specifications of race, color, or previous condition of servitude
can, in no way, impair the force of the emphatic assertion, that
the citizen's right to vote shall not be denied or abridged. The
political strategy of the second section of the XIV. Amendment,
failing to coerce the rebel States into enfranchising their
negroes, and the necessities of the Republican party demanding
their votes throughout the South, to insure the re-election of
Grant in 1872, that party was compelled to place this positive
prohibition of the XV. Amendment upon the United States and all
the States thereof.

If we once establish the false principle, that United States
citizenship does not carry with it the right to vote in every
State in this Union, there is no end to the petty freaks and
cunning devices that will be resorted to, to exclude one and
another class of citizens from the right of suffrage. It will not
always be men combining to disfranchise women; native-born men
combining to abridge the rights of naturalized citizens, as in
Rhode Island; it will not always be the rich and educated who may
combine to cut off the poor and ignorant; but we may live to see
the poor, hard-working, uncultivated day laborers, foreign and
native born, learning the power of the ballot and their vast
majority of numbers, combine and amend State constitutions so as
to disfranchise the Vanderbilts and A. T. Stewarts, the Conklings
and Fentons. It is a poor rule that won't work more ways than
one. Establish this precedent, admit the right of the States to
deny suffrage, and there is no power to foresee the confusion,
discord, and disruption that may await us. There is, and can be,
but one safe principle of government--equal rights to all. And
any and every discrimination against any class, whether on
account of color, race, nativity, sex, property, culture, can but
embitter and disaffect that class, and thereby endanger the
safety of the whole people. Clearly, then, the National
government must not only define the rights of citizens, but it
must stretch out its powerful hand and protect them in every
State in this Union.

But if you will insist that the XV. Amendment's emphatic
interdiction against robbing United States citizens of their
right to vote, "on account of race, color, or previous condition
of servitude," is a recognition of the right, either of the
United States or any State, to rob citizens of that right for any
or all other reasons, I will prove to you that the class of
citizens for which I now plead, and to which I belong, may be,
and are, by all the principles of our Government, and many of the
laws of the States, included under the term "previous condition
of servitude."

First.--The married women and their legal status. What is
servitude? "The condition of a slave." What is a slave? "A person
who is robbed of the proceeds of his labor; a person who is
subject to the will of another."

By the law of Georgia, South Carolina, and all the States of the
South, the negro had no right to the custody and control of his
person. He belonged to his master. If he was disobedient, the
master had the right to use correction. If the negro didn't like
the correction, and attempted to run away, the master had a right
to use coercion to bring him back. By the law of every State in
this Union to-day, North as well as South, the married woman has
no right to the custody and control of her person. The wife
belongs to her husband; and if she refuses obedience to his will,
he may use moderate correction, and if she doesn't like his
moderate correction, and attempts to leave his "bed and board,"
the husband may use moderate coercion to bring her back. The
little word "moderate," you see, is the saving clause for the
wife, and would doubtless be overstepped should her offended
husband administer his correction with the "cat-o'-nine-tails,"
or accomplish his coercion with blood-hounds.

Again, the slave had no right to the earnings of his hands, they
belonged to his master; no right to the custody of his children,
they belonged to his master; no right to sue or be sued, or
testify in the courts. If he committed a crime, it was the master
who must sue or be sued. In many of the States there has been
special legislation, giving to married women the right to
property inherited, or received by bequest, or earned by the
pursuit of any avocation outside of the home; also, giving her
the right to sue and be sued in matters pertaining to such
separate property; but _not a single State of this Union has ever
secured the wife in the enjoyment of her right to the joint
ownership of the joint earnings of the marriage copartnership_.
And since, in the nature of things, the vast majority of married
women never earn a dollar by work outside of their families, nor
inherit a dollar from their fathers, it follows that from the day
of their marriage to the day of the death of their husbands, not
one of them ever has a dollar, except it shall please her
husband to let her have it.



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.