From Woman and the Republic by Helen Kendrick Johnson. This edition originally published in 1913.
The etext has been reformatted, redesigned and hyperlinked to add to its usefulness as a research document.
This version: Copyright © 2000 Jone Johnson Lewis. All Rights Reserved.
In the opening of this volume I have given it as my opinion that the movement to obtain the elective franchise for woman is not in harmony with those through which woman and government have made progress. I have spoken of the marvellous forward impulse that has marked the passage of the last half-century, and have mentioned the growth of religious liberty, the founding of foreign and home missions, the extinction of slavery, the temperance movement, the settlement of the West, the opening of the professions and trades to women, the progress of mechanical invention, the sudden advance of science, the civil war, and the natural play of free conditions, us among the causes of this impulse. I have pointed out the fact that the Suffrage movement has nearly reached its semi-centennial year, and has made a record by which its relation to these progressive forces can be judged, and I have a appealed from the repetition of its claims to the verdict of its accomplishment.
In the second chapter I have considered the growth of republican forms the world over, and endeavored, to show that the dogma of Woman Suffrage is fundamentally at war with true democratic principles, and that, practically, woman suffrage has been allied with despotism, monarchy, and ecclesiastical oppression on the one hand, and with the powers of license and misrule that assail republican government on the other.
In the third chapter I attempt to prove this further by a study of the origin of the Suffrage movement, and by its relation of the Government of the United States. I try to refute the two propositions which it has put forth as solid resting-ground for woman's claim to the elective franchise in this land-"Taxation without representation is tyranny," and "There is no just government without the consent of the governed." I have also set forth the different between municipal and constitutional suffrage, and shown that the extension of school suffrage, so far from being stepping-stone to full suffrage, affords another evidence that such full suffrage is unprogressive and undemocratic. It is held that regulated, universal manhood suffrage is the natural and only safe basis of government.
In the fourth chapter I consider the early relation of the Suffrage movement to the causes of anti-slavery and temperance. I also discuss the attitude of the Suffrage leaders during the civil war, and indicate that the Suffrage movement was not patriotic, and was a hindrance to emancipation and reform.
The fifth chapter treats of the connection of the Suffrage movement with the change that has taken place in the laws, and it contains a synopsis of the present laws of New York regarding women. From this study it appears that the Suffrage movement did not originate the change in the laws; that many changes most vigorously urged by its associations never have been enacted; and that change of laws has not been so much sought as a voice upon change of laws-the fact being, that the vote per se has been urged as the panacea for all woman's wrongs.
The sixth chapter deals with Woman Suffrage and the trades. It shows that this movement was not instrumental in opening the trades to women; that the conditions of industrial life are not changed in such essentials as would involve a change of sex relation to Government; and that, so far from altering the basis of government, industrialism has introduced new problems of such gave import that security in the enforcement of law is doubly necessary. It shows, furthermore, that socialistic labor has been naturally the friend of Woman Suffrage, while the safer and sounder organization have extended sympathetic help to woman.
The seventh chapter discusses the connection of Woman Suffrage with the professions. It aims to show that here, too, suffrage has not been necessary to gain, for women who were fitted to hold it, an honorable place; and, in regard to the places they have not yet entered, it is held that the impulse must come from within. It is argued that, in the professions, as in the trades, Suffrage effort has hindered more than it has helped, and that in the West its practical working is the most damaging thing that has attended woman's real progress.
The eighth chapter considers the connection of Woman Suffrage with education. Its conclusions are, that not education, but coeducation, was the persistent demand of Suffragists, and that woman's advancement in college and university was wrought out by the impulse gained from women who opposed the Suffrage idea, and made practical by men to who also that idea was repugnant. It is suggested that women who could prepare and defend the ignorant Suffrage Woman's Bible have no right to utter a syllable in protest of the educational ideas of men and women who are competent to speak on the subject, and whose verdict has been, on the whole, for separate study during collegiate age, wherever such could be afforded, while it is not disputed that coeducation has its place and its uses.
The ninth chapter presents Woman Suffrage in its relation to the church. It first discusses, briefly, a few points in the Suffrage Woman's Bible, published in New York in 1895. This is a commentary on such passages in the Pentateuch as relate to women, and the title "Rev." is prefixed to four names of editors on its title-page. This book, or rather a book of which this is the first instalment, was promised by Suffrage writers and speakers from the beginning. It is considered to contain the consummate blossom of the mind that first expounded the Suffrage theory-the mind that grasped it as a whole, in its full meaning and intent, and never has wavered in expression as to its ultimate object and the means by which that objects is to be sought. This chapter sets forth, in few words, the present writer's view of woman in the creation, and of St. Paul's attitude toward woman. The chapter further discusses woman's early preaching in this country, and shows that it has not been such as to build up religion or the state, but has been such as to suggest that, while the possibilities of her nature tend to make her supreme in capacity to point the way to higher regions, it also contains qualities that may render her peculiarly dangerous as a public leader.
The tenth chapter, entitled "Woman Suffrage and Sex," alludes briefly to the social evil, and then discusses the Suffrage ideas in regard to sex as explained by bothe their older and more recent writers. It discusses the disabilities of sex in relation to the suffrage-the difficulties in the way of jury duty, police duty, and office-holding -and draws the conclusion that the fulfillment of such necessary work of the voting citizen is practically an impossibility for woman, and has been formed to be so in the Western States.
The eleventh chapter has for its title "Woman Suffrage and the Home." It sets forth the belief that the Suffrage movement strikes a blow squarely at the home and the marriage relation, and that the ballot is demanded by its most representative leaders for the purpose of making woman independent of the present social order. It argues that communism is the natural ally of Suffrage, and that, as homes did not spring out of the ground, they will not remain where men and women alter the mutual relations out of which the institution of home has slowly grown.
The general conclusion of the book is, that woman's relation to the Republic is as important as man's. Woman deals with the beginnings of life; man, with the product made from those beginnings; and this fact marks the difference in their spheres, and reveals woman's immense advantage in moral opportunity. It also suggests the incalculable loss in case her work is not done or ill done. In a ruder age the evident value of power that could deal with developed force was most appreciated; but such is not now the case. It lies with us to prove that education, instead of causing us to attempt work that belongs even less to the cultivated woman than to the ignorant, is fitting us to train up statesmen who will be the first to do us honor. The American Republic depends finally for its existence and its greatness upon the virtue and ability of American womanhood. If our ideals are mistaken or unworthy, then there will be ultimately no republic for men to govern or defend. When women are Buddhists, the men build up an empire of India. When women are Mohammedans, the men construct an Empire of Turkey. When women are Christians, men can conceive and bring into being a Republic like the United States. Woman is to implant the faith, man is to cause the Nation's faith to show itself in works. More and more these duties overlap, but they cannot become interchangeable while sex continues to divide the race into the two halves of what should become a perfect whole. Woman Suffrage aims to sweep away this natural distinction, and make humanity a mass of individuals with an indiscriminate sphere. The attack is now bold and now subtle, now malicious and now mistaken; but it is at all times an attack. The greatest danger with which this land is threatened comes from the ignorant and persistent zeal of some of its women. They abuse the freedom under which they live, and to gain an impossible power would fain destroy the Government that alone can protect them. The majority of women have no sympathy with this movement; and in their enlightenment, and in the consistent wisdom of our men, lies hope of defeating this unpatriotic, unintelligent, and unjustifiable assault upon the integrity of the American Republic.
New York, March, 1897.
[I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII]
[Table of Contents Index]