Harper's Weekly 03/12/1870


Before this paper is issued it is not improb-
able that the formal proclamation of the adop-
tion of the Fifteenth Amendment will have been

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote
shall not be denied or abridged by the United States,
or by any State, on account of race, color, or previous
condition of servitude.

“Congress shall have power to enforce this article
by appropriate legislation.”

Counting New York and Indiana, about
whose action there is question, thirty States
have ratified this amendment. Omitting New
York and Indiana, it is ratified by twenty-eight.

This amendment, with the restoration of Vir-
ginia, Mississippi, Georgia, and Texas to repre-
sentation in Congress, formally ends the work
of political purification begun by the war. A
terrible and fatal wrong was lodged in the na-
tional system. It has been expelled, but at
what fearful cost! How appallingly the law
has been vindicated which links injustice and
misfortune! Henceforth the Fifteenth Amend-
ment will remind this country that no man and
no nation can do wrong with impunity. Sooner
or later the penalty will be exacted and paid to
the uttermost.

It is instructive to look at the list of States
that deliberately voted against the amendment.
It tells its own story. New Jersey, Delaware,
Maryland, Kentucky, California, and probably
Oregon. In New York the party which is
dominant in Kentucky and Maryland obtained
power last autumn, by means which are notori-
ous, and the real feeling of the voters of New
York was belied by the withdrawal of assent
to the amendment. It was as characteristic
an act as the Democratic party ever performed.
It could no longer harm the colored citizen,
but it could try to.

Every citizen of the United States who has
contributed to this truly American and humane
triumph has reason to be proud. His further
duty is to help break down the prejudice that
must long survive the removal of the ban un-
der which the colored race has lain in this coun-
try. No law, indeed, can remove feeling, but
manly good sense can.

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