The Congressional Globe: Containing the Debates and Proceedings of the First Session of the Thirty-Ninth Congress Page: 2,767
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THE CONGRESSIONAL GLOBE.
The committee thought this should no longer
be permitted, and they thought it wiser to
adopt a general principle applicable to all tlie
States alike, namely, that where a State ex-
cludes any part of its male citizens from the
elective franchise, it shall lose Representa-
tives in proportion to the number so excluded;
and the clause applies not to color or to race
at all, but simply to the fact of the individual
exclusion. Nor did the committee adopt the
principle of making the ratio of representation
depend upon the number of voters, for it so
happens that there is an unequal distribution
of voters in the several States, .the old States
having proportionally fewer than the new
States. It was desirable to avoid this ine-
quality in fixing the basis. The committee
adopted numbers as the most just and satis-
factory basis, and this is the principle upo'n
which the Constitution itself was originally
framed, that the basis of representation should
depend upon numbers ; and such, I think, after
all, is the safest and most secure principle
upon which the Government can rest. Num-
bers, not voters; numbers, not property; this
is the theory of the Constitution.
By the census of 1860, the whole number of
colored persons in the several States was four
million four hundred and twenty-seven thou-
sand and sixty-seven. In five of the New Eng-
land States, where colored persons are allowed
to vote, the number of such colored persons is
only twelve thousand one hundred and thirty-
two. This leaves of the colored population of
the United States in the other States unrepre-
sented, four million four hundred and fourteen
thousand nine hundred and thirty-five, or at
least one seventh part of the whole population
of the United States. Of this last number,
three million six hundred and fifty thousand
were in the eleven seceding States, and only
five hundred and forty-seven thousand in the
four remaining slave States which did not
secede, namely, Delaware, Maryland, Ken-
tucky, and Missouri. In the eleven seceding
States the blacks are to the whites, basing the
calculation upon the census of 1860, nearly as
three to five. A further calculation shows that
if this section shall be adopted as a part of the
Constitution, and if the late slave States shall
continue hereafter to exclude the colored pop-
ulation from voting, they will do it at tlie loss
at least of twenty-four Representatives m the
other House of Congress, according to the rule
established by the act of 18.50. I repeat, that
if they shall persist in refusing suffrage to the
colored race, if they shall persist in excluding
that whole race from the right of suffrage, they
will lose twenty-four members of the other
House of Congress. Some have estimated
their loss more and some less ; but according
to the best calculation I have been able to
make, I think that will be the extent. It is
not to be disguised—the committee have no dis-
position to conceal the fact—that this amend-
ment is so drawn as to make it the political
interest of the once slaveholding States to
admit their colored population to the right of
suffrage. The penalty of refusing will be se-
vere. They will undoubtedly lose, and lose so
long as they shall refuse to admit the black
population to the right of suffrage, that bal-
ance of power in Congress which has been so
long their pride and their boast.
It will be observed, however, that this amend-
ment does not apply exclusively to the insur-
gent States, nor to the slaveholding States, but
to all States without distinction. It says to all the
States, "If you restrict suffrage among your
people, whether that people be white or black
or mixed, your representation in Congress
shall be reduced in proportion to that restric-
tion." It holds out the same penalty to Mas-
sachusetts as to South Carolina, the same to
Michigan as to Texas.
Mr. CLARK. If the Senator will pardon
me for a moment, I wish to inquire whether
the committee's attention was called to the
fact that if any State excluded any person, say
as Massachusetts does, for want of intelligence,
this provision cuts down the representation of
Mr. HOWARD. Certainly it does, no mat-
ter what may be the occasion of the restric-
tion. It follows out the logical theory upon
which the Government was founded, that num-
bers shall be the basis of representation in
Congress, the only true, practical, and safe
republican principle. If, then, Massachusetts
should so far forget herself as to exclude from
the right of suffrage all persons who do not
believe with my honorable friend who sits near
me [Mr. Sumner] on the subject of negro
suffrage, she would lose her representation in
proportion to that exclusion. If she should
exclude all persons of what is known as the
orthodox faith she loses representation in pro-
portion to that exclusion. No matter what
may be the ground of exclusion, whether a
want of education, a want of property, a want
of color, or a want of anything else, it is suffi-
cient that the person is excluded from the cate-
gory of voters, and the State loses representa-
tion in proportion. The principle applies to
every one of the States in precisely the same
manner. And, sir, the true basis of repffe-
sentation is the whole population. It is not
property, it is _not education, for great abuses
would arise from the adoption of the one or
the other of these two tests. Experience has
shown that numbers and numbers only is the
only true and safe basis; while nothing is
clearer than that property qualifications and
educational qualifications have an inevitable
aristocratic tendency—a thing to be avoided.
Mr. STEWART. 1 wish to call the atten-
tion of the Senator to the word "abridged"
before he passes from that branch of the sub-
ject. I should like to understand the opera-
tion intended by that expression.
Mr. HOWARD. The word "abridged" I
regard as a mere intensitive, applicable to
the preceding sentence, "but whenever, in any
State, the elective franchise shall be denied to
any portion of its male citizens not less than
twenty-one years of age, or in anyway abridged''
to any portion of its male citizens not less than
twenty-one "exceptfor participation in rebel-
lion or other crime, the basis of representation
in such State shall be rcduced in the propor-
tion which the number of such male citizens"
—that is, the number of citizens as to whom
it is either denied or abridged—-"shall bear to
the whole number of male citizens not less
than twenty-one years of age."
I suppose it would admit of the following
application: a State in the exercise of its
sovereign power over the question of suffrage
might permit one person to vote for a member
of the State Legislature, but prohibit the same
person from voting for a Representative, in
Congress. That would be an abridgment of
the right of suffrage; and that person would
be included in the exclusion, so that the rep-
resentation from the State would be reduced in
proportion to the exclusion of persons whose
rights were thus abridged.
Mr. STEWART. Take a case of this kind:
suppose that in the South they should allow the
negroes to vote who had been in the Army, or
who had educational qualifications: would
those who did vote be included in the basis of
representation, or would that be an abridg-
ment of that class of persons so that they would
all be excluded?
Mr. HOWARD. It is not an abridgment
to a caste or class of persons, but the abridg-
ment or the denial applies to the persons
individually. If the honorable Senator will
read the section carefully I think he will not
doubt as to its true interpretation. It applies
individually to each and every person who is
denied or abridged, and not to the class to
which he may belong. It makes no distinction
between black and white, or between red and
white, except that if an Indian is counted in he
must be subject to taxation.
But as to the principle of representation. I
beg to call the attention of Senators to two
passages which I will read from the \\ ritings
of Mr. Madison, whose reflections upon the
right of suffrage were at once the most enlight-
ened and profound, to show what were his
ideas respecting the right of suffrage and the
persons to whom it ought to be granted. It
applies to this whole subject. They apply as
well to the negro as to the white man._ Mr.
Madison has been discussing the question of
confining the right of suffrage to freeholders,
and he observes:
" Confining the right of suffrage to freeholders
and to such as hold an equivalent property, con-
vertible, of course, into freeholds. The objection
to this regulation is obvious. It violates the vital
Here my honorable friend from Massachu-
setts will observe what I regard as the vital
principle of republican government; it is not
representation because of taxation; it is this—
"the vital principle of free government, that those
who are to be bound by the laws ought to havo a
voice in making tliem."
That is the point; that those who are to be
bound by the laws ought to have a voice in
making the laws.
Mr. JOHNSON. .Does the honorable mem-
ber read from Madison's Writings?
Mr. HOWARD. The fourth volume of
Madison's Writings, page 25.
Mr. SUMNER. Is that applicable to all
without distinction of color?
Mr. HOWARD. Certainly it is, and whether
they can read and write or not. The point is
that the person who is bound by the laws in
a free Government ought to have a voice in
making them. It is the very essence of repub-
lican government. Again he observes, page 27:
" Under every view of the subject it seems indis-
I wish the attention of my honorable friend
from Maryland to this, for I know how much
he reverences the character and talents of
"Under every view of the subject"—
'' Every view of the subject," not a partial
view, but every view which had presented itself
or could present itself to the mind of that great
"it seems indispensable that the mass of citizens
should not be without a voice in making the laws
which they are to obey, and in choosing the magis-
trates "who are to administer them. And if the only
alternative be between an equal and universal right
of suffrage for each blanch ot the Government, and
a eonflnementof the entire right to a part of the cit-
izens itis better that thoso havingtho greater inter-
est at stake, namely, that of property and persons
both, should be deprived of half their share m the
Government, than that those having the lesser inter-
est. that of personal rights only, should be deprived
of the whole."
Now, apply that great principle as broadly
as it is laid down by Mr. Madison on the page
from which I have read, and how can any man
of true republican feeling, attached to the essen-
tial principles of onr system of government,
refuse the right of suffrage to the whole negro
population as a class?
Mr. JOHNSON. Females aswell as males?
Mr. HOWARD. Mr. Madison does not say
anvthing about females.
Mr. JOHNSON. "Persons."
Mr. HOWARD. I believe Mr. Madison was
old enough and wise enough to take it for granted
there was such a thing as the law of nature which
has a certain influence even in political affairs,
and that by that law women and children were
not regarded as the equals of men. Mr. Madi-
son would not have quibbled about the question
of women's voting or of an infant's voting.
He lays down a broad democratic principle,
that those who are to be bound by the laws
ought to have a voice in making them ; and
everywhere mature manhood is the represent-
ative type of the human race.
I have but very little to say, Mr. President,
as to the third section of this amendment. It
reads as follows:
Sec. 3. Until the 1th day of July in the year 18'°.
all persons who voluntarily adhered to the late insur-
rection, giving it aid and comfort, shall be excluded
from the light to vote,, for Representatives m Con-
£rj-QSs and for doctors for President stud \ icc xicsi-
dent of the United States.
It is due to myself to say that I did not favor
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United States. Congress. The Congressional Globe: Containing the Debates and Proceedings of the First Session of the Thirty-Ninth Congress, book, 1866; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30866/m1/849/: accessed January 18, 2022), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.