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Suffrage parade, New York City, May 6, 1912

[Detail] Youngest parader in New York City suffragist parade

Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times (excerpt)

by Alice Duer Miller

For Lesson One

NOTE: This is an excerpt from Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times found in Votes for Women, 1848-1921.

{Excerpt Begins}

Father, what is a Legislature?
A representative body elected by the people of the state.
Are women people?
No, my son, criminals, lunatics and women are nor people.
Do legislators legislate for nothing?
Oh, no; they are paid a salary.
By whom?
By the people.
Are women people?
Of course, my son, just as much as men are.

{Text Omitted}

Our Idea of Nothing at All
("I am opposed to woman suffrage, but I am not opposed to woman."- Anti-suffrage speech of Mr. Webb of North Carolina.)

O WOMEN, have you heard the news
Of charity and grace?
Look, look, how joy and gratitude
Are beaming in my face!
For Mr. Webb is not opposed
To woman in her place!

O Mr. Webb, how kind you are
To let us live at all,
To let us light the kitchen range
And tidy up the hall;
To tolerate the female sex
In spite of Adam's fall.

O girls, suppose that Mr. Webb
Should alter his decree!
Suppose he were opposed to us-
Opposed to you and me.
What would be left for us to do-
Except to cease to be?

{Text Omitted}


On Not Believing all You Hear
("Women are angels, they are jewels, they are queens and princesses of our hearts."- Anti-suffrage speech of Mr. Carter of Oklahoma.)

" Angel, or jewel, or princess, or queen, Tell me immediately, where have you been?"

"I've been to ask all my slaves so devoted Why they against my enfranchisement voted."

"Angel and princess, that action was wrong. Back to the kitchen, where angels belong."

Home and Where It Is
(An Indiana judge has recently ruled: As to the right of the husband to decide the location of the home that "home is where the husband is.")

Home is where the husband is,
Be it near or be it far,
Office, theatre, Pullman car,
Poolroom, polls, or corner bar-
All good wives remember this-
Home is where the husband is.

Woman's place is home, I wis.
Leave your family bacon frying,
Leave your wash and dishes drying,
Leave your little children crying;
Join your husband, near or far,
At the club or corner bar,
For the court has taught us this;
"Home is where the husband is."

The Maidens's Vow
(A speaker at the National Education Association advised girls not to study algebra. Many girls, he said, had lost their souls through this study. The idea has been taken up with enthusiasm.)

I will avoid equations,
And shun the naughty surd,
I must beware the perfect square,
Through it young girls have erred:
And when men mention Rule of Three
Pretend I have not heard.

Through Sturm's delightful theorems
Illicit joys assure,
Though permutations and combinations
My woman's heart allure,
I'll never study algebra,
But keep my spirit pure.

{Text Omitted}


A Suggested Campaign Song
("No brass bands. No speeches. Instead still, silent, effective influence."-Anti-suffrage speech.)

We are waging-can you doubt it?
A campaign so calm and still
No one knows a thing about it,
And we hope they never will.
No one knows
What we oppose,
And we hope they never will.

We are ladylike and quiet,
Here a whisper-there a hint;
Never speeches, bands or riot,
Nothing suitable for print.
No one knows
What we oppose,
For we never speak for print.

Sometimes in profound seclusion,
In some far (but homelike) spot,
We will make a dark allusion:
"We're opposed to you-know-what."
No one knows
What we oppose,

{Text Omitted}

The Protected Sex
With apologies to James Whitcomb Riley.
("The result of taking second place to girls at school is that the boy feels a sense of inferiority that he is never afterward able entirely to shake off."- Editorial in London Globe against co-education.)

There, little girl, don't read,
You're fond of your books, I know,
But Brother might mope
If he had no hope
Of getting ahead of you.
It's dull for a boy who cannot lead.
There, little girl, don't read.

{Text Omitted}


("Our laws have not yet reached the point of holding that property which is the result of the husband's earnings and the wife's savings becomes their joint property. ... In this most important of all partnerships there is no partnership property."- Recent decision of the New York Supreme Court. )

Lady, lovely lady, come and share
All my care;
Oh how gladly I will hurry
To confide my every worry
(And they're very dark and drear)
In your ear.
Lady, share the praise I obtain
Now and again;
Though I'm shy, it doesn't matter,
I will tell you how they flatter:
Every compliment I'll share
Fair and square.

Lady, I my toil will divide
At your side;
I outside the home, you within;
You shall wash and cook and spin,
I'll provide the flax and food,
If you're good.

Partners, lady, we shall be,
You and me,
Partners in the highest sense
Looking for no recompense,
For, the savings that we make,
I shall take.

What Governments Say to Women
(The law compels a married woman to take the nationality of her husband.)

I In Time of War

Help us. Your country needs you;
Show that you love her,
Giver her your men to fight,
Ay, even to fall;
The fair, free land of your birth,
Set nothing above her,
Not husband nor son,
She must come first of all.

II In Time of Peace

What's this? You've wed an alien,
Yet you ask for legislation
To guard your nationality?
We're shocked at your demand.
A woman when she marries
Takes her husband's name and nation;
She should love her husband only.
What's woman's native land?

{Text Omitted}


Our Own Twelve Anti-suffragist Reasons

  1. Because no woman will leave her domestic duties to vote.
  2. Because no woman who may vote will attend to her domestic duties.
  3. Because it will make dissension between husband and wife.
  4. Because every woman will vote as her husband tells her to.
  5. Because bad women will corrupt politics.
  6. Because bad politics will corrupt women.
  7. Because women have no power of organization.
  8. Because women will form a solid party and outvote men.
  9. Because men and women are so different that they must stick to different duties.
  10. Because men and women are so much alike that men, with one vote each, can represent their own views and ours too.
  11. Because women cannot use force.
  12. Because the militants did use force.

{Text Omitted}

Why We Oppose Women Travelling in Railway Trains

  1. Because travelling in trains is not a natural right.
  2. Because our great-grandmothers never asked to travel in trains.
  3. Because woman's place is the home, not the train.
  4. Because it is unnecessary; there is no point reached by a train that cannot be reached on foot.
  5. Because it will double the work of conductors, engineers and brakemen who are already overburdened.
  6. Because me smoke and play cards in trains. Is there any reason to believe that women will behave better?

{Text Omitted}

Why We Oppose Schools for Children (By the Children's Anti-School League.)

  1. Because education is a burden, not a right.
  2. Because not one-tenth of one per cent. of the children of this country have demanded education.
  3. Because if we are educated we should have to behave as if we were and we don't want to.
  4. Because it is essentially against the nature of a child to be educated.
  5. Because we can't see that it has done so much for grown-ups, and there is no reason for thinking it will make children perfect.
  6. Because the time of children is already sufficiently occupied without going to school.
  7. Because it would make dissension between parent and child. Imagine the home life of a parent who turned out to be more ignorant than his (or her) child?
  8. Because we believe in the indirect education of the theatre, the baseball field and the moving picture. We believe that schools would in a great measure deprive us of this.
  9. Because our parents went to school. They love us, they take care of us, they tell us what to do. We are content that they should be educated for us.


Why We Oppose Votes for Men

  1. Because man's place is the armory.
  2. Because no really manly man wants to settle any question otherwise than by fighting about it.
  3. Because if men should adopt peaceable methods women will no longer look up to them.
  4. Because men will lose their charm if they step out of their natural sphere and interest themselves in other matters than feats of arms, uniforms and drums.
  5. Because men are too emotional to vote. Their conduct at baseball games and political conventions shows this, while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them peculiarly unfit for the task of government.

{Text Omitted}

Interviews With Celebrated Anti-Suffragists

"Woman's place is in my home."-Appius Claudius.

"I have never felt the need of the ballot."-Cleopatra.

"Magna Charta merely fashionable fad of ye Barons."-King John.

"Boston Tea Party shows American colonists to be hysterical and utterly incapable of self-government."-George III.

"Know of no really good slaves who desire emancipation."-President of the United Slaveholders' Protective Association.

{Text Omitted}

To the Great Dining Out Majority

The New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage is sending out leaflets to its members urging them to "tell every man you meet, your tailor, your postman, your grocer, as well as your dinner partner, that you are opposed to woman suffrage."

We hope that the 90,000 sewing machine operatives, the 40,000 saleswomen, the 32,000 laundry operatives, the 20,000 knitting and silk mill girls, the 17,000 women janitors and cleaners, the 12,000 cigarmakers, to say nothing of the 700,000 other women and girls in industry in New York State will remember when they have drawn off their long gloves and tasted their oysters to tell their dinner partners that they are opposed to woman suffrage because they fear it might take women out of the home.

{Excerpt Ends}