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[616] the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two thirds of each House remove such disability.

section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But the United States shall neither assume nor pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations, and claims shall be held illegal and void.

section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

It may here be stated that the restoration of the late Confederate States to all the rights and privileges of states as coequal members of the Union, under the plan of President Johnson, received the approval of the executive and judicial branches of the government soon after the cessation of hostilities. Congress, however, not only withheld its assent, but, during its session in 1866, required as a condition precedent to a recognition of any one of these states, and the admission of its Representatives and Senators to seats, the adoption by its legislature of the above-mentioned amendment. The question really involved in this amendment was the admission to citizenship and the ballot of the negroes in these states. It was the acknowledged fact that the authority to determine this question resided in the states severally and nowhere else. The amendment itself, in its second section, recognized the authority to grant or withhold the elective franchise as existing in the state governments.

This amendment was submitted to the legislatures of the States immediately after its adoption by Congress in June, 1866, and by March 30, 1867, it had been ratified by twenty states, including West Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, and Tennessee, and rejected by thirteen, including Delaware and Kentucky, and eleven of the late Confederate States. There were thirty-four states at that time, and thirty had voted. A ratification by three-fourths was required to make it valid.

When this amendment was presented for ratification to the legislature of Virginia at its session commencing in December, 1866, it was rejected in the Senate by a unanimous vote, and in the House by a vote of seventy-four to one. Meantime the Freedmen's Bureau was organized and put in operation in the state, but the military occupation continued, and the condition of affairs remained unchanged during the proceedings of Congress to construct its plan for subjugation.

After the vote of the states up to March, 1867, it was manifest that

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