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Stone Collection: Volume 109 - Item 5
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Alfred H. Stone Collection
Volume: 109

5. Benjamin F. Butler, Civil Rights: Speech of Hon. Benjamin F. Butler, of Massachusetts, in the House of Representatives, January 7, 1874 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1874). (13 p.)

Speech in favor of a bill that would become the Civil Rights Act of 1875. After summarizing the service of African American soldiers in the Civil War, the speaker concludes his speech with these remarks. “Now, Mr. Speaker, these men have fought for their country; . . . they have shown themselves our equals in battle; as citizens they are kind, quiet, temperate, laborious; they have shown that they know how to exercise the right of suffrage which we have given to them, for they always vote right; they vote the republican ticket, and all of the powers of death and hell cannot persuade them to do otherwise. [Laughter.] They show that they knew better than their masters did, for they always knew how to be loyal. They have industry, they have temperance, they have all the good qualities of citizens, they have bravery, they have culture, they have power, they have eloquence. And who shall say that they shall not have what the Constitution gives them—equal rights? [Continued applause.]”