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for participation in rebellion or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State."
§ 653. This section provides that if any State shall deny the right of voting for certain officers to any of its male citizens, being twenty-one years of age, except for crime, the basis of representation of such State in Congress shall be reduced in like proportion.
"SECTION 3. No person shall be a senator or representative in Congress, or elector of President or Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State Legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability."
§ 654. Under this section certain persons described therein are disqualified from holding any office under the United States, or any State, unless Congress shall by a two-thirds vote remove such disability.
"SECTION 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt
or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion. against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void."
§ 655. This enforces the validity of certain debts of the United States, and declares that debts or obligations incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion, and claims for the loss or emancipation of slaves, are illegal and void.
"SECTION 5. Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."
§ 656. This section grants to Congress, in express terms, the right to pass such laws as may be appropriate for enforcing the preceding sections of the amendment.
§ 657. The fifteenth amendment was proposed to the legislatures of the several States by a joint resolution of twothirds of the Senate and of the House of Representatives, passed in the month of February, 1869, and communicated to the Department of State on the 27th day of that month. On March 30th, 1870, the Secretary of State announced by proclamation that three-fourths of the States had ratified the amendment, and that it had become a part of the Constitution.
"ARTICLE XV.-SECTION 1. The right of the 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."
§ 658. The object of this amendment is to provide that 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.
"SECTION 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
WE have already stated that the first Continental Congress, which assembled at Philadelphia September 5, 1774, adopted a Declaration of Rights. (§ 21.) The following is the document, as finally agreed upon by the Congress, October 14, 1775. It is confined to the consideration of such rights as had been infringed by acts of the British Parliament since the year 1763, for the further consideration of the general state of American rights was postponed until a subsequent day.
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS.
WHEREAS, since the close of the last war, the British parliament claiming a power of right, to bind the people of America by statutes in all cases whatsoever, hath, in some acts, expressly imposed taxes on them, and in others, under various pretences, but in fact for the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates and duties payable in these colonies, established a board of commissioners, with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty, not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a county.
And whereas, in consequence of other statutes, judges, who before held only estates at will in their offices, have been made dependant on the crown alone for their salaries, and standing armies kept in times of peace: And whereas it has lately been resolved in parliament, that by force of a statute, made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of king Henry the eighth, colonists may be transported to England, and tried there upon accusations for treasons, and misprisions, or concealments of treasons com
mitted in the colonies, and by a late statute, such trials have been directed in cases therein mentioned.
And whereas, in the last session of parliament, three statutes were made; one, entitled an "Act to discontinue, in such manner and for such time as are therein mentioned, the landing "and discharging, lading, or shipping of goods, wares and mer"chandise, at the town, and within the harbour of Boston, in "the province of Massachusetts-Bay, in North-America;" another, entitled "An act for the better regulating_the_government of "the province of Massachusetts-Bay in New-England;" and another, entitled "An act for the impartial administration of "justice, in the cases of persons questioned for any act done by "them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of "riots and tumults, in the province of the Massachusetts-Bay, "in New-England;" and another statute was then made, "for "making more effectual provision for the government of the pro"vince of Quebec, &c." All which statutes are impolitic, unjust, and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous and destructive of American rights.
And whereas, assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate on grievances; and their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable petitions to the crown for redress, have been repeatedly treated with contempt, by his majesty's ministers of state:
The good people of the several colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, New-Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, NorthCarolina, and South-Carolina, justly alarmed at these arbitrary proceedings of parliament and administration, have severally elected, constituted, and appointed deputies to meet, and sit in General Congress, in the city of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties, may not be subverted. Whereupon the deputies so appointed being now assembled, in a full and free representation of these colonies, taking into their most serious consideration, the best means of attaining the ends aforesaid, do, in the first place, as Englishmen, their ancestors in like cases have usually done, for affecting and vindicating their rights and liberties, DECLARE,
That the inhabitants of the English colonies in North-America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or compacts, have the fol lowing RIGHTS: