Women in Politics

Women in Politics (The Revolution, 1868)

Such is the heading of an important article in the New York News. The suggestions made are too important to be overlooked. Coming from the very highest democratic authority, we may in reproducing some of them wake again republican wrath, as did Miss Anthony when she invaded the late Democratic Convention with her memorial for Woman’s Suffrage, without out first asking republican permission. But as we have decided not to make the republican party any longer the custodian of our cause, we shall here give our readers another sample of democratic reasoning on the subject, asking the republicans to match it, as they challenged so dramatically of their nominee at Chicago. The News says in opening:

The appearance of a female delegate in a national party Convention, such as that of Miss Anthony in the late Convention held in this city, marks an era in the woman’s rights movement. The acceptance and reading of her address is the first sign, of recognition, in a political sense, that woman has received from any of the great parties of the day. No doubt she will feel encouraged to urge on the enterprise she has undertaken. It is too late to cry down the female suffrage movement with contempt. Opponents of the proposed innovation in our political system must prepare themselves to grapple with a substantial foe.

Already the advocates of female suffrage have made an impression in England. Among those who favor the idea are such powerful and practical statesmen as John Bright and John Stuart Mill; and the strength its friends exhibited in the British Parliament astonished the keenest observers of the times. In our own country the strong-minded females have organized into a league, started a lively newspaper organ, instituted a series of public meetings, and enlisted the services of popular speakers, like George Wm. Curtis, James M. Scoville of New Jersey, and George Francis Train. In the recent elections in the State of Kansas the advocates of female suffrage were able to carry over nine thousand of the voter of the sterner sex with them, which was, at least one-third of the whole vote polled.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.

The News then states briefly, though with great candor, the main arguments for woman’s right of franchise, together with some of the popular objections to the measure, for which evidently it has not much respect. But it closes the article thus:

The right to vote will naturally carry with it the right to hold office. It is hardly to be presumed that the women, when they once get the ballot, will consent to let the men fill all the fat places in the land.

And here comes the practical difficulty. Suppose a female President with a female Cabinet controlled the affairs of the nation, it is quite probable they would be subject occasionally to the little circumstances incidental to their sex. Might not the retirement of the Secretary of State, for a brief period, upset some very important treaty; or in the absence of a dozen or more senators at a time, prevent the impeachment of a wicked Executive? We would like to hear from Miss Anthony on the subject.

The question raised by the News has often been considered, but the argument probably escaped its notice. The democrats not long ago killed a republican President, but that did not stop, only check the wheels of government. It is not likely that the birth of a new candidate for presidential honors would do more. Her Majesty of Great Britain has so often practically answered the presumed difficulty of the News, that we need not pursue it farther.

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