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RATIFICATION BY THE STATES.
essary to their safety or protection; on the contrary its exercise by them, if attempted, would be fraught with terrible calamity, both to them and to the whites, and we are therefore unequivocally opposed to negro suffrage;" and that "under the rule of abolitionism, and especially under the recent military orders in Kentucky, the emigration of negroes into Ohio is a growing evil, and in order that white labor should be protected against negro labor, and the people against negro pauperism, it is the duty of the Legislature to discourage negro emigration into our State.” For an account of the change of political sentiment in Ohio toward free negroes, see my Constitutional History of the American People, 1776-1850, Vol. I, 375-377.
Indiana and Nevada ratified February 16. Indiana, Documentary History, II, 564, Senate, February 10, 1865, 26 ayes, 24 nays; House, February 13, 1865, 56 ayes to 29 nays. The ratification of the amendment by Nevada was by a joint resolution, which was carried in each House by an almost unanimous vote, one in the negative being cast in each branch by a Democratic member. The act of ratification was transmitted to the Secretary of State, at Washington, with the following letter:
Carson City, February 16, 1865.-His Excellency, Abraham Lincoln, President, etc.: Dear Sir-Enclosed I send you a certified copy of resolution passed by our Legislature on the 16th inst., ratifying the Amendment of the National Constitution, abolishing slavery. Truly we live in an age of progress, but this event is an era in our governmental history, and National experience. The prayers of the framers of our fundamental law have entered into the ears of the God of Saboath; He, in dewy smiles has poured wisdom and strength upon our Nation, and the dogma of Free Government, with human bondage as an incident thereof, is forever exploded!“The Lord God, Omnipotent reigneth, let the people rejoice and be glad." I have the honor to be Your Excellency's most obedient and humble servant,
HENRY G. BLAISDEL,
Governor of Nevada. Bulletin of Bureau of Rolls and Library of the Department of State, No. 7, p. 570.
Louisiana ratified February 17.
The ratification of the Amendment by Louisiana, which was by a vote of 2 to 1 in the Assembly, was accompanied with the resolution, which passed by a vote of 75 to 15, that it was the wish of the Assembly that the power granted to Congress by the second section of the Amendment shall be strictly limited to legislation appropriate and necessary for the prevention of slavery or
RATIFICATION BY THE STATES.
involuntary servitude within the United States, but that any attempt by Congress to legislate otherwise upon the political status of civil relations of former slaves within any State, would be a violation of the Constitution. The Amendment was ratified in the House unanimously, 78 votes, and in the Senate by 18 to 1. Documentary History, II, 573.
Minnesota ratified February 23. Documentary History, II, 559. House, February 8, 1865, 33 ayes to 5 nays; Senate, February 23, 1865, 17 ayes to 1 nay. See also Report of Special Committee of the House, February 14, 1865, in its Journal, p. 197.
See the resolution of the Republican convention at St. Paul, September 6, 1865, declaring that the measure of man's political rights should be neither his religion, his birth place, his race, his color nor any mere physical characteristic; also of the Democratic State convention at St. Paul in August, expressing unfeigned satisfaction at the extinction of slavery as an accomplished result of the war.
3 Wisconsin, March 1, Senate, 26 to 6; one, absent; House, 72 to 16, 12 absent. Documentary History, II, 588. At the Republican State Convention at Madison, September 6, 1865, the minority report of the Committee on Resolutions, one of which advocated the abolition of all discrimination to exercise the right of suffrage on account of color, was laid on the table. Senator Doolittle's majority resolutions were adopted, one of which advocated amendment to the Constitution, making the number of legally qualified male electors in a State the basis of its representation in Congress. He later proposed it in the Senate as a part of the fourteenth amendment. See infra. At this time the question of extending the right to vote to negroes was a political issue in the State, it was opposed (see resolutions of the Democratic State Convention at Madison, September 20), and was lost at the election, November 7, there being 55,591 votes against it and 46,588 in favor. This popular decision, however, was later overruled by the Supreme Court, which in the case of Gillespie vs. Palmer (1866) decided that the Constitution of 1848, (Article 3, Section 1), though using the word "white" as descriptive of citizens, by including "every male person otherwise qualified,” extended the right to vote to persons of color.
Vermont ratified March 9, unanimously in both Houses. Documentary History, II, 597. See resolution of the Democratic State Convention at Burlington, June 26, 1865, declaring that “believing with the immortal Douglas that the government of the country was organized for, and should be controlled by the white race therein, and that the good of all will best be promoted by con
RATIFICATION BY THE STATES.
necticut ratified in May;1 New Hampshire on the first of July.Amidst these joyous events, Lincoln was assassinated, and Andrew Johnson became President. He sought to carry out Lincoln's policy of reconstruction, and, on the twenty-ninth of May, issued the first of seven
fining the right of suffrage to the white citizens thereof, we are unalterably opposed to conferring the right of suffrage upon the ignorant negroes of the country.” Contrast the resolutions of the Republican Convention at Montpelier, June 28, approving the extension of the suffrage to native or naturalized citizens of a quiet and peaceable behavior, irrespective of color or race, and basing this proposition upon the “happy experience of the State.” Vermont forbade slavery and recognized the equal rights of men by its Constitutions of 1777, 1786 and 1793.
4 Tennessee ratified April 7. Documentary History, II, 595. Senate, April 5, 1865, 22 ayes, no nays; House, 69 ayes, no nays. See the resolutions of the State Colored Convention, Nashville, August 7, 1865, petitioning for the extension of the suffrage, and protesting against the admission of the Congressional delegates of the State into Congress unless their petition was granted.
Arkansas ratified April 20. This ratification was by a unanimous vote. Documentary History, II, 600.
1 Connecticut: Unanimously in both Houses. Documentary History, II, 602. See the resolution of the Democratic State Convention at Middletown, February 8, 1865, characterizing “the recent so-called amendment to the Constitution of the United States" as "a covert attempt to overthrow and destroy the great Democratic idea of States' rights,” and “designated as another step to consolidate power;" an insuperable obstacle for a peaceful adjustment of the difficulties existing between the North and South, and as an eternal barrier to the Union; compare the joint resolution of the General Assembly in May, that “the American people are a Nation and not a confederacy of nations. The States have certain constitutional rights which ought to be preserved inviolate; but as between the Nation and the States, the Nation is sovereign and the States are not. All men within the limits of the United States ought to be absolutely free, and no permanent discrimination in rights and privileges ought to exist between classes of free men."
2 New Hampshire ratified July 1, 1865. Documentary History, II, 604. In the House, 215 ayes, 96 nays; in the Senate, 9 ayes,
PRESIDENT JOHNSON'S POLICY.
proclamations appointing provisional governors in the insurrectionary States. With necessary changes of names and dates, these proclamations were alike, instructing each governor, at the earliest practical period, to call a convention in his State for the purpose of amending its constitution, so as to restore the State to its constitutional relations to the Federal Government. Every delegate and elector should be qualified as required by the law of the State prior to its ordinance of secession, and should subscribe to an oath of amnesty by which he promised faithfully to support the laws and proclamations made during the rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves. From the benefits of these proclamations fourteen classes of persons were excepted. This included all who had accepted civil or military services (above the rank of colonel in the army or lieutenant in the navy) under the confederate government or that of the seceding States; all who had left seats in Congress to aid in the rebellion; all persons who had destroyed the commerce of the United States, or who, having taken the oath of amnesty, which Lincoln had prescribed in 1863, had not kept it inviolate.
The first State to convene was Mississippi. Governor
1 The Proclamations are given in Statutes at Large, XIII, 760773; also in Messages and Papers of the President's, Richardson, Vol. VI, 314-331. William W. Holden was appointed provisional Governor of North Carolina by the Proclamation of May 29; William L. Sharkey of Mississippi, June 13; James Johnson of Georgia, June 17; Andrew J. Hamilton of Texas, June 17; Lewis E. Parsons of Alabama, June 21; Benjamin F. Perry of South Carolina, June 30; William Marvin of Florida, July 13.
The oath and the exceptions are given in the Proclamation of May 29. This proclamation was prepared by President Lincoln; it was read at the first meeting of the Cabinet, after his death, and was adopted by President Johnson as embodying the policy of his administration,
GOVERNOR SHARKEY OF MISSISSIPPI.
Sharkey issued his proclamation on the first of July, and the convention assembled at Jackson on the fourteenth of August. The governor, in his message, did not overlook persons who had conscientious scruples about taking the amnesty oath, because they believed the emancipation proclamation unconstitutional. The objection, he said, could not be raised with propriety by those who denied that they were subject to the Constitution of the United States when the proclamation was issued. The question of constitutionality was one to be determined, not by the people, but by the Supreme Court; though legislative bodies often pass unconstitutional acts, they must be re
1 Journal of the Proceedings and Debates in the Constitutional Convention of the State of Mississippi, August, 1865. By order of the Convention, Jackson, Miss. E. M. Yerger, State Printer, 1865. 296 pages and appendix. This convention was intended to consist of 100 delegates, 98 took the required oath. No election took place in Green County. The members classed themselves as follows: 70 Whigs, consisting of 51 “old-time Whigs," 9 Whigs and Union; 3 Whigs opposed to secession; 2 “co-operation Whigs;" 2 Clay Whigs;" 1 "inveterate Whig;" 1 "steadfast Whig,” and 1 Whig and death against the war; of the remainder 9 were not declared, 2 Douglas Democrats, 1 Jackson Democrat, 1 States' rights Democrat, 1 secessionist, 2 Union Democrats, 1 co-operation Democrat, 1 Jeffersonian Democrat; 5 were conservatives, 1 a cooperationist, 1 opposed to universal suffrage, 1 Union and 1 opposed to the war; 35 were lawyers, 38 planters and lawyers, 9 physicians, merchants, 6 ministers, 1 student and i banker and clerk of the Court; 21 were natives of Tennessee, 14 of South Carolina, 12 of Virginia, 11 of Mississippi, 10 of North Carolina, 9 of Georgia, 8 of Kentucky, 3 of Alabama, 2 of Pennsylvania, 1 each of Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, District of Columbia and Ireland. Taken from the “Tabular View" of the Convention in this Journal, compiled by Colonel J. L. Power. He was authorized to publish the Proceedings and Debates of the Convention of 1861; see its Journal, p. 83; and also the debate on ratification of the permanent Constitution of the United States, Id. p. 84, Resolution of March 30, 1861. Colonel Power also prepared a Tabular View of the Mississippi Constitutional Convention of 1890; see the Journal of its proceedings, pp. 704-708.