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Why Women Should Vote

Historical Perspective

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An editorial from the Hearst Newspapers, written by Arthur Brisbane. Not dated, but probably about 1917.

In this country and throughout the world women progress toward the full possession of the ballot, and toward equality with men in educational facilities.

In one State after another women are beginning to practise law, they are obtaining new suffrage rights, they flock to newly opened schools and colleges.

In England and Scotland, but a few years ago, only a few men in the population were allowed to vote--money was the requisite quality. To-day, in those countries, women vote at county elections, and in many cases at municipal elections. In Utah, Colorado and Idaho women as voters have the same rights as men. They have certain rights as voters in nine other States. In the great Commonwealth of New Zealand, so far ahead of all the rest of the world in humanity and social progress, the wife votes absolutely as her husband does.

The woman who votes becomes an important factor in life, for a double reason. In the first place, when a woman votes the candidate must take care that his conduct and record meet with a good woman's approval, and this makes better men of the candidates.

In the second place, and far more important, is this reason:

When women shall vote, the political influence of the good men in the community will be greatly increased. There is no doubt whatever that women, in their voting, will be influenced by the men whom they know. But there is also no doubt that they will be influenced by the GOOD men whom they know.

Men can deceive each other much more easily than they can deceive women -- the latter being providentially provided with the X-ray of intuitional perception.

The blustering politician, preaching what he does not practise, may hold forth on the street corner or in a saloon, and influence the votes of others as worthless as himself. But among women his home life will more than offset his political influence.

The bad husband may occasionally get the vote of a deluded or frightened wife, but he will surely lose the votes of the wives and daughters next door.

Voting by women will improve humanity, because IT WILL COMPEL MEN TO SEEK AND EARN THE APPROVAL OF WOMEN.

Our social system improves in proportion as the men in it are influenced by its good women.

As for the education of women, it would seem unnecessary to urge its value upon even the stupidest of creatures. Yet it is a fact that the importance of thorough education of girls is still doubted -- usually, of course, by men with deficient education of their own and an elaborate sense of their own importance and superiority.

Mary Lyon, whose noble efforts established Mount Holyoke College, and spread the idea of higher education for women throughout the world, put the case of women's education in a nutshell. She said:

"I think it less essential that the farmers and mechanics should be educated than that their wives, the mothers of their children, should be."

The education of a girl is important chiefly because it means the educating of a future mother.

Whose brain but the mother's inspires and directs the son in the early years, when knowledge is most easily absorbed and permanently retained?

If you find in history a man whose success is based on intellectual equipment, you find almost invariably that his mother was exceptionally fortunate in her opportunities for education.

Well educated women are essential to humanity. They insure abler men in the future, and incidentally they make the ignorant man feel ashamed of himself in the present.

An editorial from the Hearst Newspapers, written by Arthur Brisbane. Not dated, but probably about 1917.

More on this topic:

  • Woman Suffrage
    Resources on this site, with links to even more on the Net, on women's struggle to win the vote, and the arguments pro and con.

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