Women’s Reasons for Desiring to Vote
National Citizen and Ballot Box – July 1880
The work of reading these thousands of postals and letters and selecting from among them for publication, has required the labor of two persons over two weeks, and a portion of this time three persons were engaged upon it. Although but comparatively a small portion of them has been given, they form a very remarkable, unique, instructive and valuable addition to the literature and history of woman suffrage.
They not only show the growth of liberty in the hearts of women, but they point out the causes of this growth. Each letter, each postal, carries its own tale of tyrannous oppression, and each woman who reads, will find her courage and her convictions strengthened. Let every woman who receives this paper religiously preserve it for future reference. Let those who say that women do not want to vote, look at the unanimity with which women in each and every state, declare that they do wish to vote,—that they are oppressed because they cannot vote—that they deem themselves capable of making the laws by which they are governed, and of ruling themselves in every way.
These letters are warm from the heart, but they tell tales of injustice and wrong that chill the reader’s blood. They show a growing tendency among women to right their own wrongs, as women have ofttimes in ages before chosen their own ways to do. Greece with its tales of Medea and Clytemnestra; Rome and the remembrance of Tofania and her famous water; southern France of more modern times all carry warning to legal domestic tyrants.
Matilda Joslyn Gage
- The State Department of Michigan, six names, send congratulations and believe that “taxation without representation” is the basest tyranny.
- The W. S. A. of Big Rapids, addresses a letter to National Nominating Convention asking for an amendment to the constitution. Lucy F. Morehouse, Prest. W. S. A. and twenty-eight others.
- The Frankfort N. W. S. A. appointed a committee of three to canvass the town and ascertain the opinion of the women on the suffrage question, which committees after a thorough canvass are enabled to submit the following report, and appended names in favor, viz: 111 in favor, 28 approved, 21 indifferent.—Mrs. S. M. Harden, Ch. of Com. Frankfort.
- The following reasons come from Decatur Mich.:—It is my belief that woman by the use of the ballot could prohibit intemperance. —MRS. G. H. THOMPSON.
- I believe in woman suffrage because it is our inherent right. MRS. H. N. HOPKINS.
- I am in favor of woman suffrage because it is woman’s right.—MRS. ELVIRA M. HOPKINS.
- We are obliged to obey laws and it is only right that we should have a voice in electing our law-makers.—SADIE LUMBARD.
- I want to vote because I believe it to be a right, because it would increase the power for good which I wish to exercise, because it would greatly advance all moral reforms and do much to bring about “peace and good will to men.”—MRS. H. UPTON.
- Representation or no taxation.—MRS. MARTHA P. KENDALL.
- One reason why I think women should vote is, as a general rule I believe they would vote for sober and virtuous rulers, and when we have such rulers the people will not mourn as they now do.—MISS A. TROWBRIDGE.
- I pay taxes, therefore think I have a right to vote.—MRS. L. M. BURNEY.
- Statesmen without whiskey.—LUCINDA BENNETT.
- May God hasten the time when mothers can have a voice in making the laws that are to govern both them and their families. What mother could see her sons exposed to all the vices of the day, without earnestly desiring to be possessed of all the rights and power, that any citizen can possess, that she may be enabled to do something if it be but little, to quell the vices to which her family is exposed.— MRS. R. J. RODGERS.
- If women had the right to vote it would not be long until the liquor traffic would be abolished.—BELLE STERRETT.
- I want to vote because it is a God given right.—MRS. E. NEFF.
- I want to vote as I see no reason why I should not.—MRS. A. A. ABBOTT.
- I wish to vote because so much is expected of woman and her hands are tied without the ballot.—CYNTHIA McMINN.
- Had woman the right to vote the prohibiting law would soon be passed.—MRS. B. F. STERRETT.
- With the right of franchise we could make the temperance work a success.— MRS. J. W. H. CARLISLE.
- Give me the ballot.—MRS. G. BENNETT.
- A reason why women should vote is, they have business abilities equal in all respects to men and capable of carrying on the affairs of government as well, if not better, than they. Women would combine purity with honesty and justice.—MRS. T. B. MORXHAM.
- I wish to vote because it is my right.— MRS. ELLA A. B. HAYNES.
- Give me the ballot.—MARY BIBBINS.
- We believe it is the right and ennobling privilege of every woman to have the ballot placed in her hands.—MRS. P. SMITH.
- I send my name as a woman, that feels that woman has equal rights with man. All that is needed is, to acquire strength to take it. There are so many reforms needed that she feels the need so acutely, and having the power to legislate would in time bring about a reform. —MRS. S. DE MOTS.
- Believing intemperance to be the curse of curses, and hoping at least that woman suffrage may help to banish it from the land, I am ready to give my influence to help forward the cause.—MISS ABBIR TROWBRIDGE.
- I am in favor of woman having the ballot because it is her natural right, and because of the good she can accomplish.— MRS. H. B. CLAPP.
- I am a pioneer and have paid enormous taxes on real estate 44 years and have had no voice in anything. I now wish to be counted among the earnest applicants for the rights of woman.—E. LETTLEJOHN, Allegan—mother of Bishop Littlejohn, Brooklyn, N. Y.
- We, the undersigned, believe it to be our right to vote and will consider it our duty were the right given us. We also believe it the only thing which will help to put down and crush out the terrible evil of intemperance.—MRS. L. M. ROSEVELT, MRS. ELIZABETH ROSEVELT, .
- Our rights are based upon the broader basis of humanity and universal kinship of the race.—MRS. S. BIGELOW, Kalamazoo.
- I have been a school teacher seven years. Put me down as one ready to take up the responsibilities of citizenship.— KATIE L. TOIGHT, Sparta Centre.
- The following names from Portland ask for the ballot: Mary E. Rogers, Bell Freeman, Flora Taylor, Abino Carey, Mrs. W. G. Benedict, Mrs. W. E. Loomis, Mrs. Z. W. Smith, Mrs. John Besnalt, Mrs. David Case, Mrs.A. M. King, Mrs. L. R. Sherman, also, Mrs. Urnila J. Brokaw, Jenna Patrick, Harriet H. Dickson, Cora Sparks, Matilda Rise, Elizabeth Goodrich, Lou Estep, Viola Cook, Nancy Blackston; still others were sent from Portland.
- God gave me as many rights as he did any man.—LYDIA K. MARTIN, Vicksburg.
- We believe the ballot in the hands of woman would be both elevating and reformatory —MRS. J. M. LOMBARD, Decatur.
- I want to vote because I think it right that woman should vote.—MRS. H. G. WILMONT, Decatur.
- Please use my name as one who feels herself unjustly deprived of a right in not being permitted to vote, and it is a right I earnestly desire.—LAURA CLAY, Ann Arbor.
- As a citizen of the United States, I claim my right to vote. Every citizen ought to have a voice in their own government.— MARY McDIANNID, Pleasanton.
- The two following come from Bedford Station.
- I desire suffrage equal with man, that I may aid in wiping out the injustice enacted against woman. Having been illegally compelled by common law to pay taxes for at least sixty years, also have legally been robbed in many ways, especially in remuneration for labor performed.—ELIZABETH W. HAWXHURST.
- I send best wishes for the success of mass meeting for universal suffrage, for I have paid taxes, as thousands of others have, and had no voice in making laws, or to say how it should, be appropriated, which I protest against as unjust and illegal and I hope I may yet vote to remedy the injustice. —HULDA H. WINGATE.
- I want to vote because it is my right.— MRS. SARAH M. BURDICK, Augusta.
- From Saranac comes the following:
- “I believe women have a perfect right to the ballot and I desire to vote and will do so as soon as the right is recognized.—MARY A. MOORE.
- I believe women should have the privilege of voting as they clearly have the right. CHARLOTTE H. McTHOY.
- I send my name with those of some of my neighbors. You will not get responses from one in ten who would vote if they had a chance. Yours for the right.— MARY E. WYCKOFF, MARY E. GILBERT, MARY BOLTWOOD, BELLE HOUR, Jackson.
- I would like to add my name to the list of women that want to vote. I always have and always will want to vote.—MRS. I. T. ROBERTSON, Beacon.
- The two following come from Cassopolis:
- I wish to add my name to the number who believe they ought to have the right to the exercise of the ballot, equally with men; if we are governed by the same laws, I believe we ought to have a voice in making those laws.—SARAH H. WALTERS.
- I wish to vote, most assuredly, and so does my mother and my two sisters, the woman who helps me, and fifty other lady friends, not one of whom will write to you. Twice fifty, thrice fifty, indeed the greater part of my friends, wish for the ballot for some purpose, to help keep drink from son, husband, father, etc.—OLIVIA E. CHAPMAN.
- Mrs. A. M. Fox from Vicksburg, says our cause is just or why didn’t God set a mark on our intelligence, so that we should not know only what our husbands or brothers tell us.
- I am in favor of woman’s voting on all questions for the nation, states, counties, townships and districts, where the ballot is now used by men.—JENNIE COHOE, Lakeside.
- Yes! I want to vote. May God speed the work of your untiring zeal for the freedom of our sex.—LUCY A. BROWNELL, St Joseph.
- Believing also that justice demands equal rights for the sexes. —MRS. SARAH J. BLOUNT, Wayne.
- I have been a suffragist from 15 years of age, am now 64, and am anxiously awaiting the result of your labor which I hope may prove favorable and bring equal rights to humanity. This card signifies a desire to vote for the same.—MRS. M. E. MOREISON, Saugatuck.
- Also another name I send, my daughter, MRS. I. FRANCIS of Saugatuck.
- Whereas, I have natural self-governing rights and by the spirit and letter of the constitution of the U. S. A., have all a citizen’s rights. Therefore I solemnly protest against the tyranny and usurpation of power by other citizens in preventing the free exercise of those rights.—LOUISE M. BENNETT, Hiladale.
- Manistee sent many words of cheer, among which are the following:
- The salvation of this country lies in the right of suffrage to women; to vote and assist in making laws for this country. —MRS. R. W. HULBURT.
- I am heartily glad that the woman suffrage frage question is being agitated. I think women have been in bondage long enough. —MRS. P. B. FISK.
- Firmly believing in a government of the people, for the people and by the people. —EVERLYN N. PETERS.
- I am fully convinced in order to accomplish much good in reform work, women must vote.—MRS. H. DUSTIN.
- I am a lady 78 years old but I hope I may live to see all women have a right to vote.—MRS. MARTHA COGSWELL, Grand Ledge.
- I believe in perfect equality of the sexes, each to do according to his or her capabilities with the same advantages, no more no less. A sister wants me to send her name, she most heartily endorsing the same. We most earnestly desire the right to vote.—CLARA C. DOCKERY, ELIZABETH DOCKERY, Rockford.
- MRS. JULIA D. STANNARD, of Dexter, says: I wish to vote, because it is my right and duty to do what I can for God and home and native land. The ballot in the hands of woman would help the cause of Christ, the temperance cause and my beloved land.
- MRS. L. W. DEXTER, also from Dexter, writes: I wish women to vote. 1st, because it will give unmarried women the power to protect themselves from pecuniary injustice. 2d, because it will give married women with bad husbands the power to make themselves and children comfortable. 3d, I wish to vote because it is my right.
- Believing that woman has an inherent right to the ballot and that the ballot in her hands would hasten a higher civilization, I am anxious to vote.—MRS. E. E. SYKES, Bellevue.
- When women become enfranchised, and they most assuredly will, they will strip the bandage from the eyes of the emblematic justice, so that equity may be meted to all.—MRS. C. G. BUCKINGHAM, and I am requested to add the names of MRS. M. LEWIS, MRS. E. PURDY, Lansing.
- Suffrage is Not a Natural Right
- Women in Politics (The Revolution, 1868)
- The Average American Woman (1878)
- Reviewed: Rev. Crummell’s Sermon Against Woman’s Equality
- President Hayes: A Lost Opportunity