Harper's Weekly 10/06/1866
A CLEAR ISSUE.
The Address of the National Union Com-
mittee states briefly, precisely, and forcibly the
exact issue. It is sharply defined, and there
can be no misapprehension. It is the issue
set forth at Syracuse, at the Loyal Southern
Convention in Philadelphia, and by every Un-
ion orator and journal in the country. The
foolish cry that nobody but the President and
the Democrats know what they want has al-
ready died away. Vermont and Maine know
distinctly what they wish. Illinois and Penn-
sylvania and Ohio and New York are not in
the least doubt. The present issue is that the
Consitutional Amendment, which the Presi-
dent himself formerly warmly favored, shall be
adopted by any late insurgent State before it
resumes its place in Congress.
This Amendment simply fixes in the organic
law the legitimate results of the war.
It defines and defends citizenship in
the United States and its rights.
It bases representation upon the vot-
ing population; so that if any State chooses to
keep a portion of its population uneducated,
debased, and powerless, it shall not use that
population to balance the intelligent and thrifty
of other States; and also, that the change pro-
duced by emancipation in the original consti-
tutional adjustment of representation may be
Whoever has held office by the tenure
of an oath to the Constitution of the United
States, which oath he has violated in order to
plot and act treason against the Government,
shall be disabled from office until Congress re-
lieves the disability.
The national debt shall never be re-
pudiated, and the rebel debt shall never be paid
by any State, nor any payment be made for
Congress shall have power to enforce
these guarantees by appropriate legislation.
This is the question before the people. Shall
it be the country and mankind and equal liber-
ty and steady loyalty which have gained by our
victory, or shall it be the rebellion which, de-
feated in the field, outwits us in the surrender?
And this is the question which the people un-
derstand, and have fully resolved to settle once