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hold office, was wholly objectionable. These objections and others, less serious, which were, however, enlarged upon, defeated the Warner amendment.1
Five substitutes for the Stewart amendment were now offered and rejected, and a sixth, by Sumner, that the right of citizens of the United States to vote and hold office should not be denied or abridged by the United States nor by any State, led to such a long debate of the question of naturalization and, prospectively, to a longer one on the race problem on the Pacific coast, that finding he had opened so vast a subject he withdrew his substitute. Sumner's colleague, Wilson, then offered as a substitute that no discrimination should be made in any State among the citizens of the United States in the exercise of the elective franchise or in the exercise of the right to hold office in any State, on account of race, color, nativity, property, education or religious creed, which he characterized as more comprehensive, full and just than any that had been offered. Sherman, who preferred the phraseology of this amendment to that offered by the Judiciary Committee, believed it wise to wipe out the multitude of discriminations in the constitutions of the several States on account of religious faith, property, color, or any cause other than crime. The Republican party, he said, could lay a broad and safe foundation for its political creed in universal suffrage, protecting all men of the proper age and with the proper residence, in the right to share the elective franchise and to hold office. The Pacific coast Senators insisted on the exclusion of Chinamen, but Cameron of Pennsylvania, not complaining of the session which had continued twentyseven hours, during which nearly every Republican Senator had advocated some proposition of his own—now spoke humanely for all races and particularly for the
1 24 nays, 19 yeas; Globe, 1029.
Chinamen, because they had enriched the Pacific slope by their toil, and had made the great Pacific railroad "one of the greatest miracles of the world.” His apology for the Chinaman fell upon deaf ears, for the majority, even of the Republican Senators, were opposed to extending the naturalization laws to him and, much more, to extending the suffrage.
Conkling of New York objected to Wilson's amendment, because its long list of discriminations would "revolutionize and undo the constitutions, enactments and the customs of the States.” Coming from a Commonwealth which prescribed a property qualification for the negro, he well knew the great risk of defeat which the Wilson amendment would run in its legislature. To forbid an educational qualification might practically hand over the control of public affairs, in the State, to the ignorant, and defeat the very purpose of government. The Wilson amendment, he said, contained "needless and objectionable concomitants." Sherman, taking up Conkling's thought, enlarged upon the risk of defeat. Whatever form the amendment took, it would change the constitutions of at least thirty States in the Union, and, among others, that of Ohio. Negro suffrage was a sensitive question with its people. The great body of Republicans, in the State, favored repealing all discriminations on account of color, but the appeal to the people on this subject two years before had been defeated. Indeed no change that could be made in the Constitution was likely to excite so much popular feeling in that State as the one now proposed. In the more recent constitutions few tests for voters were required. Time had swept away property and religious qualifications, but had not swept away prejudice toward the African. It was expedient, therefore, for Congress to so word the amendment as to avoid antagonizing the people of the States. This could
be effected by using general language in giving the right to vote, but avoiding special reference to the African race. Massachusetts required the voter to be able to read and write, and New Hampshire required a man to be a Protestant before he could hold office; yet, in practice, these tests were often disregarded. The true principle was to refrain from discriminating between citizens on any account, excepting age, residence and sex. It ought to be regarded "as a fundamental principle of our government that all persons arriving at a certain age are entitled to equal rights.” Ohio might reject the proposed amendment, because of the hostility of its people to negro suffrage; Massachusetts might reject it, because it forbade an educational qualification, and New Hampshire because it forbade a religious test. By the omission of offensive terms the language of the amendment might easily be made acceptable to these States. But the Senate, now wearied by the extraordinary session, was anxious to effect an adjournment, and not anticipating the risks of defeat against which the New York and Ohio Senators had given warning, agreed to the Wilson amendment,” though by a small majority.
Buckalew now brought forward his proposition to delay submission of the amendment until new assemblies had been chosen, but it was quickly rejected by a vote of nearly three to one. Senator Dixon, of Connecticut, then urged that the amendment be submitted to conventions instead of the State legislatures, but the suggestion was rejected.4 At this point Morton, of Indiana, offered an additional article that the choice of presidential electors should be
1 Globe, pp. 1038-1039.
THE RESOLUTION ENGROSSED.
made by popular vote.' His plan was to submit the articles separately to the legislatures, but it was rejected, though only by two votes.? Sumner then moved a substitute for the Stewart amendment, forbidding discrimination "under any pretense of race or color in any election; declaring all provisions in the State constitutions inconsistent with his amendment null and void, and fixing heavy penalties for its violation; but his amendment received only nine votes.
The joint resolution as modified was then ordered to be engrossed, when Senator Morton, who had voted against it, renewed his amendment for a popular election of presidential electors. Its main purpose, he said, was to avoid the danger of determining a close election by the appointees of a State legislature. At this time only one State, South Carolina, appointed its presidential electors, and this method had been abandoned in its proposed new constitution of 1868. The amendment, said Morton, would require the electors to be appointed directly by the people and would leave to Congress the mode of regulating that appointment or selection, as was the mode of regulating elections. The clear purpose of the amendment was in harmony with the resolution which had just been adopted, and was agreed to by a vote of nearly two to one.3
1 The Second Clause, First Section, Article II of the Constitution of the United States should be amended to read as follows: Each State shall appoint, by vote of the people thereof qualified to vote for representatives in Congress, a number of electors equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which a State may be entitled in Congress, but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector; and the Congress shall have power to prescribe the manner in which such electors shall be chosen by the people. Globe, 1041.
2 Nays 29, yeas 27; Ib.
THE RESOLUTION IN CONFERENCE.
The two amendments were then ordered to be engrossed. The joint resolution was read a third time, the roll was called, and the President of the Senate declared that, twothirds having voted in the affirmative, it had passed.
On the fifteenth, the House of Representatives suspended its rules and took up the Senate amendment to its own modification of the joint resolution.? Boutwell at once declared that the House proposition concerning the suffrage, sent up to the Senate, had been materially changed. No proposition in regard to electors had been considered in the House at all. He saw no way, except to refuse to concur in the action of the Senate, and therefore, moved for a Committee of Conference. Several members spoke briefly on the Senate amendments, but added nothing to what had already been said concerning them in the Upper House. By a vote of one hundred and thirty-three to thirty-seven, the House refused to concur in the amendments, and pursuant to Boutwell's motion, the Speaker appointed three managers as a Conference Committee on the part of the House. On the seventeenth
1 Yeas 39, nays 16; February 10, 1869; Globe, 1044.
2 As amended by the Senate, the Joint Resolution now read: No discrimination shall be made in any State among the citizens of the United States in the exercise of the elective franchise or in the right to hold office in any State on account of race, color, nativity, property, education or creed. Second amendment: Each State shall appoint, by the vote of the people thereof qualified to vote for representatives in Congress, a number of electors equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress; but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector; and the Congress shall have power to prescribe the manner in which such electors shall be chosen by the people. Globe, February 15, 1869; p. 1224.
8 Mr. Boutwell, Mr. Shellabarger and Mr. Eldridge.