Consent of the Governed

Suffrage is Not a Natural Right

The Remonstrance was the official publication of the Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women. First published annually and later quarterly in Boston from February, 1890 until October, 1913, it provided a forum for women who opposed the expansion of voting rights to women.

Suffrage Not a Natural Right

(The Remonstrance, January 1894) It is further urged that discriminating against women at the polls is an implication of inferiority and an indignity to her sex. Not so is it generally regarded by women. The average woman deems her duties respectable, and about as onerous as she cares to assume, and feels no need of the honor the ballot would confer. Thirty years of faithful missionary labor have failed to make her realize that she is suffering for want of it.

Woman, it is further claimed, is a citizen having natural right to the ballot, and as all just government rests on the consent of the governed, it is unjust to deprive her of all share in choice of rulers and to exact obedience to laws in making which she has no part. This is absurd and atheistic. The right to govern does not rest upon the consent of the governed. The divine authority, to which all rightful human authority is subordinate, rests on no such basis. God never asked permission to reign. The right of the parent to govern does not rest on the consent of his children. Right to punish the criminal does not rest on his consent to be punished. Governments were ordained to govern, not to be governed. The right or duty to govern rests on the same foundation on which every other obligation rests—the claims of the highest good, the supreme law of the moral world. It is his duty and right to govern who can do it best. He is the right ruler whose services, in that capacity, the highest interest of all demands.

—The Rev. John M. Williams, in Bibliotheca Sacra.

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