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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: Feburary 17, 1869

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The Proposed Amendment
(Column 01)
Summary: Comes out against the proposed 15th Amendment, claims Congress is trying to pass black suffrage through Legislatures without the public's approval. Also has harsh words for another amendment which would change the way electors are chosen, editor proposes instead to do away with the electoral college altogether.
Full Text of Article:

The legislation of Congress with reference to the negro has at length culminated in what is proposed as the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Let every man who desires to preserve the dignity of the white race and who seeks to maintain the republic, read it carefully and ponder it well. Here it is:

ART. 15. No discrimination shall be made in the United States among the citizens of the United States in the exercise of the elective franchise, or in the right to hold office, in any State, on account of race, color, nativity, property, education, or creed.

This amendment ought to arouse a spirit of indignation all over the land. There is an attempt made here on the part of these negro worshipers to steal a march on the people. They know well that wherever the proposition has been submitted directly to the people, to give the negro the right of suffrage, it has been condemned. Even in States that always elect Republicans to office, this movement has met with no favor. But the leaders in Congress believe that this amendment can be adopted without allowing the people to vote on it. The Constitution of the United States allows amendments proposed by Congress to be submitted to the Legislatures of the several States, and when ratified by three-fourths of such Legislatures they become a part of said Constitution. The Radical leaders imagine that they can induce three-fourths of the present State Legislatures to ratify this amendment, and thus make the negro a voter, and clothe him with the right to hold office, in every State of the Union, without saying to the people "with your leave, dear sirs." Can any thinking man conceive of a greater political outrage than this would be? None of these State Legislatures were elected with reference to this question. On the contrary, all the Republican members of these Legislatures were elected on the platform on which General Grant was elected, namely, that "the question of suffrage in the loyal States properly belongs to the people of these States." Not to the Legislatures elected last fall, but to the people.

To show the purpose of the Radicals in Congress in this respect, it is but necessary to refer to the resolution offered by one of our own Senators, Mr. Buckalew, when this amendment was under consideration. It was to this effect, that this amendment should be submitted to the State Legislatures the more popular branch of which shall be hereafter elected. The object of this resolution was to allow the people to make this a test question in deciding how their votes should be cast for Representatives in their State Legislatures. In this way, the people would have had an opportunity to decide for or against negro suffrage to some extent at least. But Senator Buckalew's resolution met with no favor with the Radicals and was voted down. They preferred to trust the proposed amendments to Legislatures already elected, rather than to Legislatures hereafter to be elected.

Hypocritical, unmindful of their pledges, regardless of their honor, they seek to fasten this iniquitous measure upon the people in spite of their abhorrence of it. We shall see whether the Legislature of Pennsylvania will dare to take such a step in defiance of the wishes of her people. All that the people ask is an opportunity to pass upon the question and they will sink it deeper than ever plummet sounded. But if they are deprived of this right, from mountain and valley, their indignation may burst forth and sweep from Legislative halls the men who recklessly disregard their will and defy their power.

If the established institutions of our country are to be overturned by malicious demagogues--if such startling innovations are to be made upon our time honored customs--if, in a Republic, the voice of the people is no longer to be consulted, the sooner revolution comes the better.

Again, throughout the last campaign, what stress was put upon the closing sentence of Grant's letter of acceptance, let us have peace! Is this the peace that Radicalism promised us? How the country responded to that utterance! It was tired of rebellion and war--it was heartily sick of the excitement and worry about the negro. It accepted General Grant's statement that he, from that day forward, was in favor of peace--no more negro agitation--no more infringements upon the rights of the white race.

But alas! the country asked for bread and Radicalism has given it a stone. The agitation is not to be stopped yet. The negro must vote and hold office in every State of the Union, and we are not to have peace until then. The amendment now occupying so much of the attention of Congress is to be transferred to the States to involve the people in endless agitation, squabbles and, perhaps, serious outbreaks. Was ever a party guilty of such perfidy as this Radical party which calls itself "the party of great moral ideas?"

But there is another amendment proposed also, which, although not attracting such general attention, is none the less insidious and pernicious. It is as follows:

ART. 16. The second clause of the first section of the second article of the Constitution of the United States shall be amended to read as follows:

Each State shall appoint, by a vote of the people thereof qualified to vote for Representatives in Congress, a number of electors equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State shall be entitled in Congress; but no Senator, or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector; and Congress shall have power to prescribe the manner in which such electors shall be chosen by the people.

Some of the Radical papers say that this is intended to prevent the Legislatures of the States from choosing the electors, as is the case at present in South Carolina. That may, or may not be, one object. We do not know. One thing, however, we are opposed to, and that is to putting any more power into the hands of Congress than it has, or has assumed, already. It would give a fanatical partisan majority in Congress, like that which has ruled the country for the last eight years, a splendid opportunity to control the election of President, if they are to have the power to prescribe the manner in which electors shall be chosen by the people. They might district the States so that it would be next to impossible to select electors hostile to themselves and then pass the election off as the work of the people.

If there is to be a change in the mode of choosing electors, let the new mode be expressly set forth in the Constitution so that the people may know how they are to elect President. For our own part, we are in favor of choosing no electors at all. Allow the people all over the country to vote for President and Vice President and let those candidates who receive the highest number of votes be declared elected. But whatever course is adopted, it certainly ought not to be one which will throw the making of Presidents into the hands of Congress. We have had enough of Congressional usurpation.

Democratic County Committee Meeting
(Column 02)
Summary: The Democratic County Committee met to elect delegates to the state convention. John R. Orr and B. F. Winger received the nominations. They were elected as friends of George W. Cass for governor and J. McDowell Sharpe for Supreme Court Judge.
(Names in announcement: John R. Orr, H. M. White, D. K. Wunderlich, Alexander Martin, Samuel Brandt, James L. Reily, Joseph S. Loose, Washington Reed, J. H. Little, Martin L. Hammond, Solomon Shively, Joseph C. Clugston, Daniel Palmer, R. H. Reisher, Abraham Hafer, T. L. Baily, Jacob Wistar, Joseph Gilmore, S. B. Flickinger, J. W. DeHaven, A. R. Rhea, H. G. Skiles, Christian Wright, A. J. Unger, George W. McCleary, John A. Sellers, W. W. Kuhn, Simon Bitner, Daniel Stake, George W. Welsh, Jacob Elliott)

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