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Suffrage parade, New York City, May 6, 1912

[Detail] Youngest parader in New York City suffragist parade

The Blue Book (excerpt)

edited by Frances M. Björkman and Annie G. Porritt (1917)

For Lesson Two

NOTE: This is an excerpt from "The blue book"; woman suffrage, history, arguments and results,edited by Frances M. Björkman and Annie G. Porritt (1917) found in Votes for Women, 1848-1921.

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Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article be proposed to the legislatures of the several states as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which when ratified by three-fourths of the said legislatures, shall be valid as part of said constitution, namely:

Article -, Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Sec. 2. Congress shall have power, by appropriate legislation, to enforce the provisions of this article.

During the years that followed, suffragists directed their efforts towards obtaining the vote in two ways-through the states and by means of the Federal Amendment. The successes in the several states will be traced under each of the states. Miss Anthony worked as devotedly to help the women of the states to win the ballot as she worked for the favorable consideration of her amendment by Congress. Until very recently it was felt by most suffragists that the state-by-state method alone offered any good prospects of success, and only since women have been enfranchised in twelve states has hope revived of the passage of the Federal Constitutional amendment.

Federal Constitutional Amendment.
The first introduction of the amendment in Congress was in the Senate on January 10, 1878, by Senator Sargent. In 1878 it was reported adversely to the Senate from committee; but in the following year the adverse report of the majority was accompanied by a favorable report from the minority of the committee. Since 1878, it has been introduced by the National Woman Suffrage Association in each succeeding Congress-Miss Anthony herself undertaking the burden of the work until 1890. In 1882 it won a favorable majority report from the Senate Committee, and in 1883 it was introduced in the House, where it also obtained a favorable majority report. It did not come to a vote in the Senate, however, until 1887, when after another favorable majority report it obtained 16 votes in favor to 34 votes against. There were favorable majority reports on it in the Senate in 1890 and 1892; but it was adversely reported in 1896, and it was not again reported from the Woman Suffrage Committee of the Senate until 1913. In that year and again in 1914 and 1916, it went to the Senate with a favorable majority report.

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(All Western states, and some other states, as well as other countries are researched.)


In 1898, as a result of certain misrepresentations, a statement approving equal suffrage was issued, signed by the Governor, three ex-Governors, both United States Senators, two ex-Senators, two Representatives in Congress, the Chief Justice and two Associate Justice of the Supreme, Court, three Judges of the Court of Appeals, four Judges of the District Court, the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer, the State Auditor, the Attorney-General, the Mayor of Denver, the president of the State University, the president of Colorado College and the presidents of officers of numerous women's clubs. In 1899 the Colorado Legislature passed, by a vote of 45 to 3 in the House and 30 to 1 in the Senate, a resolution declaring that during time that equal suffrage had been in operation women had used the vote as generally as men, with the result that better candidates had been selected for office, election methods had been purified, the character of legislation improved, civic intelligence increased and womanhood developed; and recommending the adoption of the measure by all the States and Territories of the Union.

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Effect of Women Voting Upon Legislation.
One striking effect of woman has been the provision of clean, well-lighted and well-warmed places for polling booths, usually in private houses, churches, fire stations, guild halls or stores-never in saloons.

The statutes of Colorado present a most imposing array of laws affecting the welfare of women, children and the home. A large number of these must unquestionably be attributed to the work of women. In this State, where the sexes are more evenly distributed than in any of the older suffrage States, the women voters have used their political power to influence legislation more consciously and deliberately and over a longer period of time than anywhere else. Women have introduced many of these laws into the Legislature, where, in most sessions, they had the advantage of women members to look after them. Every woman's club has its legislative committee, which scrutinizes every bill introduced and makes recommendations as to whether it should be supported or opposed. Among the laws most easily traceable to women's influence are the following measures:


Making mother joint guardians with the fathers over their children.

Raising the age of protection of young girls to 18.

Establishing a juvenile court; making parents responsible for the offenses of delinquent children, when they have by neglect or any other cause contributed to such delinquency.

Forbidding the employment of children in certain industries.

Making the wife the head of the family in cases where she provides the principal support.

Providing for supervision of lying-in hospitals and maternity homes conducted by private individuals.

Compelling men to support their families and making wife-desertion a felony.

Providing penalties for the punishment of male and female procurers.

Making it a felony for any person under 18 to work as a servant or employee in any house of ill-fame.

Making immoral solicitation a felony.

Imposing heavy penalties upon men for living upon the earnings of immoral women.

Forbidding the insuring of the lives of children under ten years.

Establishing State parental schools.

Establishing a State home for dependent children, two of the five members of the board to be women.

Requiring that at least three of the six members of the Board of County Visitors shall be women.

Establishing a State industrial home for girls, three of the five members of the board to be women.


Requiring one woman physician on the board of the insane asylum.

Providing for the care of the feeble-minded.

Making father and mother joint heirs of a deceased child.

Establishing a State travelling library commission, to consist of five women from the Colorado Federation of Women's Club, to be appointed by the Governor.

Prohibiting the gift or sale of cigarettes to children.

Prohibiting the sale of opium.

Making employers liable for industrial accidents.

Removing the emblems from the Australia ballot (an approach to an educational qualification for voting).

Establishing the indeterminate sentence for prisoners.

Making the Colorado Humane Society a State bureau of child and animal protection.

Providing for the teaching of humanity to animals in the public schools.

Establishing mothers pensions.

Creating a minimum wage board to determine minimum wage for women.

Establishing an eight-hour law for women.

Providing for the initiative, referendum, recall, and for direct primaries.

At the election of November, 1914, Statewide prohibition was adopted, and in the Session of 1915 a red light injunction and abatement law on the model of the Iowa law was passed. In the same session Colorado adopted a comprehensive workman's compensation act and an industrial disputes act.

Before the franchise was granted women's property rights had already been fairly well secured, and now the last discriminations have been removed, so that, with respect to property, women are on a basis of perfect equality with men, the old laws of power and courtesy having been replaced with measures even more favorable to women.

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Objections Answered by Alice Stone Blackwell

Why Should Women Vote?

The reasons why women should vote are the same as the reasons shy men should vote-the same as the reasons for having a republic rather than a monarchy. It is fair and right that the people who must obey the laws should have a voice in choosing the law-makers, and that those who must pay the taxes should have a voice as to the amount of the tax, and the way in which the money shall be spent.

Roughly stated, the fundamental principle of a republic is this: In deciding what is to be done, we take everybody's opinion, and then go according to the wish of the majority. As we cannot suit everybody, we do what will suit the greatest number. That seems to be, on the whole, the fairest way. A vote is simply a written expression of opinion.

In thus taking a vote to get at the wish of the majority, certain classes of persons are passed over, whose opinions for one reason or another are thought not to be worth counting. In most of our states, these classes are children, aliens, idiots, lunatics, criminals and women. There are good and obvious reasons for making all these exceptions but the last. Of course no account ought to be taken of the opinions of children, insane persons, or criminals. Is there any equally good reason why no account should be taken of the opinions of women? Let us consider the reasons commonly given, and see if they are sound.

(For each argument she gives a compelling counter-argument)

Are Women Represented?
Women are represented already by their husbands, fathers and brothers. (The anti-argument)
This so-called representation bears no proportion to numbers. Here is a man who has a wife, widowed mother, four or five unmarried sisters, and half a dozen unmarried daughters. His vote represents himself and all these women, and it counts one; while the vote of his bachelor neighbor next door, without a female relative in the world, counts for just as much. Since the object of taking a vote is to get at the wish of the majority, it is clear that the only fair and accurate way is for each grown person to have one vote, and cast it to represent himself or herself.

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Is "Influence" Enough?
If the laws are unjust, they can be corrected by women's indirect influence.
Yes, but the indirect method is needlessly long and hard. If women were forbidden to use the direct route by rail across the continent and complained of the injustice, it would be no answer to tell them that it is possible to get from New York to San Francisco by going around Cape Horn.

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The Ignorant Vote
It would double the ignorant vote.
Statistics published by the National Bureau of Education show that the high schools of every state in the Union are graduating more girls than boys-some of them twice and three times as many. Because of the growing tendency to take boys out of school early in order to put them into business, girls are getting more schooling than boys. Equal suffrage would increase the proportion of voters who have received more than a merely elementary education.

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The Foreign Vote
It would double the foreign vote.
A little more than one-third of the immigrants coming to this country are women. According to the latest census, there are in the United States nearly three times as many native-born women as all the foreign-born men and foreign-born women put together.

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The Criminal Vote
To the vote of every criminal man, you would add the vote of a criminal woman.
The vicious and criminal class is comparatively small among women. In the prisons of the United States as a whole, including those for all kinds of offenses, women constitute only five and one-half per cent. of the prisoners, and the proportion is growing smaller.

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The Bad Women's Vote
The bad women would outvote the good ones.
In America, the bad women are so few compared with the good ones, that their votes could have little influence. Mrs.Helen Gilbert Ecob, wife of a prominent clergyman who was for some years a pastor in Denver, writes: "The bad women represent, in any city of the United States, but an infinitesimal proportion of its population, and the vote of the class in Denver is confined practically to three precincts out of 120."

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Don't Understand Business
A municipality is a great business corporation. Men, by the nature of their occupations, know more about business than women, and hence are better fitted to run a city or a state. Women have a vote in every other corporation in which they are shareholders. George William Curtis said: "A woman may vote as a stockholder upon a railroad from one end of the country to the other; but, if she sells her stock and buys a house with the money, she has no voice in the laying out of the road before her door, which her house is taxed to keep and pay for."

Division of Labor
The growth of civilization is marked by a increasing specialization and division of labor. Woman suffrage would therefore be a step backward.
The growth of civilization increases the division of labor as between individuals, but lessens it as between the sexes. One woman no longer spins and weaves and manufacturers the clothing for the men of her family, at the same time carrying on all the housework and in addition making butter, cheese and candles, as our great grandmothers did. This work is now subdivided among a number of specialists. On the other hand, in the old times women were excluded from almost all the occupations of men. Housework and sewing were practically the only ways open to them to earn a living. To-day, out of more than 300 trades and professions followed by men, women are found in all but three or four.

Would Lose Their Influence
Women would lose their influence.
What gives a woman influence? Beauty, goodness, tact, talent, pleasant manners, money, social position, etc. A woman who has any of these means of influence now would still have them if she has a vote and she would have this other potent means of influence besides.

Cease to Be Respected
Women would cease to be respected.
Jane Addams and other prominent Chicago women testify to the marked increase of respect that came to the women of Illinois with the granting of the ballot.

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Would Make Women Partisans
Women can do more good now than if they had a vote, because now they are non-partisan. If they become voters, their non-partisan influence would be lost. Women continue to be non-partisan after they have the ballot, and it gives them more power to secure the good things which the women of all parties want.

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Opposition of Women
Women in large numbers are organizing against suffrage. The majority are opposed to it and the majority ought to rule.
The organized opposition among women to suffrage is very small compared with the organized movement of women in its favor.

Already OverBurdened
Women are already overburdened. A woman would not have time to perform her political duties without neglecting higher duties.
Mrs. Alice Freeman Palmer wrote: "How much time must she spend on her political duties? If she belongs to the well-to-do-class, and hires others to do her work, she has time for whatever interests her most-only let these interest be noble! If she does her own housework, she can take ten minutes to stop on her way to market and vote once or twice a year. She can find half an hour a day for the newspapers and other means of information. She can talk with family and friends about what she reads. She does this now; she will then do it more intelligently and will give and receive more from what she says and hears.

Women and Office Holding
If women vote, they must hold office.
When we say that women would be eligible to hold office, what do we mean? Simply that if a majority of the people in any place would rather have a woman to hold a certain position than any one else, and if she is willing to serve, they shall be allowed to elect her. Women are serving as officials already; some of the women most prominent in opposing equal suffrage have been holders of public office.

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Ballots and Bullets
If women vote, they ought to fight and do police duty.
If no men were allowed to vote except those who were able and willing to do military and police duty, women might consistently be debarred for that reason. But so long as the old, the infirm, the halt, the lame and the blind are freely admitted to the ballot box, some better reason must be found for excluding women than the fact that they do not fight.

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Can Laws Be Enforced?
Laws could not be enforced unless the majority of legal voters represented the majority of possible fighters. But thousands of male non-combatants are already admitted to the ballot box, and there is no certainly at any election that the majority of voters represents a majority of possible fighters.
No trouble of this kind has resulted from equal suffrage in practice. The laws ar as well enforced in the enfranchised states as in adjoining states where women have no vote.

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Will It Increase Divorce?
It will lead to family quarrels and increase divorce.
Full suffrage was granted to the women of Wyoming in 1896. During the twenty years from 1870 to 1890, divorce in the United States at large increased about three times as fast as the population. In the group of western states, omitting Wyoming, it increased nearly four times as fast as the population. In Wyoming it increased only about half as fast as the population. "An ounce of experiment is worth a ton of theory."

The Question of Chivalry
It will destroy chivalry.
Justice would be worth more to women than chivalry, if they could not have both. A working girl put the case in a nutshell when she said: "I would gladly stand for twenty minutes in the street car going home if by doing so I could get the same pay that a man would have had for doing my day's work." But women do not have to stand in the street cars half as often in Denver as in Boston or in New York. Justice and chivalry are not in the least incompatible. Women have more freedom and equality in America than in Europe, yet American men are the most chivalrous in the world.

Known By Its Enemies
It would increase the corruption of politics.
Those who thrive upon the corruption of politics do not think so. The ignorant, vicious and criminal vote is always cast solidly against equal rights for women.

Too Emotional
Women are too emotional and sentimental to be trusted with the ballot.
Mrs. E. T. Brown, at a meeting of the Georgia State Federation of Women's Clubs read a paper, in which she said: "You tell us that women are not fitted for dealing with the problems of government, being too visionary and too much controlled by sentiment. "Now it is very true of women that they are largely controlled by sentiment, and, as a matter of fact, men are largely controlled by sentiment also, in spite of their protesting blushes. Was it logic that swept like a wave over this country and sent our army to protect the Cubans when their suffering grew too intense to be endured even in the hearing? Is it shrewd business calculation that sends thousands of dollars out of this country to fed a starving people during the ever-recurring famines in unhappy India?


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What Is the Unit?
The political unit is the family.
The childless widower, the unmarried boy of 21, and the confirmed old bachelor of 90 have votes; the widow with minor children has none. Under our laws the political unit is not the family, but the male individual. The unequal number of grown persons in different families would make it impossible to treat the family as the political unit.

Women's Small School Vote
The smallness of women's school vote shows that they would not use the full ballot.
The size of men's vote is just in proportion to the size of the election. At presidential elections it is very large, at state elections much smaller, at a municipal election smaller still, and at school elections, wherever these are held separately, only a fraction of the men turn out to vote. The smallness of the woman's school vote is regrettable, but it is only a new proof of the truth of Mrs. Poyser's immortal saying: "I am not denying that women are foolish; God Almighty made them to match the men!"

Will Women Vote?
Proof from Equal Suffrage States Women will not vote, or will cease to vote after the novelty has worn off.
Women to-day have the right to vote in many different parts of the civilized world. They not only have it, but use it. In the presidential election of 1912 there were 24,773,583 men over 21 years of age in the non-suffrage states of the Union. Of these, 13,521,899 voted, or 54.5 per cent. In the six suffrage states. Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Washington and California-the only states where women could vote for President in 1912-there were 3,253,443 men and women over 21 years of age. Of these 1,514,643 voted, or 46.6 per cent. Between the proportion of men voting in the male suffrage states and the proportion of all adults voting in the equal suffrage states there was a difference of less than 8 per cent. Either the women voted almost as generally as the men, or the men in the suffrage states voted much more generally than the men in the non-suffrage states. There is no escape from this conclusion.

A Growing Cause
Opposition to woman suffrage is growing.
In Kansas, the first time the equal suffrage amendment was submitted it got only 9,100 votes; the second time it got 95, 302; the third time it got 175,376, and carried.

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The Test of Experiment
It works badly in practice.
Women now have the full ballot in Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Washington, California, Kansas, Oregon, Arizona,Nevada, Montana, Alaska, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, Ontario, while in Illinois, North Dakota, Indiana, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan and Nebraska, they can vote for Presidential electors. In Arkansas they can nominate all candidates at the primaries. In all these places put together, the opponents thus far have not found a score of respectable men who assert over their own names that it has had any bad results.

Doubling the Vote
It would only doubled the vote without changing the result.
If women were exactly like men, equal suffrage would merely double the vote. But women are different from men; and women's voices in the State, like women's voices in the choir, would be the introduction of a new element. This is recognized even by opponents, when they express the fear that equal suffrage would lead to "sentimental legislation."

Would Unsex Women
It will turn women into men.
The differences between men and women are natural; they are not the result of disfranchisement. The fact that all men have equal rights before the law does not wipe out natural differences of character and temperament between man and man. Why should it wipe out the natural differences between men and women?

Suffrage and Marriage
Suffragists and Feminists are the enemies of marriage and the home.
Washington in December, 1915, passed the following resolution by a unanimous vote: "That we believe the home is the foundation of the State; we believe in the sanctity of the marriage relation; and, furthermore, we believe that woman's ballot will strengthen the power of the home, and sustain the dignity and sacredness of marriage; and we denounce as a gross slander the charges made by opponents of equal suffrage that its advocates as a class entertain opinions to the contrary."

Suffrage and Feminism
Suffrage is a branch of Feminism and Feminism includes free love.
Feminism merely means the general movement for woman's rights. Mrs. Beatrice Forbes Robertson Hale (a strong opponent of free love) says in her book, "What Women Want": "Feminism is that part of the progress of democratic freedom which applies to women. It is a century-old struggle conducted by large groups of people in different parts of the world to bring about the removal of all artificial barriers to the physical, mental, moral and economic development of the female half of the race." In this sense the woman suffrage movement, of course, is a part of it.


Suffrage and Wages
Woman suffrage means that all women, married and single, should go out of their homes and work for wages.
The United States Census shows that in the suffrage States the proportion of women working outside their homes for wages is smaller than in the country at large.

Suffrage and Jury Duty
If women vote they must do jury duty, and they might have to listen to indecent testimony.
Suppose a mixed jury were locked up over might! Women have served on juries in Norway and in some of our own Western States for many years. No woman thus far has complained of having been subjected to hardship or impropriety.

Women Do Not Want It
Whenever the majority of women ask for suffrage, they will get it.
Every improvement in the condition of women thus far has been secured not by a general demand from the majority of women, but by the arguments, entreaties and "continual coming" of a persistent few. All this merely shows that human nature is conservative, and that it is fully as conservative in women as in men. The persons who take a strong interest in any reform are generally few, whether among men or women, and they are habitually regarded with disfavor, even by those whom the proposed reform is to benefit.

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(There is then a list of all of the political groups and male politicians and civic leaders who support womenís suffrage, with comments.)

Twelve Reasons Why Women Should Vote

  1. BECAUSE those who obey the laws should help to choose those who make the laws.
  2. BECAUSE laws affect women as much as men.
  3. BECAUSE laws which affect women are now passed without consulting them.
  4. BECAUSE laws affecting children should include the woman's point of view as well as the man's.
  5. BECAUSE laws affecting the home are voted on in every session of the legislature.
  6. BECAUSE women have experience which would be helpful to legislation.
  7. BECAUSE to deprive women of the vote is to lower their position in common estimation.
  8. BECAUSE having the vote would increase the sense of responsibility among
  9. BECAUSE public-spirited mothers make public-spirited sons.
  10. BECAUSE about 8,000,000 women in the United States are wage workers, and the conditions under which they work are controlled by law.
  11. BECAUSE the objections against their having the vote are based on prejudice, not on reason.
  12. BECAUSE to sum up all reasons in one- it is for the common good of all.

Have We a Democracy?
The Democratic spirit, the spirit of self-government, is one of slow growth. It was foreshadowed in the republic of Plato, that great philosopher whose vision extended far into the future. It raised a barely audible voice in England when the Magna Charta gave the first clearly defined rights to the English people. From that time on its tones have become louder and clearer until it thundered forth in the Declaration of Independence when a new, free nation was born.

There are three foundation principles which embody this democratic spirit today:

First-"No taxation without representation." This principle was recognized in the Magna Charta and was made the battle cry in our American Revolution.

Second-"Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." This is the "self-evident truth" in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, and is the rock on which our republic is built.

The third foundation principle was voiced by Lincoln when he said "that this nation under God should have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, should not perish from the earth."

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