Status: Complete

25 SEPTEMBER 1872 341

and by the other they may strip the freedmen and their friends of national

But we are told by our friends of the Greeley persuasion that our fears
[are] groundless; that the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amend-
ments are now a part of the Constitution, and there is no power to take them
out of the Constitution.

Alas! this assurance is little better than a mockery: constitutions do not
execute themselves. We have had justice enough in our Constitution from
the beginning to have made slavery impossible. The trouble never was in
the Constitution, but in the administration of the Constitution. All experi-
ence shows that laws are of little value in the hands of those unfriendly to
their objects.

Besides, the very essence of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth
Amendments is in the grant of power to Congress to enforce them by
“appropriate legislation.” ¹⁵ Without legislation these provisions may be
evaded and practically rendered null and void. Now, what hope have we
that a Democratic Congress will enforce these provisions by appropriate

But let us look at the workings of the Constitution. Under that instru-
ment it would appear that oppression of an American citizen would be
impossible in any of the States; that the citizens of New-York would be as
safe in South Carolina as in New-York; yet we well know that until within
the last few years the free liberty of a Northern man was impossible in the
South. I, therefore, as a black man first, as a man next, and as a newly-born
citizen of the United States—a citizenship beyond all others on the globe—
as such a citizen I ask you, one and all, to exert every faculty to retain in
power that party which has made the country glorious before the world, if
you want the country prosperous. I now ask you, if you desire success, to
give three hearty, rousing cheers for Ulysses S. Grant, and if you wish to do
so, follow me. Hip, hip, hip.

15. The concluding sections of each of these amendments reserved to Congress the “power to
enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

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