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PARTICIPATION OF REBEL STATES NOT NECESSARY IN RATIFICATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS.
DECLARATORY RESOLUTIONS IN THE SENATE, February 4, 1865.
CONCURRENT RESOLUTIONS declaring the rule in ascertaining the three fourths of the several States required in the ratification of a Constitutional Amendment.
HEREAS Congress, by a vote of two thirds of
both Houses, has proposed an Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting Slavery throughout the United States, which, according to existing requirement of the Constitution, will be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States; and
Whereas, in the present condition of the country, with certain States in arms against the National Government, it becomes necessary to determine what number of States constitutes the three fourths required by the Constitution: Therefore,
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That the rule followed in ascertaining the two thirds of both Houses proposing the Amendment to the Constitution should be followed in ascertaining the three fourths of the several States ratifying the Amendment; that, as in the first case the two thirds are founded on the simple fact of representation in the two
Houses, so in the second case the three fourths must be founded on the simple fact of representation in the Government of the country and the support thereof; and that any other rule establishes one basis for the proposition of amendment and another for its ratification, placing one on a simple fact and the other on a claim of right, while it also recognizes the power of Rebels in arms to interpose a veto upon the National Government in one of its highest functions.
Resolved, That all acts, executive and legislative, in pursuance of the Constitution, and all treaties made under the authority of the United States, are valid to all intents and purposes throughout the United States, although certain Rebel States fail to participate therein, and that the same rule is equally applicable to an Amendment of the Constitution.
Resolved, That the Amendment of the Constitution prohibiting Slavery throughout the United States will be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution, whenever ratified by three fourths of the States de facto, exercising the powers and prerogatives of the United States under the Constitution thereof.
Resolved, That any other rule, requiring the participation of the Rebel States, while illogical and unreasonable, is dangerous in its consequences, inasmuch as all recent Presidential proclamations, including that of Emancipation, also all recent Acts of Congress, including those creating the national debt and establishing a national currency, and also all recent treaties, including the treaty with Great Britain for the extinction of the slave-trade, have been made, enacted, or ratified, respectively, without any participation of the Rebel States.
IN RATIFICATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS. 235
Resolved, That any other rule must tend to postpone the great day when the prohibition of Slavery will be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution of the United States; but the rule herewith declared will assure the immediate ratification of the prohibition, and the consummation of the national desires.
On motion of Mr. Sumner, these resolutions were printed and laid on the table. Besides hastening the adoption of the Constitutional Amendment, it was hoped that they would help prepare the way for Reconstruction.
APPORTIONMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES ACCORDING
PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, FEBRUARY 6, 1865.
IN the Senate, February 6, 1865, Mr. Sumner submitted the following Amendment to the Constitution, which, on his motion, was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
EPRESENTATIVES shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union according to the number of male citizens of age having in each State the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature. The actual enumeration of such citizens shall be made by the census of the United States.
This Amendment was a first attempt to meet the new exigency from the abolition of Slavery. One of two alternatives was open the extension of suffrage to the new-made freedmen by the action of Congress, which Mr. Sumner insisted was the just course; or the apportionment of Representatives according to voters, which would make it for the interest of a State to extend the franchise. Without one of these measures the political power of the former slave-masters would be enlarged by Emancipation.
This subject occupied much attention at the next session of Congress.
RAILROAD USURPATION IN NEW JERSEY.
SPEECH IN THE SENATE, ON A BILL TO REGULATE COMMERCE AMONG THE SEVERAL STATES, FEBRUARY 14, 1865.
APRIL 25, 1864, Mr. Sumner asked, and by unanimous consent obtained, leave to bring in the following joint resolution, which was read twice, and referred to the Committee on Military Affairs.
"A JOINT RESOLUTION to facilitate commercial, postal, and military communication among the several States.
"Whereas the Constitution of the United States confers upon Congress, in express terms, the power to regulate commerce among the several States, to establish post-roads, and to raise and support armies: Therefore,
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That every railroad company in the United States, whose road is operated by steam, its successors and assigns, be, and is hereby, authorized to carry upon and over its road, connections, boats, bridges, and ferries, all freight, property, mails, passengers, troops, and Government supplies, on their way from any State to any other State, and to receive compensation therefor."
May 12th, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, from the Committee, reported it without amendment.
Meanwhile the House of Representatives had under consideration a bill to declare certain roads military roads and post-roads, and to regulate commerce, which was much debated, when, on motion of Mr. Wilson, of Iowa, Mr. Sumner's joint resolution, without the preamble, and with the title, "A Bill to regulate commerce among the several States," was adopted as a substitute, and the bill thus amended passed the House, Yeas 63, Nays 58.
In the Senate the bill was elaborately discussed, especially by Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland; but its friends were never able to press it to a vote, and it expired with the session. In one of these efforts Mr. Sumner said: "There are two ways of killing a measure: one is