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[27]

The right of suffrage a curse.

One class of politicians would disfranchise the negro altogether, while another would leave his rights stand as now fixed by the constitution. The better and more practical policy now lies between these extremes. Limitations should be placed on his exercise of the right of suffrage. The limitations on his right of suffrage should be of such a character as to remove the fear or apprehension of negro supremacy. The limitations should be so adjusted as to secure a responsible class of colored voters, whose character and standing will afford a guarantee that they will not conspire with the irresponsible and lawless white elements to seize on political power. The negro should be undisturbed in his equality before the law, and he should possess a sufficient hold on the right of suffrage to insure the protection of the interests of his race. His present mode of discharging his duties of an uncrowned king and ruler, has degraded rather than elevated him.

The right of suffrage has proved a curse to him, rather than a blessing. Any modification of his rights should be of such a character as to impress him with the dignity and honor of American citizenship. The right should be so limited and adjusted as to leave the white race dominant in every State in the Union. These results would be attained by limiting the right to vote among the negroes, and by making the office of voter, or suffragist, among them an elective office—an office that he holds, say for four years, by election of the whole body of the people, or by election of the colored people alone, if this course seems preferable. Thus no property or educational test or qualification is required. The end indicated could be attained by so adjusting and limiting his vote that it shall not exceed, say 5 or 10 per cent of the white vote, on any given question or issue.

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