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Hysterical and Emotional

c. Nov. 29 – Dec 5, 1913 — 45th Annual National Association of Woman Suffrage Association Convention, Washington DC


I know the objections to woman suffrage but I have never met any one who pretended to know any reasons against it. . . .

By some objectors women are supposed to be unfit to vote because they are hysterical and emotional and of course men would not like to have emotion enter into a political campaign. They want to cut out all emotion and so they would like to cut us out. I had heard so much about our emotionalism that I went to the last Democratic national convention, held at Baltimore, to observe the calm repose of the male politicians. I saw some men take a picture of one gentleman whom they wanted elected and it was so big they had to walk sidewise as they carried it forward; they were followed by hundreds of other men screaming and yelling, shouting and singing the “Houn’ Dawg”; then, when there was a lull, another set of men would start forward under another man’s picture, not to be outdone by the “Houn’ Dawg” melody, whooping and howling still louder. I saw men jump up on the seats and throw their hats in the air and shout: “What’s the matter with Champ Clark?” Then, when those hats came down, other men would kick them back into the air, shouting at the top of their voices: “He’s all right!!” Then I heard others howling for “Underwood, Underwood, first, last and all the time!!” No hysteria about it — just patriotic loyalty, splendid manly devotion to principle. And so they went on and on until 5 o’clock in the morning — the whole night long. I saw men jump up on their seats and jump down again and run around in a ring. I saw two men run towards another man to hug him both at once and they split his coat up the middle of his back and sent him spinning around like a wheel. All this with the perfect poise of the legal male mind in politics!

I have been to many women’s conventions in my day but I never saw a woman leap up on a chair and take off her bonnet and toss it up in the air and shout: “What’s the matter with” somebody. I never saw a woman knock another woman’s bonnet off her head as she screamed: “She’s all right!” I never heard a body of women whooping and yelling for five minutes when somebody’s name was mentioned in the convention. But we are willing to admit that we are emotional. I have actually seen women stand up and wave their handkerchiefs. I have even seen them take hold of hands and sing, “Blest be the tie that binds.” Nobody denies that women are excitable. Still, when I hear how emotional and how excitable we are, I cannot help seeing in my mind’s eye the fine repose and dignity of this Baltimore and other political conventions I have attended!



Source: The History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 5, ed. Susan B. Anthony (Indianapolis: Hollenbeck Press) 1920.