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Scripto | Transcribe Page
State Colored Men's Convention
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Congress is already favorable considering this project, and with united and earnest co-operation on our part the work will be done. When we have given protection and security by a perfected system of levees, and afforded access to the markets of the world for our products by securing an outlet through the designed canal, that the full benefits of commerce will accrue to us, the present oppressive tariffs imposed upon American industries in our nearest markets, Cuba and South American countries should be removed. To this end existing treaties should be revised by Congress and action taken to secure such modifications therein as will place us upon relations with those countries of reciprocal trade. The valley States need and should demand a reciprocity treaty with the countries south of us similar to that now exist between the United States and Canada, by which the Eastern, Middle and lake States are so much benefited. Our opponents assume that we have no substantial interest in the material prosperity of the country, we are supposed, because not as a rule wealthy, nor owning large landed estates, to be indifferent to the building up of the country in wealth, and not to feel any interest in its permanent growth, provided only, that the simple wants of the hour are met. In my judgment this is a mistake, an unauthorized ignoring of our value in the work of making Louisiana a great State, and the United States a great nation. When 4,000,000 of people were freed, $4,000,000,000 of property was not, as is generally supposed by this class of the community, destroyed; but the ownership thereof was
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