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The Negro and the elective franchise. A Series Of Papers And A Sermon   By: (1863-1939)

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The Negro And The Elective Franchise. A Series Of Papers And A Sermon

The American Negro Academy. Occasional Papers, No. 11.

The American Negro Academy.



Archibald H. Grimké, Charles C. Cook, John Hope, John L. Love, Kelly Miller and Rev. Frank J. Grimké.






The Meaning And Need Of The Movement To Reduce Southern Representation ARCHIBALD H. GRIMKÉ The Penning of the Negro CHARLES CHAUVEAU COOK The Negro Vote in the States Whose Constitutions Have Not Been Specifically Revised JOHN HOPE The Potentiality of the Negro Vote, North and West JOHN L. LOVE Migration and Distribution of the Negro Population as Affecting the Elective Franchise KELLY MILLER The Negro and His Citizenship FRANCIS J. GRIMKÉ

The Meaning And Need Of The Movement To Reduce Southern Representation ARCHIBALD H. GRIMKÉ

In 1787 when the founders of the American Republic were framing the Constitution they encountered many difficulties in the work of construction, but none greater than the bringing together on terms of equality under one general government of the slave holding and the non slave holding states. The South was willing to enter the Union provided always that its peculiar labor and institutions received adequate protection in that instrument. And this the North had finally to consent to incorporate into the organic law of the new nation. One of these concessions was known as the Slave Representation Clause of the Constitution, which gave to the Slave section the right to count five slaves as three freemen in the apportionment of representatives. This concession did not probably seem at the time like an exorbitant or ruinous price for the North to pay for the Union, but subsequent events proved it to be both exorbitant and ruinous in the political burden which it imposed upon that section, and in the political perils which grew naturally out of the situation, and which were produced by it.

Everybody now a days seems to forget, or makes believe to have forgotten, this lamentable chapter in our history, and its application to present day evils everybody but a few far seeing Negroes, and a few far seeing white men at the North. It is well not to forget this chapter ourselves, or to let the country make believe to have forgotten it, as it contains a lesson which it is dangerous to forget.

History repeats itself and will continue to do so just as long as men are men, and the passion for power and the struggle for domination lasts among them. Such a struggle set in between the two sections almost immediately after the adoption of the Constitution. With industrial and political ideas, interests, and institutions directly opposed to each other, rivalry and strife between them became from the beginning unavoidable. Any one not totally blinded by the then emergent needs of the moment could not fail to foresee something of the consequences which were sure to follow such a union of irreconcilable forces and passions under one general government. Each set of antagonistic ideas and interests was compelled by the great law of self preservation to try to get possession of the government in its battle with the other set. And in this conflict of moral and economic forces and ideas the three fifths slave representation clause of the Constitution gave to the South a distinct advantage, an advantage which told immediately and powerfully in its favor. For the right to count five slaves as three freemen in the apportionment of representatives among the several states placed the political power of the Southern states in the hands not of all the whites but of a small and highly trained and organized minority only, namely; the master class... Continue reading book >>

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