Introducing a Joint Resolution on an Amendment to Extend Suffrage
by Senator Henry W. Blair of New Hampshire
Delivered to Congress, December 8, 1886
The right to vote is the great primitive right in which all freedom originates
and culminates. It is the right from which all others spring, in which they
merge, and without which they fall whenever assailed. This right makes all
the difference between government by and with the consent of the governed,
and government without and against the consent of the governed; and that is
the difference between freedom and slavery.
College day in the picket line. Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-31799 DLC.
If the right to vote be not that
difference, what is?
If either sex as a class can dispense with the right
to vote, then take it from the strong and do not longer rob the weak of their
defense for the benefit of the strong. But it is impossible to conceive
of the suffrage as a right dependent at all upon such an irrelevant condition
as sex. It is an individual, a personal right, and if withheld by reason
sex it is a moral robbery.