Post 2019-01-26

Ballots for Women: Giving or Forcing?

Members of the Massachusetts legislature, or of the legislatures of other states, who are urged to vote this winter for suffrage bills or amendments, should remember that what they are really asked to do is not to give the ballot to women, but to force it upon them.

That is what it really amounts to. The suffragists are admittedly a minority among women. As a matter of fact,—though this they do not admit—they are a small minority. Tested in any way one pleases,—by the membership of their organizations, by the signers to their petitions, or by the votes cast at school elections,—they are a small minority.

Actions speak louder than words. If the suffragists do not know that they are a small minority, why do they always bitterly oppose every proposal to submit the question to a referendum of women’s votes?

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).

This course is inconsistent in two ways. First, theoretically; for they clamor for “votes for women,” yet, on the fundamental question whether women shall have votes they are unwilling that women should vote. Second, practically; for their case would be won if they could once show that the majority of women want to vote. That would be all that would be needed. The legislatures would yield; the male electorates would yield; and the suffrage would come as a matter of course, for the average man is disposed to give the average woman what she wants. The only reason that can be given why the suffragists do not take this short and easy way to the suffrage is that they know that the great majority of women are not with them.

Massachusetts legislators can hardly have forgotten how the suffragists acted last year with reference to the Drury bill, which proposed to allow women to vote upon the suffrage question. If they will look up the records in other states, they will find that invariably,—in Rhode Island, in New York, in South Dakota, in Indiana, and in other states in which a similar proposal has been made the suffragists have opposed it vehemently, and have denounced the legislators who introduced it as enemies of their cause. If suffragists can point to a single instance in which they have supported such a proposal, THE REMONSTRANCE will gladly print the facts.

Let legislators then make no mistake. What the suffragists ask them to do is to override the fundamental principle of democracy,—the rule of the majority—and to impose upon the majority of women, at the demand of a small but noisy minority, what they do not want and never have asked for.

Source: The Remonstrance – January 1914

The Remonstrance Against Woman Suffrage was published quarterly by the Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women. It expresses the views of women in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New York, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia and other states.

An annual subscription cost twenty-five cents.

All images included in blog posts are from either Accessible Archives collections or out of copyright public sources unless otherwise noted. Common sources include the Library of Congress, The Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and other public archives.

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