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The Thirteenth Amendment had abolished Slavery. The Fourteenth had secured the rights of citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, disabling a certian class of chief officers in the late Rebellion; declaring the validity of the national debt, and forbidding the payment of the debt of the so-called Confederacy. The Fifteenth Amendment secured the right of suffrage to all the citizens of the Republic without regard to race, color, or previous condition, the joint resolution for which passed both Houses on the 26th of February, 1869; while, about the same time, a law was enacted, the chief provision of which was as follows: ‘The faith of the United States is solemnly pledged to the payment in coin or its equivalent, of all interest-bearing obligations of the United States, except in cases where the law authorizing the issue of any such obligation, has expressly provided that the same may be paid in lawful money or other currency than gold and silver.’

To each one of these cardinal measures, which secured the fruits of the great struggle, and established the government upon a basis too strong to be questioned, at least by the generation of men now living, Senator Sumner gave his unwearied attention, and his most earnest support. A vast number of other measures, necessary or beneficent, were also passed, which, by virtue of provisions made in the Amendments themselves, clothed Congress with power to enforce them by proper legislation; in most of which Mr. Sumner actively participated, and over all of which he cast the illumination [499] of his learning, enforced by the power of his eloquence.

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