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Proceedings of the Civil Rights Mass-Meeting held at Lincoln Hall, October 22, 1883. Speeches of Hon. Frederick Douglass and Robert G. Ingersoll.

1883DC-National-Washington_Proceedings (33).pdf

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Current Saved Transcription [history]

and immunities of a citizen of the United States is "national in its character".

Unless the declarations and definitions, the patriotic paragraphs, and the legal principles made, given, uttered and defined by the Supreme Court are but a judicial jugglery of words, the Civil Rights Act is upheld by the intent, spirit and language of the 14th Amendment.

It was found that the 13th Amendment did not protect the negro. Then the 14th was adopted. Still the colored citizen was trodden under foot. Then the 15th was adopted. The 13th made him free, and in my judgement, made him a citizen, and clothed him with all the rights of a citizen. That was denied, and then the 14th declared that he was a citizen. In my judgement, that gave him the right to vote. But that was denied--then 15th was adopted, declaring that his right to vote should never be denied.

The 13th Amendment made all free. It broke the chains, pulled up the whipping-posts, overturned the auction-blocks, gave the colored mother her child, put the shield of the Constitution over the cradle, destroyed all forms of involuntary servitude, and in the azure heaven of our flag it put the Northern Star.

The 14th Amendment made as all citizens. It is a contract between the Republic and each individual--a contract by which the Nation agrees to protect the citizen, and the citizen agrees to defend the Nation. This amendment placed the crown of sovereignty on every brow.

The 15th Amendment secured the citizen in his right to vote, in his right to make and execute the laws, and put these rights above the power of any State. This amendment placed the ballot--the sceptre of authority--in every sovereign's hand.

The Difference Between the 13th and 14th Amendments

We are told by the Supreme Court, in the case under discussion, that:

"We must not forget that the province and scope of the 13th and 14th Amendments are different;" that the 13th Amendment "simply abolished slavery," and that the 14th Amendment "prohibited the States from abridging the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States; from depriving them of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; and from denying to any the equal protection of the laws."

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