Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/306

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302

THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

The history of civilization, however, is only half written when all the departures from mediocrity have been listed and analyzed, for tradition clings inevitably to the coat-tails of departure, and holds it close to solid ground. If the greater variability of men is the gift that fits them to explore new fields, nothing is more certain than that the less erratic organization, both physical and mental, of women, fits them for administration, conservatism, tradition and culture.[1]

These special aptitudes are sexual differentiations no less truly than bristling beards and flowing tresses, and under modern conditions, infinitely more important. Nothing, however, could be more fatal to any cause, involving either men or women, than failure to recognize that the natural endowments of the sexes are complementary, racially essential and, fortunately, bred in the bone.

It is at bottom, failure to recognize this that has given rise to the current opinion that the emancipation of women through suffrage would destroy maternity. This, if it means anything at all, means that it will destroy sex. Those who have fears in this direction will do well to remember that the sex of woman is no less solidly grounded than the sex of man, and that both are infinitely older than our civilization whose earliest date is only this morning in the complete history of the race. We are the descendants of untold generations before Adam and Eve, and sex is more strongly inbred than the ten fingers.

Biology knows only racial justice, but racial justice in the long run will require suffrage for women, because they are constitutionally fitted for the exercise of the conservative influences of which, as a body politic, we stand so much in need. That the enlightened woman will wield her power without blocking progress, and, within human limits, for the prevention of errors, and the conservation of things worth while, follows both from her organization and her training. Society to-day is losing the services of a specialist in these matters, one too, not only endowed by nature but strengthened by education. When once this becomes clear, shall we continue to doubt her ability to face the waves of jingoism that periodically unsettle our markets and industries, distort the prices of living, and even carry us into trivial yet costly war?

  1. W. K. Brooks, "Woman from the Standpoint of a Naturalist," The Forum, Vol. 22.