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 unalienable rights, for the methods of the usurper are the same everywhere. Freedom of speech was suppressed by the imposition of fines on those using ‘seditious’ language, and the demand of security for their future humility. The freedom of the press was suppressed by suspension of publications and the confiscation of the offices. Personal liberty was destroyed by arrests, imprisonment, and exile. In process of time an effort was made to erect a form of state government which should be subservient and subject to the United States government. For this purpose no one could be a voter until he had bound himself by an oath to support and defend the government of the United States. Under the state governments, manhood, which came by nature, and residence, which came by one's own will, were sufficient qualifications for the voter. It will be apparent from this statement that the voter's right to cast his ballot came not to him as an unalienable right, but rested upon the permission of the government of the United States, as his sovereign, to whom his allegiance was due, and to whom he was required, in the first instance, to bind himself by an oath of allegiance without any mention whatever of a state government. Indeed, a little later, the same oath was required with additional conditions before a man was permitted to vote for a state constitutional convention, or for delegates to such a convention. These conditions were that he would faithfully support all acts of Congress and all proclamations of the President of the United States passed or made during the rebellion, having reference to slaves. Thus the voter's right was made to rest, not only upon his binding himself in allegiance to the United States as his sovereign, but in the binding by oath of his consent to certain unconstitutional acts and proclamations expressly designed to destroy one of the most important institutions of the state. This, sustained by a military force, was exacted by the United States government as the lord paramount—the sovereign within the state. At the same time the action of the voter, which should be perfectly free and unconstrained (for, under American political principles, he is the sovereign over all), is limited and bound down by an oath faithfully to support certain acts to which it was presumable he had ever been conscientiously opposed. Under these circumstances, who was the sovereign in Tennessee? The government of the United States. Where was the government of the state of Tennessee and the sovereign people? The former was subverted and overthrown, and the later subjugated. The approval by Tennessee, under such circumstances, of Article XIII as an amendment of the
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