HotFreeBooks.com
Woman and the Republic
by Helen Kendrick Johnson
1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

WOMAN AND THE REPUBLIC

A SURVEY OF THE WOMAN-SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES AND A DISCUSSION OF THE CLAIMS AND ARGUMENTS OF ITS FOREMOST ADVOCATES BY

HELEN KENDRICK JOHNSON



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER II. IS WOMAN SUFFRAGE DEMOCRATIC? CHAPTER III. WOMAN SUFFRAGE AND THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC CHAPTER IV. WOMAN SUFFRAGE AND PHILANTHROPY CHAPTER V. WOMAN SUFFRAGE AND THE LAWS CHAPTER VI. WOMAN SUFFRAGE AND THE TRADES CHAPTER VII. WOMAN SUFFRAGE AND THE PROFESSIONS CHAPTER VIII. WOMAN SUFFRAGE AND EDUCATION CHAPTER IX. WOMAN SUFFRAGE AND THE CHURCH CHAPTER X. WOMAN SUFFRAGE AND SEX CHAPTER XI. WOMAN SUFFRAGE AND THE HOME CHAPTER XII. CONCLUSION



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.

The introduction to the "History of Woman Suffrage," published in 1881-85, edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage, contains the following statement: "It is often asserted that, as woman has always been man's slave, subject, inferior, dependent, under all forms of government and religion, slavery must be her normal condition; but that her condition is abnormal is proved by the marvellous change in her character, from a toy in the Turkish harem, or a drudge in the German fields, to a leader of thought in the literary circles of France, England, and America."

I have made this quotation partly on account of its direct application to the subject to be discussed, and partly to illustrate the contradictions that seem to inhere in the arguments on which the claim to Woman Suffrage is founded. If woman has become a leader of thought in the literary circles of the most cultivated lands, she has not always been man's slave, subject, inferior, dependent, under all forms of government and religion; and, furthermore, it is not true that there has been such a marvellous change in her character as is implied in this statement. Where man is a bigot and a barbarian, there, alas! woman is still a harem toy; where man is little more than a human clod, woman is to-day a drudge in the field; where man has hewn the way to governmental and religious freedom, there woman has become a leader of thought. The unity of race progress is strikingly suggested by this fact. The method through which that unity is maintained should unfold itself as we study the story of the sex advancement of our time.

Progress is a magic word, and the Suffrage party has been fortunate in its attempt to invoke the sorcery of the thought that it enfolds, and to blend it with the claim of woman to share in the public duty of voting. Possession of the elective franchise is a symbol of power in man's hand; why should it not bear the same relation to woman's upward impulse and action? Modern adherents ask, "Is not the next new force at hand in our social evolution to come from the entrance of woman upon the political arena?" The roots of these questions, and consequently of their answers, lie as deep as the roots of being, and they cannot be laid bare by superficial digging. But the laying bare of roots is not the only way, or even the best way, to judge of the strength and beauty of a growth. We look at the leaves, the flowers, and the fruit. "Movement" and "Progress" are not synonymous terms. In evolution there is degeneration as well as regeneration. Only the work that has been in accord with the highest ideals of woman's nature is fitted to the environment of its advance, and thus to survival and development. In order to learn whether Woman Suffrage is in the line of advance, we must know whether the movement to obtain it has thus far blended itself with those that have proved to be for woman's progress and for the progress of government.

I am sure I need not emphasize the fact that, in studying some of the principles that underlie the Suffrage movement, I am not impugning the motives of the leaders. Nor need I dwell upon the fact that it is from the good comradeship of men and women that has come to prevail under our free conditions, that some women have hastily espoused a cause with which they never have affiliated, because they supposed it to be fighting against odds for the freedom of their sex.

The past fifty years have wrought more change in the conditions of life than could many a Cathayan cycle. The growth of religious liberty, enlargement of foreign and home missions, the Temperance movement, the giant war waged for principle, are among the causes of this change. The settlement of the great West, the opening of professions and trades to woman consequent upon the loss of more than a half million of the nation's most stalwart men, the mechanical inventions that have changed home and trade conditions, the sudden advance of science, the expansion of mind and of work that are fostered by the play of a free government,—all these have tended to place man and woman, but especially woman, where something like a new heaven and a new earth are in the distant vision.

To this change the Suffragists call attention, and say, "This is, in great part, our work." In this little book I shall recount a few of the facts that, in my opinion, go to prove that the Suffrage movement has had but little part or lot in this matter. And because of these facts I believe the principles on which the claim to suffrage is founded are those that turn individuals and nations backward and not forward.

The first proof I shall mention is the latest one in time—it is the fact of an Anti-Suffrage movement. In the political field alone are we being formed into separate camps whose watchwords become more unlike as they become more clearly understood. The fact that for the first time in our history representatives of two great organizations of women are appealing to courts and legislatures, each begging them to refuse the prayer of the other, shows, as conclusively as a long argument could do, that this matter of suffrage is something essentially distinct from the great series of movements in which women thus far have advanced side by side. It is an instinctive announcement of a belief that the demand for suffrage is not progress; that it does array sex against sex; that woman, like man, can advance only as the race advances; and that here lies the dividing line.

How absolute is that dividing line between woman's progress and woman suffrage, we may realize when we consider what the result would be if we could know to-morrow, beyond a peradventure, that woman never would vote in the United States. Not one of her charities, great or small, would be crippled. Not a woman's college would close its doors. Not a profession would withhold its diploma from her; not a trade its recompense. Not a single just law would be repealed, or a bad one framed, as a consequence. Not a good book would be forfeited. Not a family would be less secure of domestic happiness. Not a single hope would die which points to a time when our cities will all be like those of the prophet's vision, "first pure and then peaceable."

Among the forces that are universally considered progressive are: the democratic idea in government, extinction of slavery, increase of educational and industrial opportunities for woman, improvement in the statute laws, and spread of religious freedom. The Woman-Suffrage movement professed to champion these causes. That movement is now nearly fifty years old, and has made a record by which its relation to them can be judged. What is the verdict?



CHAPTER II.

IS WOMAN SUFFRAGE DEMOCRATIC?

As the claim of woman to share the voting power is related to the fundamental principles of government, the progress of government must be studied in relation to that claim in order to learn its bearing upon them. It is possible to suggest in one brief chapter only the barest outline of such a far-reaching scrutiny, and wiser heads than mine must search to conclusion; but some beginnings looking toward an answer to the inquiry I have raised have occurred to me as not having entered into the newly- opened controversy on woman suffrage.

I say, the newly-opened controversy, for, through these fifty years, the Suffragists have done nearly all the talking. So persistently have they laid claim to being in the line of progress for woman, that many of their newly aroused opponents fancied that the anti-suffrage view might be the ultra conservative one, and that democratic principles, strictly and broadly applied, might at last lead to woman suffrage, though premature if pushed to a conclusion now.

The first step in finding out how far that position is true is, to ascertain what the Suffragists say about this noblest of democracies, our own Government. In referring to the "The History of Woman Suffrage" for the opinions of the leaders, I am not only using a book that on its publication was considered a strong and full presentment of their arguments, but one which they are today advertising and selling as "a perfect arsenal of the work done by and for women during the last half century." In it the editors say: "Woman's political equality with man is the legitimate outgrowth of the fundamental principles of our government." Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi, writing in the New York Sun in April, 1894, says: "Never, until the establishment of universal [male] suffrage, did it happen that all the women in a community, no matter how well born, how intelligent, how well educated, how virtuous, how wealthy, were counted the political inferiors of all the men, no matter how base born, how stupid, how ignorant, how brutal, how poverty-stricken. This anomaly is the real innovation. Men have personally ruled the women of their families; the law has annihilated the separate existence of women; but women have never been subjected to the political sovereignty of all men simply in virtue of their sex. Never, that is, since the days of the ancient republics." Mrs. Ellen Battelle Dietrick, who, as Secretary of the New-England Suffrage Association, was put forward to meet all comers, writing in July, 1895, said: "Shall we, as a people, be true to our principles and enfranchise woman? or, shall we drift along in the meanest form of oligarchy known among men—an oligarchy which exalts every sort of a male into a ruler simply because he is a male, and debases every woman into a subject simply because she is a woman?" Mrs. Fanny B. Ames, speaking in Boston in 1896, said: "I believe woman suffrage to be the final result of the evolution of a true democracy." Not only has every woman speaker or writer in favor of suffrage presented this idea in some form, but the men also who have taken that side have done likewise. One among those who advocated the cause before the Committee in the Constitutional Convention of New York, said: "Woman Suffrage is the inevitable result of the logic of the situation of modern society. The despot who first yielded an inch of power gave up the field. We are standing in the light of the best interests of the State of New York when we stand in the way of this forward movement."

All these writers charge the American Republic with being false to democratic principles in excluding women from the franchise, while but one of them alludes to the fact that in the ancient republics the same "anomaly" was seen.

As I read political history, the facts go to show that the fundamental principles of our Government are more opposed to the exercise of suffrage by women than are those of monarchies. To me it seems that both despotism and anarchy are more friendly to woman's political aspirations than is any form of constitutional government, and that manhood suffrage, and not womanhood suffrage, is the final result of the evolution of democracy.

The Suffragists repeatedly call attention to the fact that in the early ages in Egypt, in Greece, and in Rome, women were of much greater political consequence than later during the republics; but the moral they have drawn has been that of the superiority of the ancient times. Mrs. Dietrick says: "The ideal woman of Greece was Athena, patroness of all household arts and industries, but equally patroness of all political interests. The greatest city of Greece was believed to have been founded by her, and Greek history recorded that, though the men citizens voted solidly to have the city named for Neptune, yet the women citizens voted solidly for Athena, beat them by one vote, and carried that political matter. If physical force had been a governing power in Greece, and men its manifestation, how could such a story have been published by Greek men down to the second century before our era?"

Mrs. Dietrick's remarkably realistic version of the old myth does not tell the tale as Greek men published it. Varro, who was educated at Athens, goes on to say: "Thereupon, Neptune became enraged, and immediately the sea flowed over all the land of Athens. To appease the god, the burgesses were compelled to impose a threefold punishment upon their wives—they were to lose their votes; the children were to receive no more the mother's name; and they themselves were no longer to be called Athenians, after the goddess." It seems to me this fable teaches that physical force was indeed the governing power in Athens at that day, and that men were its manifestation.

The legend is generally taken to indicate the time when the Greek gens progressed to the family. In the ruder time, the legitimacy of the chieftain might be traced, because the mother, though not always the father, could be known with certainty. When the father became the acknowledged head of the household, a distinct advance was made toward that heroic age in which the vague but towering figures of men and women move across the stage. Goddesses, queens, princesses, are powerful in love and war. Sibyls unfold the meaning of the book of fate. Vestals feed the fires upon the highest and lowest altars. Later, throughout most of the states of Greece, something like the following order of political life is seen: from kings to oligarchs, from oligarchs to tyrants or despots, from them to some form of restricted constitutional liberty. In Sparta, all change of government was controlled by the machinery of war, and the soldiers were made forever free. Athens, separated from the rest of Greece, was less agitated by outward conflict. In government she passed from king to archon; from hereditary archon to archons chosen for ten years, but always from one family, then to those elected for one year, nine being chosen. At the time of the Areopagus there were four classes of citizens. The first three paid taxes, had a right to share in the government, and formed the defence of the state. If women were of political importance in earlier times, and if a republic is more favorable to the exercise by them of the elective franchise, we should expect to find women reaching their highest power under the Areopagus. Exactly the contrary appears to be true. Native and honorable Greek women retired to domestic life as the liberty of their people grew. Grote, in his "History of Greece," referring to the legendary period, says: "We find the wife occupying a station of great dignity and influence, though it was the practice of the husband to purchase her by valuable presents to her parents. She even seems to live less secluded, and to enjoy a wider sphere of action, than was allotted to her in historic Greece."

Lecky, in his "European Morals," says: "It is one of the most remarkable and, to some writers, one of the most perplexing facts in the moral history of Greece, that in the former and ruder period women had undoubtedly the highest place, and their type exhibited the highest perfection." What the "highest perfection" is, for her type, or for man's type, is not here under discussion; but it is not out of place to say in passing that if the final conquest of the spiritual over the material forces of humanity is really the aim of civilization, these "facts in the moral history of Greece" become less "perplexing."

The heroines of Homer's tales were all of noble birth—they were goddesses, princesses, hereditary gentlewomen. In early historic times, also, it was only royal or gentle blood that secured for woman political power. Athena was, in gentle Athens, patroness of household arts; but in Sparta, as Minerva, the same divinity was goddess, not of political interests, as Mrs. Dietrick puts it, but of war. She sprang full-armed from the head of Jove—rather a masculine origin, it must be owned. In Sparta women became soldiers as the democratic idea advanced. Princess Archidamia, marching at the head of her female troop to rebuke the senators for the decree that the women and children be removed from the city before the anticipated attack could come, is an example. In Etolia, in Argos, and in other states, the same was true. Maria and Telesilla led the women in battle and disciplined them in peace. But the world does not turn to Sparta for its ideal of a pre-Christian republic, and the Suffragists of our day do not propose to emulate the Spartan Amazon and hew their way to political power with the sword.

In Athens, which does present the model, matters were far otherwise. In the year 700 B. C., the Spartans called upon Athens for a commander to lead them to the second Messenian war, and the Athenians sent them Tyrtaeus, their martial poet. The Spartans were displeased at his youth and gentle bearing; but when the battle was joined, his chanting of his own war-songs so animated the troops that they won against heavy odds. The following is a fragment translated from one of his lyrics:

"But be it ours to guard the hallowed spot, To shield the tender offspring and the wife; Here steadily await our destined lot, And, for their sakes, resign the gift of life."

Aeschylus, poet and soldier, writing a hundred and fifty years later, in his "Seven Against Thebes," puts into the mouth of the chieftain Eteocles this address to the women:

"It is not to be borne, ye wayward race; Is this your best, is this the aid you lend The state, the fortitude with which you steel The souls of the besieged, thus falling down Before the images to wail, and shriek With lamentations loud? Wisdom abhors you. Nor in misfortune, nor in dear success, Be woman my associate. If her power Bears sway, her insolence exceeds all bounds; But if she fears, woe to that house and city. And now by holding counsel with weak fear, You magnify the foe, and turn our men To flight. Thus are we ruined by ourselves. This ever will arise from suffering women To intermix with men. But mark me well, Whoe'er henceforth dares disobey my orders— Be it man or woman, old or young— Vengeance shall burst upon him, the decree Stands irreversible, and he shall die. War is no female province, but the scene For men. Hence, home! nor spread your mischiefs here. Hear you, or not? Or speak I to the deaf?"

Pericles, in his famous funeral oration over those who fell in the Peloponnesian war, thus addresses the Athenian women: "To the wives who will henceforth live in widowhood, I will speak, in one short sentence only, of womanly virtue. She is the best woman who is most truly a woman, and her reputation is the highest whose name is never in the mouths of men for good or for evil."

Seclusion was the best thing that the most intellectual pre-Christian republic could give to its honorable women. The freedom with which the hetairse, who were foreigners or daughters of slaves, mingled with statesmen and philosophers, brought them open political influence, but not a hint of voting power or of office-holding.

For the sake of brevity, I will confine my reference to Roman custom to a single pregnant sentence from Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Empire." He says: "In every age and country the wiser, or at least the stronger of the two sexes, has usurped the powers of the state, and confined the other to the cares and pleasures of domestic life. In hereditary monarchies, however, and especially in those of modern Europe, the gallant spirit of chivalry, and the law of succession, have accustomed us to allow a singular exception, and a woman is often acknowledged the absolute sovereign of a great kingdom, in which she would be deemed incapable of exercising the smallest employment, civil or military. But, as the Roman Emperors were still considered as the generals and magistrates of the Republic, their wives and mothers, although dignified by the name of Augusta, were never associated to their personal honors; and a female reign would have appeared an inexplicable prodigy in the eyes of those primitive Romans, who married without love, or loved without delicacy or respect."

The warlike states named republics in the Middle Ages had no woman Doge, or Duke, although women rose to the semblance of political power with empires and kingdoms, in Italy and Spain as well as in Germany and France, Austria and Russia.

Let us turn to modern Europe, in which thrones have been occupied now and again by queens. The progress of woman here, especially in Anglo-Saxon countries, has been steady, true and inspiring. In the earliest recorded councils of the race from which we sprang, we see freemen in full armor casting equal votes. During the ages of feudalism, women who were land- owners had the same rights as other nobles. They could raise soldiery, coin money, and administer justice in both civil and criminal proceedings. In proportion as the aristocratic power lost its hold, women were exempted from these services and gained in moral influence. The Germanic races were renowned for their respect for woman, and their love for home. As constitutional liberty grew, and each Englishman's house became his castle for defence against arbitrary power, the protection was not for himself but for his family. A figure-head ruler in feminine attire sits on England's throne to-day—the England that still unites its church and state, and in which feudal customs still prevail to some extent. Widows and spinsters who are property-owners can vote for all offices except the one charged under the Constitution with the framing and execution of the laws of the land. Aristocracy decrees that in the House of Lords the Bishops shall have a voice; but in the House of Commons no clergyman can hold a seat, and for members of Parliament no woman votes. Would any Suffragist hold that a clergyman was the inferior of men who do sit in the House of Commons? They are excluded for the same reason that woman has not the parliamentary vote—they are looked upon as non-combatants.

The Greek and Roman republics appear to have followed an instinct that was unerring in the condition of society when they removed women from the seats of power as the commonwealth gathered strength. Gibbon, in the sentences quoted, attributes the fact that queens as well as kings have occupied the thrones of modern Europe to the chivalry of men toward those who would yet be incapable of exercising actual power except for the backing of a standing army, or an hereditary nobility sworn to their support, both of which are composed solely of men. If this be true, it should be visible in the workings of the constitutional restrictions upon monarchies that have developed in the past fifty years, during which the principle of democratic government has advanced with enormous strides over a great portion of the globe.

In the Austro-Hungarian monarchy there is restricted woman suffrage. The kingdom of Italy has restricted municipal woman suffrage. The little republic that separates those countries, the land of Tell and the Vaudois, has direct manhood suffrage only.

Sweden and Norway are apparently parting company. Sweden chooses to keep its king and its aristocracy, and it has restricted woman suffrage; but Norway, which is working toward free institutions, and last year voted to remove the insignia of union from the Norwegian flag, has no woman suffrage. [Footnote: In the city of Berne, Switzerland, in 1852, a proxy vote was given to independent women who paid a commercial tax, but they made no effort to use it until 1885, when contending political factions compelled them to do so in a measure. Norway's women have a local school vote. Both these cases of exception serve to prove the rule that I am trying to set forth.]

Autocratic Russia and its Asiatic colonies have more woman suffrage than England. Finland, a constitutional monarchy, was ceded to the Emperor of Russia in 1809. Women there have all except the parliamentary suffrage. The Governor-General of the Senate is nominated by the Emperor, and is chief of the military force. The National Assembly is convoked by the Emperor whenever he sees fit. The duties of that Assembly are to consider laws proposed by the Emperor and elaborated by the Committee of Affairs and four members nominated by the Emperor, who sit in St. Petersburg. The Emperor has the veto power over any act of theirs. That National Assembly consists of representatives of the nobility, the clergy, the burghers, and the peasantry, the consent of all of whom must be obtained to any measure that makes a change in the constitution or imposes taxes. But the royal veto can set aside any decision.

Iceland, a dependency of Denmark, has municipal woman suffrage, and women are eligible to municipal office. It has its own legislature, which governs jointly with the King, the executive power being in the hands of the King alone.

In the great extensions of suffrage in England in 1848, an amendment for the extension of suffrage to women was introduced in Parliament by Mr. Disraeli. Lord Northcote, Lord John Manners, and other conservatives, upheld it; but the liberal leaders opposed it, Gladstone and John Bright among them. John Blight's family were strenuous for the movement, and he had fancied himself its friend until the issue came; then the old champion of freedom, proved true to the instinct that guards it in the nation. In the constantly increasing liberty of the lower classes of England, an essential principle which excludes women from the parliamentary vote has been maintained. Lady Spencer Churchill and other Suffrage leaders look to Viscount Templeton and Lord Salisbury for support to-day.

A woman-suffrage bill of many years' standing and absurd provisions, has just passed to a second reading in the House of Commons. Although it was treated as a joke by all parties, it served to emphasize the fact that Sir Vernon Harcourt and the Liberals are opposed to any advance in this direction.

In the late extension of suffrage in Canada, the movement for woman suffrage had conservative support, while every liberal leader opposed it. No South American Republic has woman suffrage. With the deposition of Liliuokalani, woman's directs political power in the Hawaiian Islands died. In France only the Anarchists "admit women" to public council, and that party in Germany has here and there inscribed woman suffrage upon its banners.

Not only England, Scotland and Wales, but Canada, definitely excepts the vote for members of parliament in giving suffrage to woman, and only widows and spinsters are admitted to the minor forms of franchise. As to the other British colonies, what is the situation? Much stress has been laid on what has been termed the progress of the Suffrage movement in Australasia. There is but one Australian colony in which the legislative assembly is elected; in the others it is appointed for life, or for short terms. Where it is thus appointed, women vote on various matters. In Victoria, which contains the capital city, Melbourne, and which is the most progressive and democratic colony in Australia, the Legislative Assembly is elected, and that body is chosen by unrestricted male suffrage only, while, as with the House of Commons in the mother country, clergymen are not allowed to sit in it. In West Australia, the newest colony, the voting is done by men alone. In Cape Colony women have restricted municipal suffrage; but the Assembly is elected by the vote of men who own a certain amount of property.

In the Orange Free State every adult white male is a full burgher, having a vote for the President, who is chosen for five years. The Transvaal Republic has no woman suffrage amid its hand-to-hand struggles.

To comprehend the condition of European governmental affairs, one must follow the condition of things produced by the struggle of socialistic and anarchistic elements. Between the King on the one hand, and these forces on the other, the true Liberal parties are slowly progressing toward free institutions; both aristocratic and anarchistic movements being more favorable than liberalism to woman-suffrage aspirations.

The countries where woman has full suffrage (save in the United States) are all dependencies of royalty. They are: The Isle of Man, Pitcairn's Island, New Zealand, and South Australia. The most important of these, New Zealand, was once a promising colony, but it has been declining for a quarter of a century. The men outnumber the women by forty thousand. The act conferring the parliamentary franchise on both European and Maori women received the royal sanction in 1892. At the session of Parliament that passed the act a tax was put upon incomes and one upon land, so that a desperate civilization seemed to be trying all the experiments at once. Certainly, woman suffrage in New Zealand was not adopted because the Government was so stable, so strong, so democratic, that these conditions must thus find fit expression. [Footnote: The Australasian colonies are taking steps toward the formation of a Federal Union. While this book is in press news comes that the Federal Convention, by a vote of 23 to 12, has refused to allow women to vote for members of the House of Representatives.]

South Australia not only gives women full suffrage, but makes them eligible to a seat in Parliament. The colony is a vast, mountainous, largely unsettled region, with a high proportion of native and Chinese, and, in 1894, had but 73,000 voters, including the women. The Socialistic Labor movement, which has played a large part in Australasian politics, here succeeded in dominating the government. There was an attempt to establish communistic villages with public money, a proposal to divide the public money pro rata, and one to build up a system of state life- insurance; and taxes were to be levied on salaries, and on all incomes above a certain point. It was found that the sixty thousand women who were authorized to vote throughout Australia assisted the socialistic schemes that are hindering progress and that tend to anarchy and not to republicanism. There is a royal Governor, and suffrage is based on household and property qualifications. It is an aristocratic and social combination, not a triumph of democratic ideas or principles. Dr. Jacobi, in her "Common Sense applied to Woman Suffrage," says: "The refusal to extend parliamentary suffrage to women who are possessed of municipal suffrage, does not mean, as Americans are apt to suppose, that women are counted able to judge about the small concerns of a town, but not about imperial issues. It means that women are still not counted able to exercise independent judgment at all, and, therefore, are to remain counted out when this is called for; but that the property to which they happen to belong, and which requires representation, must not be deprived of this on account of an entangling female alliance. This is the very antipodes of the democratic doctrine, perhaps also somewhat excessive, that a man requires representation so much that he must not be deprived of it on account of the accident of not being able to read or write!"

With Dr. Jacobi's interpretation, I will deal later. What I wish now to do is, to call attention to her admission of the fact that woman suffrage in England and in her colonies is not democratic, and to connect it with the other fact that no republic, from that of Greece to our own, has introduced it, although manhood suffrage has been universal in Switzerland for many years, and in France since 1848.

So it would seem that under a monarchical system, with a standing army and a hereditary nobility to support the throne, the royal mandate could be issued by a woman. Any Queen, as well as the one that Alice met in Wonderland, could say, "Off with his head!" But when freedom grew, and the democratic idea began to prevail, and each individual man became a king, and each home a castle, the law given by God and not by man came into exercise, and upon each man was laid the duty of defending liberty and those who were physically unfitted to defend themselves.

Let us turn now to our own country. Technically, at least, women possessed the suffrage in our first settlements. In New England, in the early days, when church-membership as the basis of the franchise excluded three- fourths of the male inhabitants from its exercise, women could vote. Under the old Provincial charters, from 1691 to 1780, they could vote for all elective offices. From 1780 to 1785, under the Articles of Confederation, they could vote for all elective offices except the Governor, the Council, and the Legislature. The comment made upon this by the Suffrage writers is, that "the fact that woman exercised the right of suffrage amid so many restrictions, is very significant of the belief in her right to the ballot-box." My comment is, that the same lesson we have learned in Europe is repeated here with wonderful emphasis. Under the transported aristocracy of churchly power in the state, they shared the undemocratic rule. When freedom broadened a little, and, under a system that still acknowledged allegiance to the British Crown, all property-holders or other "duly qualified" colonists could vote, they still had the voice that England grants to-day, the voice of an estate. When liberty took another step and a league was formed of "firm friendship" in which each Colony was to be independent and yet banded for offensive and defensive aid, the women were retired from the special vote on the result of which lay the actual execution of the law. But this country was not yet a republic, or even a nation. Washington himself said that the state of things under the Articles of Confederation was hardly removed from anarchy. In 1789 a constitution was adopted, which made the American people a nation. Its preamble read: "We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Under this Constitution the last vestiges of churchly political rule, and of property-qualification for voting, have gradually disappeared. New Jersey was the last State to repeal her property-qualification laws. In 1709 she made "male freeholders" who held a certain amount of property the only voters. In 1790 her Constitution, through an error in wording, admitted "all inhabitants" with certain property to vote. This was in force until 1807, when an act was passed conferring the suffrage upon "free white male citizens twenty-one years of age worth fifty pounds proclamation money, clear estate," etc. From 1790 to 1807 a good many women, generally from the Society of Friends, took part in elections. After 1807 they attempted to do so, as owners of property. Finally, that qualification for the male voter was done away with, and with it the woman-suffrage agitation disappeared.

State after State, in carrying out the compact of the Federal Republic, had inserted the word "male" into the Constitutions that embodied the American conception of a more vital and enduring freedom.

But there are now four States of the Union where women have full suffrage, a few where they have a measure of municipal suffrage, and many where they have the school suffrage. What bearing do these facts have upon my claim that woman suffrage is undemocratic?

The States where they have full suffrage are Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and Idaho. How far was its introduction into these States the result of advanced legislation in accord with true republicanism? Utah Territory was the first spot in the country in which the measure gained a foothold, and that was not believed by its introducers to be a part of the United States. The Mormons who founded Salt Lake City supposed themselves to be settling on Mexican territory, outside the jurisdiction of American law. Woman suffrage was almost coincident with its beginnings, and it came as a legitimate part of the union of state and church, of communism, of polygamy. The dangers that especially threaten a republican form of government are anarchy, communism, and religious bigotry; and two of these found their fullest expression, in this country, in the Mormon creed and practice. Fealty to Mormonism was disloyalty to the United States Government. Thus, the introduction of woman suffrage within our borders was not only undemocratic, it was anti-democratic.

Woman suffrage was secured in Wyoming by means that bring dishonor upon democracy. Wyoming was organized as a Territory in 1868. Many of its native settlers were from Utah. For its vast, mountainous extent of nearly 98,000 square miles, the census gave a population of only 9,118 persons. Of these the native-born numbered 5,605, foreign-born, 3,513. The males numbered 7,219; the females, 1,899. The "History of Woman Suffrage" records the fact that the measure was secured in the first Territorial legislature through the political trickery of an illiterate and discredited man, who was in the chair. Mr. Bryce, in "The American Commonwealth," alludes in a note to the same fact. Women voted in 1870. In 1871 a bill was passed repealing the suffrage act, but was vetoed by the Governor, on the ground that, having been admitted, it must be given a fair trial. An attempt to pass the repeal over his veto was lost by a single vote. Certainly, the entrance of woman suffrage into Wyoming was not a triumph of democratic progress and principle.

Colorado was admitted into the Union in 1876, and great efforts were made by Suffragists to secure the "Centennial" State. This resulted in a submission of the question to the people, who rejected it by a majority of 7,443 in a total vote of 20,665. From the first of the agitation for the free coinage of silver, Colorado has been enthusiastically in favor of that measure. In 1892 her devotion to it caused all parties to unite on that issue and gave the vote of the State to General Weaver, Populist candidate for President, and to David H. Waite, Populist candidate for Governor. The question of woman suffrage was resubmitted to the people at this election, and the constitutional amendment concerning it was carried by a majority of only 5,000 in a total vote of 200,000. Neither that movement nor its results present triumphant democracy.

In 1894 the Populist party of Idaho put a plank in its platform favoring the submission of a woman-suffrage amendment to the people. In 1896 the Free Silver Populist movement swept the State. A majority of the votes cast on the Suffrage question were cast in its favor, but not a majority of all the votes cast at the election. The supreme courts have generally held that, in so important a matter, a complete majority vote was required, but the Supreme Court of Idaho did not so hold, and woman suffrage is now established in that State. This, also, is hardly a success of sound democracy.

The subject of woman suffrage has lately been dealt with by two States that represent republican progress at its best. They are New York and Massachusetts. In the former State a Constitutional Convention in 1894 gave an impartial hearing to the subject, and decided not to submit to the people an amendment striking the word "male" from the State Constitution. Massachusetts at its State election in 1895 asked the people to vote upon the question of extending municipal suffrage to women, and the answer was given in a heavy adverse majority. Fewer than four in one hundred women qualified to vote on the subject voted in its favor, and half a million women declined to vote at all. A majority of over 100,000 votes was cast against it by men. Utah and New York, Wyoming and Massachusetts, which States do Americans hold up as nearest their model? In which have women made most progress, and showed themselves most likely to understand their rights, privileges and duties?

During the late Presidential election the issues passed the boundary that separates party politics from patriotic faith. For months preceding that struggle the Suffrage body had conducted the most efficient campaign in its history. When the test came, California voted for sound money against repudiation, for authority against anarchy, by a small majority, and threw its ballots heavily against woman suffrage. With the enthusiastic help of its woman voters, Colorado gave its electoral voice 16 to 1 against sound money and sound Americanism. Which State can claim that its action rings truest to the stroke of honest metal in finance and in defence of national honor?

A few States have extended municipal suffrage to woman. It is generally local and restricted Only in Kansas is there full municipal suffrage. Dr. Jacobi, in her "Common Sense," says: "Municipal suffrage in Kansas demands no property qualification, and its exercise therefore does not differ in the least from that required in a Presidential election." This is a mistake, for the difference is essential and illustrates the undemocratic character of woman suffrage. Municipal suffrage in Kansas, like the Territorial suffrage in Wyoming, was given by legislative act, and could be done away with by another legislative act without appeal to the people, or any change of the Constitution. It did not touch the vital question whether women, in a democracy, could form a component part of the government. Mrs. Stanton well understood that difference. Kansas had long possessed local municipal suffrage when, in 1894, the question of granting full suffrage, by constitutional amendment, was submitted to the people. Mrs. Stanton then wrote: "My hope now rests with Kansas. If that fails too, we must trust no longer to the Republican and Democratic parties, but henceforth give our money, our eloquence, our enthusiasm to a People's party that will recognize woman as an equal factor in a new civilization." There was enough leaven of republicanism working then to cause the old fighting-ground, the free-soil State, to reject the amendment by a popular majority of 35,000. To the "People's Party" in Kansas woman suffrage may look for the most striking illustration of its results. Where municipal suffrage could be secured only by constitutional enactment, and was so secured, it would differ merely in degree from presidential suffrage; but it never has been so secured in any State except those that give full constitutional suffrage. It is on a par with school suffrage, except that legislative enactment extends the vote to town and city matters.

The history of the school suffrage affords another proof of the incompatibility of republicanism and constitutional suffrage for woman. Dr. Jacobi recognizes the difference between constitutional and school suffrage when she says: "Women continually sign petitions for this privilege, till startled by the discovery that it also means something else. It means, however, in the State of New York, according to the decision of the Supreme Court, that woman can only enjoy this privilege thoroughly if empowered by constitutional amendment to vote for all officers as well as for school commissioners." The States that have refused to comply with the Suffragists' demand for the elective franchise, the most progressive States, have been first to grant school suffrage, under constitutional limits. The twenty-seven odd States that grant school suffrage have had different methods of dealing with the question, because their laws differ, but both the positive proof of its being granted, and the negative proof of its being withheld, tell the same story in regard to the fundamental principle involved. This is shown strikingly in the situation in Kansas. Women have full municipal suffrage, and the Supreme Court of that State decided that they could vote for school treasurer, which was a charter office, but could not vote for County Superintendent of Schools, because that office was provided for in the Constitution. The school suffrage may or may not have a property qualification attached. That makes no difference. The difference is the essential one between delegated power and sovereign power. The States differ so widely in their methods of dealing with municipal as well as school legislation, that only a study of the laws of each State will reveal the situation. In Ohio, in 1895, for instance, the Legislature passed a bill enabling women to vote on a municipal tax-levy, which the courts held was unconstitutional, while they granted votes on license and other local questions.

In answer to the question whether, in Massachusetts, a woman could be a member of a school committee, the Supreme Court returned the following decision in 1874: "The Constitution contains nothing relating to school committees; the office is created and regulated by statute; and the Constitution confers upon the General Court full power and authority to name and settle annually, or provide by fixed laws for naming and settling, all civil officers within the Commonwealth the election and constitution of whom are not in the Constitution otherwise provided for. The question is therefore answered in the affirmative." The Supreme Court of New York, in 1892, held that "School Commissioners are constitutional officers within Article II. part 1 of the Constitution, and consequently the law of 1892 giving women the right to vote for them is void." The case was that of Matilda Joslyn Gage. The office of School Commissioner was created after the adoption of the Constitution, and it was therefore urged that the Constitution did not bear upon it; but the Supreme Court further decided that the law gave the Legislature the right to appoint or to elect the Commissioner; and as they had decided that the office should be elective, the women could not vote for that office. They vote for district-school officers under various local permissions or limitations. In a case brought to decide the right of women to vote for County Superintendent of Schools the Supreme Court of Illinois, in 1893, held that, as the office was designated in the Constitution as elective, women could not vote for it. The decision further said. "The votes for State Superintendent of Instruction, and County Superintendent, are provided for by law, and the Legislature cannot change the law. It may be that it is competent for the Legislature to provide that women who are citizens of the United States and over twenty-one may vote at elections held for school directors and other school officers not mentioned in the Constitution." Later, the Supreme Court held that women were entitled to vote for school trustees, as "no officer of the school district is mentioned in the State Constitution."

The Supreme Court of Ohio, in 1894, held that the provision of the act of April 24, 1894, conferring upon women the right to vote at elections of certain school officers, is valid, such right being within the legislative power to provide for the establishment and maintenance of public schools, and not within Article V. part 1, of the Constitution, which limits the right to male citizens. Judge Shauck says: "The whole subject of the public schools is delegated to the Assembly. As the common-school organization is wholly a creation of the Legislature, it is in the power of the Legislature to determine the qualifications of an elector and office-holder in it." In upholding his ruling, he cited similar decisions from the Supreme Courts of Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Iowa.

This rapid survey suggests, it seems to me, that, instead of being "a legitimate outgrowth of the fundamental principles of our government," woman suffrage is really incompatible with true republican forms. Pre- civilized conditions, aristocratic tendencies, the forces that would destroy government—these appear to be its natural allies. We must study more closely its connection with representative government the better to comprehend this portentous truth.



CHAPTER III.

WOMAN SUFFRAGE AND THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC.

The writers of the "History of Woman Suffrage" give the following account of the founding of their Association. In July, 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martha O. Wright, and Ann McClintock issued an unsigned call for a convention, which was asked to consider the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman; and in preparation for the meeting, they wrote a "Declaration of Sentiments," which was adopted by the assembly. They say, in describing the writing of this declaration:— "The reports of Peace, Temperance, and Anti-Slavery conventions were examined, but all alike seemed too tame and pacific for the inauguration of a rebellion such as the world had never before seen. We knew women had wrongs, but how to state them was the difficulty, and this was increased from the fact that we ourselves were fortunately organized and conditioned.... After much delay, one of the circle took up the Declaration of 1776, and read it aloud with spirit and emphasis, and it was at once decided to adopt the historic document, with some slight changes. Knowing that women must have more to complain of than men under any circumstances possibly could, and seeing the Fathers had eighteen grievances, a protracted search was made through statute books, church usages, and the customs of society to find that exact number."

In such solemnly puerile fashion did they work out a travesty on one of the most august utterances ever penned. A young man who was present remarked: "Tour grievances must be grievous indeed when you are obliged to go to books in order to find them out." He might have added, "And they must be false indeed when you have to found most of your charges on dead- letter statutes and outgrown usages and customs."

The Preamble of their Declaration reads: "When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course."

The declaration is as follows: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are suffer able, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they were accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled. The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world." Then follows a categorical parody of the eighteen grievances, which will be duly considered in this and later chapters.

After thirty years of Suffrage effort, the leaders say that this instrument contained all that the most radical have ever claimed. The Fathers of the Revolution say in their Preamble: "When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." The Mothers of the Woman's Rebellion say: "When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course." The strained and ridiculous attitude produced by ignoring the essential difference between a political movement and a sex movement is visible in every line, and yet that instinct which finds for a new cause its appropriate channel never carried more truly than in this presentment of the ultimate purpose of woman suffrage. The Fathers were met to dissolve the relations that bound their land politically to a foreign power, and to form a separate and equal nation. The Mothers were met to dissolve the relations that bound their sex politically to man, and to form a separate and equal sex organization. The Fathers proposed to free men, women, and children from the yoke of England. The Mothers proposed to free women and girls from the yoke of men. It is suggestive to consider the "slight changes," between the two Declarations.

The Fathers of the Revolution begin their protest by saying: "We hold these truths to be self-evident:—That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The Mothers of the Woman's Rebellion add nothing to the meaning, but detract greatly from the force of its expression, when in their parody they say: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men and women are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." These women of all in America were the first to belittle themselves by seeming to assume that in a revolutionary document that was promulgated to declare a determination to wrest from tyranny the liberty that was an inalienable right for all, they and their sex were excluded because the generic term "man" was employed in relation to another inalienable right, which was about to be set forth,—that of revolution against intolerable tyranny. The Americans who framed that instrument would have been the last men in the world to assert that women were not the equals of men. They were not discussing abstract human or sex conditions. They met "to institute a new government." The Mothers of the Woman's Rebellion had an inalienable right to meet "to institute a new government," if they believed as sincerely as did the Fathers of the Revolution that "a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinced a design to reduce them under absolute despotism." Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were their natural and God-given rights. If they truly believed that these were trampled upon by government, they might be justified in revolting and attempting to form a new government. That they did not so believe, seems to be proved by their statement that "they knew that woman had wrongs, but how to state them was the difficulty, and this was increased from the fact that they themselves were fortunately organized and conditioned." The Declaration of Independence meant war against the ever-growing encroachment of despotism. The gauntlet was thrown down at the feet of a king by his subjects. The Declaration of Sentiments meant war against the whole social order as then constituted. The gauntlet was thrown down at the feet of man by those who declared him to be a determined foe.

They had not the remotest notion of "instituting a new government," far from it; they relied upon the old government to sustain them in making their attempted "rebellion" a revolution. Without the backing of the state's defence, they had no expectation or hope of enforcing any new enactment they might desire. They were gladly consenting to be governed, in order to prove that they withheld consent.

Should woman suffrage prevail, the foundation principles of democracy would have to be overthrown and "a new government instituted" in which the power should be delegated and not direct, if the nation thus formed was to "assume among the powers of the earth a separate and equal station." The leaders of the Suffrage movement well understood that they claimed no inalienable right to institute a new government, and this is again shown in another "slight change" made by them. The first count in the suffrage indictment against all men, but especially against those of the American Republic, reads as follows: "He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise." The Fathers made no claim or suggestion that the suffrage was an inalienable right, or a right at all. Not only is there nothing to intimate that voting was a natural right, but from that day to this it has been the theory and the practice of our Government to control the suffrage. The fact that "governments were instituted among men" for the purpose of securing inalienable rights, proves that in the opinion of the Declarers the method of instituting a government was not in itself inalienable. Governments to secure certain inalienable rights are instituted among men, wrote Jefferson, "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." This was not the first government founded upon "consent of the governed." The English government had been so founded, but our fathers now refused their consent. That particular government could no longer exist for them with their consent. In their judgment, it had become destructive of the proper ends of all government, and so they proclaimed that the inalienable right to liberty made it—to use the words of the Declaration—"the right, the duty, of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to institute a new government."

In the New York Constitutional Convention of 1867, Mr. George William Curtis defended the proposition so to amend the Constitution as to extend the suffrage to women. In the course of his eloquent remarks he said: "The Chairman of the Committee asked Miss Anthony whether, if suffrage was a natural right, it could be denied to children? Her answer seemed to me perfectly satisfactory. She said simply, 'All that we ask is an equal and not an arbitrary regulation. If you have the right, we have it.'" To me it seems to discredit the logical powers both of Miss Anthony and of Mr. Curtis that one should have made this reply and the other should have rested content with it. That was a pertinent question, and it was not answered at all. To say "if you have the right, we have it," is not to tell whether one thinks children should have it. As a matter of fact, an agitation of "the rights of minors" arose from the discussion of "natural right," and also an agitation for "minority representation" that is continued to this day. Mr. Curtis added: "The honorable Chairman would hardly deny that to regulate the exercise of a right according to obvious reason and experience is one thing, to deny it absolutely and forever is another." To regulate a law is to abolish it, either relatively or absolutely, for some, and to maintain it for others. When the State of New York says that no alien who has not been naturalized shall vote, that no boy under twenty-one shall vote, that no person resident in one town or ward shall vote in another, that no criminal or pauper shall vote,—it acts on the natural principle of self-defence, which contravenes the dogma of a natural right of any one to the suffrage. On that principle it would be impossible for the Congress to impeach a President; to forbid, as it did, those who had been in rebellion from voting; or to deny the suffrage to a child or to any human being. Government itself becomes impossible. Judge Story, whom Suffrage writers claim as favorable to their cause on other grounds, says that the right of voting has always been treated as a granted and not a natural right, derived from and regulated by each country according to its ideas of government. Both Federal and State courts have decided again and again that there is no such thing as a natural right to suffrage.

The "consent of the governed" certainly meant something very different to our fathers, and to our statesmen, and to ourselves, from what it could mean to any other government on earth. Although the phrase itself may have been a euphemism which sprang from Jefferson's sympathy with the mighty rumblings of feeling that preceded the French Revolution, still, it was certainly meant that, so far as they could make it so, there should be vastly more consenting by popular vote than had been dreamed of in the mother country. But it did not mean that each and every individual in the state must consent to each and every law that governed him; for not only has no government ever been instituted which derived "just powers" in that way, but none ever will be, for there never can be such unanimity. It did not mean that every individual must consent to be governed somehow, by some scheme of government; for its laws were carefully framed so as to compel the external allegiance of those who never consent—the criminal and the anarchist. It did not mean even that consent, in the sense of agreement, was expected from a large body, or a small body, as the case might happen, of those who held views opposed to the policies that were controlling at any given time. It meant just what Jefferson meant in that other dictum of his: "The will of the majority is the natural law of every society, and the only sure guardian of the rights of man." Together they interpret each other, and are worthy of our Declaration and our Bill of Rights.

The inalienable right to liberty in all mankind forbids the right of anarchy in any of mankind; and the question of woman suffrage, strange as it may appear, actually narrows itself down, as it seems to me, to the question whether we shall have democracy or anarchy. Democratic government is at an end when those who issue decrees are not identical with those who can enforce those decrees.

But, after all, the claim to suffrage as a natural right has been practically abandoned by those who first made that claim. Their next proposition was, that it was a universal right, springing from the necessary conditions of organized society, and so should be granted to woman as a member of that society. They say in their Declaration: "He deprived her of the first right of a citizen—the elective franchise." Chief Justice Waite of the United States Supreme Court decided that citizenship carried with it no voting power or right. The same decision has been handed down by many courts in disposing of test cases.

It seems to me quite as evident that what is now called universal manhood suffrage does not rest upon any belief by the state that this is "the first right of a citizen," because no one doubts that if the time came when a majority deemed that the preservation of the state depended upon disfranchising a number of voters, they would be disfranchised although they remained citizens. The Suffrage leaders have, in theory at least, also abandoned the claim to suffrage on the ground of their universal right as citizens. A proof of this is seen in the fact that at various times they have suggested the extension of suffrage under qualification. Among the latest that I have noticed, is an address of Mrs. Stanton's to a Suffrage Convention, held in 1894, in which she proposed the following: "Resolved, that the women of New York petition the Legislature of the State to extend the suffrage to women on an educational qualification." She must therefore believe that the Legislature has the legal right to qualify it for men; and to withhold it from women is but an extension of the right to qualify suffrage, because it only says: "We do not consider woman citizens qualified to be voters." Writing a year ago, Mrs. Stanton said: "It is the duty of the educated women of this Republic to protest against the extension of the suffrage to another man until they themselves are enfranchised!" Thus it would appear that Mrs. Stanton does not believe in universal suffrage. A Suffrage speaker in New York not long ago said naively: "We [the women, when enfranchised] will vote to withhold the suffrage from the ignorant." She did not explain what would happen if the ignorant voted not to have the suffrage withheld; nor did she appear to realize that she was practically admitting that the present voters have the right to withhold the suffrage from those whom they consider unfitted for it.

But it is not true that American women did not, and do not, "consent to be governed." They have always consented loyally and joyfully. From the time of the Boston Tea Party down to the Civil War, and in such times of peace and prosperity as were indicated by the Columbian Exposition, when the Government formally asked the assistance of its woman citizens, they showed their consent by their deeds, and only the suffrage faction treated the invitation to share in the Exposition after the immemorial fashion of a discontented element. And the Suffragists themselves consent to be governed every time they accept the protection of the law or invoke it against a debtor; for they thereby acknowledge its proper application to themselves if the case were reversed.

The second count in the list of political grievances runs: "He has compelled her to submit to laws in the formation of which she had no voice." This was not true, for the women who wrote that sentence were free to use their voices in regard to every law they desired to affect, and circumstances have proved that they were sure of being heard, and, if the law were just, and for the general good, of assisting materially to establish it. At the very time when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were writing that indictment against the United States Government, Dorothea Dix was presenting a memorial to the National Congress asking for an appropriation of five hundred thousand acres of the public lands to endow hospitals for the indigent insane. That bill failed to pass, but in 1850 another bill, which she presented, asking for ten millions of acres, passed the House and failed in the Senate merely for want of time to consider it. Four years later a bill making appropriations of the ten millions of acres to the separate States passed both houses, and President Pierce vetoed it, because he believed the general Government had no constitutional power to make such appropriations. She then went to the Legislatures of the States, with the result that is so well known. Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, and North Carolina founded lunatic asylums, and the work was begun which is culminating in the separation of the insane from the criminal, the women from the men, in every town and county of the land. The right of petition is not only as open to women as to men, but because of the non-partisan character of their claims and suggestions they find quicker hearing. Miss Louise Lee Schuyler has been more successful in securing the enactment of laws for which she presented the need than any one politician in the State of New York, before whose Legislature they have both pleaded,—he with a vote which had to contend against other votes, she with a voice that spoke the united mind of a body of philanthropic women. There was no unjust law which the Suffrage Association could not have changed during these fifty years, had it cared to try, and indeed its members make the boast that many of the changes are their own. Change and improvement of laws was not their aim. It was a vote upon changing or not changing laws that they sought for. The difference is world-wide.

The third count in the indictment runs: "He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant men—both natives and foreigners." Dr. Jacobi represented the Suffrage cause before the Special Committee of the Constitutional Convention of New York State in 1894. After drawing, in fine and truthfully glowing words, a picture of woman's progress under the institutions and laws of the United States, she said: "For the first time, all political right, privilege and power reposes undisguisedly on the one brutal fact of sex, unsupported, untempered, unalloyed by any attribute of education, any justification of intelligence, any glamour of wealthy any prestige of birth, any insignia of actual power.... To-day, the immigrants pouring in through the open gates of our seaport towns, the Indian when settled in severalty, the negro hardly emancipated from the degradation of two hundred years of slavery,—may all share in the sovereignty of the State. The white woman,—the woman in whose veins runs the blood of those heroic colonists who founded our country, of those women who helped to sustain the courage of their husbands in the Revolutionary War; the woman who may have given the flower of her youth and health in the service of our Civil War—that woman is excluded. To-day women constitute the only class of sane people excluded from the franchise, the only class deprived of political representation, except the tribal Indians and the Chinese." To the same effect the editors of the "Suffrage History" say: "The superiority of man does not enter into the demand for suffrage; for in this country all men vote; and as the lower orders, of men are not superior to the higher orders of women, they must hold and exercise the right of self-government on some other ground than superiority to woman." Here it would seem that Mrs. Stanton and Miss Anthony had been thinking, but they never followed their own thought to its inevitable conclusion. Universal manhood suffrage does relieve the men of this country from the unjust aspersion the women of the Suffrage movement put upon them, that they excluded women on account of inferiority.

No native American, who by the very fact of that nativity is bound to support the Constitution of the United States, and no foreign-born citizen who has taken the oath of allegiance to it, has a right by his vote to do anything that will imperil or impede the carrying out of its principles and its commands. "The establishment of justice, the insurement of domestic tranquillity, provision for the common defence, security in the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity," cannot be perfected or maintained without the present exercise and the reserve power of manhood strength. This Government laid aside all "attribute of education, or glamour of wealth, or prestige of birth," and committed its life to the keeping of its defenders. In this land, the vote is the "insignia of actual power," but it is only the insignia; the power to defend themselves and those who make country and home worth defending, lies with the individual defenders. To attempt to put it into the hands of those who are not physically fitted to maintain the obligations that may result from any vote or any legislative act, is to render law a farce, and to betray the trust imposed upon them by the constitution they have sworn to uphold. Universal manhood suffrage is the crowning result in the long evolution of government. Our statesmen of the Revolutionary period did not contemplate it. But stability was the thing for which they sought—the thing for which all statesmen of all times have been searching. If a government is not stable, it is of little consequence that it is full of noble ideals; and the most far-reaching thought has now grasped the idea that manhood strength is the natural and only defence of the state. This is the underlying theory of our Government, the one solid rock on which it rests. "When any question of governmental policy comes up, we virtually decide it, sooner or later, by a manhood vote; and as the decision has a majority of the men of the country behind it, there is no power that can overthrow it. If we attempt to establish policies or execute laws to which a majority of the men are opposed, we throw away our one assurance of stability, and are in constant danger of revolution. Even in the comparatively brief history of our Republic, there are plentiful instances to show that a majority of men will not submit to a minority, no matter how many non-combatants are joined with that minority. To give women a position of apparent power, without its reality, would be to make our Government forever unstable.

"This is placing the Christian and civilized Government that stands as an example of peaceful progress on a foundation of brute force," cries the Suffragist. The founders of the Woman Suffrage movement apparently did not take the least account of either the military or the judicial powers that are provided for in every State constitution, as well as in the Nation's. They demanded "immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States," but said not a word about the duties, disabilities, and money loss involved in the possession of those rights and privileges. The Fathers of the Revolution closed their Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of England by pledging "their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor" to attain it. The Mothers of the Woman's Rebellion closed their Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of man, and especially from the tyranny of the United States Government, with a pledge to distribute tracts and hold conventions, while they depended upon the courtesy of the tyrants to protect them in the peaceful execution of their design. Is it any wonder that the descendants of the old heroes who had fought their way to our liberties smiled when the by-laws of the would-be revolt were handed to them?

When the attention of the women was called to the fact that force was needed, and that women were exempt from military service and jury and police duty, they answered that "In an age when the wrongs of society are adjusted in the courts and at the ballot-box, material force yields to reason and majorities." So successful has our Government been in carrying out the benign purposes for which its heroes staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, that in ordinary times we see little of the strength that stands quietly but firmly behind every law's enactment and every poll's decision. The "strong arm" of the law would lose its power to compel obedience if behind the decree of judge, jury, and legislators there was not a sheriff or a body of militia ready to commit the unconsenting criminal to prison, or to take care of an unruly minority. At an election, the minority do not acquiesce in the decision of the majority because the outcome of the vote has convinced them that the majority were right, and they were wrong. They have not become suddenly converted to the views of the majority. That decision, as recorded by the ballot, shows that if the minority do not keep their opinion in abeyance, there are men enough on the other side to compel them. Civilization has advanced so far that, instead of blows there are arguments in court, instead of bullets there are ballots at the polls; but the blows and the bullets must always be ready, in case the arguments and the ballots are unheeded. The physical strength that was given to man to use, like every other gift, for the good of the race, he is so using when he holds it as a dernier ressort for law and order.

Dr. Jacobi says, in her address, "capacity to bear arms, in fulfilment of military duty, is not, in the State of New York, reckoned among the necessary qualifications of voters." The statement is also made by other Suffragists that "numerous classes of men who enjoy political rights are exempt from military duty,—all men over forty-five, all who suffer mental or physical disability, such as the loss of an eye or a forefinger; clergymen, physicians, Quakers, school-teachers, professors, and presidents of colleges, judges, legislators, congressmen, state-prison officials, and all county, State, and National officers; fathers, brothers, or sons having certain relatives dependent upon them for support, all of these summed up in every State would make millions who may be exempted, and therefore there is no force in the plea that if women vote they must fight." It is not true that any class of voters is exempt. The State, regulating that matter as it regulates the age and residence of voters, as long as it has more defenders than it needs for immediate use, makes demand upon the youngest or strongest, but if it needs them all, then all must serve. Again, all, whether young or old, perfect or imperfect, must be reckoned with as elements in making up the count. Lawless men do not exempt themselves from riot and rebellion because they are lame or over forty-five. In the South, during the Rebellion, there were few indeed who did not serve in some capacity. If there were blind and aged men enough to make a real difference in majorities, Americans would quickly see the propriety of doing as some republics that have to stand with arms more "at attention" have done, and exclude them from the vote.

But, suppose all those mentioned were really exempt, how would that apply to women? If a like number were counted out, there would still be a goodly array, from the maiden of twenty-one to the matron of forty-five, from which to draw. Mrs. Stanton and Miss Anthony write: "Women have led armies in all ages, have held positions in the army and navy for years in disguise, have fought, bled, and died on the battlefield in our late war." The isolated occasions on which they have done so are not such as to commend the practice, neither do the Suffragists propose seriously to commend it. Dr. Jacobi, in her address before the Committee of the Constitutional Convention, says: "We do not admit that exemption from military duty is a concession of courtesy, for which women should be so grateful as to refrain from asking for anything else. The military functions performed by men, and so often perverted to most atrocious uses, have never been more than the equivalent for the function of child-bearing imposed by nature upon women. It is not a fanciful nor sentimental, it is an exact and just equivalent. The man who exposes his life in battle, can do no more than his mother did in the hour she bore him. And the functions of maternity persist, and will persist, to the end of time,—while the calls to arms are becoming so faint and rare that three times since the Revolutionary War, an entire generation of men has grown up without having heard them."

This question of military service is not a question of equivalent at all— sentimental or otherwise; it is a question of the actual service, and as to the service to the state given by women in bearing sons, the men work not only to support those sons but to support also their mothers and sisters, and that far beyond the child-bearing age of the mother.

As to the rareness of the calls, I read of seven wars since the Revolution, and three insurrections, not counting the riots and strikes at Chicago, Homestead, Brooklyn, and in the mountains in the West. Dr. Jacobi said in an article in the "New York Sun," two years ago, "We do not vote for war." That appears like a quibble, for we vote for what brings, or may bring it; but neither is it exact in fact. Three times, at least, in our history men have deposited their ballots in the box, knowing that the result meant peace or war. These were at the second election of Madison in 1812, the election of Polk in 1844, and that most solemn of all the acts of our country-men, the second election of President Lincoln. There have been other elections in which war issues were linked with the decisions, but in a less direct way.

The same writer says also, "The will of the majority rules, for the time being, not, as has been crudely asserted, because it possesses the power, by brute force, to compel the minority to obey its behests; but because, after ages of strife, it has been found more convenient, more equitable, more conducive to the welfare of the state, that the minority should submit, until, through argument and persuasion, they shall have been able to win over the majority. Now that this stage in the evolution of modern society has been reached, it has become possible for women to demand their share also in the expression of the public opinion that is to rule. They could not claim this while it was necessary to defend opinions by arms; but this is no longer either necessary or expected." How long is it since this comfortable state of things was evolved? Has England consented to it? In view of Venezuela and the Monroe Doctrine it would be necessary to have her. Has Spain mentioned her resignation of a right to appeal to arms in case she was not pleased with the conduct of our Government in regard to Cuba? Does the Sultan know about it, so that in case we see a good fair fighting chance to help the Armenians he will understand that the ages of strife are over, and that persuasion has been found more equitable and convenient than a resort to arms? And the Czar, and the erratic German Emperor, are they in the evolutionary agreement? Force is just what men are able to make it. It is not brutish unless it is brutishly used. There is as much force in the world to-day as there ever has been, but it is better applied. It is the object of a Christian civilization to persuade more and more men to come to the defence of good against evil in forms of government. Despotism and absolutism are corrupt uses of force. Republicanism and a constitutional government are its nobler uses. But the force is still behind them, or there would be no power to continue such liberal forms. During the first Republic, Marathon and Thermopylae saved the principle of Western democracy against Oriental despotism, Salamis and Plataea saved Greek letters and Greek art to the continents that were yet to be. Christianity changed the motive but not the method in evolution; and, finally in the last great Republic, the American Revolution proclaimed liberty of thought, the war of 1812 secured American independence, while, beside the wandering Antietam and on the field of Gettysburg "green regiments went to their graves like beds" that the Union might live, and that human slavery might die. Manhood force, led by intelligence and goodness, is the bulwark of that maternity that must persist if heroes are to be. Dr. Jacobi's admission that women could not claim the vote while it was necessary to defend opinions by arms, is a vital one, for it contravenes her entire argument.

Another plea of the Suffrage leaders is that "men send substitutes, and so could women." The answer in regard to exempt classes will apply here also, because in case of need both substitute and substituter are obliged to serve. During our Civil War the fact that a man had sent a substitute did not prevent him from being called in the next draft. The state claims both men as its defenders. But whom do the women propose to substitute? Other women? No, they propose to substitute men! The Suffragists seriously suggest that half the population, exempted by nature from military duty, shall become organic members of a government whose reliance, embodied in every constitution, is upon the ability and the willingness of its organic members to do military duty in defence of those constitutions, and that this exempted half may have it as their sole office, in case of war, to vote when and where the lives, the fortunes, and the sacred honor of those other organic members shall be laid down or imperilled. Suffragists seem to forget, when they boast of Joan of Arc, that the army she led was masculine.

The English socialist, Mrs. Stanton Blatch, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in her addresses in this country two years ago, said: "Woman is not protected through chivalry, but because the men know that to put women to the front is national suicide. Woman's part in war is not to wail or weep, but to furnish the army for the future." Then there is to be an army for the future! Was there no "national suicide" when over three million men were "put to the front" in the Rebellion, and more than five hundred thousand, North and South, laid down their lives, so that through the veins of this generation runs none of the gallant blood they spilled? Shall the fathers, and possible fathers, be the only ones to die, if the mothers and betrothed proclaim themselves no longer desirous of being protected by such high sacrifice? If women cease to "weep and wail," will men not cease to be willing to be "furnished by them to the army?"

1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse