Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell, March 28, 1901
The negro slaves were illiterate and without education and were denied the right to vote. Then those who had the right to vote denied them education — it became a (legal) crime to teach a negro to read and write. He was not permitted to defend himself with a gun because he did not know how to shoot; and he was not permitted to learn how to shoot because he did not have a gun.
Your proposition simply means what is very obvious to a thoughtful mind, that the republican form of government cannot exist unless the mass of the people are educated. Therefore it follows as a natural consequence that you have only two alternatives (1) to abandon the Republican form of government (which you propose to do the moment you limit the suffrage); or to educate the mass of the people.
I believe in the republican form of government, and so believe in the compulsory education of the people at public expense. It is a dangerous precedent to establish — to take away from any individual HIS RIGHT TO PROTECT HIMSELF — and this is what you do when you deny him the right to vote. Revolutions — blood shed, assasination — have been the outcome in the past of denying