Apply it to your own State of Georgia, where there are 149,895 white women who can read and write, and 143,471 negro voters, of whom 116,516 are illiterates.
The time has come when this question should be considered. An educational qualification for suffrage may or may not be wise, but it is not necessarily unjust. If each voter governed only himself, his intelligence would concern himself alone, but his vote helps to govern. everybody else. Society in conceding his right has itself a right to require from him a suitable preparation. Ability to read and write is absolutely necessary as a means of obtaining accurate political information. Without it the voter is almost sure to become the tool of political demagogues. 'With free schools provided by the States, every citizen can qualify himself without money and without price. Under such circumstances there is no infringement of rights in requiring an educational qualification as a prerequisite of voting. Indeed, without this, suffrage is often little more than a name, "Suffrage is the authoritative exercise of rational choice in regard to principles, measures and men." The comparison of an unintelligent voter to a "trained monkey," who goes through the motion of dropping a paper ballot into, a box, has in it an element of truth. Society, therefore, has a right to prescribe, in the admission of any new class of voters, such a qualification as every one can attain and as will enable the voter to cast an intelligent and responsible vote.
In the development of our complex political society we have today two great bodies of illiterate citizens : In the North, people of foreign birth; in the South, people of the African race and a considerable portion of the native white population. Against foreigners and negroes, as such, we would not discriminate. But in every State, save one, there are more educated women than all the illiterate voters, white and black, native and foreign.