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.
Since this book was published the world has moved very rapidly, and the movement has bee strikingly in line with the course of events portrayed in the first edition. It was there said that woman suffrage was incompatible with sound republican government, and that it was allied to radical Socialism; it was shown that aristocratic tendencies and State Socialism were both favorable to woman suffrage; and these declarations have received fresh emphasis with the passing of time. Not one particle of progress has woman suffrage made anywhere in the world, except under one of both of these conditions, and usually it has come through an alliance with them. Socialistic paternalism finds its counterpart in aristocratic love of holding patronage. The same fact, that woman suffrage is incompatible with sound republican forms, is also to be seen in the defeats and setbacks that it has received in these passing years.
The United States has been startled lately by the sudden apparition of women who boastingly call themselves "militant Suffragists," and those who were not conversant with the beginnings of the movement during the French Revolution believed, erroneously, that they were witnessing a new thing under the sun. Woman Suffrage is the child of Rationalistic Communism, and the Suffragette is the natural exponent of that philosophy. At the Suffrage hearing at Albany in 1908 the element most in evidence was the Socialistic. From the Suffragist ranks came the cries: "Socialism is the Bible," "Socialism is religion." We have now a new and appalling phase of that movement which, in this country, in 1848, opened its batteries upon religion, upon government, upon the home.
Our recent visitor, Mrs. Cobden-Sanderson, who came as an apostle of Socialism, on her return to England said she could see little hope for woman suffrage in America, except through Socialism. England is now torn in a struggle with that destructive force which wrecked the ancient republics, which delayed for seventy years the founding of a republic in France, and which now threatens every progressive constitutional monarchy. The latest programme of English Socialist labor is set forth in a recent despatch from London:
James R. MacDonald, M. P. for Leicester, will submit resolutions including demands for the special taxation of State-conferred monopolies, increased estate and legacy duties, and a substantial beginning of the taxation of land-values. Other resolutions, all conceived in the advanced Socialistic spirit, will be submitted, proving that the Social Democratic leaders are determined to persevere in their efforts to make every trade union a Socialistic body. These resolutions demand State insurance for workmen, the maintenance of school children, a universal seven-hour day, the nationalization of land, railways, mines and hospitals, a minimum universal wage of 30 shillings ($7.50) a week and a universal adult franchise for males and females.
Strong and notable anti-suffrage societies have been formed in England. The first was organized in 1880, and among the signatures to the "Appeal" issued by it were those of Mrs. Leslie Stephen, Mrs. Huxley, Mrs. Spencer Walpole, Mrs. Matthew Arnold, Mrs. Max Muller, Mrs. Arnold Toynbee, Mrs. Bagehot, and Mrs. T. H. Green, widow of the historian. It is now shown by these societies that while important suffrage rights have been extended to women in county and borough councils, these do not owe their existence to woman-suffrage agitation, and that the voting of women has "notoriously meant little or nothing." The situation there, like our own, appears to prove that women are not reliable voters, and that the increasingly intelligent moral work must be planned so as to be in line with women's natural methods. The modern offensive demonstration of suffrage women in London has called forth a remonstrant spirit that is no less courageous while it is truly womanly in its action. Two large organizations exist. In one of them Mrs. Humphry Ward is a leader. She says: "We have reached, perhaps, the crisis of the movement, and an active propaganda must be met by one no less active." In 1907, in a few weeks, 37,000 signatures to a protest were secured, and in 1908 a "National Woman's Anti-Suffrage League" was formed, and its constitution and manifesto were adopted enthusiastically. The following is part of the manifesto:
"Because the influence of women in social causes will be diminished rather than increased by the possession of the parliamentary vote. At present they stand, in matters of social reform, apart from and beyond party politics, and are listened to accordingly. The legitimate influence of women in politics-in all classes, rich and poor-will always be in proportion to their education and common sense. But the deciding power of the parliamentary vote should be left to men, whose physical force is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the state.
"Because all the reforms which are put forward as reasons for the vote can be obtained by other means than the vote, as is proved by the general history of the laws relating to women and children during the past century. The channels of public opinion are always freely open to women.
"Because, finally, the danger which might arise from the concession of woman suffrage, in the case of a state burdened with such complex and far-reaching responsibilities as England, is out of all proportion to the risk run by those smaller communities which have adopted it. The admission to full political power of a number of voters debarred by nature and circumstances from the average political knowledge and experience open to men would weaken the central governing forces of the state, and be fraught with peril to the country."
Mrs. Ward, in a speech, after describing the critical situation in England to-day, continued: "Let us, then, meet energy with energy, and in a spirit of hope. There is nothing in this movement which cannot be defeated, as this manifesto points out. Woman's true sphere is already secured to her, both in the home and the state, and what she has to do now is to fill and possess it. For the brutalities and wrongs that remain, political force is no remedy."
One of the most significant of modern movements is the formation in England of an Anti-Woman-Suffrage Association composed of men of high character, statesmen and well-known scientists, among them Baron Lister, Sir James Crichton-Browne, Sir William Crookes, Sir James Dewar, Sir William Ramsey, and Sir Edwin Lankester. Additional scientific reseach has strengthened the testimony against the perverted function. This women question is equally a man question, and anti-suffrage workers should receive the open support of men who believe that we stand upon the solid foundation which asserts that true race union can come only through perfected variety.
The Commonwealth of Australia has had a stormy existence thus far, and appears to be held together by a loose tie. Soon after its inception the radical party came into power, and much of the legislation has borne its impress. The voting-clause of the constitution reads: "All persons twenty-one years of age, male or female, who have live in Australia for six months continuously, are native-born or naturalized subjects, and whose names are on the roll for any division, are entitled to vote at the elections of members of the House and Senate-except criminals, the insane," etc. This was modified later to read "resident for three years," as a qualification for voting for Senators. The vote of men in the Colonies is small, and that of women is remarkably small, in proportion to registration. The Governor-General, appointed by the King, may summon, prorogue, or dissolve the Federal Parliament. The executive power is vested in him and his Council of ministers, appointed by himself, and no woman sits there to participate in the final jurisdiction. The year books of the Colonies bear out the statement of a writer in the New York Sun for March 8, 1908, who says:
"Statistics recently published of the late Australian elections go to prove that in many instances the privilege of having a finger in the political pie is not yet appreciated at its full value. Only a fraction over 50 per cent. of those registered exercised their right in the Federal elections, of whom 56 per cent. were men and 44 per cent. women. With 145,473 enrolled electors, Western Australia cast only 56 per cent. of the registered number, and this, too, when provision is made for postal and absentee voting. Another point in these returns emphasizes the fact people most warmly appreciate the things that are withheld from them. The women of Victoria, so far, have failed to secure State suffrage, though they have been seeking it for years past. In the election recently held they used their influence to such purpose that they defeated four members who had held out for years against their bill. In the gold fields, where political questions are of absorbing interest to both men and women, a few of the women were not on the roll because they have no liking for such things; others regarded the vote as not within woman's sphere. Women who thought otherwise talked freely of how and why they voted, and it appears that the majority of them voted with their men folk. Among the middle class the women are far less interested in the question, and few are found ready to use the ballot. Many of them are indifferent to any phase of the question."
Victoria is apparently about to give women the Parliamentary suffrage, but it does not appear that the bill carries the right to a seat in either House. This new bill comes from the upper House, and will now be submitted to the Assembly, and as the radical labor party has been largely represented there for several years, it will probably pass. But there is a male qualification for membership in the upper House, so that the final governing body must still be composed of men. There is a small property or household qualification for voting, which is released in the case of British university graduates, certified schoolmasters, naval and military officers, barristers, physicians, and clergymen. Judges, clergymen, Government contractors, and insolvents are not eligible for seat in either house; and, while that restriction remains, women, being non-combatants, are not likely to be admitted. In the Assembly the Socialist element secured the balance of power in 1901, and as a result of this, old-age pensions, Government settlement, municipal ownership, Government employment for labor, state banks, state loans, state aid to philanthropic institutions, Government hospitals and other Socialistic schemes, which are crushing out independence and individual responsibility, are being tried. In each municipality Councillors are chosen annually, and woman property-owners are qualified to vote for them; but they are not eligible to become Councillors. Victoria was once the most progressive and intelligent of the Colonies, and it appears that in both state and municipal affairs she still makes provision for natural and necessary defense by retaining men in legislative and executive seats.
Western Australia has joined the woman-suffrage column, and its record is sufficiently set forth in the paragraph quoted above from The Sun.
Official announcement has been made of the total failure of the settlements of South Australia. Where the Government gave $400,000, it has but $45,000 in return.
As to New Zealand-half aristocratic and half Socialistic-the Royal Governor is the real executive officer. He can appoint or dismiss the ministry, can assent to bills or withhold them, summon, prorogue or dissolve Parliament, send drafts of bills to either House, and return bills to either House for amendment. He has, under royal commission, an executive Council of not fewer than ten, who are appointed to serve for seven years, subject to re-appointment. The House of Representatives is elected by the votes, under a property qualification, of all men and women, both British and Maoris. Maori men are eligible to seats in this House, but neither British nor Maori women are. Surely this can hardly be called possession of "full parliamentary suffrage." In 1908 the Legislative Council rejected, by a unanimous vote, a bill providing for the election of an upper House by the Assembly, according to one clause of which woman electors were to be eligible to seats in the upper House. In New Zealand the Socialistic schemes that have run riot the past few years have not advanced the real political opportunities of woman or the betterment of the people, and woman suffrage is in a decline.
In 1907 nineteen women were elected to the Diet in Finland, eleven of whom were radical Socialists. The following are some of their declarations: Miss Lucian Hagman, directress of a high school for girls in Helsingfors, says: "I shall stand for a civil and free marriage, and equal for illegitimate children. It shall be sufficient to make marriage legal when a man and a woman declare before a gathering that they will be man and wife, and no church or court sanction will be needed. There should be the same facilities in cases of divorce. The real nuptial tie does not lie in the ceremony, or in some legal contract, but in the love of the married couple." Mrs. Sillinpaa, another member, who is editor of a woman's Socialist newspaper in Helsingfors, says: "My aim is to unite all women in a strong political body, and then to have them urge their employers, and men whom they can influence, to work for every thing the Union of women is in favor of. More than 70 per cent. of the women are already organized. Thirty per cent. more, and our goal is reached. Our every demand must be satisfied. When all the working women of the country are united, we shall be the rulers of the entire country, and then we shall decide what shall be the proper programme to carry out." The Finns are a mixed population, with inharmonious elements. The census of 1900 showed that there were 2,856,038 more women than men, and many of the women are active in all undertakings. But the government is in the hands of men, for the Grand Duke of Russia can at any time dissolve the Diet, and this he did with the one under consideration, cutting short its three years term of natural life. In the Diet elected in 1908, out of the 200 members chosen, 26 were women. The first bill publicly accredited to them was a demand for the legitimizing of all children born out of wedlock, a radical step toward the bringing in of that Socialist Utopia to the establishment of which marriage and the individual home are declared to be insurmountable obstacles. Under Swedish rule, Finland enjoyed great freedom, and in fighting for release from Russian oppression the Constitutionalists and the Social Democrats made common cause for a time; but after a constitution was secured dissensions arose. The Constitutionalists desired the status quo under the Swedish rule, and the Socialists wished to popularize the state. Hence a radical system was provided for on a basis of direct, universal, proportional suffrage.
The country of next suffrage notoriety is Norway. In 1907 women received the Parliamentary vote and became eligible for seats in Parliament; but thus far these seats have been unoccupied. When Norway separated from Sweden she did not become a republic, but elected a King, who exercises the executive authority through a Council of State, appointed by himself. The King deplores the havoc that radical ideas are making in his domain. Socially, Norway's condition is in one respect deplorable, for marriage relations are corrupt even in the cultivated and respectable circles. Norwegian woman suffrage is anti-republican in its provisions. The unicameral Parliament, the Storthing, on June 14, 1907, rejected, by a vote of 73 to 47, a bill giving universal suffrage to women, but they adopted by a 4 to 1 majority a bill giving them the parliamentary franchise under the municipal franchise conditions. A woman of twenty-five, who is taxed on an income of $113 in a city, and on $84 in the country, has this vote.
There is "something rotten in Denmark," which caused it to give women a local, tax-paying vote in 1908. Mrs. Ida Husted Harper, in a letter from Copenhagen, printed in the Boston Transcript of August 11, 1900, said: "In attempting to organize an International Suffrage Alliance an embarrassing situation has been encountered in the fact that the movement is in many parts of Europe in the hands of the Socialists-not of the moderate type, which for the most part represent Socialism in America- but the radical and extreme class, who would overturn absolutely the existing institutions, among them that of marriage. Woman suffrage is a logical part of their programme, but they ask for it only in connection with their other demands, and these include measures which the leaders of the International work could not possibly tolerate." Every day has added emphasis to the truth of Mrs. Harper's statement, and the wave of extreme Socialism has now touched our shores.
There are two countries in which striking emphasis is given to the fact that woman suffrage is inconsistent with true republican forms. These are Hungary and Russia. In 1907 the movement for greater constitutional freedom for Hungary swept away the feudal right of women, who are large landed proprietors, to a proxy male vote in Parliament. An effort was made, by its advocates, to introduce woman suffrage amid the reform measures, but they failed. Speaking for the Government, the Minister of the Interior said that all attempts to introduce woman suffrage on the Continent had failed, especially where universal suffrage had been introduced. Universal man suffrage was given in Hungary, and at the same time a proposal was rejected which would have given a vote to women who were carrying on business independently or who possessed an annual income of $200.
The lesson from Russia is even more suggestive. In that country there has been woman suffrage ever since the formation of the Empire. Just the right conditions for it existed-people who loved individual freedom under a system partly communal and partly despotic. There is no individual ownership among the body of the people. They are grouped in villages, and the community land is assigned to each family, in proportion to its working ability. Every householder or tax-payer is a voter, and they elect one of their number to be local executive. A group of villages elects officers for the group, and so on, up to the Duma, which is responsible directly to the Crown. All men are compelled to do military duty. When a constitution was proclaimed, in 1905, and the Duma was called together to ratify it, most of the parties included the voting of women as a traditional and necessary incident. The party absolutely opposed to it was the Moderate Liberals, the only true Constitutionalists in the body. After that meeting the woman-suffrage proposal was dropped, and for two years nothing has been heard of it in the Duma, while the men universally now seem opposed to it. The middle-class Russian is a republican at heart, as long-continued sympathy with the United States has shown us.
Switzerland has not permitted any advance on the slight, local, tax-paying vote in one or two Cantons; although the unrepublican method of voting through initiative and referendum, which is being tried, would make such action easier.
The republic of France, also, has no woman suffrage except that several years ago the privilege of voting for members of the Chamber of Commerce was given to women that carry on independent business. How greatly this working of women outside the home is endangering the nation's life may be judged by the fact that the population is decreasing at an appalling rate. In 1907 there were 32,878 fewer births than in 1906, and there was an excess of 19,920 deaths over births. The appearance on the scene of the French suffragette carries us back to the Revolution, when the leaders of the female clubs who besieged the Assemblies with the first cry of "votes for women," by their terrible excesses added terror to the Reign of Terror itself. The present suffrage leader is Madeline Pelletier, M.D., and she invaded the Assembly to demand a bill that would enable women to do military service, "that they might learn the necessity for violence."
The truest test of the question whether woman suffrage is good and natural under sound republican conditions is to be found in the situation concerning it in the United States, and here constitutional franchise, which is the only significant suffrage, not only has made no advance but has lost ground. It may be seen by reference to page 31 of this book that the conditions under which woman suffrage came into Colorado were most undemocratic. That it has proved incompatible with republican forms, is shown in the fact that Colorado women are now seldom elected to public office. It is denied that the evils predicted of woman suffrage have been realized; but it remains true that woman suffrage has brought no social, legal, or industrial betterment to women, or to the State, while it has brought social and domestic discord. The woman "boss" has been developed, an the political use made of the vote of the women of evil life has cost the State the loss of the honorable prestige it once enjoyed. The best men and women of Denver would gladly rid themselves of the incubus.
The general condition of the State is an object-lesson against any further extension of woman suffrage; and it is not to be wondered at that the College Woman's Suffrage League has not yet ventured to publish the report of Colorado conditions, for which material was gathered three years ago, paid for, in part, by anti-suffragists!
I append part of one of the many testimonies that have come to my knowledge from unprejudiced sources, all of which tell the same significant story. The extracts are from a letter addressed to the officers of the New York State Anti-Suffrage Association by President Alston Ellis, of Ohio University, at Athens, Ohio. He says:
"I was a resident of Colorado when the Constitution of the State was amended so as to admit women to full voting privileges. Most of us who voted for that amendment were, at that time, of opinion that the change would be promotive of civic reform and a general betterment of public affairs. Without going into details, as I am not prepared to do at this time, I would say the hope of those for a betterment of affairs through Woman Suffrage was not realized in any measure. The fact is, the women of Colorado cut no figure in the administration of public affairs outside of those connected directly with educational interests. There seems to be an agreement on the part of the leaders of all political parties to give woman a large share in the educational offices, and to keep them out of all others. Under the conditions named, educational interest are almost wholly under the control of women, and as a teacher of many years experience I cannot regard that condition of affairs as conducive to the best interests of the children of the State. In most Colorado counties women are at the head of the county schools, and the result is not as helpful to educational interests as could be desired. The fact is, women are not fitted to run all around the country districts in a wild country, at all times of the year, and do the work that a country supervisor of schools ought to do. In political offices the women almost invariably hold subordinate positions and exert no influence either for good or for evil. In the cities and larger towns there is a voting element, a certain class of women, that do a great deal of harm. The tricky politician knows how to use these people and they are used many times for very unworthy ends."
As to the other suffrage States, not even the growing power of the Mormon church has been able to cause any extension of woman suffrage. That church is responsible for the introduction of woman suffrage into two States, and the woman vote may be used for or against that deadly foe to free institutions; but the opposition as yet makes little headway,and Mormon women have helped to return Reed Smoot to the United States Senate. As for Wyoming, its woman vote appear to be "out of the map," unless it is of importance to Mormonism. Wyoming women do not appear to hold even local office, or to serve on juries, or vote enough to say so. They have not brought about either reform or revolution.
The women of Idaho possessed a unique opportunity. Eight per cent, of this population is Gentile. If woman, according to prediction, used her vote for higher and more independent moral ends than man, she should at least have been a check upon the Mormon Church, which continues to hold the balance of political power in the State. But it is not apparent that the women of Idaho have exerted the slightest good influence in any direction.
One singular phase of our national life is the introduction into several States of a small, tax-paying vote for men on local money questions in villages and towns. This is so un-American that one casts about for some political reason that does not appear on the surface. With it has come a still more restricted tax-paying vote for women-for husband and wife cannot vote on the basis of the same property, and his vote takes precedence of hers. Among the many objections to a tax-paying vote are these: The direct tax-payer is not the real tax-payer, for the tax comes from the renter or user. The tenant and the boarder pay the tax of the landlord, but, if there is any benefit in the vote, they do not receive it. The truth is that representation for taxation is tyranny, because it would lead back to the old rule of the rich and powerful over the poor and weak; and suffragists who urge it because they believe it to be an entering wedge to full suffrage, show that they are willing to stultify themselves; for their most specious cry has been "equal rights to all, and special privileges to none." A tax-paying franchise secures special privilege to tax-paying women. The phrase quoted has always come with bad grace from suffragists who, while they demand suffrage, expect to continue to enjoy the privilege of exemption from all the duties that are necessary to make the franchise effective. An added injustice and inequality would be evident when the tax-paying woman, voting on the basis of her property, expected her non-tax-paying masculine neighbor to protect her property in case of burglary, fine or riot. The next thought is, that the tax-payer's vote should be made proportional. If property is the basis, then indisputably the rich owner or the rich tenant should have more votes than the poor one.
The tax-paying suffrage does not touch the real question of the principle of constitutional suffrage, for it is a State or local matter, subject to abolition by State or village authorities. Woman tax-payers appear to realize the fact that their interests are better safeguarded than they could by any such change, for they not have made no demonstration in favor of extension of a tax-paying woman's vote, but they have freely signed anti-suffrage protests against this form of vote. In several of the States, tax-paying bills for women have been defeated of late years.
Kansas at last seems to have "something the matter with her," for after standing firmly against any advance toward constitutional suffrage, and even, in 1905, making a decided effort to abolish the present municipal suffrage for women, she has passed a bill giving women a small bond tax-paying vote.
Sound republicanism in this country, has not only made no advance in the matter of school-suffrage bills, but school-suffrage bills have been defeated in several States, and Kentucky has abolished her widow's school vote. An article appeared in The Nineteenth Century (London) for November, 1904, which states our case fairly. It says: "The number of women who avail themselves of this privilege is so small that no ground seems to exist for asking its extension. In Connecticut the proportion of votes to voters is one per cent. In Massachusetts, under ordinary circumstances, it is not more than three or four." The school vote is everywhere a negligible quantity, despite the efforts of suffragists. It is a burden, financially and morally, and it is time women who could give intelligent attention, studied the real needs of the public schools, and sought to help in the proper way.
Socialist radicals of every school have sprung up among us; yes, and of every college, for the college Socialist is abroad in the land as well as the Christian, the parlor, the kitchen and the back-shed Socialist. The latter contingent lately, with a woman-suffrage plank in their platform, placed on that tottering foundation a criminal as their candidate for the office of President of the United States. The Christian Socialist began by declaring that Christ could be honored only through Socialism, and passed immediately to neglect of Christ in order to honor Debs. In the Socialist campaign book for 1900 it is said "An organization of College Socialist has been formed, with branches in almost every institution of advanced learning in this country, and counts its total adherents by hundreds. The day is now almost at hand when the American universities, like those of Europe, will be centers of Socialist propaganda." Incidents like that of Professor Herron, of recent "affinity" fame, emphasize the probability of this statement. From College Socialist headquarters in New York men and women keep up an active campaign of education in the tenets of Karl Marx and Bebel and Zueblin. Correspondence Schools and Socialist Sunday Schools have been opened. The truth is, that woman suffrage is not an end unto itself; it is increasingly the instrument of Socialism. The end professedly sought, more and more openly, by the true leaders, is the overthrow of the whole present social order, abolition of religion, of government, of the marriage relation, and of the home. As in the Republic of Athens the state came to be substituted for the gods as an object of reverence, and decay came swiftly, so now Christianity is in a hand-to-hand struggle with the same force. We need not fear, but we do need to strain every nerve that Christ may not be dishonored in the house of his friends.
It remains to sum up, as briefly as possible, the defeats suffered by woman-suffrage proposals of one kind and another in the past twelve years. A few of these relate to school suffrage, showing that a franchise that was gladly experimented with has not been successful. A few of the defeats are of tax-paying proposals, proving, also, that a halt has been called in that direction.
In 1897 suffrage was defeated in California, Connecticut (three proposals), Delaware (two bills), Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts (four bills), Missouri, Montana, Nebraska (two bills), Nevada, New York and Oklahoma.
In 1898 such proposals were defeated in Massachusetts (four bills), Ohio, Kentucky, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington.
In 1899 there were such defeats in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois (three bills), Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts (three bills), New Mexico, New York (two bills), Nevada, Oklahoma, Missouri, Washington and West Virginia.
In 1900 the defeats were in Iowa, Massachusetts (several), New York (two bills), Ohio, Oregon and Vermont.
In 1901 they were suffered in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts (two bills), New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
In 1902 the record showed defeats in Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts (four bills), New York and Vermont (three bills).
In 1903 defeats were recorded in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois (three bills), Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, West Virginia (two bills) and Wisconsin.
The year 1904 has the following list; Iowa (two bills), Massachusetts (two bills), New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont.
In 1905 there were defeats in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
In 1906 there were defeats in Iowa, Massachusetts (three bills), New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.
In 1907 the defeats were in California, Connecticut, Illinois (three proposals), Indiana (two proposals), Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts (two proposals), Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York (two proposals), Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
In 1908 they were as follows: In Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana (two proposals), Massachusetts (two proposals), Michigan, New York, Ohio (two proposals), Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.
This gives a total of 164 defeats, an average of one every 27 days for 12 years.
It will be noticed that the suffrage cause has been most constantly defeated where it has been best and longest known; its headquarters having been established in Massachusetts forty years ago. Anti-suffrage work among women has also been longest established in that State. In 1868 two hundred women of Lancaster, Massachusetts, presented a petition to their Legislature praying that it would refrain from forcing the vote upon women, because "it would diminish the purity, the dignity, and the moral influence of woman, and bring into the family circle a dangerous element of discord." In March, 1869, Hon. George W. Julian, in behalf of suffragists, submitted a joint resolution in Congress, which proposed a sixteenth constitutional amendment by which women should be enfranchised. This action drew forth earnest protests. The first came from Oberlin, Ohio. The next was a movement inaugurated by Madeleine Vinton Dahlgren, widow of Admiral Dahlgren, Mrs. Sherman, wife of Gen. William T. Sherman, and Mrs. Almira Lincoln Phelps, sister of Emma Willard. Their Protest bore the names of fifteen thousand women, many of them notable, drawn from every walk of American life. The following were the reasons given for the action: "Because Holy Scripture inculcates a different and, for us, a higher sphere apart from public life. Because as women we find a full measure of duties and responsibilities devolving upon us, and we are therefore unwilling to bear other and heavier burdens, and those unsuited to our physical organization. Because we hold that an extension of the suffrage would be adverse to the interests of the working women of the country, with whom we heartily sympathize. Because these changes must introduce a fruitful element of discord in the existing marriage relation, which would tend to the detriment of children, and increase the already alarming prevalence of divorce throughout the land. Because no general law, affecting the condition of all women, should be framed to meet exceptional discontent." These are fundamental truths, just as cogent to-day as they were when those patriotic women uttered them.
In January, 1878, Hon. A. A. Sargent, for the Suffragists, submitted to Congress an amendment, which was referred to the Committee on Privileges and Elections, which gave hearings to the petitioners. Mrs. Dahlgren presented a petition in behalf of the Anti-Suffragists. This read, in part: "Gentlemen, this grave question is not one of simple expediency or the reverse; it might properly be held, were that the case, as a legitimate subject for agitation. Our reasons for dissent to this dangerous inroad upon all precedent lie deeper and strike higher. A sophism in legislation is not a mere abstraction; it must speedily bear fruit in material results of the most disastrous nature, and we implore your honorable committee, in behalf of our common country, not to open a Pandora's box by way of experiment, from which so much evil must issue, and which, once opened, may never again be closed."
Contrast this patriotic sentiment with the attitude of the Suffrage Association. In their National Convention held in Iowa, in 1897, the committee on Federal Suffrage read a report which was in part as follows: "At our last annual convention, in Washington city, the members of our National Woman Suffrage Association adopted a resolution to petition Congress to secure to the women of this Nation, by appropriate legislation, the full rights of citizenship guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the United States. And in compliance with this resolution the chairman of the Federal Suffrage Committee has written a memorial and had it presented to Congress in behalf of the members of our National Association. The memorial petitions Congress to protect the white and black women citizens of the United States, equally with its men citizens, against the statutes of the States, in the right to vote for members of Congress and electors of the President and Vice-President of the United States." The report was unanimously accepted, and Miss Anthony declared it was the very best report on the subject to which she had ever listened.
Consider the situation. The full right of citizenship to men did not carry with it any voting right, as Miss Anthony could see proof of in the fact that the men of the District of Columbia could not vote, though they were full citizens, and could be called upon for every duty of a male citizen. The Association, also, was willing to urge Congress to admit all the mass of ignorant black women to the electorate; and, thirdly, they proposed to do this against the statutes of the States, when the Constitution guarantees to each State the right to determine the qualification for its voters without Congressional interference. When Miss Anthony's attention was called to the fact that Congress could not constitutionally grant their request, she answered, "then let them do it unconstitutionally." These would-be law-makers were willing to be law-breakers to attain their end. When the Anti-Suffrage protest was presented there was reason for it. During the period of reconstruction a claim was made that the government was resolved into its original elements. This, of course, was not true, and soon ceased to be mentioned, but even to-day the Suffrage Association is preparing for a vigorous campaign on this unconstitutional claim.
The Anti-Suffrage Association published a journal at Baltimore for two years, and only gave it up because they considered that its mission of national protest was accomplished.
The Anti-Suffrage work in Massachusetts was taken up by an Association founded by Mrs. H.O. Houghton, wife of the well-known publisher. Associated with her were Mrs. Charles E. Guild, sister of President Eliot, and a strong body of progressive and sensible women. The State is well-organized, and the Association at present has 14,000 active and interested members. They publish a journal, The Remonstrance, which is now issued quarterly.
In the year of our last Constitutional Convention, in New York State, a strong Anti-Suffrage Association was formed in New York City, which obtained 17,000 signatures to a protest of women resident in the State, over twenty-one years of age. The organization has continued to publish and distribute literature, to send protests to the legislature, and do valuable inter-State work as need arose. it has now been chartered, and has opened headquarters at 29 West 39th street. It has branches in Brooklyn, Albany, Buffalo and Mount Morris, and committees in Syracuse, Rochester and other places. The Albany Branch publishes a quarterly magazine, The Anti-Suffragist, which has met with immediate recognition.
There are Anti-Suffrage Associations in several of the States, formed in response to some immediate crisis in each State. The Illinois Association, centered in Chicago, has carried on a very active literary propaganda.
In New York City two organizations, different from the others, have been inaugurated. One of them, The Guidon, is a small club for historic study of government and for discussion. It has now three branches. The other is doing the most important work yet attempted. It is the formation of a "National League for the Civic Education of Women." It aims to meet, through public lectures and addresses, and through published literature and private discussion and training, the need for more expensive knowledge of the grounds on which American women base their objection to the suffrage movement, and for the purpose of giving women means of obtaining information bearing on their rights, responsibilities, and economic position. It is chartered, and has opened headquarters at 222 Madison avenue. Its first series of lectures is progressing. They have been fully attended and well received.
Two thoughts seem to be especially suggested by this brief rsum of the woman-suffrage situation throughout the world, and of its opposition and defeats. One is, that the reiterated cry, "suffrage is coming," is a fallacy. For disproof of this, consider the figures on pages 347-'8. Everywhere, amid sound, progressive conditions, woman suffrage has either not advanced or is retreating. If Socialism is coming, bringing moral and political negation and chaos, then woman suffrage is coming; for Socialism proclaims that woman suffrage is its corner stone; but not otherwise. Light was the earth's first evidence of escape from chaos, and the emblem of beauty and order and immortal love is the arch of light that spans the sky. But perverted light is the world's greatest deceiver, and thrown against the clouds are Utopias that have no existence except from the perverted rays of lights, and when the mirage has faded it has carried with it the visionary's faith. Such a mirage is Socialism. It is truth seen upside down, and therefore falsehood.
The other thought concerns another constantly repeated phrase, which can be proved to be a fallacy. This is the expression "when women demand the ballot they will get it." Man is no more almighty than is woman. He is bound the laws of his nature. The ballot in his hands is the emblem and instrument of individual sovereignty, but it is only this. His fathers and brothers, in order to obtain the reality, were obliged to risk life, fortune and honor in the Revolution, in the Dorr war, in the war of 1812, and in the Civil war. He has been compelled to admit to the franchise men who could otherwise obtain it as the English workmen have, by threatened insurrection, and the say-so of Congress itself has not secured the suffrage to the black man who has not been strong enough to rise in self-assertion and self-defense. Man cannot, therefore, make over half his sovereignty to woman, for sovereignty is divisible only among those with like qualification for its exercise. To divide is to surrender. Woman in Colorado does not posses sovereignty, and that she realizes this is shown by her announcement that as she is shut out by the political parties when will form one of her own. "Equal suffrage" between men and women is a misnomer, and the attempt to secure it is a farce. During the Presidential election of 1908 we had evidence of what republican government really is. Amid the deepest suppressed excitement this great nation passed a day of orderly serenity. A vigilant, intelligent, and efficient body of citizen soldiery stood quietly behind constitutional law, and faith knew wherein it trusted. Government has reached equilibrium in regulated, universal manhood suffrage, and it brings assurance that, under it, woman can exert her full powers, for herself and her country, in protected freedom.
H. K J.
New York, January, 1909.
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[Postscript/1909 Postscript/1913 Reviews]
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