Arizona Republic Essay

Or to divide what our fathers bled to unite, to wit, TAXATION and REPRESENTATION.” The appeal said that the freedom of all depended on the freedom of the least powerful and that “when you have taken from an individual his right to vote, you have made the government, in regard to him, a mere despotism, and you have taken a step toward making it a despotism for all.” Such appeals proved unavailing in Pennsylvania and across America. This represented a serious retreat for the country.

In the 18th century, African Americans who met other qualifications could vote in most states of the new republic.

The American problem with voter suppression started with a void in the original Constitution, which did not include a right to vote.

This omission allowed states to suppress the votes of non-whites by various means.

By 1860, 28 of 33 states, comprising about 97 percent of the nation’s free black population, had adopted such racially restrictive suffrage.

In 1860, no state imposed property qualifications for voting and only a half-dozen had tax-paying requirements.

The court ignored the state constitution and found that “no coloured race was party to our social compact,” and that there was no basis on which “to raise this depressed race to the level of the white one.” The court did hold out hope for future generations, albeit in a perverse way, by noting that a black man’s “blood, however, may become so diluted in successive descents to lose its distinctive character; and, then, both policy and justice require that previous disabilities should cease.” This idea of excluding blacks from the “social compact” reemerged when Pennsylvania adopted a new constitution in a convention that began on May 2, 1837, and lasted until February of the following year.

This 10-month deliberation took three times longer than the convention that drafted the nation’s constitution in Philadelphia in 1789, and its delegates played on the common prejudice that African Americans lacked the moral and mental fitness needed for suffrage.

At times it seems as though the most bigoted individuals in America's 48th state save their most raucous and prejudiced behavior for the 44th president.

The Arizona Republic reported that hundreds of dissenters chose to model their insulting and extremist behavior before some of Phoenix's youngest residents.


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