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Such authority can only be found, and I claim
that it is found in the Constitution of the United States. For
convenience I beg leave to bring together the various provisions
of that Constitution which bear more or less directly upon the
question:

ARTICLE I, Section 2. The House of Representatives shall be
composed of members chosen every second year, by the people
of the several States; and the electors in each State shall
have the qualifications for electors of the most numerous
branch of the State Legislature.

ARTICLE I, Section 3. The Senate of the United States shall
be composed of two senators from each State, chosen by the
Legislature thereof for six years; and each senator shall
have one vote.

ARTICLE II, Section 1. Each State shall appoint in such
manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of
electors equal to the whole number of senators and
representatives to which the State may be entitled in the
Congress.

ARTICLE IV, Section 2. The citizens of each State shall be
entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in
the several States.

ARTICLE IV, Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to
every State in the Union a republican form of government.


THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT. (DECEMBER 18, 1865.)

1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a
punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly
convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any
place subject to their jurisdiction.

2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.


FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT. (JULY 28, 1868.)

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; 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.

Section 2. 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 for the choice of electors for President and
Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in
Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or
the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of
the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years
of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way
abridged, except for participation in rebellion or other
crime, 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.

* * * * *

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by
appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.


FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT. (MARCH 30, 1870.)

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.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this
article by appropriate legislation.

By reference to the provisions of the original Constitution, here
recited, it appears that prior to the XIII., if not until the
XIV. Amendment, the whole power over the elective franchise, even
in the choice of Federal officers, rested with the States. The
Constitution contains no definition of the term "citizen," either
of the United States, or of the several States, but contents
itself with the provision that "the citizens of each State shall
be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of
the several States." The States were thus left free to place such
restrictions and limitations upon the "privileges and immunities"
of citizens as they saw fit, so far as is consistent with a
republican form of government, subject only to the condition that
no State could place restrictions upon the "privileges or
immunities" of the citizens of any other State, which would not
be applicable to its own citizens under like circumstances. It
will be seen, therefore, that the whole subject, as to what
should constitute the "privileges and immunities" of the citizen
being left to the States, no question, such as we now present,
could have arisen under the original Constitution of the United
States.

But now, by the XIV. Amendment, the United States have not only
declared what constitutes citizenship, both in the United States
and in the several States, securing the rights of citizens to
"all persons born or naturalized in the United States"; but have
absolutely prohibited the States from making or enforcing "any
law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens
of the United States." By virtue of this provision, I insist that
the act of Miss Anthony in voting was lawful. It has never, since
the adoption of the XIV. Amendment, been questioned, and can not
be questioned, that women as well as men are included in the
terms of its first section, nor that the same "privileges and
immunities of citizens" are equally secured to both.

What, then, are the "privileges and immunities of citizens of the
United States" which are secured against such abridgment, by this
section? I claim that these terms not only include the right of
voting for public officers, but that they include that right as
pre-eminently the most important of all the privileges and
immunities to which the section refers. Among these privileges
and immunities may doubtless be classed the right to life and
liberty, to the acquisition and enjoyment of property, and to the
free pursuit of one's own welfare, so far as such pursuit does
not interfere with the rights and welfare of others; but what
security has any one for the enjoyment of these rights when
denied any voice in the making of the laws, or in the choice of
those who make, and those who administer them? The possession of
this voice, in the making and administration of the laws--this
political right--is what gives security and value to the other
rights, which are merely personal, not political. A person
deprived of political rights is essentially a slave, because he
holds his personal rights subject to the will of those who
possess the political power. This principle constitutes the very
corner-stone of our Government--indeed, of all republican
government. Upon that basis our separation from Great Britain was
justified. "Taxation without representation is tyranny." This
famous aphorism of James Otis, although sufficient for the
occasion when it was put forth, expresses but a fragment of the
principle, because government can be oppressive through means of
many appliances besides that of taxation. The true principle is,
that all government over persons deprived of any voice in such
government, is tyranny. That is the principle of the Declaration
of Independence. We were slow in allowing its application to the
African race, and have been still slower in allowing its
application to women; but it has been done by the XIV. Amendment,
rightly construed, by a definition of "citizenship," which
includes women as well as men, and in the declaration that "the
privileges and immunities of citizens shall not be abridged."

If there is any privilege of the citizen which is paramount to
all others, it is the right of suffrage; and in a constitutional
provision, designed to secure the most valuable rights of the
citizen, the declaration that the privileges and immunities of
the citizen shall not be abridged must, as I conceive, be held to
secure that right before all others. It is obvious, when the
entire language of the section is examined, not only that this
declaration was designed to secure to the citizen this political
right, but that such was its principal, if not its sole object,
those provisions of the section which follow it being devoted to
securing the personal rights of "life, liberty, property, and the
equal protection of the laws." The clause on which we rely, to
wit: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge
the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,"
might be stricken out of the section, and the residue would
secure to the citizen every right which is now secured, excepting
the political rights of voting and holding office. If the clause
in question does not secure those political rights, it is
entirely nugatory, and might as well have been omitted.

If we go to the lexicographers and to the writers upon law, to
learn what are the privileges and immunities of the "citizen" in
a republican government, we shall find that the leading feature
of citizenship is the enjoyment of the right of suffrage. The
definition of the term "citizen" by Bouvier is:

One who under the Constitution and laws of the United
States, has a right to vote for Representatives in Congress,
and other public officers, and who is qualified to fill
offices in the gift of the people.

By Worcester:

An inhabitant of a republic who enjoys the rights of a
freeman, and has a right to vote for public officers.

By Webster:

In the United States, a person, native or naturalized, who
has the privilege of exercising the elective franchise, or
the qualifications which enable him to vote for rulers, and
to purchase and hold real estate.

The meaning of the word "citizen" is directly and plainly
recognized by the latest Amendment of the Constitution, the XV.:

The right of the 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.

This clause assumes that the right of citizens, as such, to vote,
is an existing right.



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