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to November 9, 1866; the legislature of Georgia rejected it November 13, 1866, and the legislature of the same State ratified it July 21, 1868 ; the legislature of North Carolina rejected it December 4, 1866, and the legislature of the same State ratified it July 4, 1868; the legislature of South Carolina rejected it December 20, 1866, and the legislature of the same State ratified it July 9, 1868; the legislature of Virginia rejected it January 9, 1867; the legislature of Kentucky rejected it January 10, 1867; the leg. islature of New York ratified it January 10, 1867; the legislature of Ohio ratified it January 11, 1867, and the legislature of the same State passed a resolution in January, 1868, to withdraw its consent to it; the legislature of Illinois ratified it January 15, 1867 ; the legislature of West Virginia ratified it January 16, 1867; the legislature of Kansas ratified it January 18, 1867; the legislature of Maine ratified it January 19, 1867 ; the legislature of Nevada ratified it January 22, 1867; the legislature of Missouri ratified it on or previous to January 26, 1867; the legislature of Indiana ratified it January 29, 1857; the legislature of Minnesota ratified it February 1, 1867 ; the legislature of Rhode Island ratified it February 7, 1867; the legislature of Delaware rejected it February 7, 1867; the legislature of Wisconsin ratified it February 13, 1867 ; the legislature of Pennsylvania ratified it February 13, 1867; the legislature of Michigan ratified it February 15, 1867; the legislature of Massachusetts ratified it March 20, 1867; the legislature of Maryland rejected it March 23, 1867 ; the legislature of Nebraska ratified it June 15, 1867; the legislature of Iowa ratified it April 3, 1868; the legislature of Arkansas ratified it April 6, 1868 ; the legislature of Florida ratified it June 9, 1868; the legislature of Louisiana ratified it July 9, 1868; and the legislature of Alabama ratified it July 13, 1868:
Now, therefore, be it known that I, William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States, in execution of the aforesaid act and of the aforesaid concurrent resolution of the 21st of July, 1858, and in conformance thereto, do hereby direct the said proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States to be published in the newspapers authorized to promulgate the laws of the United States, and I do hereby certify that the said proposed amendment has been adopted, in the manner hereinbefore mentioned, by the States specified in the said concurrent resolution, namely: The States of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Tennessee, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, New York, Ohio, Illinois, West Virginia, Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Missouri, Indiana, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, and also by the legislature of the State of Georgia; the States thus specified being more than three-fourths of the States of the United States.
And I do further certify that the said amendment has become valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the Constitution of the United States.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the Department of State to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington this twentyeighth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight, and of the independence of the United States of America the ninety-third. [L. S.]
WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State.
What are some of the pernicious results of the amendment ?
Secretary Seward, in “ doubt and uncertainty," referred the matter to Congress. That body refused to regard the latest legislation of Ohio and New Jersey. The Congress wanted obedient States, and cared not for the fundamental and time-honored fact that fraud vitiates all acts forever. The counting in of two States was also coercive, and so wholly unconstitutional and void.
This amendment, ratified by white and negro legislatures, is now the last resort of criminals. It was intended to protect negroes in their civil rights. The Supreme Court of the United States decided the Civil Rights act to be unconstitutional. But criminals use the amendment to stay the judgments of State courts while pleading for appeals to United States tribunals. The so-called amendment has become odious to law-abiding people. It is incalculably mischievous. Section third forbids citizens of the United States from fighting for their country unless Congress removes their disability. Political insanity could go no further!
Is there further danger in the amendment ?
There is. In the case of O'Neil vs. Vermont, Justices Field, Harlan, and Brewer delivered a minority opinion, which, if held by a majority of the Supreme Court, would change our form of government.
This minority opinion made no distinction between a citizen of the United States and a citizen of a State. By the early amendments, and by the Fourteenth so-called Amend. ment, a citizen of the United States has, according to these justices, privileges and immunities which place him above State action. Carried to its conclusion, the agent of the States would become supreme, and reduce the States to subject prov'inces and the citizens of States to subjects. It would drag the State criminal law of the first ten amendments into the arena of general government jurisdiction. The State of Mississippi would be compelled to relegate to the dead-letter book her educational qualifications for voters in common with older States that have adopted suffrage reform. In fine, centralization would have its genesis, and conclude with the usual historic apocalyptic evils.
Is the Fifteenth Amendment valid ?
No. Secretary Fish counted in New York, although he had officially been notified of the withdrawal of the consent of that State to the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment. The forcible counting in of a State nullifies the act of promulgation. The Southern white and negro legislatures were unconstitutional, which makes their ratification void. Violent coercive measures in Indiana and some other States also invalidate the amendment.