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Summing Up for the Defense
of Arrested Pickets

July 16, 1917 — Courtroom, Washington DC


We know and I believe the Court knows also,” I said, “that President Wilson and his Administration are responsible for our being here to-day. It is a fact that they gave the orders which caused our arrest and appearance before this bar.

We know and you know, that the District Commissioners are appointed by the President, that the present commissioners were appointed by President Wilson. We know that you, your Honor, were appointed to the bench by President Wilson, and that the district attorney who prosecutes us was appointed by the President. These various officers would not dare bring us here under these false charges without the policy having been decided upon by the responsible leaders.

What is our real crime? What have these distinguished and liberty-loving women done to bring them before this court of justice? Why, your Honor, their crime is that they peacefully petitioned the President of the United States for liberty. What must be the shame of our nation before the world when it becomes known that here we throw women into jail who love liberty and attempt to peacefully petition the President for it? These women are nearly all descended from revolutionary ancestors or from some of the greatest libertarian statesmen this country has produced. What would these men say now if they could see that passion for liberty which was in their own hearts rewarded in the twentieth century with foul and filthy imprisonment!

We say to you, this outrageous policy of stupid and brutal punishment will not dampen the ardor of the women. Where sixteen of us face your judgment to-day there will be sixty tomorrow, so great will be the indignation of our colleagues in this fight. . . .



Source: Jailed for Freedom, by Doris Stevens, (New York: Boni and Liveright), 1920, pp. 104-105.