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Minutes of the State Convention of Colored Citizens, Held at Albany, on the 18th, 19th, and 20th of August, 1840, for the purpose of considering their political condition.

1840 State Convention in Albany NY.compressed.12.pdf

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12

cast, are in violation of the fundamental principles of divine law, evil in their tendencies, and should therefore be effectually destroyed.

Resolved, That the toleration of complexional difference in the State of New York, is a stain upon its Constitution, and attaches it to the great system of oppression in the land, so vital to our national character--since it is upheld not only in direct opposition to the common rights of humanity, but also runs counter to those very political principles asserted by the framers of our republican government.

Resolved, That the Act of the Convention of 1821, which amended the State Constitution so as to extend the right of suffrage to one portion of the citizens of the State, unrestricted, and demand for its exercise a property-qualification of another portion, was a violation of every principle of justice, anti-republican, and repugnant to the assertion of man’s equality, upon which our government is founded.

Resolved, That the discrimination introduced by the adoption of the above-mentioned article, was a violation of justice, because it deprived us of those rights which should have been enjoyed in common by all native-born citizens ; because it guaranteed to foreigners naturalized, advantages over denizens of the soil‘; because it oppressed those who fought and bled for their country’s freedom, and thereby were entitled to the unrestricted enjoyment of its political institutions.

Resolved, That we look upon it as anti-republican, and repugnant to the assertion of man’s equality, upon which our government is founded; first, because 45,000 of the inhabitants of this State are excluded from the basis of representation; and secondly, because the proscription merely on account of color denies the declaration that “all men are created free and equal,” results in the limitation of our liberties, and consequently in the curtailment‘ of our means of “pursuing happiness.”

Resolved, That the exclusion of colored men from a free exercise of the elective franchise, gave a falsity to the high ground which the State had taken on the subject of slavery, tore down the principles of its own profession, and was an evidence to slaveholders of their triumph, degrading to a State calling itself free, and holding liberal principles.

Resolved, That we hold the elective franchise as a mighty lever for elevating in the scale of society any people, and feel sensible that without it, WE are but nominally free, the vital means of our improvement being paralyzed; we do therefore believe it obligatory upon us, and do hereby pledge ourselves to each other, to use all just means in our power, by devoting a portion of our time, talent, and substance, to agitate this question, until we obtain a restoration of this inestimable boon.

Resolved, That a Committee of three be appointed to draw up an address to our people, setting forth our duties in relation to the

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