Equal suffrage: address







With Compliments of

Walter Clark








Ladies and Gentlemen:—I appear before you this evening at the request of the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia in behalf of a cause which is already won. It is one of those evolutions in the upward and onward progress of humanity whose irresistible movement is like the tide of the ocean. No man can hasten it and no man can delay it. He who thinks that his approval or disapproval can affect its onward flow is like Chanticleer in Edmond Rostand's recent play, who thought that his crowing was necessary to bring up the sun.

I am not here to praise the women of Virginia. No one need do that in the presence of their fathers, their husbands, and their sons. Neither do they need any stranger to ask you to grant them anything that they wish. Why should you refuse them, even if you gallant men of Virginia could find it in your hearts to wish to deny them? In the language of Scripture, have they not "Done you good and not evil all the days of your life"?

Some may say that there are many women in Virginia who do not wish the suffrage. That is true. On which side the majority would lie if a vote of the women were taken, we do not know. But I believe that you would be surprised at the result. One thing is certain. A great many of them do desire the ballot, and it should not be refused them because other women may not desire it. Those who do not wish to vote will not be required to do so. Those who desire the suffrage should not be denied it. A woman who is opposed to the suffrage is like the wife of the sailor at Marblehead, whose husband was in the whale-oil business. She opposed using kerosene, saying, "What will become of the puir whales?"


In every land, civilisation has been measured by the status of the women. Among barbarians they are beasts of burden. Among the semi-civilised they are secluded. And among the fanatic followers of Mohammed, embracing one-third of the people of the globe, it is held that they have no souls. Among savage tribes the club of the husband was logical. Under the common law so was the lash, because women being kept in ignorance and deprived of property rights, could be thus governed. But when they were educated and given the right to own property, these things became illogical and impossible. The men of former days showed much more judgment in opposing giving education and property rights to women than do the men of this day who oppose giving them the suffrage.

In ten great states of this Union and one territory they have been granted the suffrage by the majority of the men, the women themselves not voting. Shall the men of the South be less just or less chivalrous? I am a native-born Southerner. I have spent my life beneath your sunny skies. I can therefore speak frankly to my own people. We have boasted of our chivalrous regard for women, and there are none that more deserve it than those of the South; but in honest truth, as respects the Progressive movements which first gave women education, and then property rights, and which is now giving them an equal voice in the disposition of the taxes they pay and in the control of the government which affects them, the South has been and is still a laggard. We praise them in phrase which often is exuberant, and which to some may seem extravagant; but judged by our actions towards them, men of the South, we have not been sincere. We have treated them like spoiled children. We have given them honeyed phrases which they do not ask, and denied them the substantial rights to which they are justly en-titled.

I will give you as briefly as I can, in my imperfect way, the arguments in favor of a cause which deserves a far abler champion than I. We have heard much of the "Submerged Tenth." I have now the honor to speak to you in behalf of the "Disfranchised Half." Mr. Seward more than sixty years ago declared this country "could not live half slave and half free." It is equally true now that our civilisation can not progress to its


ultimate triumph with half our population—the equals in intelligence, in patriotism, and in public spirit of the other half, and in some respects its superior—denied all share in the direction and control of the government which bears alike upon them and upon us. Ought we to deprive ourselves of the benefit of their intelligent cooperation with us in the control of our government?

1. It is said that the enfranchisement of the women is unnecessary, because every woman can vote thru her husband. We know that this is not true. Who casts the vote for the drunkard's wife? Then there is a large number of women who are either widows or have never cared to marry. Who casts their vote? There are 9,000,000 unmarried women in this country. Who votes their wishes or expresses their views by the ballot? There are 8,000,000 unmarried men in the United States. What woman's views does each of them express? If the supposed indirect influence of married women is legitimate, why forbid any woman to express her views directly by the ballot?

2. It has been urged that the ballot is a substitute for physical force, and that each ballot represents a musket. Half the soldiers in every war are under 21 and are not voters. Few soldiers are over 35, but all adult males are voters. The argument that votes are substitutes for muskets is therefore untenable. Besides, if men bear arms, the women raise the men and train them to be brave and patriotic. The women do their full duty to their country thereby.

3. Another argument is that women should employ them-selves with their home duties and the raising of their children. It can not interfere much with these duties for a woman to take an hour off once every two years to record her opinion by drop-ping her ticket in the ballot box. Are they so overworked that they can not be spared that much time? If so, they need the ballot sorely. We know that the churches are largely kept up and maintained by the activities of women, who constitute two-thirds or more of church membership; and the same is true of every good and charitable cause. This does not interfere with their home duties. If a man can leave his store, his banking office, his law business, to cast his ballot, surely a woman's du-ties will not be neglected by doing the same.


4. It is said that women ought not to go into the filth and mire of politics. If there is filth and mire in politics, it is due entirely to the men, who so far have had sole charge of it. It is time that the women had taken a hand and given us a political housecleaning as they did in Seattle and other places. They certainly will not make matters worse. Wherever Woman's Suffrage has been tried it has broadened and benefited the women, and the suffrage has been benefited by them. In states where Equal Suffrage has been granted, the polling places have been removed from the bar-rooms and similar places and more decent locations have been selected and kept clean, while disorder at the polling booths and improper language and conduct are no longer tolerated.

5. It is said that women have had no experience in electoral matters. When a boy becomes 21, he has had no experience; yet he is admitted at once to the suffrage. When his sister becomes 21, she has had exactly the same opportunities and the same lack of experience. Why should there be any discrimination?

6. It has been stated as an objection to Woman's Suffrage in the South that our negro cooks could vote. We can not justly disfranchise white women to keep their cooks from voting, when we do not disfranchise white men to keep the cook's husband from voting. Besides, there are many thousands of good women who do not have negro cooks.

7. Then there is the argument that the women of the under-world would vote. If anybody is to be disfranchised on that score, in all justice it should be the men who create, maintain, and support the underworld, and not the victims of it, much less the good and pure women whose voice is listened to in every other matter, and who should be heard in the discharge of the high duty of directing the public policy of a people. We do not disfranchise all men because some bad men might vote.

81 Then there is the essential justice of the demand for equal suffrage. We fought the Revolution upon the ground of "No taxation without representation." Yet a large part of the property of this country, probably a third, is now held by women. They are heavily taxed, yet they are denied all voice, whether single or married, in fixing the amount of taxation and in the


disposition of the vast sums which they pay into the public treasury. There is Mrs. Shepard, formerly Miss Helen Gould; Mrs. Russell Sage, Mrs. Hettie Green, and possibly others whose taxes must, each, approximate a million of dollars a year. Yet they are not allowed to express any choice as to the policy of the government, while the chauffeur that drives them is a full-fledged voter. Why should the mere accident of sex give the least qualified the right of suffrage and deny it to the other? There are hundreds of thousands of women who are intelligent, of good character, who own property, and are good citizens. Nay, there are many millions of them in this country. Until recently every one of them was disfranchised.

On the other hand, there are several millions of men of doubtful character, without property, of slight intelligence, and yet every one of them is entitled to vote. What good reason is there for this discrimination?

In a recent case in my State there was a petition to order an election on a proposed assessment of taxation for local purposes. The State statute required that this preliminary petition should be signed by a majority of the freeholders. A majority of the freeholders in the district were women. A free-holder has always been held to be the owner of land; yet when the question came up, the women were denied the right to ex-press their views on the petition and the election was ordered by a minority of the freeholders, and then the question was submitted to the vote, when the women were again excluded and a tax was voted and levied in disregard of the majority of the freeholders, simply because they were women. Can any man in this audience give a good reason, in view of the basic reason given for the American Revolution, for this injustice?

9. Among the many things that will be accomplished by the grant of Equal Suffrage to the women is that it will broaden the women themselves by giving them an active interest in government and by placing the responsibility of government upon them. If suffrage has been a good thing for the men, why not for the women?

It will benefit the Suffrage itself, for women will require better characters in the candidates. A drunken or immoral man knows in advance that he will not receive their ballots. In


Seattle, when they had a wide-open town, the women started a petition for the Recall, and before the Mayor got his eyes opened the women had marched to the ballot box and taken him out of the office that he had disgraced and had put a better man in it.

10. Another reform which requires the aid of Equal Suffrage to bring about is equal pay for equal service, without distinction of sex. There is a shameful discrimination in this respect, even in government offices. This can not be changed until respect is commanded by the number of votes which the women call put into the ballot box against those who are responsible for this discrimination.

11. As a strong evidence of their fitness for citizenship, we must remember that the number of men criminals is nearly 30 times the number of women criminals. Not only is this so, but so beneficial is their influence and example that the number of criminals among the married men is very far less than among unmarried men. The life insurance tables show that married men have a much longer average life than those that are unmarried. I can not, however, omit the opportunity of repeating a reply to this proposition, which a man once made. He said: "Married men do not really live longer than single men; it only seems so to them."

12. To sum up, the women are as competent and intelligent as men, and therefore should have the ballot; they are as patriotic and have the good of the State as much at heart, and therefore they should be permitted to take a part in the government. The experience in other states has shown that they have not been contaminated by politics, but they have made the exercise of suffrage more respectable; that it has broadened and not de-graded the women.

13. It is said that the women do not wish to vote, and will not vote if given the opportunity. The experience in the countries and states which have adopted the suffrage is to the contrary of this. In every election in this country a very large per cent of the voters do not go to the ballot box. In Philadelphia I believe the usual per cent is 60. I doubt if you have ever had an election in Virginia in which as many as 70 per cent of your voters have cast their ballots. Yet you do not disfranchise your


voters on that account. In Iowa at the last election there were 75,000 men who did not go to the polls. In the states where women vote, the percentage of women voting is about the same as the percentage of men, and sometimes a little larger. It is to the interest of the public that the basis of suffrage shall be as large as possible, and when only two-thirds of the men are voting, it is well to add to this basis the two-thirds of the women who will vote. The advent of the women to the ballot box has not only brought about cleaner polling places, better conducted, and in more decent localities, but the women have stood for laws against child labor, for sanitation, for purity in public morals, and for justice to the poor and the oppressed.

14. There are men who say that it is not ladylike for women to vote, and that it is beyond their sphere. This reminds me that when the head of the clan McKenzie went down to London, his attendants were greatly shocked that he was not given his accustomed seat at the head of the table. The Chieftain proudly said, "Where the McKenzie sits is the head of the table." What-ever our good and true women deem that it is right and proper for them to do, is ladylike, and is within their sphere. The time was but a short while ago when girls were not permitted to be clerks in stores, nor in offices, when there were no lady doctors, nor lawyers, nor preachers. The women were cooped up at home and confined to the three K's, "kinder, kuchen, und kirche," according to the German emperor's formula. That is, their sphere was to look after the cooking, the children, and the church. That suited some men, but it narrowed and restricted the women, and even in the best families many of them were constrained to take husbands that they did not wish, because they were not willing to be dependent upon their brothers for a support. Now they have what Burns calls "the glorious privilege of being independent," since, if needs be, they can earn their own living. In these United States alone it is estimated that there are 3,000 women lawyers, 4,000 women doctors, and as many women preachers, and some of these stand at the very head of the profession. If it is admissible for a woman to work in a factory or as a cook, there is no reason why she should not choose her own calling as a doctor, a lawyer, a clerk, or any other vocation whatever. Women are better for some callings than


men, and men are more fitted for other callings. But every woman, like every man, should have the liberty to choose her own career. If she can make a better song, a better speech, a better sermon, or a better book, or do anything else better than a man, the world, as well as the woman, is benefited by her doing so.

15. Half the votes at any election are cast, it is said, by those under 28 years old—certainly by those under 30. It follows that the boys now from 11 to 20 will cast the majority in all elections ten years hence. The mothers are now shaping their views and have the game entirely in their own hands. It is noteworthy that no State or country has ever held out against Equal Suffrage as long as ten years after the movement has been fairly organised therein.

16. A gentleman recently said: "I was bitterly opposed to Woman Suffrage, but I find the argument is on that side. But I can not see what they want with it. I do not vote myself half the time." If they are entitled to it, that is enuf. That 400 working women recently went to Washington to enlist President Wilson's aid tells the story. They wish redress of the evil of unequal pay when they do the same work as men, and of other ages-long discriminations against their sex; laws for the protection of children, for morality and social betterment. If this man shirks his duty in voting, some woman with a higher sense of duty will vote for better things. Besides, if this man were disfranchised he would want to tear down the capitol; yet he thinks women should bear the stigma of their disfranchisement placidly. He looks upon man as a superior caste, a quite superior animal, to woman.

In truth, it will be found on examination that there are but two classes of men, or at most three, who are opposed to Equal Suffrage. They are:

1. The financial Interests which back the Whiskey Trust and the Vice Trust and the men who are in touch with the conditions created by those Interests, all of whom fear, and not with-out reason, that when the women are admitted to the ballot box there will be a bona fide and not a sham enforcement of the law in these matters. Those financial Interests encourage the papers and furnish speakers to oppose the extension of the Suffrage to women.


2. There are those who are always opposed, naturally and temperamentally, to any change of any kind in the existing order of things. These men exist in every community, but can not be said to be a force to be reckoned with. They are simply the stragglers of a retreating army.

3. Then there is a class of men who really believe that women are incompetent to the Suffrage. These are the men who always are most profuse in exaggerated compliments to women. They talk in flowery language and declare that woman is entirely too good for the ballot. They always speak of putting her on a pedestal. Has any one ever seen it done? "When Knighthood was in Flower" the sisters were often put in convents, that their brothers might have the estates to squander in brutal and licentious pleasures. Whenever the law has been administered solely by men, there has been gross discrimination against women. As some poet has well said,

"Man to man so often unjust, is always so to woman."

At the common law there were 204 crimes which were punished with death. As a measure of mercy men were allowed for some offenses to plead the benefit of clergy: that is, if a man could read he was by a fiction presumed to be a clergyman, and therefore was punished lightly for the first offense; but a woman was never allowed this benefit under the common law, which was simply judge-made law, because they said that a woman could not be a clergyman, and therefore she was always hanged. In Massachusetts and other places where they used to burn or drown witches, the witch was always a woman, never a man. Even now we hear the opponents of Woman's Suffrage talking about the "witchery of women."

A man of some prominence in my State recently said flippantly in a newspaper article that he was "in favor of giving the ballot to women, and also to children 6 years of age." This was but another way of saying that women had no more sense than children of 6 years of age, and were no more fit for the ballot. Quick as lightning, the women of our State caught his meaning. He began to apologize the next morning, and then he apologized again, and then he apologized some more, and ever since he has kept a silence so profound that it can almost


be heard. Airily and unguardedly he expressed the true opinion of many men who seek to hide their real thought by excessive flattery. You can always tell these men when they op-pose your just demand for Suffrage by their saying that you are too good and pretty to soil yourselves in politics. They either fear the influence of your votes or they really think you are incompetent. In regard to this latter point, I am reminded of a little girl in the High School at Raleigh who after reading about the Darwinian theory began her composition thus: "Man and woman both sprang from monkeys, but I think women have sprang the farthest." A charming young lady who was present, said that she was not so certain about the origin, but she was very sure that some men had descended the farthest.

It has been well said that a single fact is worth a shipload of argument. Against all the theoretical arguments as to the unfitness or incompetence of women and the evil effects upon them of the ballot, we may point to the fact that country after country has adopted Equal Suffrage, and that in this Union 10 great states and 1 territory have conferred full suffrage upon them. This could not have happened, and the movement would not have spread, unless it had proven satisfactory where it was in operation.

As to the unfitness of women, when have we seen the sex unequal to any duties cast upon them? It is a well known fact that when a large estate has been thrown upon a widow, or even a small estate, it has been successfully managed. Who has ever known a widow to fail in business? The husband may drink, or speculate, or be misled by some designing adventurer; but the women are signally free from these dangers which cause the failure of so many men.

It is said that if the women vote they will be seeking to hold office. This prospect causes cold chills to run up and down the spinal column of many a small politician, and is usually the cause of his opposition. But as a matter of fact, in the countries where the women have been enfranchised, but few of them seek office. They have better sense than the men in this respect. But this is by no means because they are unequal to it.

We know that some of the greatest sovereigns of history were women. The two longest and most brilliant reigns in English


history were those of Victoria and Elizabeth. The greatest reign in Russia was that of Catherine. In Austria, that of Maria Theresa. In Spain, that of Isabella, who sent Columbus forth to discover the New World. Not long since, two women, Victoria, Queen of England and Empress of India, and Tsi An, Empress of China, between them were the rulers of over half the population of the entire world. Yet your corner politician, whittling a dry goods box, will tell you that women are not even fit to vote.

There are those also who know very little about the Scriptures who will say that it is against the Bible. We do not read in that Book of any one, man or woman, exercising the right of Suffrage, for it was unknown in those days. But we do read that Deborah was "Judge over all Israel"; and I shall certainly not say that one who is fit to be a judge is unfit to vote.

It is certainly good scripture that woman was created to be a helpmeet for man, and there is nothing to indicate that women should not help by casting their ballots and their influence in the cause of good government when aid is so badly needed. If the conditions at the polling places are sometimes bad, they are worse, often, in the factories. We hear no clamor from the professional politicians against permitting women to work in the factories on account of evil surroundings. Why are they so solicitous as to injury to women in the few moments occupied in dropping a vote for better government into the ballot box?

Then we often have tirades on the dress of women, as if that had something to do with their fitness for the suffrage. I have always thought that it was impudence and impertinence for men to sit in judgment on the dress of women. They do not bother us as to how we shall dress, and they are far better judges of what is becoming and attractive than we are. If a style of dress is not in fact attractive, they will find it out quicker than the men, and will be sure to change it. Some men will go into a. ballroom and see abbreviated dresses cut with a "V," and will admire the beauty of the costume and of the wearer, but if a dress on the street is shortened or the "V" is at the lower edge of the dress, they will assert that it is indecent. Let the women alone. They know best how to dress so as to be sweet and


attractive; and when they do that, it is our business to be satisfied. Besides, dressing is more a matter of convention, that is, of custom, and of attractiveness, and not so much, as some assume, a matter of morality or even of modesty. Among the Mohammedans, a woman who would go on the street without her face deeply veiled is an outcast. If her face is hidden, the rest of her costume makes small difference. She wears trousers, of course, because it is the custom. If a woman transgresses too much from our customs in regard to dress, the other women will be sure to discipline her. Men need not bother about it. At the seaside, bathing suits for men and women reaching to the knees are not immoral. Hence they would not be immoral if worn elsewhere, but would be immodest, because unusual. The test of dress is what is usual, and women will settle that among themselves by selecting, in the long run, what is most becoming and attractive. They need no dictation or interference from men.

But how they shall dress has nothing to do with their voting, beyond the implied argument that they are not intelligent enough to vote because they do not know how to dress, which is like saying that Robert E. Lee knew nothing about war. I shall not "talk war in the presence of Hannibal."

Then there are those who object to the just demand of our own women for equal suffrage because of the conduct of the militants, led by Mrs. Pankhurst, in England. But what has that to do with the question whether the women in Virginia, who have behaved most admirably in every respect, should have the right of suffrage? There is this to be said even in regard to militancy in England: Four hundred members of Parliament out of 600 were elected on a distinct pledge to vote for Woman's Suffrage. The bill to that effect has seven times passed the second reading by 200 majority, but a third reading has always been avoided by the maneuvers of the government in power, except last May, when the matter being forced to an issue, the Prime Minister threatened to resign and defeat the movement for the emancipation of Ireland if the Woman's Suffrage measure was voted, and thereupon the Irish members were forced to vote against it, defeating the measure by 13 votes. This was enough to exasperate the women. We must remember,


however, that only one-twentieth of the women who are organised for the suffrage in England belong to the Militant Party, and less than 100 of these have shared in acts of violence. The other 19-twentieths of the women demanding the suffrage have behaved themselves properly and as becomingly as they have done in this country. It would be as just to denounce the Prohibition movement of the country because Carrie Nations went around with a hatchet on a wild hunt for notoriety. Besides, it ill becomes those who for nearly a century and a half have been filling our histories with pictures of the Boston tea-party, with men disguised as Indians throwing the tea into the ocean because of taxation without representation, to condemn the militants. It would be more logical and just to say that America ought not to have its independence because of that incident, which our children are taught to admire so greatly, than to condemn Equal Suffrage in this country because of some wild acts of a few militants who are making a similar protest in England against their taxation without representation.

The vote of women, if cast solidly, can already decide a presidential election and can control the balance of power in Congress, both in the Senate and House. The time was when the newspapers made merry in ridicule of the demand of the women for the ballot. All sorts of funny situations were conjured up. But that stage has been passed. The editors have learned bet-ter. The movement is one which must be treated with respect. One great national party has already placed a demand for equal suffrage in its platform; and the chairman of the Senate committee states that his committee will report favorably the constitutional amendment to confer the suffrage in all the states. But recently a woman, Mrs. Lee, was elected the chairman of the State Democratic Executive Committee in Colorado. In four states, I believe, a woman is superintendent of public instruction, and in many states women are county superintendents in a large number of counties.

It has been less than a hundred years since the first college for women was established under the auspices of Mrs. Emma Willard, in 1821, and the first schools for women began but a few years before. Those who will turn to the literature of that day will see that as much ridicule was used and the opposition


was as violent against education for women as it is now against giving them the suffrage; and as many prophecies were made of evil to come therefrom. A few years later, when the movement to give women property rights was begun, the agitation against it, the ridicule and prophecies of evil, were still more violent. Up to that time the common-law rule that woman was a chattel and was under the control of her husband was generally maintained. As late as 1868 the Supreme Court of North Carolina reiterated the common-law doctrine that if a man thrashes his wife with "a switch no larger than his thumb," and no permanent injury is inflicted, the law would not protect her. One of my predecessors as Chief Justice held that this was so, and had always been so, because it was the husband's duty to "make his wife behave herself." He said that to hold otherwise would "encourage insubordination”! There has been no statute in North Carolina changing the law in this respect, but our judges have learned to behave themselves. At any rate, no one believes that the present Chief Justice, under any circumstances, will follow that decision.

As I have said, notwithstanding the boasted chivalry of the southern states, we have been the slowest in giving women freedom from the husband's lash or their property rights, and we are now the slowest in giving them that right of suffrage to which their intelligence and patriotism entitle them. Indeed, Virginia and North Carolina are among the slowest even in the South. In Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, they have the right to vote in school elections and on assessment of taxes and issue of bonds. In Arizona they have full suffrage. In some of the other southern states they are trustees on school boards, to which point North Carolina moved up last year. Indeed, Kentucky conferred school suffrage on women as far back as 1838. School suffrage for women, that is, the right to vote on all matters affecting the schools, obtains in Connecticut, Delaware, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, a total of 18 states, besides the 10 states and 1 territory in which they have full suffrage. In addition to this, there are several states which have conferred municipal suffrage, and others in


which the women vote on the issuance of bonds, as in Iowa, and others, and have the tax-paying suffrage, as Montana, Louisiana, and Michigan.

Among foreign countries, all the states of Australia, and the Commonwealth of Australia itself, have conferred full suffrage upon women, which last dates from 1902. The women have equal suffrage with the men also in New Zealand, Norway, Fin-land, Denmark, and Iceland, and it is to be granted in Sweden, in the Netherlands, and in Poland by the pending sessions of Parliament, as has been promised by the governments in those countries. In a great many nations the women have partial suffrage; for instance, in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales they have municipal suffrage and are eligible as mayors and aldermen. In mentioning the competency of women to exercise the highest functions of the government, I omitted to make reference to Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands, who in dignity and in efficiency in the discharge of her duties is second to no other sovereign in Europe.

There are those who deprecate this movement on the ground that it is a sex war. On the contrary, as the women can not obtain the suffrage except by a vote of the majority of the men, and they themselves have no say in the matter, they are petitioners. They are not making war, but they are pleading for justice at your hands. Can you refuse it?

This argument occurred in a little schoolhouse in North Carolina between two young boys. The little, freckle-faced, red-headed orator contended that the Declaration of Independence entitled women to vote, for it said that "All, ALL men are created free and equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights." His fiery competitor leaped to his feet and said, "It reads all men are free and equal." Instantly, little red-head replied, contemptuously: "Everybody knows men embrace women." He brought down the house and won the prize for oratory.

In China the men were so anxious to prevent all independence on the part of women that they bound their feet. But in spite of this repression, it culminated in Tsi An, the greatest sovereign that China has ever produced and one of the greatest women that the world has ever known. Nor can the great


Hebrew race ever forget that it is to another woman, Esther, that they owed the preservation of their people thruout the great Persian Empire. A great church venerates another woman as the mother of Christ, and Joan of Arc delivered France when all men had abandoned hope.

There have been few great men in the world who did not owe their greatness to their mothers, and not a few to their wives—Mohammed, for instance. The instances are not rare in which men have received good advice from their wives, for there are possibly some here to-night who have heard the expression, "I told you so; if you had taken my advice, this would not have happened." Do you remember that Robbie Burns said,

"It gars me greet, how mony a lengthened sage advice the husband frae the wife despises."

It is astonishing how men can doubt the capacity of women to have any share in the government of the country when more than half of them know something about home-rule already. I have seen many a burly man talking about women being unfit for the ballot, when if you would get down at the truth of it, he himself was wound around the little finger of some little slip of a woman. As the author of the "Quadrilateral" said: "This was so when Rahab became forever famous among her kind and it will be so when the rock that bears Tarpeia's name shall have crumbled into dust." Samson was the strongest of men, but he was a child in the hands of Delilah, and the great world-conquerors, Cesar and Antony, in turn were the captives of Cleopatra.

When you get down to the real gist and bottom of the opposition to woman's suffrage you will find, as a general rule, that when the man is not opposed to it because he fears that by the exercise of the suffrage women will cause legislation which will interfere with. some of his favorite pleasures or vices, then it is quite certain that his opposition is based upon inordinate self-conceit. He thinks that he is wiser than women simply because he is a man. A man told me the other day that women had no sense, and were not fit for the ballot. I told him that if woman was a goose, as he thought, then if suffrage was fair for the gander it was fair for her.


This movement for Equal Suffrage is not a fad nor a matter of sentiment. Every argument against it is sentimental or based on some imaginary evil that is prophesied, but which has not come to pass anywhere it has been adopted. The arguments in favor of it are practical and the very same that were given in demanding suffrage for men and for every extension of the suffrage. The movement has been well organized. There have been campaign funds raised, literature scattered, and a campaign of education. In England this fund has been as high as $1,000,000 at 0. time, and has been largely contributed by clerks. stenographers, and working women. The women mean business, and they are bound to win.

In conclusion, I would say that justice and the best interests of the public demand that we should admit the women to a full share in choosing the officials and the policy of the governments under which they live and in whose efficiency they have fully as much interest as the men and to whose support they con-tribute of their means. It is passing strange that any man should deny their competency to aid in rifling the country, when it is to the women, and almost to the women alone, that we look for the proper upbringing of the men and women of the coming generation who shall rule the country. How can they train the men to be patriotic if they have not patriotism and intelligence themselves?

We men had better do like Davy Crockett's coon, and "come down." You who have been to Atlantic City will remember that there are boards on the side of the walks with amusing or interesting paragraphs. You may remember one which reads thus:

"God made the world and rested. `.He then made man and rested.

"He then made woman, and neither God nor man has rested since."

Women know they are as much entitled to the ballot as we are. They have set out to get it, and we will have no rest till they do get it. Men and brethren, we might as well come down.

We may well say of this movement for equality of rights, as Curran, the impassioned orator of Ireland, when lie thrilled his audience by declaring that he looked forward to the time when


he should see his country, in all its majesty and loveliness, "re-deemed, regenerated, and disenthralled, by the irresistible might of universal emancipation."

We read that when Paul and Silas had come over into Thessalonica "certain lewd fellows of the baser sort gathered a company and set all the city into an uproar and assaulted the house," . . . saying, "These that have turned the world upside down have come hither also." It will be wise for us to remember what the sage Gamaliel said when a similar attack was made upon the Apostles. He said, "Refrain and let them alone; for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to naught. But if it be of God, ye can not overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." This is one of the great evolutionary movements of the ages. Nearly a century and a half ago the movement began to give the men the suffrage and the right of self-government. It was greatly restricted at first, but step by step it has extended until now it reaches all countries more or less, and with us we have achieved manhood suffrage. The same education having been given to women, they are asking the same right to choose a career and to have a voice in the control of the governments under which they live. It has grown from small beginnings until it obtains in many countries and in many states of our own country. No women are more entitled to it, than the noble women of the State of Virginia. They have never asked anything that is unreasonable or that is unjust, and when they now ask this, I do not believe the chivalrous gentlemen of the Old Dominion can find it in their hearts to deny them.

The Map Proves It

WHITE STATES: Full Suffrage. SHADED STATES: Taxation, Bond or School Suffrage. DOTTED STATE: Presidential, Partial County and State, Municipal Suffrage. BLACK STATES: No Suffrage.

Equal suffrage: address
Equal suffrage: address/ by Walter Clark at Richmond, Va., 30 January, 1914. 18 p. : 23 cm. Cover title. Date approximated.
Original Format
16cm x 22cm
Local Identifier
JK1896 .C52x 1914
Location of Original
Joyner NC Reference
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