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This really
disposes of the case, but we will notice other points. The Court
says:

After the adoption of the XIV. Amendment, it was deemed
necessary to have a XV: ... The XIV. Amendment had already
provided that no State should make or enforce any law which
should abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of
the United States. If suffrage was one of these privileges
or immunities, why amend the Constitution to prevent its
being denied on account of race, etc.? Nothing is more
evident than that the greater must include the less, and if
all were already protected, why go through with the form of
amending the Constitution to protect a part?

It is sometimes perilous in argument to ask questions--we will
answer the Court in its own words. In the Slaughter-house cases,
the Court then said:

A few years' experience satisfied the thoughtful men who had
been the authors of the other two amendments, that,
notwithstanding the restraints of those articles on the
States, and the laws passed under the additional powers
granted to Congress, these were inadequate for the
protection of life, liberty, and property, without which
freedom to the slave was no boon. They were in all those
States denied the right of suffrage. The laws were
administered by the white man alone. It was urged that a
race of men distinctively marked as was the negro, living in
the midst of another and dominant race, could never be fully
secured in their person and their property without the right
of suffrage. Hence the XV. Amendment, which declares that
the right of a citizen of the United States to vote shall
not be denied or abridged by any State on account of race,
color, or previous condition of servitude. The negro having,
by the XIV. Amendment, been declared to be a citizen of the
United States, is thus made a voter in every State of the
Union. (16 Wallace, 71.)

For the present argument, it is immaterial whether this result is
effected by the XIV., or XV. Amendment, or both. The point is,
that the Supreme Court here declares the negro to be a voter in
every State of the Union, by virtue of one or both amendments. He
is made a voter (a Federal voter) by the law of the United
States, and not by the State law. Being made a citizen of the
United States, he is thus made a voter in every State of the
Union. This is the very gist of the matter. The whole principle
is summed up in these few words. The franchise is an incident of
the status, or condition of citizenship. Freedom alone was not
enough. The XIII. Amendment made the negro free, but citizenship
was additionally necessary before he became a voter. As soon as
that was achieved, in that moment the franchise followed; to be
enjoyed, in the same manner as by other citizens. If ever a
suitor was entitled to rely with confidence upon judicial
utterances of great principles of law, Mrs. Minor was thus
entitled, in her case. She was a citizen of the United States by
birth; admitted to be possessed of every qualification but that
of sex. Her counsel appeared before this court and quoted its
very language above given, and asked the court to be consistent
with its own teachings. But no. There was no great and powerful
party to back her demand, as in the case of the negro. She was
merely a private individual, and the court contented itself with
saying that the right of suffrage when granted would be
protected! To which it may be replied, if women ever vote, they
will protect themselves; but, if their right should subsequently
be denied by the State, the Supreme Court, according to its own
rulings in this case, could give no protection, since it declares
the right to be wholly within the control of each State. But why
should the court require the women citizens of the United States
to produce a special grant of the right, when it required nothing
of the kind from the negro? Are there two laws in this country,
one for the negro, and another for woman? Does the Constitution
of the United States recognize or permit class distinctions to be
made between its citizens? Yet by this decision, the negro is
placed above the woman. He is her superior. His position is above
her. For our own part, we decline to accept any such construction
of that instrument, knowing that the time will ultimately come
when some claim similar to that of Mrs. Minor will meet with
proper recognition. To make its inconsistency still greater, the
court in this case declares that "allegiance and protection are
reciprocal obligations. The very idea of a political community,
such as a nation is, implies an association of persons for the
promotion of their general welfare. Each one of the persons
associated becomes a member of the nation formed by the
association. He owes it allegiance and is entitled to its
protection," yet in this case that protection is denied. While
the negro, then, is thus declared to be a voter, by reason of his
citizenship, in every State of the Union, there is no law either
of the State or of the Nation, which in terms or by words confers
the ballot upon him. The XV. Amendment does not confer it, but
treats it as a right already existing, and forbids its
deprivation. Likewise the State law assumes its existence, and
makes no change, except to conform to the new condition of the
negro's citizenship. There is no change in the State laws, except
the omission of a word--the word "white"--from the clause "white
male citizens," in the State Constitution. But who ever heard of
a right being conferred by omission? And yet this change of a
single word by the State was an acknowledgment by it of the
supremacy of Federal law touching this subject; and was designed
to make the State law conform to the Federal law, which declares
(XIV. Amendment) that "no State shall make or enforce any law
which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of
the United States." This conformity extends, however, only so far
as to embrace the negro citizen of the United States, leaving the
far larger class of women citizens of the United States still
under ban of disfranchisement, in plain violation of the
amendment. Under these circumstances, in the case under
consideration, the Supreme Court of the United States was asked
to interpose its authority, and effect by its decree that which
the State should have done, and declare that the word "male" must
be dropped, as well as the word "white."

Had this been done, the State law in its entirety would have
conformed to the paramount law of the United States, while as it
is, it conforms only in part. We are told that slavery was
abolished in Massachusetts, not by an enactment expressly adopted
for the purpose, but by a decision of the Supreme Court in 1781,
that its existence was inconsistent with the declaration in the
Bill of Rights that "all men are born free and equal."
(Bradford's History of Mass., 11, 227; Draper's Civil War, 1,
318; Story on Const., 11, p. 634, note.) So far, however, from
interfering, as it was its plain duty to have done, to protect
this class of United States citizens, the court has gone further
than perhaps it intended, and possibly destroyed the rights of
another class, for the decision, by declaring that the United
States has no voters, virtually renders the XV. Amendment of no
effect. There is nothing upon which it can operate. There being
no voters, there is of course no "right to vote," to be
"protected." So that every citizen of the United States is left
completely at the mercy of the State.

We will now consider that clause of the Constitution of the
United States in which, _as Hamilton said_, the right of suffrage
is defined and established for the citizens of the United States;
which, nevertheless, has most strangely been regarded as
conferring upon the States authority to disfranchise them.
Article 1, sec. 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 requisite for electors of the most numerous branch
of the State Legislature." The section, it will be seen, consists
of two clauses, but there _is not a word as to the sex_ of the
elector. He or she must be one of the people, or citizens--that
is all. The "People" elect. They vote in their respective States,
of course; or, to use the words of Chief Justice Marshall, "when
they act, they act in their States." (4 Wheaton, 403.) This first
clause, then, fixes the class of persons to whom belong this
right of suffrage--_Federal suffrage_--not State suffrage. It
would be absurd in the Federal Constitution to undertake to deal
with State suffrage, and it attempts nothing of the kind. The
right of Federal suffrage, then, attaches or belongs to this
class. The subsequent clause is subordinate to this, and relates
not to the right, but to the exercise of it by the voter. In
other words, it prescribes the qualifications of the elector, as
to how he shall exercise the right; the time, place, and manner
of voting, and the age at which the right shall be enjoyed. As to
all these matters, which are included in the subject of
"qualifications," instead of laying down a uniform rule, to be
applicable all over the Union, the convention thought it best to
adopt the regulations on this subject already in force in the
several States.



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