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
Mr. Richard Grant White, in his late work
on "Words and their Uses," says of the word citizen:

A citizen is a person who has certain political rights, and
the word is properly used to imply or suggest the possession
of these rights.

Mr. Justice Washington, in the case of Corfield _vs._ Coryell (4
Wash. C. C. Rep. 380), speaking of the "privileges and
immunities" of the citizen, as mentioned in Sec. 2, Art. 4, of
the Constitution, after enumerating the personal rights mentioned
above, and some others, as embraced by those terms, says,

To which may be added the elective franchise, as regulated
and established by the laws or constitution of the State in
which it is to be exercised.

At that time the States had entire control of the subject, and
could abridge this privilege of the citizen at its pleasure; but
the judge recognizes the "elective franchise" as among the
"privileges and immunities" secured, to a qualified extent, to
the citizens of every State by the provisions of the Constitution
last referred to. When, therefore, the States were, by the XIV.
Amendment, absolutely prohibited from abridging the privileges of
the citizen, either by enforcing existing laws, or by the making
of new laws, the right of every "citizen" to the full exercise of
this privilege, as against State action, was absolutely secured.

Chancellor Kent and Judge Story both refer to the opinion of Mr.
Justice Washington, above quoted, with approbation. The Supreme
Court of Kentucky, in the case of Amy, a woman of color, _vs._
Smith (1 Littell's Rep. 326), discussed with great ability the
questions as to what constituted citizenship, and what were the
"privileges and immunities of citizens" which were secured by
Sec. 2, Art. 4, of the Constitution, and they showed, by an
unanswerable argument, that the term "citizens," as there used,
was confined to those who were entitled to the enjoyment of the
elective franchise, and that that was among the highest of the
"privileges and immunities" secured to the citizen by that
section. The court say that,

To be a citizen it is necessary that he should be entitled
to the enjoyment of these privileges and immunities, upon
the same terms upon which they are conferred upon other
citizens; and unless he is so entitled he can not, in the
proper sense of the term, be a citizen.

In the case of Scott _vs._ Sanford (19 How. 404), Chief-Justice
Taney says:

The words "people of the United States," and "citizens," are
synonymous terms, and mean the same thing; they describe the
political body, who according to our republican
institutions, form the sovereignty and 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.

Mr. Justice Daniel, in the same case (p. 476), says:

Upon the principles of etymology alone, the term citizen, as
derived from _civitas_, conveys the idea of connection or
identification with the State or Government, and a
participation in its functions. But beyond this, 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
understood as conferring the actual possession and
enjoyment, or the perfect right of acquisition and enjoyment
of an entire equality of privileges, civil and political.

Similar references might be made to an indefinite extent, but
enough has been said to show that the term citizen, in the
language of Justice Daniel, conveys the idea "of identification
with the State or Government, and a participation in its
functions." Beyond question, therefore, the first section of the
XIV. Amendment, by placing the citizenship of women upon a par
with that of men, and declaring that the "privileges and
immunities" of the citizen shall not be abridged, has secured to
women, equally with men, the right of suffrage, unless that
conclusion is overthrown by some other provision of the
Constitution.

It is not necessary for the purposes of this argument to claim
that this Amendment prohibits a State from making or enforcing
any law whatever, regulating the elective franchise, or
prescribing the conditions upon which it may be exercised. But we
do claim that in every republic the right of suffrage, in some
form and to some extent, is not only one of the privileges of its
citizens, but is the first, most obvious and most important of
all the privileges they enjoy; that in this respect all citizens
are equal, and that the effect of this Amendment is, to prohibit
the States from enforcing any law which denies this right to any
of its citizens, or which imposes any restrictions upon it, which
are inconsistent with a republican form of government. Within
this limit, it is unnecessary for us to deny that the States may
still regulate and control the exercise of the right.

The only provisions of the Constitution which it can be contended
conflict with the construction which has here been put upon the
first section of the XIV. Amendment, are the XV. Amendment, and
the second section of the XIV. In regard to the XV. Amendment, I
shall only say, that if my interpretation of the XIV. is correct,
there was still an object to be accomplished and which was
accomplished by the XV. The prohibition of any action abridging
the privileges and immunities of citizens, contained in the XIV.
Amendment, applies only to the States, and leaves the United
States Government free to abridge the political privileges and
immunities of citizens of the United States, as such, at its
pleasure. By the XV. Amendment both the United States and the
State governments are prohibited from exercising this power, "on
account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude" of
the citizen.

The first remark to be made upon the second section of the XIV.
Amendment is, that it does not give, and was not designed to give
to the States any power to deny or abridge the right of any
citizen to exercise the elective franchise. So far as it touches
that subject, it was designed to be restrictive upon the States.
It gives to them no power whatever. It takes away no power, and
it gives none; but if the States possess the power to deny or
abridge the right of citizens to vote, it must be derived from
some other provision of the Constitution. I believe none such can
be found, which was not necessarily abrogated by the first
section of this Amendment. It may be conceded that the persons
who prepared this section supposed that, by other parts of the
Constitution, or in some other way, the States would still be
authorized, notwithstanding the provisions of the first section,
to deny to the citizens the privilege of voting, as mentioned in
the second section; but their mistake can not be held to add to,
or to take from the other provisions of the Constitution. It is
very clear that they did not intend, by this section, to give to
the States any such power, but, believing that the States
possessed it, they designed to hold the prospect of a reduction
of their representation in Congress _in terrorem_ over them to
prevent them from exercising it. They seem not to have been able
to emancipate themselves from the influence of the original
Constitution which conceded this power to the States, or to have
realized the fact that the first section of the Amendment, when
adopted, would wholly deprive the States of that power.

But those who prepare constitutions are never those who adopt
them, and consequently the views of those who frame them have
little or no bearing upon their interpretation. The question for
consideration here is, what the people, who, through their
representatives in the legislatures, adopted the Amendments,
understood, or must be presumed to have understood, from their
language. They must be presumed to have known that the
"privileges and immunities" of citizens which were secured to
them by the first section beyond the power of abridgment by the
States, gave them the right to exercise the elective franchise,
and they certainly can not be presumed to have understood that
the second section, which was also designed to be restrictive
upon the States, would be held to confer by implication a power
upon them, which the first section in the most express terms
prohibited.

It has been, and may be again asserted, that the position which I
have taken in regard to the second section is inadmissible,
because it renders the section nugatory. That is, as I hold, an
entire mistake. The leading object of the second section was the
readjustment of the representation of the States in Congress,
rendered necessary by the abolition of chattel slavery [not of
political slavery], effected by the XIII. Amendment. This object
the section accomplishes, and in this respect it remains wholly
untouched, by my construction of it. Neither do I think the
position tenable which has been taken by one tribunal, to which
the consideration of this subject was presented, that the
constitutional provision does not execute itself. The provisions
on which we rely were negative merely, and were designed to
nullify existing as well as any future State legislation
interfering with our rights.



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.