Page:Objections to Woman Suffrage Answered.djvu/1

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Woman Suffrage Leaflet.

Published Bi-Monthly at the Office of the Woman's Journal, Boston, Mass.



Vol. V.
No. 2.
Entered at the Boston Post-Office as second-class matter.


Subscription, 25 cents per annum.
Extra copies, 1 cts. per 100, postpaid.
MARCH, 1896.


Objections to Woman Suffrage Answered.



1. Suffrage is not a right of anybody.

To say so is to deny the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. "Governments derive their powers from consent of the governed"—women are governed. "Taxation without representation is tyranny"—women are taxed. "Political power inheres in the people"—women are people. To deny these principles is to justify despotism. "The men who refuse the ballot to women can show no title to their own."

2. Nobody asks for Woman Suffrage.

Over 21,000 citizens of Massachusetts have petitioned for it within six months. More than 50,000 others have petitioned for it in previous years. Not a dollar has ever been spent in circulating these petitions. Repeated efforts have been made and money spent to circulate petitions against Woman Suffrage, and they have had few signers.

3. What eminent men have favored Woman Suffrage?

Among others, Abraham Lincoln, Chief Justice Chase, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Samuel G. Howe, John G. Wittier, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Sumner, Henry Wilson, President Hayes, Governors Banks, Boutwell, Claflin, Washburn, Talkbot, Long, Butler, Brackett and Greenhalge, U. S. Senators Geo. F. Hoar and Henry L. Dawes; John M. Forbes, Robert Collyer, Bishops Haven, Bowman and Simpson, Neal Dow, George William Curtis, the Republicans of Massachusetts in successive platforms since 1870. The national Republican conventions of 1872, 1876, and 1896.

4. What eminent women have favored Woman Suffrage?

Among others, Margaret Fuller, Lydia Maria Child, Frances D. Gage, Lucretia Mott, Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Julia Wild Howe, Mary A. Livermore, Louisa M. Alcott, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Clara Barton, Frances E. Willard, Abby W. May, Lucy Stone, Mary F. Eastman, Frances Power Cobbe, Harriet Prescott Spofford.

5. Most women do not want to vote.

Except in years of presidential election, a majority of men in Massachusetts do not vote. This is shown by statistics. The right to vote for governor, State legislature, municipal, town and county officers, often calls out less than half the male vote, in spite of public opinion, party machinery, torchlight processions, newspaper articles, expenditure of money, and personal efforts of candidates. From 10,000 to 20,000 women in Massachusetts register every year to vote merely for school committee. Yet that is only a small and disjoined part of the system of Municipal Suffrage. It does not include a vote on the management of schools, or a share in the nomination of candidates. Small as it is, the right is restricted in the case of women by limitations which make it troublesome to exercise. A woman must apply every year to be registered. Under parallel conditions not 500 men would have voted for school committee. That over 20,000 women have done so in a single year, under such restrictions, is a proof of eminent and unselfish public spirit.

6. It is a step that once taken can never be recalled.

Municipal suffrage for women, on the contrary, is an experiment which can be repealed at any time by a Legislature of men alone, elected by men alone. If the presence of women at town-meetings and municipal elections proved distasteful to the men, the Legislature would soon repeal the law. Every fair-minded opponent of Woman Suffrage should vote for Municipal Woman Suffrage, in accordance with Governor Long's recommendation, as the shortest way to put an end to the agitation for Woman Suffrage by giving it a trial.

7. We have too many voters now.

Where will you draw the line? No one proposes to disfranchise any class of men who now vote. Every extension of suffrage has proved on the whole a benefit to all concerned; first to poor white men; then to ignorant colored men; why not now to intelligent women? Are Democrats who have given suffrage to poor men of foreign birth, or Republicans who have forced negro suffrage on the reluctant South, afraid to share political power with their own intelligent mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters?

8. Women are represented already.

Men cannot represent women, because they are unlike women. Women as a class have tastes, interests and occupations which they alone can adequately represent. Men specially represent material interests; women will specially represent the interests of the home.

9. Only bad and ignorant women would vote.

Our ten years' experience of School Suffrage for women proves the contrary. The women who have voted are admitted to be good and intelligent. The demand for suffrage comes from the respected leaders and educated representatives of their sex. No woman can vote in Massachusetts unless she can read and write.

10. It is contrary to experience.

Not so. In England women have voted for twenty-seven years in municipal elections. Hon. Jacob Bright has written to the Massachusetts Legislature that in England Woman Suffrage has proved "good for women, good for Parliament, and good for the country." It has worked so well there that it has been extended to the women of Scotland. Within three years it has been granted to the women of New Zealand and South Australia. Women now vote for all National, State and local officers in the States of Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, also on property qualifications in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward's Island, Ontario, and Manitoba. Are American women alone unfit to be trusted with political responsibilities?

11. There is no precedent in this country.

In Wyoming, women have voted for twenty-seven years on all questions, on