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Most Important Question

c. 1915


The most important question before the country today is that of women’s suffrage. It is not only votes for women but the entire question of democracy that is at stake. Ever since our government was founded, men have been proclaiming a government that should not be for the benefit of any man or class of men, but that everybody should have equal representation, where those who obey the law should have a voice in making that law. Gentlemen, that is the real question in votes for women. Do you believe in Democracy? Do you believe taxation without representation is tyranny? Or is it tyranny only for men? Do you want a government of the people, for the people, and by the people? And aren’t women people?

Women vote already in twelve states, one-half of the total area of the United States. The women of Chicago, of San Francisco, of Los Angeles, Denver, Portland, and Seattle are going to vote for the next President. Aren’t the women of this state as intelligent as the women of Chicago? Or, are eastern men less generous than the men of the west?

Millions of women taxpayers are asking for the vote so that they may have representation. Millions of women housekeepers are asking for the vote that may help men with public housekeeping. Millions of mothers are asking for the vote that they may stop child labor and help men protect the children and give them a better chance. Millions of working women are asking for the vote that they may have the same power to protect themselves that men have. Women should have the vote because it would draw husbands and wives, fathers and daughters, brothers, and sisters closer together, giving them an equal share and interest in important public questions. Women should have the vote because it would compel men in public office to think more of the welfare of women, of the children, of decency and morality. Women should have the vote because it is unjust, shameful, and cowardly for men to deprive women of that which they demand for themselves.

The home is the bulwark of our nation. Give the home two votes instead of one. Give the mother a vote as well as the father. If the Almighty can trust women to bear children, cannot men trust them to use their vote for the welfare of those children?

Women’s suffrage is coming; everybody knows that. President Wilson and his cabinet, Theodore Roosevelt, W.J. Bryan, Governor Whitman, and Mayor Mitchell of New York City are in favor of it. Gentlemen, women have been working for 75 years for a share in your democracy. Won’t you give your wives and daughters, sisters and mothers, the rights you enjoy of enfranchised American citizenship?



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