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Address to the Constitutional Convention of Ohio from the State Convention of Colored Men Held in the City of Columbus, January 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th, 1851.

1851 Address to the Constituti the Convention of Colored Men 5.pdf

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they should enjoy that blessing of government, the twin brother of taxation, namely, representation. Accordingly, in New York, from 1777 to 1821, colored men were represented equally with others.

That colored men are citizens, is attested by the fact that in 1812 — '15 colored men were drafted, in common with others for the war. In September 1814, General Andrew Jackson issued his proclamation to the free colored inhabitants of Louisiana, and told them, that "through a mistaken policy they had heretofore been deprived of a participation in the glorious struggle for national rights, in which our country was engaged," and told them that this should no longer exist." He appealed to them as "Sons of Freedom;" — as "Americans," — "as fathers, husbands, and brothers," to enlist in behalf of all they held dear. Speaking to them of this land, he says,— "Your country;" and of the whites, — "Your white fellow citizens," and countrymen." And when in December following, he addressed the free people of color, congratulating them upon the success of their arms, he said — "our brave citizens [no distinction as to color,] are united, and all contention has ceased among them. Their only dispute is, who shall win the prize of valor, or who the most glory, its noblest reward," showing an attachment to this government, such only as free citizens can give. We ask you, whether it is right to disfranchise a citizen, and if so, where is the power specified? Is it in the Declaration of American Independence? Is it in the Articles of Confederation? Is it in the Supreme Law of the land— the U. States' Constitution? Is it not contrary to justice — to law — to abstract and concrete right — to every principle of a free government?

It is also contrary to true political economy. In the Slate of Ohio, by the report of the Secretary of State made to you, there appears to be over twenty three thousand colored persons in Ohio, making about one eighty seventh of the whole population. We are here, and here lawfully, and we ask if it be true policy to exclude persons thus in your midst, from any participancy in these privileges, the enjoyment of which imposes upon those enjoying them, "correlative duties." Of course, if we have no protection, we owe no allegiance, the amount of allegiance, according to the arrangement of nations, being graduated by the rights guarantied, and the protection afforded.

But, we repeat, colored men have participated in the struggles

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