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Student Activities:

1. Look at the 1865 “Negro Suffrage in Wisconsin” article. Examine the titles of the other articles that appeared in that day’s Daily Milwaukee News ( listed in the left column). Can you deduce anything about the newspaper’s point of view on race issues, or about its sympathies during the Civil War, without even reading any of those articles?

  • 2.

    What does the article say has just happened in the referendum? Who won?

  • 3.

    Why does the author object to the Gillespie lawsuit in the final paragraph? What premises

lead up to his conclusion?

4. If the majority of voters in a community choose something, shouldn’t their decision be respected? What if the majority want the drinking age to be 30? What if they want redhaired people not to vote, or people who don’t speak English, or women, or people who have annual incomes less than $50,000? Should the will of the majority always be respected? If not, list three reasons why it should not.

5. Is there anything in the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights that supports your answer to question number 4? You can see these at www.ourdocuments.gov

6. The Gillespie decision relied on interpretation of the state constitution’s language. The 1865 “Negro Suffrage in Wisconsin” article interprets the language one way. The decision of the Supreme Court quoted in the last paragraphs of the 1897 “First Colored Voter” article interpreted it differently. Restate in your own words the main points of each of these opposing arguments. Which one do you find more persuasive?

7. How do those argument apply, if they do, to the question of women’s suffrage? Take a stand for or against women’s right to vote that uses some of the same premises.

8th Grade Standards Addressed 8.1, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6

12th Grade Standards Addressed 12.1, 12.2, 12.4, 12.6, 12.18


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