“I do not believe
anybody in Congress doubts that the Constitution
authorizes the right of women to vote, precisely as it authorizes
trial by jury and many other like rights guaranteed to citizens.”
And again, General Butler said:
“It is not laws we want; there are plenty of laws—good enough, too. Administrative ability to enforce law is the great want of the age, in this country especially. Everybody talks of law, law. If everybody would insist on the enforcement of law, the government would stand on a firmer basis, and questions would settle themselves.”
And it is upon this just interpretation of the United States Constitution that our National Woman Suffrage Association which celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary of the woman’s rights movement in New York on the 6th of May next, has based all its arguments and action the past five years.
We no longer petition Legislature or Congress to give us the right to vote. We appeal to the women everywhere to exercise their too long neglected “citizen’s right to vote.” We appeal to the inspectors of election everywhere to receive the votes of all United States citizens as it is their duty to do. We appeal to United States commissioners and marshals to arrest the inspectors who reject the names and votes of United States citizens, as it is their duty to do, and leave those alone who, like our eighth ward inspectors, perform their duties faithfully and well.
We ask the juries to fail to return verdicts of “guilty” against honest, law-abiding, tax-paying United States citizens for offering their votes at our elections. Or against intelligent, worthy young men, inspectors of elections, for receiving and counting such citizens’ votes.
We ask the judges to render true and unprejudiced opinions of the law, and wherever there is room for a doubt to give its benefit on the side of liberty and equal rights to women, remembering that “the true rule of interpretation under our national constitution, especially since its amendments, is that anything for human rights is constitutional, everything against human rights unconstitutional.”
And it is on this line that we propose to fight our battle for the ballot—all peaceably, but nevertheless persistently through to complete triumph, when all United States citizens shall be recognized as equals before the law.
MATILDA JOSLYN GAGE,
In Canandaigua and 16 other towns of Ontario county, previous to Miss Anthony’s Trial, June 17th, 1873.
THE UNITED STATES ON TRIAL;
SUSAN B. ANTHONY.
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. That is the axiom of our republic. From this axiom we understand that powers used by the government without the consent of the governed, are not just powers, but that on the contrary, they are unjust powers, usurped powers, illegal powers.