Shall they vote

Shall Our Women Vote? (1887)

By Rev. R.Z. Roberts

Whatever may be discussed through the columns of our great Church organ – the RECORDER – this is a question that all should consider. There are many spheres in life to which women have been admitted, in which she was expected to make a successful failure, but instead she has been a success. In school as a student or as a teacher; in the pulpit, at the bar, or issuing medicine to the sick and dying – in any of the above woman has won laurels for herself; and so far she has not failed to wield that sweet and refining influence over men. Yet it is thought that this influence would immediately be sacrificed should she go to the polls and cast her vote. Is it possible that the father, husband and brother become such savages at the polls that they would be entirely beyond the influence of mother, wife, sister or daughter? If so, voting has a low moral tendency. If in other spheres in life woman wields an untold influence, why not at the polls?

In any gathering where women are absent, there is a certain degree of monotony; and men themselves don’t exhibit the culture and refinement in the absence of women that they do when they are present. Men have no right to limit gifts or talents.

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Women think, write, and reason with an undisputed correctness of judgment. Yet the saying is, “her place is in the family circle.” If women have that refining influence, why not let go where it is needed? A man who would not respect a woman at the polls would have but little or no respect for her at home or any other place of personal contact. Our women should vote. The time is coming when universal suffrage will be granted to the women of this and other countries.

When women are allowed to vote there will be less drunkenness practiced at the polls. The young man, instead of seeing how much rum and whiskey he can drink, will see how much of the true spirit of manhood he can exhibit. Fewer fathers will come home drunk. There will be less of the beastly nature exhibited and more of true manhood. Women are not public enemies of this grand republic. They always rejoice at the election of the correct man and always share the sorrows of a national disaster. The opinion of Rev. James Freeman Clarke is correct on woman suffrage. There is no reason why they should not vote, but many reasons why they should vote. There is a lack of refinement exhibited at the polls that nothing but a woman can bring about. I glory in the spunk of the Massachusetts women ; 5,741 petitioners for suffrage and only 81 opposers. The majority are on the right side. We believe that in the future a grand political triumph awaits the women of this grand republic.

Source: The Christian Recorder, April 21, 1887

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