Education: Document Showcase: 19th century African American voting rights

Transcription of proposed New York Constitution, 1867-68 excerpt

In Convention February 28, 1868

Resolved, That this Constitution be submitted at such time as the Legislature shall provide, to be voted upon in the following manner:

Each elector shall be allowed to vote two ballots, which shall be deposited in separate boxes; one ballot shall be endorsed "Constitution," and contain on the inside when folded, the words, "For the amended Constitution" or "Against the amended Constitution."

One ballot shall be endorsed "Constitution - Property Qualification," to contain on the inside when folded, the words "For the Property Qualification for men of color," or "Against the Property Qualification for men of color," and no vote cast endorsed "Constitution" shall affect the question of Property Qualification for men of color.

If a majority of the votes cast, endorsed "Constitution" shall contain on the inside the words "For the amended Constitution" then the proposed Constitution shall be, the Constitution of the State of New York, except as the same may be modified by the result of the vote on the property qualifications as hereinafter provided. But if a majority of the votes cast so endorsed, shall contain on the inside the words "against the amended Constitution" then the proposed Constitution shall be declared rejected and the present Constitution, except the provision relating to men of color shall remain in full force.

If a majority of the ballots cast endorsed "Constitution - Property Qualification" shall contain on the inside the words "For the property qualifications for men of color," then the words following, viz.: "but no man of color unless he shall have been for three years a citizen of this State, and for one year next preceding any election, shall have been seized and possessed of a freehold estate of the value of two hundred and fifty dollars, over and above all the debts and incumbrances charged thereon, and shall have been actually rated and paid a tax thereon, shall be entitled to vote at such election. And no person of color shall be subject to direct taxation unless he shall be seized and possessed of such real estate as aforesaid," shall remain a part of the Constitution, and if the proposed Constitution shall be adopted, shall be added to the end of the section one of the second article thereof; but if a majority of the votes cast, so endorsed, shall contain the words "Against the property qualification for men of color," then the words above quoted shall be no part of the Constitution.

W. A. Wheeler
President

Luther Coldwell
Secretary