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This
decision indorses the disfranchisement of every female in the land, so
long endured by her. Her citizenship, which the National Constitution
makes evidence of her copartnership, or tenancy in common, or
proprietorship in the Government, is worthless--is only a name; and
does not enable her to exercise the privileges and immunities of our
system of self-government which that Constitution declares this
government to be--a government by and for its citizens. Woman can not
now exercise her constitutional right--she is only a cipher, important
once in a decade, in numbering the people--she is only a political
slave, a helpless Helot. Make ready, adorn your person, O woman, to
celebrate the coming centennial of the Declaration of American
Independence of the British throne! Mark! a woman sits upon that
throne and wears the royal crown! But, glorious parchment is that old
Declaration. That instrument marks an epoch in government and
political philosophy. It certifies the rights of the human race. Its
truths sounded in American ears on every fourth of July, for one
hundred years, save one, have, nevertheless, failed in their
realization, and, to-day, one half the population of this Nation can
not exercise a political right. How happens this state of
affairs?--not that the Constitution hinders woman and prevents her
participation in matters of government, for it is abundant in its
provisions in her behalf. Let me examine and try to ascertain the
point of difficulty. I copy from the Constitution a provision which
covers the entire question of woman's right of suffrage:

"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."--[_Art._ 1. _Sec._ 2.]

The law and logic of woman's right--her political right--to vote for
members of Congress, President and Vice-President, appear thus in
argument: These officers are to be chosen "by the people of the
several States"--that is by the men and women of the Nation. The
personality of the people, by the creative fiat, is distinguished by
difference of sex, male and female. The choosers, the people of the
several States, are required to have certain qualifications to enable
them to choose, and these qualifications are to be subject to State
regulations. The right to vote for these officers of the United States
is anchored in the Constitution--no State may nullify that right--it
can only regulate its exercise:--for example, prescribe, as
qualifications for access to the ballot-box, that the chooser or
voter shall be twenty-one years old, a resident of the State for one
year, of the county or town for thirty days, etc.--these are properly
qualifications and such as the Constitution intends. Every State
Constitution limits the right to a part only of the people, which is
denial of right to the other portion of the people, and not regulation
or the right by way of adjective qualifications, as illustrated above.

Can sex either qualify or disqualify a chooser, one of the people to
cast a ballot for President? All the States, in unchecked
nullification, pronounce in the affirmative and write it in their
constitutions--the masculine qualifies, the feminine disqualifies--and
this has just now been echoed by the Supreme Court of the United
States! My mind and reason forbid my acceptance of such postulate.

The term "people" comprehends and includes female persons as well as
male persons. It is impossible, therefore, that sex, either the one or
the other, is contemplated by the Constitution as a qualification or
disqualification for suffrage. There must be National officers,
President, etc., else no government; they are to be chosen--this calls
for choosers or voters; the "people" are to choose--the people are a
majority of persons--these persons are, some male, some female--no
limitation is indicated as to which shall belong the right to vote;
sex, it seems, is out of the question, as the people are of both
sexes, so both male and female must vote or choose at the polls. Let
the States regulate the approaches to the ballot-box, but not deny the
right of user, by the people of the Nation. The Constitution exacts
all this--it is plain, it is positive--there is no hint in the same
that there shall be had at the polls any preference on account of sex.
Expulsion of woman from the polls by State nullification is a gigantic
wrong--a villainous usurpation.

Again, some things carry in their very face the absurd, the
incongruous, the ridiculous; States enacting laws and forming
constitutions which are interpreted as warrants of right to vote--the
masculine gender, this qualifies for voting--the feminine, this
disqualifies the voter. How ridiculous! Virility the distinguishing
qualification of voters in the United States! How queer this looks and
sounds. Sex is elemental--inherent in all the people, and should never
be deemed ground of qualification or disqualification to vote, any
more than the height or weight of person. But the Supreme Court of the
United States wink at the wickedness of the States as nullifiers, and
allow the masculine usurpation to remain. Perhaps this grave body of
learned Justices look upon the question of qualification in a broader
or other sense than that taught by Dr. Webster. Their decision, it
seems, turns upon the use and meaning of that word. This, then, is the
solemn conclusion of the embodied justice of the land--_qualification
to vote_, MASCULINE GENDER!--and not things in common belonging to
every person of the entire population, no matter what the sex; such as
age, residence, etc.

Madam, you have no available political rights--the Constitution
intends you shall have and exercise them, and it has made provisions
accordingly--but the false interpretations of the courts, and the
trespassing State Constitutions have hitherto hindered you. But I
believe a day of revolution, call it reckoning if you please, is at
hand--fast approaching. President Lincoln liberated by proclamation,
three or four millions of chattel slaves. President Grant has the
power, Constitutional power, to liberate, to-day, twenty millions of
political slaves, of which, I am sorry to say, you are one. Let
politicians and political parties beware how they treat this question
of woman suffrage. What became of the old Whig Party, in consequence
of its alliance with chattel slavery. _Illium fuit._

Sincerely yours, etc., HORACE DRESSER.


[The Toledo _Sunday Journal._]

The New York _Evening Post_ has a long article relative to the
decision of the Supreme Court regarding the right of women to vote
under the Constitution of the United States, coinciding in the
decision. It closes by saying: "The advocates of woman suffrage will
scarcely be disappointed by this judgment. We do not believe that
sincere friends of the proposed reform will regret the failure to
secure it by trickery."

There are few who have maintained that the XIV. and XV. Amendments
secured suffrage to women as well as to colored men, who would be
willing to admit that they desired to obtain suffrage through
trickery? Either it is, or is not, conveyed through the Constitution
and the Amendments. Certainly if it is, they have a right to avail
themselves of it; and even if it is not, it is nevertheless, a right.
The woman suffragists believe that the withholdal from women of the
right of suffrage is a fraud and an imposition. To secure them what is
already their right, can not involve trickery. Every day and every
hour that the right of suffrage is withheld from women, a monstrous
wrong is practiced upon them. As long as there were no women who
demanded the ballot, and by tacit consent it was relinquished, the
fraud practiced by debarring them from it was merely of a negative
character--but the privilege should have been left open; but from the
moment that one woman demanded it, an outrage was practiced upon her
by the entire people in denying it her, and the plea that it is not
woman's sphere, which is sometimes made, is the most shallow
subterfuge of any, for it is not for men, but for woman alone, to
determine what that sphere is, or is not.


FOOTNOTES:

[208] Alvin Stewart, one of the noble pioneers in Anti-Slavery.




* * * * *




Transcriber's note:

The transcriber made changes as below indicated
to the text to correct obvious errors:

1. p. 10. permanance --> permanence
2. p. 18, batte-field --> battle-field
3. p. 80, menancing --> menacing
4. p. 84, ALL HUMAN GOVERNMENT. --> ALL HUMAN GOVERNMENT."
5. p. 88, Footnote #47, no footnote marker in footnote text.
6. p. 103, enfrachising --> enfranchising
7. p. 112, I have read --> "I have read
8. p. 119, Doubtles --> Doubtless
9. p. 125, it will led --> it will lead
10. p. 139, Do they like --> "Do they like
11. p. 189, "I ask you --> I ask you
12. p. 190, resolutions --> resolutions.
13. p. 224, consience --> conscience
14. p. 246, Thank you --> Thank you.
15. p. 284, Footnote #99, TRIAN --> TRAIN
16. p. 327, inviduous --> invidious
17. p. 348, everhelp --> everheld
18. p. 371, suffage --> suffrage
19. p. 424, indignat --> indignant
20. p. 435, devolop --> develop
21. p. 438, Aniversary --> Anniversary
22. p. 439, sincerly --> sincerely
23. p. 442, Athony --> Anthony
24. p. 444, appropiate --> appropriate
25. p. 455, delaring --> declaring
26. p. 530, sate --> state
27. p. 531, elswhere --> elsewhere
28. p. 554, surrended --> surrendered
29. p. 587, Dictrict --> District
30. p. 638, stautte --> statute
31. p. 666, syonymous --> synonymous
32. p. 691, ursurped --> usurped
33. p. 692, eithth --> eight
34. p. 708, folowing --> following
35. p. 723, 4 Wallace, 351-323 (left as published)
36. p. 727, plantiff --> plaintiff
37. p. 733, privieges --> privileges
38. p. 755, disabilty --> disability
39.



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