The Equal Rights of All (Classic Reprint)
Excerpt from The Equal Rights of AllThe Senate, as in Committee of the Whole, proceeded to consider the following joint resolution (H. R. No. 51) proposing to amend the Constitution of the United States:Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives the United States of America in Congress assembled, (two thirds of both Houses concurring.) That the following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States; which, when ratified by three fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid as part of valid Constitution, namely:Article - Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed: Provided, That whenever the elective franchise shall be denied or abridged in any State on account of race or color, all persons therein of such race or color shall be excluded from the basis of representation.Mr. Sumner said:Mr. President: I begin by expressing my acknowledgments to the Senator from Maine, who yields the floor to me to-day, and also my sincere regret that anything should interfere with the opening of this debate by him. It is his right, and I enter upon it now only by his indulgence.I am not insensible to the responsibility which I assume in setting myself against a proposition already adopted in the other House, and having the recommendation of a committee to which the country looks with such just expectation, and to which, let me say, I look with so much trust. But after careful reflection, I do not feel that I can do otherwise. Knowing, as I do, the eminent character of the committee, its intelligence, its patriotism, and the moral instincts by which it is moved, I am at a loss to understand the origin of a proposition which seems to me nothing else than another Compromise of Human Rights as if the country had not already paid enough in costly treasure and more costly blood for such compromises in the past. I had hoped that the day of compromise with wrong had gone by for ever. Ample experience shows that it is the least practical mode of settling questions involving moral principles. A moral principle cannot be compromised.Here are the words of the amendment:Provided, That whenever the elective franchise shall be denied or abridged on account of race or color, all persons therein of such race or color shall be excluded from the basis of representation.I may be mistaken, sir, but I think it difficult to read this proposition without being painfully impressed by the discord and defilement which it will introduce into the Constitution, having among its specific objects the guarantee of a republican form of government. The discord is apparent on the face. The defilement Is none the less apparent. Go back, if you please, to the adoption of the Constitution, and you will gratefully acknowledge that the finest saying of the times was when Madison, evidently inspired by the Declaration of Independence, and determined to keep the Constitution in harmony with it, insisted in well-known words, that "it was wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea of property in man." Of all that has come to us from that historic Convention, where Washington sat as President, and Franklin and Hamilton sat as members, there is nothing having so much of imperishable charm. It was wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that man could hold property in man. Accordingly, in this spirit the Constitution was framed. This offensive idea was not admitted. The text at least was kept blameless.About the PublisherForgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.comЭта книга будет изготовлена в соответствии с Вашим заказом по технологии Print-on-Demand компанией ООО «Книга по Требованию». Print-on-Demand - это технология печати книг по Вашему заказу на цифровом типографском оборудовании. 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