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We have a great evil.
Electoral corruption is the great danger in our path. It is the
evil in our system against which we must constantly struggle.
Every patriot and every honest man here and in his own State is
bound to lift his voice and to strike boldly against it in all
its forms, and it requires for its repression all the efforts and
all the exertion we can put forth. Now what is proposed by the
reformers of the present time? We have our majority rule--it is
not a principle; it is an abuse of all terms to call it a
principle--we have our majority rule in full action, presenting
an invitation to corrupt, base, and sinister influences to attach
themselves to our system; we have great difficulties with which
we now struggle arising from imperfect arrangements, and what do
you propose? To reform existing evils and abuses? To correct your
system? To study it as patriots, as men of reflection and good
sense? No, sir. You propose to introduce into our electoral
bodies new elements of enormous magnitude. You propose to take
the base of society, excluded now, and build upon it, and upon
it alone or mainly, because the introduction of the enormous mass
of voters proposed by the reformers will wholly change the
foundations upon which you build.

Will not these new electors you propose to introduce be more
approachable than men who now vote to all corrupt influences?
Will they not be more passionate, and therefore more easily
influenced by the demagogue? Will they not be more easily caught
and enraptured by superficial declamation, because more incapable
of profound reflection? Will not their weakness render them
subservient to the strong and their ignorance to the artful?

I shall not, however, detain you with an elaborate argument upon
this question of suffrage. I only feel myself called upon to say
enough to indicate the general direction of my reflections upon
the questions before us; to show why it is that I am immovably
opposed at this time to extending our system of suffrage in the
District of Columbia or elsewhere so as to include large classes
of persons who are now excluded; and to state my opinion that
reform or change should be concerned with the correction of the
existing evils of our electoral system, instead of with the
enlargement of its boundaries.

Mr. DOOLITTLE: I move that the Senate do now adjourn.

Several SENATORS: Oh, no; let us have a vote.

The motion was not agreed to.

Mr. DOOLITTLE: Mr. President, this amendment, in my judgment,
opens a very grave question; a question graver than it appears at
the blush; a question upon which the ablest minds are divided
here and elsewhere; a question, however, on which we are called
upon to vote, and therefore one upon which I desire very briefly
to state the views which control my judgment when I say that I
shall vote against the amendment which is now offered.

For myself, sir, after giving some considerable reflection to the
subject of suffrage, I have arrived at the conclusion that the
true base or foundation upon which to rest suffrage in any
republican community is upon the family, the head of the family;
because in civilized society the family is the unit, not the
individual. What is meant by "man" is man in that relation where
he is placed according to nature, reason, and religion. If it
were a new question and it were left to me to determine what
should be the true qualification of a person to exercise the
right of suffrage, I would fix it upon that basis that the head
of a family, capable of supporting that family, and who had
supported the family, should be permitted to vote, and no other.

While I know that the question is not a new one; while it is
impossible for me to treat it as a new question because suffrage
everywhere has been extended beyond the heads of families, yet
the reason, in my judgment, upon which it has been extended is
simply this: if certain men have been permitted to vote who were
not the heads of families it was because they were the exceptions
to the general rule, and because it was to be presumed that if
they were not at the time heads of families they ought to be, and
probably would be. I say that according to reason, nature, and
religion, the family is the unit of every society. So far as the
ballot is concerned, in my judgment, it represents this
fundamental element of civilized society, the family. It
therefore should be cast by the head of the family, and according
to reason, nature, and religion man is the head of the family. In
that relation, while every man is king, every woman is queen; but
upon him devolves the responsibility of controlling the external
relations of this family, and those external relations are
controlled by the ballot; for that ballot or vote which he
exercises goes to choose the legislators who are to make the laws
which are to govern society. Within the family man is supreme; he
governs by the law of the family, by the law of reason, nature,
religion. Therefore it is that I am not in favor of conferring
the right of suffrage upon woman....

Mr. President, I have stated very briefly that I shall not be
able to vote for the proposition of my honorable friend from
Pennsylvania [Mr. Cowan]. I shall not be able to vote for this
bill if it be a bill to give universal suffrage to the colored
men in this District without any restriction or qualification. I
have been informed that some other Senator intends before this
bill shall have passed in the Senate to propose an amendment
which will attach a qualification, and perhaps, should that meet
the views of the Senate, I might give my support to the bill. I
shall not detain the Senate further now on this subject.

Mr. POMEROY: I desire to say in just a brief word that I shall
vote against the amendment of the Senator from Pennsylvania,
simply because I am in favor of this measure, and I do not want
to weigh it down with anything else. There are other measures
that I would be glad to support in their proper place and time;
but this is a great measure of itself. Since I have been a member
of the Senate, there was a law in this District authorizing the
selling of colored men. To have traveled in six years from the
auction-block to the ballot with these people is an immense
stride, and if we can carry this measure alone of itself we
should be contented for the present. I am for this measure
religiously and earnestly, and I would vote down and vote against
everything that I thought weakened or that I thought was opposed
to it. It is simply with this view, without expressing any
opinion in regard to the merits of the amendment, that I shall
vote against it and all other amendments.

The PRESIDENT _pro tem._: The question is on the amendment of the
Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. Cowan], to strike out the word
"male" before the word "person," in the second line of the first
section of the amendment reported by the Committee on the
District of Columbia as a substitute for the whole bill, and on
that question the yeas and nays have been ordered. Yeas, 9. Nays,
37.[58]

In the House, January 28, 1867, Mr. Noell, of Missouri,
introduced a bill to amend the suffrage act of the District of
Columbia, which, after the second reading, he moved should be
referred to a select committee of five, and on that motion
demanded the previous question, and called for the yeas and nays,
which resulted in 49 yeas,[59] 74 nays--68 not voting.


FOOTNOTES:

[48] FORM OF PETITION.--_To the Senate and House of
Representatives_:--The undersigned women of the United States,
respectfully ask an amendment of the Constitution that shall prohibit
the several States from disfranchising any of their citizens on the
ground of sex.

In making our demand for Suffrage, we would call your attention to the
fact that we represent fifteen million people--one-half the entire
population of the country--intelligent, virtuous, native-born American
citizens; and yet stand outside the pale of political recognition. The
Constitution classes us as "free people," and counts us _whole_
persons in the basis of representation; and yet are we governed
without our consent, compelled to pay taxes without appeal, and
punished for violations of law without choice of judge or juror. The
experience of all ages, the Declarations of the Fathers, the Statute
Laws of our own day, and the fearful revolution through which we have
just passed, all prove the uncertain tenure of life, liberty, and
property so long as the ballot--the only weapon of self-protection--is
not in the hand of every citizen.

Therefore, as you are now amending the Constitution, and, in harmony
with advancing civilization, placing new safeguards round the
individual rights of four millions of emancipated slaves, we ask that
you extend the right of Suffrage to Woman--the only remaining class of
disfranchised citizens--and thus fulfill your constitutional
obligation "to guarantee to every State in the Union a Republican form
of Government." As all partial application of Republican principles
must ever breed a complicated legislation as well as a discontented
people, we would pray your Honorable Body, in order to simplify the
machinery of Government and ensure domestic tranquillity, that you
legislate hereafter for persons, citizens, tax-payers, and not for
class or caste. For justice and equality your petitioners will ever
pray.

[49] JOINT RESOLUTIONS BEFORE CONGRESS AFFECTING WOMEN.

_To the Editor of the Standard_--_Sir_:--Mr.



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