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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Colored Convention of the State of Kansas, Held at Leavenworth, October 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th, 1863
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Institutions, and is a departure from the aims of the illustrious founders of the Republic.
To prove that you have departed from the faith and practices of your forefathers, we have only to call your attention to the fact that at the commencement of the present century, colored men voted in nearly all of the States--slave as well as free. It is only within the last thirty-five years that colored men have been deprived of the right to vote in North Carolina and Tennessee.
We mention these facts to disprove the lie that demogogues have so often asserted, that this Government was instituted exclusively for white men, and to vindicate the sincerity of the fathers, when they said they labored for all men, by showing that their practices accorded with their professions.
Nor was this Government founded exclusively by white men, as is often falsely asserted. The Tree of American Liberty, whose spreading branches now overshadow a continent, germinated in a soil watered with the blood of black as well as white men. That black men do not now enjoy the rights for which their ancestors in common with yours fought, is their misfortune, but your reproach.
The white majority, corrupted by unexampled prosperity, and forgetful that the ways of righteousness are the ways of peace," have abused their power to the extent of not only depriving the black minority of the rights of citizenship, but too often of rights common to humanity.
This professedly christian nation has in its practice fallen far short of the maxim of the old Heathen Philosopher of Greece that "that Government is best where a wrong done to the meanest citizen is an insult to the whole State.”
But in the providence of God the injustice of nations, as of individuals, brings its punishment. The annals of mankind, red with the blood of slaughtered nations, is mainly but a record of their errors and consequent punishment.
This nation has long turned a deaf ear to the cry of black man, till at last his wail, unheeded on earth, was heard in Heaven. Heaven’s answer is seen in a land rent in twain by civil war and drenched in fraternal blood. In ruined cities, wasted fields, and desolated homes; in the tears of parents, who mourn their sons untimely slain. In the agony of widowed wives, whose husbands now sleep the sleep that knows no waking. In the silent sorrows and hidden tears of many a beauteous maiden, whose betrothed one shall ne’er return, to bring gladness to her heart, and illumine her countenance with the light of love.
Happily the nation's conscience, schooled by misfortune, is becoming aroused to the necessity of repairing the many wrongs which it has inflicted on the black man.
In the progress of this war, destructive of so many prejudices and fruitful of so many new ideas, it will doubtless be discovered that it is as necessary to make the black man a voter, as it was to make him a soldier. He was made a soldier to RESTORE the Union. He must be made a voter to PRESERVE it.
How else can you restore the Union on any desirable basis? If left in exclusive possession of the machinery of the State governments, will not the white population of the seceded States, humiliated by defeat, estranged beyond hope of reconciliation, burning for revenge, and maddened by the recollection of a thousand injuries, suffered and inflicted, seek to renew the strife on the first opportunity, when, perhaps, the nation is engaged in a foreign war of gigantic proportions.
The restoration of the Union and the elevation of the black man will go hand in hand. The nation will need the black man to vote for her; therefore it will make him a voter. Besides, the right of suffrage will be necessary to the protection of the black population of the seceded States.
Nor would a just and magnanimous nation leave its devoted though humble adherents, to be the victims of oppressive and revengeful legislation, by the still haughty though conquered slave oligarchy of the South.
We therefore have no doubt that in a few years colored men will vote in all of the now seceded States, as they did in North Carolina, Maryland and
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