Votes for Women - Hyde Park

Opinions of English Women on Woman Suffrage

Matilda Joslyn Gage became the National Citizen and Ballot Box’s primary editor for three years, producing and publishing essays on a wide range of issues. Each edition bore the motto “The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword”, and included regular columns about prominent women in history and female inventors.

She included material from conventions, petitions, books, and leaflets, like the following quotes:

From Leaflets:

To have a share however small, in the government of his country, is one of the noblest ambitions of man; it improves by elevating him; forces him to consider the welfare of others; enlarges his intellect, and if men find themselves benefited and improved by having the franchise, would not women find themselves equally benefitted if they also had the power voting? — Lady Anna Gore Langton.

The longer I live the more I see the necessity of woman taking an intelligent part in all that concerns the welfare of their country, and I am sure if they had the power of voting, they would feel more decidedly than they do, that they are an important part of the commonwealth. — Barbare L. S. Bodichon, Sept. 1878.

I am in favor of woman’s suffrage because the basis is justice, and what is morally right must eventually prove to be politically right. — Elizabeth Mary Southy, Hon., Sec., of the Woman’s Peace and Arbitration Association, Sept. 1878.

Domestic life can never have all the elements of the happiness it is capable of giving, while women are careless of one large branch of men’s interests in the world; and men’s interests can never receive all the development of which they are susceptible until women share with men in all the tasks of life. — Miss Helen Taylor, Member of the London School Board, stepdaughter of John Stuart Mill, Oct. 1878.

It is difficult to give any special reason for desiring the political enfranchisement of women, simply because there are so many reasons for desiring it. But the one which, perhaps, to my mind, has the greatest weight, is after all, not grounded on any wish to benefit women only, or even specially, but rather on the conviction that in raising them we should raise men also; that in the higher development, of their capacities — such as I believe would undoubtedly result from their political enfranchisement — we should promote the higher development and culture of the whole nation. — Princess E. L. M. Mele Barese, Sept. 1878.

I earnestly desire to see the franchise extended to women. I believe that its educational value would be great, and that by its possession woman would be led to exercise judgment in forming their opinions upon questions which at present they regard with ignorant indifference, or with equally ignorant prejudice. I think also that it cannot be contested, that at the present day, the right to vote is the one right, without which no other right is secure. — Mrs. E. F. S. Pattison, July 1878.

My opinion with respect to the extension of the franchise remains unchanged. I cannot but think that those women rate-payers, who, like myself, take an interest in social questions, must, as I do, feel strongly the injustice done them in being called upon to share in the taxation, without participating in the advantages confered by property on the other sex, of a voice in parliamentary representation. — Lady Deborah Bowring, Oct. 1878.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Women’s Suffrage Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily (1849-1856), National Citizen and Ballot Box (1878-1881), The Revolution (1868-1872), The New Citizen (1909-1912), The Western Woman Voter (1911-1913), and the antisuffrage newspaper, The Remonstrance (1890-1913).

Source: National Citizen and Ballot Box, March 1879

Votes for Women - Hyde Park

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