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Title: Woman Suffrage By Federal Constitutional Amendment
Author: Various
Language: English
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No effort is made in the following pages to present an argument for
woman suffrage. No careful observer of the modern trend of human
affairs, doubts that "governments of the people" are destined to
replace the monarchies of the world. No listener will fail to hear the
rumble of the rising tide of democracy. No watcher of events will deny
that the women of all civilized lands will be enfranchised eventually
as part of the people entitled to give consent and no American
possessed of political foresight doubts woman suffrage in our land as
a coming fact.

The discussion herein is strictly confined to the reasons why an
amendment to the Federal Constitution is the most appropriate method
of dealing with the question. This proposed amendment was introduced
into Congress in 1878 at the request of the National Woman Suffrage
Association. Since 1882 the Senate Committee has reported it with a
favorable majority every year except in 1890 and 1896. Twice only has
it gone to vote in the Senate. The first time was on January 25, 1887;
the second, March 19, 1914. In the House it has been reported from
Committee seven times, twice by a favorable majority, three times by
an adverse majority and twice without recommendation. The House has
allowed the measure to come to vote but once, in 1915. Yet while women
of the nation in large and increasing numbers have stood at doors of
Congress waiting and hoping, praying and appealing for the democratic
right to have their opinions counted in affairs of their government,
millions of men have entered through our gates and automatically have
passed into voting citizenship without cost of money, time or service,
aye, without knowing what it meant or asking for the privilege. Among
the enfranchised there are vast groups of totally illiterate, and
others of gross ignorance, groups of men of all nations of Europe,
uneducated Indians and Negroes. Among the unenfranchised are the
owners of millions of dollars worth of property, college presidents
and college graduates, thousands of teachers in universities, colleges
and public schools, physicians, lawyers, dentists, journalists, heads
of businesses, representatives of every trade and occupation and
thousands of the nation's homekeepers. The former group secured its
vote without the asking; the latter appeals in vain to Congress for
the removal of the stigma this inexplicable contrast puts upon their
sex. It is hoped this little book may gain attention where other means
have failed.


  January, 1917.


  CHAPTER I.                                           1



There are seven reasons for Federal enfranchisement of women.
Other countries have so enfranchised women. Conditions of men's
enfranchisement in U.S. were easy. Many State constitutions today
practically impossible to amend. Election laws do not protect State
amendment elections from fraud. Men's right to vote protected by
Federal Constitution; state by state enfranchisement would not give
this protection to women. Woman Suffrage a national question. Decision
on technical and abstract question of Suffrage demands different class
of intelligence from election of candidates.

  CHAPTER II                                            12



State Suffrage amendments defeated in recent years by technical
difficulties. Ratification by Legislature and People theory of State
Constitutional Amendment. So adopted in South Dakota and Missouri.
In most states technicalities make amending impossible. Classes
of technicalities. Limit to number of amendments. "Constitutional
majority." Passage of two Legislatures. More than majority of the
people required for ratification. Indiana. Time requirements. New
Mexico. Revision by Convention. Some states have no or infrequent
Constitutional Conventions. New Hampshire. Delaware Constitution alone
amended by Legislature or Convention without popular vote. Thirty
states gave foundations male suffrage by this easy means.

  CHAPTER III                                          21



State Election Laws defective. Many state suffrage amendments
undoubtedly lost by frauds in elections. In twenty-four states
election law or precedents offer no correction of returns in
fraudulent amendment elections. In twenty-three states Contest on
election returns probably possible. In eight states recount of
votes made. A court procedure and expensive. Punishment for bribery.
Relation to Contest. Ohio cases. Vagueness of election laws protects
corruption. Ignorant vote used by corrupt. Form of ballot often helps
corruption. Only 13 states have headless ballots. Form of Suffrage
amendment ballots in recent years aided in defeat of measure.
Examples. Non-partisan referendum not protected from fraud like party
questions. In most states women cannot be watchers at polls. Aliens
can vote in eight states. Illiterate can vote in most states. Résumé.

  CHAPTER IV                                            36



Three states voted on Woman Suffrage amendments. Some causes of
failure. Story of Iowa election. Woman's Christian Temperance Union
proves forty-seven varieties of corruption. South Dakota. Foreign
vote defeated Woman Suffrage there. Figures of some counties.
Relation between Prohibition and Woman Suffrage votes. West Virginia.
Illiteracy and conservatism defeated Woman Suffrage there. Liquor
influence felt. Corruption in Berkely County, West Virginia. Special
Legislative session called but investigation of frauds abandoned.
Analysis of vote of certain counties. Résumé.

  CHAPTER V                                             55



Judge of U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, N.Y.C.

Would Federal Amendment violate local self-government or conflict with
State Rights? States rights a sound doctrine, but has been perverted,
misapplied and carried to extremes. Henry St. George Tucker maintains
this way of gaining woman suffrage is contrary to rightful demarcation
of powers of federal and state governments. Constitutional Convention
1787 provided that amendments be ratified by three-fourths State
Legislatures, State Constitutions may not violate United States
Constitution for this is supreme Law. Amendment to U.S. Constitution
valid regardless of provisions in State Constitutions. Ratification by
State Legislatures does not violate States rights for by it states act
as sovereigns. Same argument for removal of sex line in Suffrage
as that on which 13th, 14th and 15th amendments were based. 15th
amendment gives the sound basis for woman suffrage amendment.

  CHAPTER VI                                             69


States Rights objection discussed. U.S. Constitution twice amended
recently under Democratic administration. Federal Prohibition
Amendment introduced by Southern Democrat. Even if all state
constitutions gave woman suffrage U.S. Constitution would contain
discrimination against women in word "male." Objection that woman
suffrage will increase Negro vote. If true, would be objection also
to State suffrage amendment. White supremacy will be strengthened by
woman suffrage. Discussion of figures of Negro and white population
in 15 southern states. Testimony of Chief Justice Walter E. Clark.
Objection that women do not want the vote. Men of 21 and naturalized
citizens become voters without being asked. Only those who wish
to need use the vote. That many women do want the vote is shown
by western figures in election of November, 1916. Objection that
unfavorable referenda in various states show that constituency has
instructed its representatives in Congress against woman suffrage.
Unfavorable majority against a suffrage amendment is in reality a
minority of constituency. Objection on ground of political expediency.
Meaning of this argument as used by different interests. If government
"by the people" is expedient, then government by _all_ the people is
expedient. If Government by certain classes is better, then basis of
franchise should, be morality and education, not sex. Objection
that Woman Suffrage will increase corrupt vote. Woman Suffrage will
increase intelligent electorate. Statistics. It will increase
the moral vote. Only one in twenty criminals is a woman. Election
conditions in equal suffrage states. Objection that Prohibition
sentiment is stronger than Suffrage sentiment since former has spread
faster. Prohibition can be established by statute and by local option
and suffrage cannot.



Woman Suffrage is coming--no intelligent person in the United States
or in the world will deny that fact. The most an intelligent opponent
expects to accomplish is to postpone its establishment as long as
possible. When it will come and how it will come are still open
questions. Woman Suffrage by Federal Amendment is supported by seven
main reasons. These main reasons are evaded or avoided; they are not


Suffrage for men and suffrage for women in other lands, with few and
minor exceptions, has been granted by parliamentary act and not by
referenda. By such enactment the women of Australia were granted full
suffrage in Federal elections by the Federal Parliament (1902), and
each State or Province granted full suffrage in all other elections by
act of their Provincial Parliaments.[A] By such enactment the Isle
of Man, New Zealand, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Denmark gave equal
suffrage in all elections to women.[A] By such process the Parliaments
of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta gave full provincial suffrage
to their women in 1916. British Columbia referred the question to the
voters in 1916, but the Provincial Parliament had already extended
all suffrage rights except the parliamentary vote, and both political
parties lent their aid in the referendum which consequently gave a
majority in every precinct on the home vote and a majority of the
soldier vote was returned from Europe later. By parliamentary act all
other Canadian Provinces, the Provinces of South Africa, the
countries of Sweden[A] and Great Britain have extended far more voting
privileges than any woman citizen of the United States east of the
Missouri River (except those of Illinois) has received. To the women
of Belise (British Honduras), the cities of Rangoon (Burmah), Bombay
(India), the Province of Baroda (India), the Province of Voralberg
(Austria), and Laibach (Austria) the same statement applies. In
Bohemia, Russia and various Provinces of Austria and Germany,
the principle of representation is recognized by the grant to
property-holding women of a vote by proxy. The suffragists of France
reported just before the war broke out that the French Parliament was
pledged to extend universal municipal suffrage to women. Men and women
of high repute say the full suffrage is certain to be extended by
the British Parliament to the women of England, Scotland, Ireland and
Wales soon after the close of the war and already these women have all
suffrage rights except the vote for Parliamentary members. These facts
are strange since it was the United States which first established
general suffrage for men upon the two principles that "taxation
without representation is tyranny" and that governments to be just
should "derive their consent from the governed." The unanswerable
logic of these two principles is responsible for the extension of
suffrage to men and women the world over. In the United States,
however, women are still taxed without "representation" and still
live under a government to which they have given no "consent." IT IS
NATIONS UPON MEN OR WOMEN. American constitutions of the nation and
the states have closed the door to the simple processes by which men
and women of other countries have been enfranchised. An amendment to
our Federal Constitution is the nearest approach to them. To deny the
benefits of this method to the women of this country is to put upon

[Footnote A: See Appendix A for dates and conditions.]


Men of this country have been enfranchised by various extensions of
the voting privilege but IN NO SINGLE INSTANCE were they compelled to
appeal to an electorate containing groups of recently naturalized
and even unnaturalized foreigners, Indians, Negroes, large numbers of
illiterates, ne'er-do-wells, and drunken loafers. The Jews, denied the
vote in all our colonies, and the Catholics, denied the vote in
most of them, received their franchise through the revolutionary
constitutions which removed all religious qualifications for the vote
in a manner consistent with the self-respect of all. The property
qualifications for the vote which were established in every colony and
continued in the early state constitutions were usually removed by a
referendum but the question obviously went to an electorate limited to
property-holders only. The largest number of voters to which such an
amendment was referred was that of New York. Had every man voted who
was qualified to do so, the electorate would not have exceeded 200,000
and probably not more than 150,000.[A]

[Footnote A: Suffrage in the Colonies. New York Chapter. McKinley.]

The next extensions of the vote to men were made to certain tribes
of Indians by act of Congress; and to the Negro by amendment to the
Federal Constitution.

At least three-fourths of the present electors secured their votes
through direct naturalization or that of their forefathers. Congress
determines conditions of citizenship and state constitutions fix
qualifications of voters. In no instance has the foreign immigrant
been forced to plead with a vast electorate for his vote. The suffrage
has been "thrust upon him" without effort or even request on his
part. National and State constitutions not only close to women the
comparatively easy processes by which the vote was extended to men and
women of other countries but also those processes by which the vote
was secured to men of our own land. The simplest method now possible
is by amendment of the Federal Constitution. To deny the privilege of
that method to women is a discrimination against them so unjust and
insufferable that no fair-minded man North or South, East or West, can
logically share in the denial.


The constitutions of many states have provided for amendments by such
difficult processes that they either have never been amended or have
not been amended when the subject is in the least controversial. Their
provisions not infrequently are utilized by opponents of a cause to
delay action for years. A present case illustrates. Newspapers in
Kentucky which have opposed woman suffrage, and still do so, have
started a campaign (December, 1916) to submit a woman suffrage
amendment to voters with the announced intention of securing its
defeat at the polls in order to remove it from politics for five years
as the same question cannot be again submitted for that length of

There are state constitutions so impossible of amendment that women
of those states can only secure enfranchisement through Federal action
and fair play demands the submission of a Federal constitutional
amendment. (See Chapter II.)


The election laws of all states make inadequate provision for
safeguarding the vote on constitutional amendments. Since election
laws do not protect suffrage referenda, suffragists justly demand the
method prescribed by our national constitution to appeal their case
from male voters at large to the higher court of Congress and the
Legislatures. (See Chapters III and IV.)


Until the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment the National
Constitution did not discriminate against women but in Section 2 of
that amendment provision was made whereby a penalty may be directed
against any state which denies the right to vote to its _male
inhabitants_ possessed of the necessary qualifications as prescribed
by nation and state. If the entire 48 states should severally
enfranchise women their political status would still be inferior to
that of men, since no provision for national protection in their right
to vote would exist.

The women of eleven states are said to vote on equal terms with men.
As a matter of fact they do not, since they not only lose their vote
whenever they change their residence to any one of the 37 other states
(except Illinois, where they lose only a portion of their privileges),
but they enjoy no national protection in their right to vote. Women
justly demand "Equal Rights for All and Special Privileges for None."
Amendment to the National Constitution alone can give them an equal
status. Equality of rights can never be secured through state by state


Woman suffrage in every other country is a National question. With
eleven American states and nearly half the territory of the civilized
world already won; with the statement of the press still unchallenged
that women voters were "the balance of power" which decided the last
presidential election, the movement has reached a position of national
significance in the United States. Any policy which seeks to shift
responsibility or to procrastinate action, is, to use the mildest
phraseology, unworthy of the Congress in whose charge the making of
American political history reposes.


The handicaps of a popular vote upon a question of human liberty
which must be described in technical language will be clear to all
who think. It is probable that at least a fourth of the voters in West
Virginia, one of the recent suffrage campaign states, could not define
the following words intelligently: constitution, amendment, franchise,
suffrage, majority, plurality. It is probable they would succeed
even less well at an attempt to give an account of the Declaration
of Independence, the Revolution, Taxation without Representation, the
will of the majority, popular government. Such men might make a fairly
intelligent choice of men for local offices because their minds are
trained to deal with persons and concrete things. They could decide
between Mr. Wilson and Mr. Hughes with some discrimination, but would
have slight if any knowledge of the platforms upon which either stood.
A referendum in many of our states, means to defer woman suffrage
until the most ignorant, most narrow-minded, most un-American, are
ready for it. The removal of the question to the higher court of the
Congress and the Legislatures of the several states means that it will
be established when the intelligent, Americanized, progressive people
of the country are ready for it.



[Footnote A: Table of difficulties in each state is to be found in the


At its last session the Arkansas Legislature passed a Woman Suffrage
bill by a generous majority; in Kentucky a bill passed both houses
and one house in five other states. One of these was Arkansas where a
constitutional provision that only three amendments can be submitted
to the people at once rendered of no avail the passage of the
Legislature. In the five other states the enormous Constitutional
majorities required in a legislative vote on amendments defeated the

This is the story of a typical year and these are two of the
difficulties which beset the gaining of suffrage "state by state."
Year after year labor is thrown away and money wasted because actual
minorities in legislatures can defeat constitutional amendments; or
because once past the legislature, constitutional technicalities can
keep them away from the polls; or because, safely past these hazards,
a minority vote of the people can defeat a bill that has successfully
reached the polls.

Theoretically an amendment to a state constitution must have the
approval of the Legislature, ratified by the approval of the people.
This ratification is what differentiates it from a statutory law. This
is the actual requirement, however, in but two of the male suffrage
states, South Dakota and Missouri. In all the rest, except Delaware
and New Hampshire, which have special methods of amending, much more
than simple passage and ratification is required.

There are some half-dozen classes of technical requirements which make
the amending of many state constitutions wellnigh impossible. Some
states have never been able to amend; others have had to submit the
same amendment again and again before it passed, even in the case of
measures which were not unpopular. The Legislatures of Nebraska and
Alabama have occasionally succeeded in passing amendments favored
by politicians, by resorting to clever tricks to circumvent the
constitutional handicaps. Only by outwitting the framers have they
been able to make changes in their constitutions.

Among the common technical requirements are the passing by a set
proportion much larger than a mere majority of the legislature;
the passing of the people's vote by a majority of those voting for
candidates and not merely of those voting on the amendment itself;
the setting of special time and other limits for the submission
of amendments, etc. Many states combine three or more of these

No impediment seems more vexatious than that which prevented the
Arkansas bill from coming before the people after the Legislature of
1915 had approved submission. Nor is Arkansas alone in limiting
the number of amendments to be submitted to the people at one time;
Kentucky goes farther and makes the limit two and Illinois allows but
one at a time.

The other six states whose bill failed at the last session belong to a
group of fifteen which require a special "constitutional majority" of
two-thirds or three-fifths favorable in the vote of both houses on an
amendment bill.[A] In South Carolina and Mississippi it must pass
two legislatures by this large vote, one before and one after the
referendum; in Mississippi this means four years' delay for its
sessions are quadrennial. In thirteen states the amendment bill must
pass two legislatures, in some by a constitutional majority at one

Alabama is one of the states whose bill failed through the
constitutional majority rule in 1915. In that state another suffrage
bill must wait four years for the next legislative session. If this
time it surmounts the hazard of a three-fifths favorable vote it will
be faced by another hazard; for Alabama is one of nine states in which
an amendment must pass the

[Footnote A: South Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, West
Virginia, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi--all a two-thirds vote,
and Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Maryland and Kentucky a
three-fifths vote.]

[Footnote B: In Connecticut, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont by a
two-thirds majority of one Legislature or of one house or both; in
Iowa, Indiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, New
Jersey, New York and Rhode Island by majorities. All but the last
three have biennial Legislatures.] referendum not by a majority on
the amendment but by a majority of all voting for candidates at this
general election.[A]

[Footnote A: These states are Arkansas, Illinois, Minnesota,
Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Tennessee. Rhode
Island sets a definite majority (three-fifths) of those voting at the
election. Probably Texas and North Carolina should be included but the
amendment clause in their constitutions is misleading and they may
be given the benefit of the doubt; their clause reads: "An amendment
shall be submitted to the voters and adopted by a majority of the
votes cast."]

This requirement by itself is regarded by one authority on state
constitutions[B] as making amendment practically impossible for it
means that the indifference and inertia of the mass of the voters can
be a more serious enemy than active opposition; the man who does not
take the trouble to vote is as much to be feared as the man who votes

[Footnote B: Dodd, W.F. Revision and Amendment of State

A majority vote is required by the constitution of Indiana that is so
extravagant as to have caused contradictory decisions in the courts.
The constitution reads: "The General Assembly ... (shall) submit such
amendment ... to the electors of the state, and if a majority of said
electors shall ratify." This was interpreted in one case (156 Ind.
104) to mean a majority of all votes cast at the election, but in a
later case (in re Denny) it was taken, exactly as it reads, to mean
all the people in the State eligible to vote--and this in the face of
the fact that the number of people eligible to vote is unknown even
to the Federal Census Department. Indiana also requires that while one
amendment is under consideration no other can be introduced. She is,
needless to say, one of the states whose constitution has never been

Other states besides Indiana have time requirements to insure the
immutability of their inspired state document. Thus the Vermont
Constitution can be amended only once in ten years--it was last
amended in 1913--and five others set a term of years before the same
amendment can be submitted again. Among these are New Jersey and
Pennsylvania, which having submitted the Woman Suffrage amendment in
1915 cannot do so again till 1920.[A]

[Footnote A: The five states are Illinois (four years), Pennsylvania,
New Jersey and Kentucky (five years), and Tennessee (six years).]

In no state is the Constitution so safeguarded from change as in New
Mexico, whose iron-bound rules are in a class by themselves. For the
first twenty-five years of statehood a three-fourths vote of both
houses of the Legislature ratified by three-fourths of the electors
voting, with two-thirds at least from each county, will be required to
change the suffrage clause. After twenty-five years the majority
will be reduced to two-thirds. This is the state whose Constitution
provides that illiteracy shall never be a bar to the suffrage; her
democracy falls short only in the matter of women whom she makes it
constitutionally impossible ever to add to her electorate.

Where constitutions can be revised by the convention method as well as
by amendment there is some hope; if amendment fails revision holds out
a chance. But twelve states[A] hold no constitutional conventions; in
Maryland conventions are twenty years apart and in many other states
it is as difficult to call a constitutional convention as to revise
the Constitution by amendment.

[Footnote A: Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Arkansas,
Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island and Virginia.]

New Hampshire amends by constitutional convention alone and these
conventions are held infrequently.

Only in Delaware is the Constitution amended to-day by act of the
Legislature without the people's vote and without any technical
requirements except a large Legislative majority.

Yet in twenty-four states[A] before the Civil War the foundations of
male suffrage were laid by legislature or constitutional convention
alone, and in many cases, furthermore, the conditions of suffrage were
dictated by the Federal Government. Even as late as the '90's five
State Constitutions were adopted, suffrage clause and all, by State
Legislatures or constitutional conventions without the referendum.[B]

[Footnote A: New Hampshire, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania,
North Carolina, Georgia, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New
Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Vermont, Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee,
Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Missouri and

[Footnote B: Many reconstruction constitutions also but these were not
permanent. The five constitutions in the 90's were Mississippi, South
Carolina, Delaware, Louisiana and Virginia, and Kentucky made changes
after the constitution had been submitted.]

In the other states universal male suffrage came easily at a time
when thinly populated states wanted to hold out inducements to male
immigrant labor. To-day any male once naturalized, and in some states
before he is naturalized, becomes automatically a voting citizen of
any state in the Union after he has fulfilled the state residence
requirements and, in some states, an educational requirement.

The one word "male" shut women out in the old days from these easy
avenues to citizenship and to-day her path by the state by state
method is beset by almost insuperable difficulties.



To establish a "government of the people" is to follow an ideal set
by the growth of democratic principles, but, after such government has
been established by a constitution, it remains to be determined how
the will of the people is to be recorded and each state accordingly
has enacted an election law to provide for registration and for
taking the vote. These laws are so defective as to give unquestioned
advantage to dishonesty and corruption in most elections upon
referendum questions. In several states there is little doubt that
suffrage amendments have been lost through fraud. All the suffragists
in Michigan seem to agree that the amendment was counted out in the
first campaign of 1912 and that ballot boxes were stuffed in the
second, 1913. Willis E. Reed, Attorney General of Nebraska, has
declared that he believes the amendment was counted out in that
state. An investigation has revealed forty-seven varieties of fraud
or violation of the election law in forty-four counties in the Iowa
suffrage election of June 5, 1916. Given a group determined to prevent
women from getting the vote, a group provided with money and knowing
no scruple, and the inadequacy of the law in many States offers
a positive guarantee at the outset of a campaign that a suffrage
amendment will be lost.

If suffrage amendments are defeated by illegal practices, why not
demand redress, asks the novice in suffrage campaigns. Ah, there's the
rub. In twenty-four states, no provision has been made by the election
law for any form of contest or recount on a referendum nor are
precedents for a recount found. Political corrupters may, in these
states, bribe voters, colonize voters and repeat them to their hearts'
content and redress of any kind is practically impossible. If clear
evidence of fraud could be produced a case might be brought to the
courts and the guilty parties might be punished, but the election
would stand. In New York, in 1915, the question was submitted to the
voters as to whether a constitutional convention should be called.
The convention was ordered by a majority of about 1,500. Later the
District Attorney of New York City found proof that at least 800
fraudulent votes had been cast in that city. Leading lawyers discussed
the question of effect upon the election and the general opinion among
them was that, even though the entire majority, and more, should
be found to be fraudulent, the election could not be set aside. The
convention was held.

In the other twenty-three states,[A] contests on referenda seem
possible under the law, but in practically every one, the contest
means a resort to the courts and in only eight[B] of these is
reference made to a recount. The law is vague and incomplete in nearly
all of these States. In some of these, including Michigan, where the
suffrage amendment is declared to have been counted out, application
for a recount must be made in each voting precinct. To have secured
redress in Michigan, provided the fraud was widespread, as it is
believed to have been, it would have been necessary to have secured
definite evidence of fraud in a probable 1,000 precincts and to have
instituted as many cases. This would have consumed many months and
would have demanded thousands of dollars.

[Footnote A: In Ohio, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, New Jersey, Minnesota
and Michigan by law; in Illinois, Texas, New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Oregon, Arizona and Iowa by precedent; in West Virginia, South Dakota,
Kentucky and Colorado, officials express the opinion that the
law governing candidates's contests could be stretched to cover
amendments. In Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and
Washington, the law is so fragmentary as to make the possibilities
very uncertain. Information on this last group of laws will be found
in Appendix B.]

[Footnote B: Ohio, Texas, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Minnesota,
Michigan, Massachusetts and Utah.]

In some States the courts decide what the redress shall be, but where
such provision exists, no assurance is given by the law that such
redress will include a correction of the returns. In at least seven
States,[A] the applicants must pay all costs if they fail to prove
their case a provision amounting to a penalty imposed upon those who
try to enforce the law.

[Footnote A: Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, West Virginia,
Minnesota, Utah.]

The penalties for bribery range from $5 to $2,000 and from thirty
days' to ten years' imprisonment, but only one state (Ohio) provides
in definite terms for punishment of bribery as a part of the penalty
in an election contest. In most cases proof of bribery does not throw
out the vote of briber or bribed, nor does an action to throw
out purchased votes in contest cases bring with it automatically
punishment of the purchased voter. This omission from the contest
provisions presupposes that these bribery cases would be separate
actions. Thirty-two states in clear terms disfranchise (or give the
Legislature power to disfranchise) bribers and bribed, but few make
provision for the method of actually enforcing the law, and upon
inquiry the Secretary of State of many of these states reported
that, so far as he knew, no man had ever been disfranchised for
this offense. This was true of states which have been notorious for
political corruption.

From Ohio alone has evidence been found of the actual enforcement
of the disfranchisement provision. In this state nearly 1,800 bribed
voters of Adams County were disfranchised in 1910 for scandalous
and well-remembered corruption but in 1915 they were restored to
citizenship. These cases reveal a disgraceful provision in the Ohio
law, by which the briber is given immunity if he will turn State's
evidence on the bribed; the vote-buyer may purchase votes by the
thousands with perfect safety provided that when suspected he will
deliver up a few of the bought by way of example.

With a vague, uncertain law to define their punishment in most states,
and no law at all in twenty-four states, as a preliminary security,
corrupt opponents of a woman suffrage amendment find many additional
aids to their nefarious acts. A briber must make sure that the bribed
carries out his part of the contract. Whenever it is easy to check
up the results of the bribe, corruption may reign supreme with little
risk of being found out. A study of some of the recent suffrage votes
gives significant food for reflection. It shows how the form, color
and arrangement of the ballot may help the corrupt politician to
organize ignorant voters to do his will. In Georgia and Louisiana no
party names are printed on the official ballot and emblems only are
used. In almost half our states, though the party name is used also,
the emblem is the real guide. New York does not even relegate this
emblem to the top of the column. The emblem is placed before the name
of each candidate, so that the illiterate voter can make no mistake in
recognizing the sign of the machine which controls his vote. Scarcely
more than a dozen states have the headless ballot[A] which makes
it impossible for politicians to make corrupt use of the illiterate

[Footnote A: Oregon, Nevada, South Carolina, Florida, Colorado,
California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Massachusetts,
Mississippi, Nebraska, Pennsylvania.]

In Wisconsin suffrage referendum the suffrage ballot was separate and
pink. It was easy to teach the most illiterate how to vote "No" and
to check up returns with considerable accuracy. In New York there
were three ballots. The official ballot had emblems which easily
distinguished it. The other two were exactly alike in shape, size and
color and each contained three propositions: those which came from
the constitutional convention and the other those which came from the
Legislature. The orders went forth to vote down the constitutional
provisions and it was done by a majority of 482,000, or nearly
300,000 more than the majority against woman suffrage. On the
ballot containing the suffrage amendment, which was No. 1, there was
proposition No. 3, which all the political parties wanted carried and
to which no one objected. It could easily be found by all illiterates
as it contained more lines of printing, yet so difficult was it to
teach ignorant men to vote "Yes" on that one proposition that, despite
the fact that orders had gone forth to all the state that No. 3 was to
be carried, it barely squeezed through.

In Pennsylvania there are no emblems to distinguish the tickets and
on the large ballot the suffrage amendment was difficult to find by
an untutored voter. In probable consequence Pennsylvania polled the
largest proportional vote for the amendment of any eastern state. In
Massachusetts the ballot was small and the suffrage amendment could be
easily picked out by a bribed voter. In Iowa the suffrage ballot was
separate and yellow while the main ballots were white.

In the North Dakota referendum the regular ballot was long and
complicated and the suffrage ballot separate and small. It was easy to
teach the dullest illiterate how to vote "No." It might be said
that it would be equally easy to teach him to vote "Yes." True, but
suffragists never bribe. Both the briber and the illiterate are allies
of the opposition.

A referendum on a non-partisan issue has none of the protection
accorded a party question. Election boards are bi-partisan and each
party has its own machinery, not only of election officials but
watchers and challengers, to see that the opposing party commits no
fraud. The watchfulness of this party machinery, plus an increasingly
vigilant public opinion, has corrected many of the election frauds
which were once common and most elections are now probably free from
all the baser forms of corruption. When a question on referendum is
sincerely espoused by both the dominant parties it has the advantage
of the watchfulness of both party machines and is doubly safeguarded
from fraud. But when such a question has been espoused by no dominant
party it is utterly at the mercy of the worst forms of corruption.
The election officers have even been known to wink at irregularities
plainly committed since it was no affair of theirs. Or, they may even
go further and join in the entertaining game of running in as many
votes against such an amendment as possible. This has not infrequently
been the unhappy experience of suffrage amendments in corrupt

Honest election officers, respecting "the will of the majority" as
the sovereign of our nation, would protect honesty in elections,
regardless of their own or their party's views, but unhappily that
high standard is not universal.

Surely, the method of taking the vote and of safeguarding the honesty
of elections should be the most important and fundamental of all
questions in a republic. Such laws ought to be preliminary to all
other laws. Yet as a matter of fact the laxity and ambiguity of
many state election laws and the utter inadequacy of provisions for
enforcement are almost unbelievable. The contemplation of the actual
facts seriously reflects upon the intelligence and good faith of the
successive lawmakers of our land.

With no one on the election board whose special business it is to see
that honesty is upheld, a suffrage amendment must face further hazards
through the fact that most states do not permit women, or even special
men watchers, to stand guard over the vote and the count upon such

When it is remembered that immigrants may be naturalized after a
residence of five years; that when naturalized they automatically
become voters by all our state constitutions; that in eight states[A]
immigrant voters are not even required to be citizens; that the right
to vote is limited by an educational qualification in only seventeen
states, and that nine of these are Southern, with special intent to
disfranchise the Negro while allowing the illiterate White to vote;
that evidence exists to prove that there is an unscrupulous body
ready to engage the lowest elements of our population by fraudulent
processes to oppose a suffrage amendment; that there is no authority
on the election board whose business it is to see that an amendment
gets a "square deal"; that the method of preparing the ballot is often
a distinct advantage to a corrupt opposition; and that when fraud is
committed there is practically no redress provided by election laws,
it ought to be clear to all that state constitutional amendments
when unsponsored by the dominant political parties which control the
election machinery, must run the gauntlet of intolerably unjust and
unfair conditions. When suffragists have been fortunate enough to
overcome the obstacles imposed by the constitution of their states
and a referendum to the male voters has been secured, they must
immediately enter upon the task of surmounting the infinitely greater
obstructions of the election law. They make their appeal to the public
upon the supposition that a majority of independent voters is
to decide their question. Instead, they may discover that in a
determining number of precincts the taking of the actual vote is a
game in which the cards are stacked against them. One woman, who had
watched at a precinct all day in a suffrage amendment election, said
"Something went out of me that day which never came back--and that was
pride in my country. At first I thought it was disappointment
produced by the defeat of the woman suffrage amendment, but when I had
recovered and could think calmly, I knew it was not that. I was still
patient and still willing to go on working, struggling, sacrificing,
for my right to vote; but I could not forget that I lived in a land
which tolerated the things I saw that day." The women who know cannot
rise to "The Star-Spangled Banner" without a "lump in their throats,"
for they recognize the terrible fact that hidden under the beautiful
pretense of democracy is a hideous menace to our national liberties,
which no political party, no legislature, no congress, has dared to
drag out into the daylight of public knowledge.

[Footnote A: The number of states which permitted men to vote on
"first papers" was formerly fifteen. The following eight states
still perpetuate this provision: Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Kansas,
Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas.]

Bear these items in mind and remember that Congress enfranchised the
Indians, assuming its authority upon the ground that they are wards of
the nation; that the Negroes were enfranchised by Federal amendment;
that the constitutions of all states not in the list of the original
thirteen, automatically extended the vote to men; that in the original
colonial territory, the chief struggle occurred over the elimination
of the land-owning qualifications and that a total vote necessary
to give the franchise to non-landowners did not exceed fifty to
seventy-five thousand in any state.

Let it also not be forgotten that the vote is the free-will offering
of our forty-eight states to any man who chooses to make this land his
home. Let it not be overlooked that millions of immigrant voters
have been added to our electorate within a generation, men mainly
uneducated and all moulded by European traditions, and let no man lose
sight of the fact that women of American birth, education and ideals
must appeal to these men for their enfranchisement. No humiliation
could be more complete, unless we add the amazing fact that political
leaders in Congress and legislatures are willing to drive their wives
and daughters to beg the consent of these men to their political

The makers of the Federal Constitution foresaw the necessity of
referring important and intricate questions to a more intelligent body
than the masses of the people and so provided for the amendment of the
Constitution by referendum to the legislatures of the several states.
Why should women be denied the privilege thus established? The United
States is one land and one people. All the states have the same
institutions, customs and ideals.

Woman suffrage has been caught in a snarl of state constitutional
obstructions, inefficient election laws and the misapplied theory
of States Rights. It is a combination which has so far retarded the
normal progress of the movement in this democratic land that other
countries have already outstripped it. Under these circumstances
Congress should extricate the woman suffrage question from this tangle
by way of honorable reparation for the injustices unintentionally put
upon the only unenfranchised citizens left in our Republic, and women
should insist upon their enfranchisement by amendment to the Federal
Constitution as their self-respecting duty.



Constitutional amendments were submitted to the voters of three states
in 1916, namely, Iowa, where the vote was taken June 5th on Primary
Day; South Dakota and West Virginia, where the vote was taken at the
general election in November. More than one influential newspaper
editorially discussed the returns with the comment that "the people"
of three states had refused to extend the suffrage to women.
An investigation unveils some ugly facts and raises significant

In 1882 a prohibition constitutional amendment was adopted by a large
majority in Iowa and was promptly set aside by the supreme court upon
a technicality. The wet and dry question has been a vexed political
issue ever since. The state now has prohibition by statutory
enactment. A constitutional amendment is pending, having passed the
Legislature of 1914, and is due to pass the Legislature of 1916.
The "wets" believing that women would generally support the proposed
prohibition amendment were extremely active in opposing the suffrage
amendment. Although the suffragists kept their question distinctly
separate from prohibition, the wet and dry issue, it was generally
admitted, would prove a determining factor.

Every judge of the Supreme Court, the United States Senators, the
Governor, most of the men prominent in Republican and Democratic
politics, most of the clergymen, most of the press and every woman's
state organization espoused the suffrage amendment.

Men familiar with Iowa politics advised the suffrage campaigners early
and late and all the time between that it was unnecessary to conduct
an intensive campaign as "everybody believed in it."

Yet despite this omnipresent optimism thousands of women gave
every possibility of their lives for months before to arouse public
sentiment, instruct and acquaint the men and women of the state
concerning the question.

The amendment was lost by about 10,000 votes. Were four of the
ninety-nine counties (Dubuque, Clinton, Scott and Des Moines counties)
lying along the Mississippi River, not included in the returns, the
state would have been carried for woman suffrage. It is instructive
to inquire what kind of population occupied the four counties which
defeated it. The following table gives the answer:

|             |          |         |         | Total   |
|             |          |         | Total   | German, |
|             |  Total   |  Total  | Foreign |Austrian,|
|Iowa Counties|          | Native  |  and    | Russian |
|             |Population|Parentage| Foreign | and of  |
|             |          |         |Parentage|  such   |
|             |          |         |         |Parentage|
|Dubuque      |  57,450  |  24,024 |  33,426 |  14,566 |
|Clinton      |  45,394  |  19,116 |  26,278 |  11,494 |
|Scott        |  60,000  |  24,104 |  35,896 |  20,119 |
|Des Moines   |  36,145  |  17,769 |  18,376 |   7,828 |

The vote on woman suffrage was 162,679 yes and 173,020 no. The "yes
vote" of the above four counties was 8,061; the "no vote" 18,941.
Subtract these totals from the totals of the state vote and 154,618
"yes" and 154,079 "no" remains, giving a majority of 539 for woman

Once more in the history of suffrage referenda a foreign and colonized
population decided the issue. Was the election an honest one? That
is a question of interest to Iowa just now. The returns revealed some
suspicious facts. Nearly 30,000 more votes were cast on the suffrage
proposition than in the primary. Where did they come from? The
president of the W.C.T.U., Mrs. Ida B. Wise Smith, employed a
detective after the election. His investigation covered forty-four
counties and was not confined to those wherein woman suffrage
was lost. The findings have not been given to the public in their
entirety, but they were conclusive enough to cause an injunction suit
to be filed against the Board of Elections and the Legislature to
restrain them from accepting the official returns.

Registration was necessary for the amendment, not for the primary,
yet thousands of unregistered votes apparently were cast upon the
amendment. All good election laws provide that a definite number of
ballots shall be officially issued to each precinct; that the number
of those deposited in the ballot box, the number spoiled and those
unused shall not only tally with the number received, but the
unused ones must be counted, sealed, labelled and returned with the
certificate recording the count. This is the law of Iowa; but the
report of the investigation, as given to the press, shows that in
thirty-five counties out of the forty-four investigated no tally list
was used and there was nothing by which to check in order to determine
the correctness of the number on the certificate. In many cases no
unused ballots were returned. The poll lists did not tally with the
number of votes and even a recount could not reveal whether fraud or
carelessness had led to irregularity.

Despite the fact that the Iowa law provides that a definite number of
ballots and the same number of each kind is to be distributed to each
precinct, the separate suffrage ballots in a number of cases were
reported by election officials as not having arrived until the voting
had been in progress for some time; and in others they gave out an
hour before the polls closed.

Forty-seven varieties of violations of the election law are alleged to
have been committed. Do these indicate wilful fraud or mere ignorance
and carelessness? Just now no one seems prepared to answer. Meantime
Iowa, one of the most intelligent and progressive states in the
nation, stands at the bar of public opinion accused of incapacity
to conduct an honest election. How she will defend herself, what
reparation she will make to her women, and what steps she will take to
insure clean elections and better enforcement of her election law in
the future are problems which await the Legislature. That body cannot
refuse to take action of some kind without inviting the suspicion that
her legislators prefer conditions which lend themselves to the
base uses of election manipulators whenever they may care to avail
themselves of them.

On November 7, 1916, woman suffrage and prohibition amendments were
voted upon in South Dakota. It was the first time these two questions
have gone to referendum in the same election and the results furnish
interesting data for comparison.

Certain facts tell a story which should make progressive, patriotic
Americans and fair-minded Congressmen reflect.

Prohibition was carried by a majority of 11,469; woman suffrage
was lost by a majority of 4,664. Prohibition was lost in thirteen
counties; in one of these, Lawrence, which lies in the heart of the
mining country, prohibition was lost by two votes, and woman suffrage
was carried.

In all the others a large foreign population was the dominant power.
Had nine of the sixty-eight counties of the state not been included in
the returns woman suffrage would have been carried.

The total "yes" vote on woman suffrage was 51,687; the "no" vote
56,351.[A] The total "yes" vote of these nine counties was 4,877; the
"no" vote was 10,569. Subtracting these county totals from the state
totals the record would stand 46,810 "yes" votes and 45,782 "no"

[Footnote A: The figures here used are those given to the press by the
County Boards of Election. The final returns were not available.]

Who then are the voters of nine counties who kept the women of an
entire state disfranchised? The following table presents the answer:

|             |            |           |             |  Total    |
|             |            |           |    Total    | German,   |
|             |   Total    |   Total   | Foreign and | Austrian, |
|  Counties   | Population |  Native   | Foreign     | Russian,  |
|             |            | Parentage | Parentage   | or of such|
|             |            |           |             | Parentage |
|Bon Homme....|   11,061   |   3,448   |     7,6l3   |   4,759   |
|Brule .......|    6,451   |   3,008   |     3,443   |   1,556   |
|Charles Mix..|   14,899   |   6,387   |     8,512   |   2,757   |
|Campbell ....|    5,244   |     600   |     4,644   |   3,491   |
|Douglas .....|    6,400   |   2,017   |     4,383   |   1,644   |
|McCook ......|    9,589   |   4,068   |     5,521   |   1,691   |
|Hutchinson ..|   12,319   |   2,671   |     9,648   |   7,515   |
|McPherson ...|    6,791   |   1,152   |     5,639   |   4,889   |
|Turner ......|   13,840   |   4,206   |     9,634   |   4,432   |

The large "no" vote in several counties was due to the same character
of population. The total population is 583,888, the population of
foreign birth or foreign parentage is 243,835. South Dakota is one of
the eight remaining states where foreigners may vote on their "first
papers" and citizenship is not a qualification for a vote.

The returns offer still other food for reflection. Hutchinson county,
for example, carried prohibition and lost woman suffrage. It gave 584
dry votes; 510 wet votes. It gave 432 "yes" votes on woman suffrage
and 1,583 "no" votes. Thus 921 more votes were cast on the suffrage
proposition than on the prohibition question. The people in this
county are German-Russians and exceedingly ignorant. Apparently
they were not intelligent enough to be lined up to vote "no" on both
questions. Is it not likely that these votes were intended to be "wet"
and that they made a mistake and picked No. 6 instead of No. 7? If
not, why not?

The largest group of the foreign population of these counties are
German-Russians. They migrated from Germany and found a home in Russia
some 230 or more years ago, in order to escape conscription. When
Russia began to enforce conscription about 1888 the entire group came
to America and settled in colonies in the Western states which at the
time offered free lands. They were totally illiterate then. They had
not progressed as Germans in their own country had done but being
clannish had remained at the point of development reached at the date
of their migration. They are still clannish and have not yet escaped
from the mental habits of the Middle Ages. These are the men who have
denied American women the vote in South Dakota. That the women of
South Dakota in very large numbers wanted the vote no one questions.
During the campaign six women in Sioux Falls published an appeal to
voters not to support the amendment as they did not wish to vote.
Shortly after an appeal to the voters of the same city was published
and was signed by 3,000 women. In every county of the state the women
manifested their interest by doing all they knew how to do. West
Virginia was the first Southern state to submit a referendum on woman
suffrage and the vote was taken November 7, 1916. The amendment was
defeated by the largest proportional majority any suffrage amendment
ever received. Unlike Iowa and South Dakota, where all the educated
classes with notable exceptions believe in woman suffrage, West
Virginia probably has many conscientious doubters. Arguments and
excuses which did service in the West twenty-five years ago were
brought forward as though just formulated. The illiteracy of the state
is appallingly high and the illiterate is universally an antiwomen

The ever present prohibition issue again played an important if not
a determining part. A prohibition law was voted in by an immense
majority in 1912, but the undismayed "wets" propose to secure a
resubmission if possible. They apparently regarded the woman suffrage
amendment as an outer defense to be taken before the march on the main
prohibition fort could be begun; and every "wet," high and low, was
on duty. The "drys" who would do well to study Napoleon's rule of
strategy, that is, "find out what your enemy doesn't want you to do,
and then do it," were much disturbed as to what St. Paul would think
were he here, and concluded not to be over hasty about giving the
women the vote.

At the Democratic convention an anti woman suffragist spoke. The
applause in the gallery and in the standing groups filling the outside
aisles was uproarious and clearly represented an organized, carefully
planted claque. The leaders were an ex-brewer, an ex-saloonkeeper and
the chief liquor lobbyist of the state. It was evident that they were
there to intimidate the party, and they did. The Democrats threw
a bouquet to the women in the form of a plank and then quietly
repudiated it. Practically the same thing happened in the Republican
convention. They, too, endorsed a plank and "double-crossed." There
was apparently no difference between the two dominant parties on that
score. Men who had always been pronounced suffragists weakly confessed
themselves afraid to speak for woman suffrage in the campaign lest
votes be lost for their party. Political campaigners who went into the
state, with the exception of Senator Borah and Raymond Robins, were
told not to mention suffrage, and they obeyed. The wets apparently had
the state literally by the throat and in order to save votes the great
fundamental principle of "government by the people" was refused a
public hearing. Election Day came. Women poll workers reported from
many parts of the state that drunken hoodlums were marched in line
into the precinct, saying boldly that they were going to vote "agin
the ---- women." The women workers testified with remarkable unanimity
that their opposition was chiefly "riffraff and illiterate negroes and
that it was under the direction of well-known 'wets.'" Even an excise
commissioner under pay of the National Government worked against woman
suffrage all day in one precinct.

A premonition of what might happen appeared in September, when
Judge John M. Woods of the circuit court instructed a grand jury to
investigate the political situation in Berkely county. He declared, as
reported by the press, that election conditions had become intolerable
and that in his judgment one-third of the votes in the county were
purchasable. Elections, he said, had degenerated into "an auction
wherein offices went to the highest bidder."

It was not surprising, therefore, that the cry of fraud arose from
many localities as soon as the election was over, and was so insistent
that the Governor called a special session of the Legislature for the
announced purpose of an investigation into the charges. Colonization,
bribery, repeating and every known form of corruption was alleged to
have been employed. One of the chief newspapers of the state declared
that the election scandals had surpassed all that had gone before.

The Legislature met but the Governor did not proceed with his proposed
investigation. No explanation was given, but to the onlooker it was
clear that one of two reasons, or perhaps both, was the cause of
silence on the part of the chief lawmaking body of the state--either
the lifted curtain would reveal "the pot calling the kettle black," or
so extensive and noxious a mass of corruption was known to exist that
no means were available for correction of the wrongs perpetrated.

That money was used many women were willing to testify. For what
purpose it was used, who furnished it and who were the actual bribers
were questions not so readily answered. In one city it was reported
"that warrants were out after the elect of the city and that this was
true in nearly every ward of the city." The warrants were based upon
the alleged use of money.

Other women poll workers reported that men boldly asked whether they
would be paid, and if so, how much. When they found there was no
reward for suffrage votes they scornfully but frankly confessed that
they could do better on the other side. Irregularities were numerous.
The amendment was ordered by the state officials printed on the main
ticket, but one county so far disobeyed instructions as to print the
amendment on a separate ballot, yet the vote was accepted. The returns
on the amendment were withheld for many days and in several counties
for weeks.

A few straws from the election show the way the wind blew in West
Virginia. In only four counties is the per cent, of illiteracy
among males of voting age less than 6 per cent. The returns in these
counties are found in the following table:

| Per Cent.  |        |  For     | Against  |                   |
| Illiteracy | County | Suffrage | Suffrage |                   |
| Voting Age |        | Amendment| Amendment|                   |
|   Males    |        |          |          |                   |
|   5.5      | Brooke |   1,041  |     907  | Carried           |
|   5.8      | Morgan |     443  |   1,098  | 2-1/2 to 1 against|
|   4.7      | Ohio   |   4,513  |   6,014  | 1-1/3 to 1 against|
|   5.3      | Wood   |   3,260  |   3,960  | 1-1/4 to 1 against|

The returns from the five counties having the highest per cent. of
illiteracy are as follows:

| Per Cent   |        |  For     | Against  |                  |
| Illiteracy | County | Suffrage | Suffrage |                  |
| Voting Age |        | Amendment| Amendment|                  |
|   Males    |        |          |          |                  |
|    26.2    |Lincoln |    466   |  3,213   |7 to 1 against    |
|    26.4    |Boone   |    678   |  1,828   |3 lacking 6 votes |
|            |        |          |          |   to 1 against   |
|    27.7    |Logan   |    856   |  2,774   |3-1/4 to 1 against|
|    28.2    |Mingo   |    712   |  2,609   |3-2/3 to 1 against|
|    29.7    |McDowell|  1,436   |  4,832   |3-1/3 to 1 against|

In the first group the negro vote is under 5 per cent. of the whole.
In the second this is also true of Boone and Lincoln counties. The
number of negro males of voting age is nearly 6 per cent. in Logan
county, 11.2 per cent. in Mingo county and 34.1 per cent. in McDowell

It is a matter of interest to observe that the counties giving the
largest majority against were Clay, 6 to 1; Grant, 7 to 1; Hardy,
7-2/3 to 1; Lincoln, 7 to 1; Raleigh, 5 to 1, and that in none of
these is the negro male population of voting age in excess of 5 per
cent. White illiteracy is high, the lowest in this group being that
found in Grant county, 13.3 per cent.

Had there been an honest election and a fair count in West Virginia,
it is possible, even probable, that woman suffrage would have been
defeated, but the fact remains that no human being can know that,
since the amendment went down to defeat in an election that can only
be described as "The Shame of West Virginia."

In all three states the pending amendments were caught in the toils
of the "wet and dry" issue. The "wets" obsessed by the idea that woman
suffrage is "next door to prohibition" used their entire machinery
to defeat the amendments, while the "drys" regarded the amendments as
distinctly separate questions. These conditions may be regarded as
the inevitable hazards of a campaign. It is, however, not at all clear
that the amendments were defeated in any one of the three states
by the honest "will of the majority." In none of them were women
permitted to serve as watchers over their amendment. In Iowa well
established proof of wilful or careless violations of laws throws
doubt over the returns, while in West Virginia the suspicion of fraud
rests upon the entire election. In Iowa four and in South Dakota nine
counties colonized by people of foreign birth or parentage deprived
the women of the state of their vote.

A Federal amendment ratified by the legislatures of the several states
would secure to the women of South Dakota and Iowa the rights for
which American and Americanized men have voted. The entire western
or most American part of South Dakota has been twice carried for
suffrage, that is, in 1914 and 1916. One county, Harding, adjacent to
Wyoming, has been carried for woman suffrage in the six referenda on
the question, the first one being held in 1890.

The only real argument against the Federal amendment thus far advanced
is that one group of states which want woman suffrage may force it
upon another group which does not want it. That argument works both
ways. _A group of counties_ which want woman suffrage may be deprived
of it for years because another group of un-Americanized, foreign-born
citizens do not want it. The first is said to be the principle of
"American sovereignty," the second may fairly be called the principle
of "foreign sovereignty."




Judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, New York City,
and Professor in the Yale University School of Law.

I do not propose to discuss the subject of woman suffrage in the
abstract. I am content with saying as regards the general question
that in a republic which theoretically is founded upon the principle
that government derives its just powers from the consent of the
governed I think it illogical, unreasonable and an injustice to deny
the vote to adult women who are citizens. With that statement I
shall address myself to the suggestion of the National American Woman
Suffrage Association that Congress should propose to the States an
amendment to the Constitution which shall in effect provide that no
State shall deny to any person the right to vote on account of sex.
And as respects that suggestion I shall deal with a single phase of
the matter. It seems to be supposed in some quarters that if such an
amendment were to be adopted it would involve a breach of faith with
the dissenting States, or violate some unwritten principle of local
self-government, or conflict with the historic doctrine of State

I have no hesitancy in saying that I have for years believed and still
believe that there is a constitutional doctrine of State Rights which
cannot be safely or rightfully ignored. Many of the foremost men in
both parties share that belief. It must be admitted, however, that
this doctrine sometimes has been so perverted, misapplied and carried
to such extreme limits as seriously to prejudice many worthy and
intelligent citizens against its true merit and value. This fact makes
it all the more necessary on the part of those who would save the
doctrine from absolute repudiation to be careful when and how and to
what purpose it is invoked.

There has recently been published a book entitled "Woman Suffrage by
Constitutional Amendment." The author of that book, the Hon. Henry St.
George Tucker of Virginia, was at one time a member of Congress, and
has been president of the American Bar Association. He was invited to
deliver a course of five lectures, in 1916, before the School of Law
of Yale University on the subject of "Local Self-Government." In one
of the lectures woman suffrage by Federal Amendment was discussed and
the theory was advanced that the attempt to bring about the right of
suffrage by an amendment to the Constitution of the United States
was opposed to the genius of the Constitution and subversive of the
principle of local self-government. In his opinion, woman suffrage
by Federal Amendment is contrary to the rightful demarcation of the
powers of the Federal and State governments under the Constitution of
the United States.

I may remark in passing that the title of the book is liable to
mislead the public into thinking that Mr. Tucker was invited to Yale
to discuss woman suffrage, whereas the fact was that that was only an
incident in his discussion of Local Self-Government.

But is woman suffrage by Federal Amendment contrary to the genius
of the Constitution and contrary to the rightful demarcation of the
powers of the Federal Government?

In considering the question involved it is to be noticed in the first
place that a difference exists between the Articles of Confederation
and the Constitution. In the Articles of Confederation it was in the
Thirteenth Article expressly provided that no alteration should be
made in any of the Articles "unless such alteration be agreed to in
a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by
the legislatures of every State." This provision was an element
of weakness and recognized as such by the men who sat in the
Constitutional Convention of 1787. As the Articles constituted a
league between independent states it was deemed necessary to make it
incapable of alteration except by unanimous consent of the states in
order to preserve to each state all of its rights.

When the convention of 1787 met to agree upon a Constitution to submit
to the States one of the questions they had to consider was whether it
should be made capable of amendment. They agreed that it was the
part of wisdom to provide that the States might modify the system of
government the Constitution established when in the progress of time
to do so seemed desirable. Mr. Madison accordingly proposed what with
some modifications became the Fifth Article.

The Congress was given power by that Article to propose amendments by
a vote of two-thirds of both Houses and amendments so proposed were to
become valid to all intents and purposes as parts of the Constitution
when ratified by three-fourths of the several States. This is not
the only method by which the Constitution may be amended. For it is
provided that the States may themselves propose amendments through a
convention called by two-thirds of the States, and it is also
provided that proposed amendments may be submitted for ratification
to conventions in the several States instead of to the Legislatures of
the States if Congress so directs.

When the Constitution of a State is amended care must be taken to see
to it that the amendment proposed does not involve a violation of the
Constitution of the United States. For a constitution adopted by the
people of a State in so far as it violates the Constitution of the
United States is void, for exactly the same reason that an Act passed
by a State Legislature is void if it is contrary to some provision
in the Constitution of the United States. This is so because the
Constitution of the United States in the Sixth Article directs that
"This Constitution ... shall be the supreme law of the land; and
the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the
Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

But any amendment with a single exception, which is proposed by
Congress, no matter what it may be, if it has received the two-thirds
vote of both Houses and has been ratified by the Legislatures of
three-fourths of the States, or of three-fourths of the conventions in
the several States, according as Congress has submitted it in the one
way or the other, is valid irrespective of any provision that can be
found in any State Constitution or law. The one exception to which
reference has been made is that no change can be made which would
deprive a State of its right to equal representation in the Senate.
As it is, the Senate is composed of two Senators from each state. New
York and Nevada, the one with a population of 9,113,614, and the other
with a population of 81,875 are entitled to equal representation in
that body, and that equality of representation cannot be destroyed by
any amendment not assented to by all the States. The reason is that
the Constitution expressly declares in the Fifth Article--the one
which deals with amendments--"that no State, without its consent,
shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate." This provision
was incorporated into the Constitution at the suggestion of Roger
Sherman of Connecticut. Certain other restrictions were imposed
which now have become unimportant, but which at the time were of the
greatest possible importance. It was provided that no amendment was to
be made prior to the year 1808 which should prohibit the States from
further importation of slaves, and that no capitation or other direct
tax should be laid unless in proportion to the census or enumeration
of the inhabitants of the states in which three-fifths only of the
slaves were included. So we see that the founders withdrew from the
possibilities of amendment the subjects regarding which they were
unwilling amendments should be made. The understanding of the
States therefore must have been that as respects all subjects not
so withdrawn the right of amendment might be exercised whenever the
States desired to exercise it. Whenever they do see fit to exercise
it they are not breaking faith with each other, or doing anything

The mode of amending the Constitution is in strict accordance with the
doctrine of State Rights. The amending power is not to be exercised
by the collective people of the United States acting as a majority. It
can only be exercised by three-fourths of the States acting as States
in their sovereign capacity. If three-fourths of the States desire to
amend the instrument then the one-fourth must submit to the will of
the three-fourths. There is no principle in the doctrine of State
Rights which is violated when the Constitution is amended by the
three-fourths, for all the states have agreed that the three-fourths
shall possess the power to do so and that the minority will consent
to be bound by action so taken. The principle that the minority must
submit to the majority is a principle which the States apply to the
government of their local communities and to the people of their
several commonwealths. And it is a principle which the States as
sovereigns have agreed shall be applied to themselves in their
relations to each other and to the Federal Government. In creating the
amending power the framers of the Constitution were careful to
remove it from the people of the nation and to lodge it in the State
sovereignties. That is all that the believers in the doctrine of State
Rights asked. They could not wisely ask, and they did not ask, more.
They only asked that in so important a matter as the amendment of the
fundamental law the minority should not be compelled to submit to a
mere majority, but only to three-fourths of the whole.

If it be assumed simply for the purpose of this discussion, that the
amendment of the Constitution is not wholly a political question, no
one can seriously contend that the amendment the National American
Woman Suffrage Association urges violates any principle of law,
written or unwritten. Mr. Tucker makes no such claim. His argument,
as I understand it, is that woman suffrage by Federal Amendment is a
departure from the original thought of the makers of the Constitution;
that they left the subject of suffrage along with most other subjects
to be regulated by State action and that their decision upon that
question was wise and should not be disturbed. The same argument
exactly was made against the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth
Amendments and without effect. It can be made against any amendment
which can be proposed which deprives the States of any power which
they now possess.

When the Constitution was adopted it is true it did not confer the
right of suffrage upon any class, but left the subject to each
state to regulate in its own way. The members of the House of
Representatives were to be chosen by the people of the several States
and it was simply provided that "the electors in each state shall have
the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch
of the State Legislature." Senators were to be chosen by the State
Legislatures. The President and Vice-President were to be chosen by
electors, who were to be appointed in each state "in such manner as
the Legislature thereof may direct." These were at the time very
wise regulations, for they showed, as James Wilson, a member of the
Constitutional Convention, said, the most friendly disposition toward
the governments of the several States, and they tended to destroy the
seeds of jealousy which might otherwise spring up with regard to the
National Government. At that time the framers of the Constitution did
not deem it wise to limit in any respect the control of the States
over the subject of suffrage. There was then no uniformity regarding
the suffrage in the several states. A property qualification was
usually prescribed, but the amount of property it was necessary
to hold varied considerably in different states. For instance, in
Maryland all freemen, above 21 years of age, having a freehold of
fifty acres of land in the county in which they resided, and all
freemen having property in the state above the value of thirty pounds
current money and who had resided in the county one year, could vote.
In New Jersey "all inhabitants" of full age worth "fifty pounds,
proclamation money clear estate within that government," could vote.
In New York "every male inhabitant of full age" who had resided within
the county for six months immediately preceding the day of election
could vote if he had been a freeholder possessing a freehold of the
value of twenty pounds within the county or had rented a tenement
therein of the yearly value of forty shillings, and had been rated and
actually paid taxes to the state. In a number of the States the right
to vote was restricted to taxpayers. In Pennsylvania every freeman
of 21 years who had resided in the state two years next before the
election and within that time had paid a State or a county tax could

There is today a wide divergence in the qualifications required in
the various states to entitle one to vote. In a few States there
are educational qualifications, as in California, Connecticut,
Massachusetts, Washington and North Carolina. In some States one
cannot vote unless he has paid certain taxes, almost always poll
taxes. In certain States Indians who are not members of any tribe can
vote. And in a number of the States every male of foreign birth,
21 years of age, who has declared his intention to become a citizen
according to the naturalization laws of the United States can vote.

These differences exist because the Constitution remains, so far as
this subject is concerned, as it was originally adopted, except that
the Fifteenth Amendment provides that "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 race, color or previous condition
of servitude." It is, however, an anomalous condition that the right
of citizens of the United States to vote remains wholly dependent on
the laws of the States, subject only to the restriction that in the
regulations the States establish they cannot discriminate against any
citizen on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.
If woman suffrage is a sound principle in a republican form of
government, and such I believe it to be, there is in my opinion
no reason why the States should not be permitted to vote upon an
Amendment to the Constitution declaring that no citizen shall be
deprived of the right to vote on account of sex.




That there are many problems whose treatment belongs so appropriately
to state governments that any infringement of that right by the
Federal Government would be an act of tyranny, no American will
question. But assuredly woman suffrage is not one of these. One by
one classes of men have been granted the vote until women are the only
remaining unenfranchised class. States have set up various restrictive
qualifications so that criminality, idiocy, insanity, pauperism,
drunkenness, foreign birth are accepted as ordinary causes of
disfranchisement. Yet not one of these conditions is common to all the
states. The foreigner votes on his first papers in eight states and
a five years' residence will usually secure his naturalization and a
consequent vote in any state. The criminal, idiot and insane are not
denied a vote in several states, and in most a large class of ignorant
un-American men with no comprehension of our problems, our history, or
ideals, are conspicuous voters on election day. Millions of new voters
have entered our country and without the expenditure of time, money or
service have received the vote since the pending Federal Amendment was
first introduced.

For two generations groups of women have given their lives and their
fortunes to secure the vote for their sex and hundreds of thousands of
other women are now giving all the time at their command. No class of
men in our own or any other country has made one-tenth the effort nor
sacrificed one-tenth as much for the vote. The long delay, the
double dealing, the broken faith of political parties, the insult of
disfranchisement of the qualified in a land which freely gives the
vote to the unqualified, combines to produce as insufferable a tyranny
as any modern nation has perpetuated upon a class of its citizens.
The souls of women which should be warm with patriotic love of their
country are growing bitter over the inexplicable wrong their country
is doing them. Hands and heads that should be busy with other problems
of our nation are withheld that they may get the tools with which
to work. Purses that should be open to many causes are emptied into
suffrage coffers until this monumental injustice shall be wiped away.
Woman suffrage is a question of righting a nation-wide injustice, of
establishing a phase of unquestioned human liberty and of carrying out
a proposition to which our nation is pledged; it therefore transcends
all considerations of states rights. This objection comes chiefly
from Southern Democrats, who claim that it is a form of oppression for
three-fourths of the states to foist upon one-fourth measures of
which the minority of states do not approve. Yet the provision for
so amending the Constitution was adopted by the states and has stood
unchallenged in the Constitution for more than a century. If it be
unfair, undemocratic or even unsatisfactory, it is curious that no
movement to change the provision has ever developed. The Constitution
has been twice amended recently and it is interesting to note that it
happened under a Democratic Administration. More, the child labor and
eight-hour bills, while not constitutional amendments, are subject to
the same plea that no state shall have laws imposed upon it without
its consent. Both measures were introduced by Southern Democrats.
The pending Federal Prohibition Amendment was also introduced by a
Southern Democrat and is supported by many others. Upon consideration
of these facts, it would seem that "states rights" is either a theory
to be invoked whenever necessary to conceal an unreasoning hostility
to a measure or that those who advance it are guilty of extremely
muddy thinking.

The Constitution of the United States as now amended provides that no
male citizen subject to state qualifications shall be denied the
vote by any state. Were all the state constitutions amended so as to
enfranchise women, the word male would still stand in the National
Constitution. Men and women would still be unequal, since the National
Constitution can impose a penalty upon a state which denies the vote
to men, but none upon the state which discriminates against women.
A woman comes from Montana to represent that state in Congress.
The State of Montana has done its utmost to remove her political
disabilities, yet should she cross the border of her state and live
in North Dakota, she loses all that Montana gave her. Not so the male
voter. Enfranchised in one state, he is enfranchised in all (subject
to difference of qualification only). The women of this nation will
never be content with less protection in their right to vote than
is given to men and there is no other possible way to secure that
protection except through amendment to the National Constitution.
No single state, nor the forty-eight collectively, can grant that
protection except through the Federal Constitution.

As granting to half the population of our country the right of
consent to their own government, whose expenses they help to pay, is
a question of fundamental human liberty, Congress and the legislatures
should be proud to act and to add one more immortal chapter to
America's history of freedom.


It is difficult to believe this objection to be sincere, since facts
do not support the contention. The facts are that woman suffrage
secured by Federal Amendment will be subject to whatever restrictions
may be imposed by state constitutions (provided those restrictions are
in accord with the National Constitution) in precisely the same way
as woman suffrage secured by state constitutional amendment. No larger
number of negro women can be enfranchised by Federal Amendment than
will be enfranchised by State Amendment. If the women of the South
are ever to be enfranchised, it must be by (1) Federal Constitutional
Amendment, or (2) State Constitutional Amendment. If their franchise
is obtained by the former method, it will come by the votes of white
men in Congress and legislatures; if by the second, they will be
forced to appeal to voting Negroes to elevate them to their own
political status. One would suppose the first would be the preferable
method from the Southern viewpoint. It is possible that behind this
commonly spoken objection, lies a hope and belief that Southern women
will remain disfranchised forevermore. A man unfamiliar with political
history, psychology, and the science of evolution might cherish such
a belief in fancied security, but ideas cannot be shut outside the
borders of a state. There is no Southern state in which women of the
highest families are not giving their all in order to propagate this
cause, and they are doing it with so noble a spirit and so eloquent
an appeal that final surrender of the citadel of prejudice is only a
question of time. No one has ever questioned the "fighting ability" of
the South. That ability is not confined to men. Courage, intelligence,
conviction and willingness to sacrifice characterize the suffrage
movement in every state, and the South is no exception. The women of
that section will vote; the question is how long must they work, how
much must they sacrifice to win that which has so freely been granted
to men of all classes?

White supremacy will be strengthened, not weakened, by woman suffrage.
In the fifteen states south of the Mason and Dixon line are:

  8,788,901 white women,
  4,316,565 negro women, or
  4,472,336 more white than negro women.

The total negro population is 8,294,274, and white women outnumber
both negro males and females by nearly half a million. In two states
only, South Carolina and Mississippi, are there more negro than white
women, and in these states there are more negro men than white men. In
South Carolina, voters must read, own and pay taxes on $300 worth of
property. In Mississippi, voters must read the Constitution. The
other four states of the "black belt"--Georgia, Florida, Alabama and
Louisiana--impose an educational test. Women voters would be compelled
to submit to the same qualifications. In the other nine states white
women exceed the total negro population. Woman suffrage in the South
would so vastly increase the white vote that it would guarantee white
supremacy if it otherwise stood in danger of overthrow. If a sly dread
of female supremacy is troubling the doubter he may find comfort in
the rather astonishing fact that white males over 21 are considerably
in excess of white females over 21 in all except Maryland and North
Carolina; negro females over 21 exceed negro males in Alabama,
Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, but
the restrictions in these states of property ownership represented
by tax receipts, education and various other tests, would fall more
heavily upon women than men, and thus admit fewer women than men to
the vote. If the South really wants White Supremacy, it will urge
the enfranchisement of women. The following table offers insuperable

|               |Per Cent. of|        WHITE      |      NEGROES
|               | Negroes in | 21 Years and Over | 21 Years and Over
|    STATES     | Population |                   |
|               |  All Ages  |   Male  |  Female |   Male  |  Female
|Delaware ......|     15.4   |  52,804 |  50,160 |   9,050 |   8,281
|Maryland ......|     17.9   | 303,561 | 309,897 |  63,963 |  63,899
|Dist. Columbia.|     28.5   |  75,765 |  81,622 |  27,621 |  34,449
|Virginia ......|     32.6   | 363,659 | 353,516 | 159,593 | 164,844
|North Carolina.|     31.6   | 357,611 | 358,583 | 146,752 | 159,236
|South Carolina |     55.2   | 165,769 | 162,623 | 169,155 | 181,264
|Georgia .......|     45.1   | 353,569 | 343,187 | 266,814 | 269,937
|Florida .......|     41.0   | 124,311 | 105,662 |  89,659 |  72,998
|Kentucky ......|     11.4   | 527,661 | 506,299 |  75,694 |  73,413
|Tennessee .....|     21.7   | 433,431 | 419,646 | 119,142 | 122,707
|Alabama .......|     42.5   | 298,943 | 284,116 | 213,923 | 217,676
|Mississippi ...|     56.2   | 192,741 | 180,787 | 233,701 | 231,901
|Arkansas ......|     28.1   | 284,301 | 248,964 | 111,365 | 102,917
|Louisiana .....|     43.1   | 240,001 | 222,473 | 174,211 | 172,711
|Texas .........|     17.7   | 835,962 | 722,063 | 166,393 | 161,959
|Missouri ......|      4.8   | 919,480 | 874,997 |  52,921 |  48,057
|Oklahoma ......|      8.3   | 393,377 | 311,266 |  36,841 |  30,208
|West Virginia .|      5.3   | 315,498 | 270,298 |  22,757 |  14,667

Speaking of the probable enforcement of the National Constitution
against the "Grandfather clause" in Southern constitutions, Walter E.
Clark, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, said:

"In North Carolina such a decision would readmit to the polls 125,000
negro votes. What preparation have we made to meet such a possible
result? I know of but one remedy. The census shows that the white
population of North Carolina is seventy per cent. and the colored
population thirty per cent. It follows that the white adult women of
North Carolina are more in numbers than the negro men and negro women
combined. _The votes of 260,000 white women can be relied on to
stand solid against any measure or any man who proposes to question
Anglo-Saxon supremacy._

"I am not intimating that the admission of the white women to the
polls will secure democratic supremacy (they will not impair it),
nor that it will prejudice the republican element. The equal suffrage
movement has never proceeded on party lines and the women would scorn
to be admitted unless they were as free in their choice of party
measures and candidates as the men. But what I am saying is that
if the negroes are readmitted by a decision of the Federal Court to
suffrage, the 260,000 votes of the white women of the State will be
one solid obstacle to any measure that would impair either for them or
their children the continuance of white supremacy."


We have two classes of voters in the United States, young men who
automatically become voters at twenty-one, and naturalized citizens.
No one among them has ever been asked whether he wishes the vote. It
was "thrust upon them" all as a privilege which each would use or not
as he desired. To extend the suffrage to those who do not desire it is
no hardship, since only those who wish the privilege will use it. On
the other hand, it becomes an intolerable oppression to deny it to
those who want it. The vote is permissive, not obligatory. It imposes
no definite responsibility; it extends a liberty. That there are women
who do not want the vote is true, but the well-known large number of
qualified men who do not use the vote, indicates that the desire to
have someone else assume the responsibility of public service is not
confined to women. It is an easy excuse to say "wait until all the
women want it," but it is a poor rule which doesn't work both ways.
Had it been necessary for members of Congress to wait until all men
wanted the vote before they had one for themselves, we should be
living in an unconstitutional monarchy. More, had it been necessary
for women to wait until all women approved of college or even public
school education for girls, property rights, the right of free speech,
or any one of the many liberties now enjoyed by women, but formerly
denied them, the iniquities of the old common law would still measure
the privileges of women, and high schools and colleges would still
close their doors to women.

A certain way to test whether any class of people want the vote is to
note the numbers of those who use it when granted.

As men and women voters do not use separate boxes and as initials
are often employed by both sexes in registration, election officials
invariably reply to queries as to the number of women actually voting
in their respective states, that positive figures are not obtainable.
Yet the testimony, while lacking definite statement, is overwhelming
that women in all lands vote in about the same proportion as men.
Women in Illinois, not being possessed of complete suffrage rights,
have voted in separate boxes, and figures are therefore obtainable.
The report from the City of Chicago for 1916 as submitted by the Chief
Clerk of the Board of Election Commissioners is as follows:

      Men             Women            Total
    504,674          303,801          808,475

                 VOTES CAST NOV 7
      Men             Women            Total
  487,210--96.5%   289,444--95.2%   776,654--96%

      Men             Women            Total
    217,328          133,847          351,175

      Men             Women            Total
    235,328          141,533          377,201


Although New York City is nearly two and a half times as large as
Chicago, the registration of the latter exceeded that of New York by

The following is quoted from an official statement issued by the
California Civic League on what the women of California have done with
the vote:

    "There has been some attempt on the part of those opposed
    to women voting to make it appear that in San Francisco
    particularly, women were slow to register and loth to vote.
    The fact is always suppressed that there are never less
    than 132 men to every 100 women in the city and that women
    therefore should properly be only forty-three per cent. of the
    total number of voting adults. At the last mayoralty election
    the women unquestionably re-elected the incumbent as against
    Eugene Schmitz of graft-prosecution fame, who tried to 'come
    back.' In this election women constituted thirty-seven per
    cent. of the total registered vote and the women of the best
    residence districts voted in the proportion of forty-two
    to forty-four per cent. of the total vote cast in those
    precincts; while in the downtown, tenderloin and dance-hall
    districts women constituted only twenty-seven per cent. of
    the registration and negligible portion of the vote. These
    proportions have been substantially maintained in minor
    elections since, and were slightly increased in the National
    election of November, 1916, when they comprised thirty-nine
    per cent. of the registration and voted within two per cent.
    as heavily as men."

From no state comes the report that women have not used their vote.
The evidence that they do use it has been so largely distributed
through the press, that more definite proof seems unnecessary, even
were it possible to secure it. The following bits of testimony taken
from press reports are of interest:

In WYOMING, out of 45,000 registered voters, 20,000 are reported
as women. But Wyoming has 219 men to every 100 women of voting age.
Therefore to compare favorably with Wyoming's 20,000 women voters
there should the 53,800 men.

       *       *       *       *       *

In MONTANA, one-third of a registration of 255,000 is made up of
women. Montana has 189.6 men to every 100 women. As there were only
81,741 women of voting age in Montana in 1910, the present number,
85,000, must mean that nearly every woman in the state voted in 1916.

       *       *       *       *       *

About 40% of UTAH'S 130,000 registration is made up of women. Utah has
6 men of voting age to every 5 women, 20% more men than women.

       *       *       *       *       *

In IDAHO, out of a registration of 95,000, there are 40,000 women.
Idaho has more than half as many again men as women. Therefore to
have a fifty-fifty representation at the polls, Idaho should have
registered 60,000 men instead of 55,000 to match its 40,000 women.


This objection is urged by members in whose states there have been
referenda on the subject in recent years with adverse results. Members
of Congress are apportioned among the several states according to
population and are constitutionally obligated to represent women as
well as men. As the electors of no constituency have voted solidly
against woman suffrage, such objectors are accepting instructions
from less than half their adult constituents and often from less than
one-fourth. Women have had no opportunity to speak for themselves. As
a matter of very suggestive fact, thirty-five members of Congress,
who upon interview have expressed opposition to the Federal Amendment,
were elected by minorities. Some of these represent states which
have had a referendum on woman suffrage and were elected by a smaller
number of total votes than their respective districts gave the
suffrage amendment. These are such curious facts, that it is difficult
to believe in the sincerity of the objection. That men and elements
which have contributed money and work to secure the election of a
member of Congress instruct him how to vote is more believable. For
the sake of the common welfare of the American people, it is well,
that the number of such members is probably few.

V. POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY. The South professes to fear the increased
Negro vote; the North, the increased Foreign vote; the rich, the
increased labor vote; the conservative, the increased illiterate
vote. The Republicans since the recent presidential election fear
the increased Democratic vote; the Democrats fear the woman voters'
support was only temporary. The "wet" fears the increased dry vote;
the "dry" the increased controlled wet vote. Certain very numerous
elements fear the increased Catholic vote and still others the
increased Jewish vote. The Orthodox Protestant and Catholic fear
the increased free-thinking vote and the free-thinkers are decidedly
afraid of the increased church vote. Labor fears the increased
influence of the capitalistic class, and capitalists, especially of
the manufacturing group, are extremely disturbed at the prospect of
votes being extended to their women employees. Certain groups fear the
increased Socialist vote and certain Socialists fear the "lady vote."
Party men fear women voters will have no party consciousness and prove
so independent as to disintegrate the party. Radical or progressive
elements fear that women will be "stand-pat" partisans. Ballot
reformers fear the increased corrupt vote and corruptionists fear
the increased reform vote. Militarists are much alarmed lest women
increase the peace vote and, despite the fact that the press of the
country has poured forth increasing evidence that the women of every
belligerent country have borne their full share of the war burden
with such unexpected skill and ability that the authorities have been
lavish in acknowledgment, seem certain that women of the United
States will prove the exception to the world's rule and show the white
feather if war threatens.

Ridiculous as this list of objections may appear, each is supported
earnestly by a considerable group, and collectively they furnish the
basis of opposition to woman suffrage in and out of Congress.

The answer to one is the answer to all.

Government by "the people" is expedient or it is not. If it is
expedient, then obviously _all_ the people must be included. If it
is not expedient, the simplest logic leads to the conclusion that the
classes to be deprived of the franchise should be determined by their
qualities of unfitness for the vote. If education, intelligence,
grasp of public questions, patriotism, willingness and ability to give
public service, respect of law, are selected as fair qualifications
for those to be entrusted with the vote and the opposite as the
qualities of those to be denied the vote, it follows that men and
women will be included in the classes adjudged fit to vote, and also
in those adjudged unfit to vote. Meanwhile the system which admits the
unworthy to the vote provided they are men, and shuts out the
worthy provided they are women, is so unjust and illogical that its
perpetuation is a sad reflection upon American thinking.

The clear thinker will arrive at the conclusion that women must be
included in the electorate if our country wishes to be consistent with
the principles it boasts as fundamental. The shortest method to secure
this enfranchisement is the quickest method to extricate our country
from the absurdity of its present position.

VI. THE LOW STANDARDS OF CITIZENSHIP which lead to controlled votes,
bribery and various forms of corruptions, will be accentuated by
woman suffrage with the doubling of every dangerous element, hence
any effort to postpone its coming is justifiable. Woman suffrage will
increase the proportion of _intelligent voters_. According to the
Commissioners of Education there are now one-third more girls in the
high schools of the country than boys. In 1914, the latest figures,
64,491 boys were graduated from the high schools of the United States
and 96,115 girls. In the normal schools the educational report for
1915 states that 80 per cent. of the pupils were girls. The Census of
1910 reports a larger number of illiterate men than illiterate women.

Woman suffrage would increase the _moral_ vote. Only one out of every
twenty criminals are women. Women constitute a minority of drunkards
and petty misdemeanants, and in all the factors that tend to handicap
the progress of society women form a minority; whereas in churches,
schools and all organizations working for the uplift of humanity,
women are a majority. In all American states and countries that
have adopted equal suffrage the vote of the disreputable woman is
practically negligible, the slum wards of cities invariably having the
lightest woman vote and the respectable residence wards the heaviest.
Woman suffrage would increase the number of _native born voters_ as
for every 100 foreign white women immigrants coming to this country
there are 129 men, while among Asiatic immigrants the men outnumber
the women two to one, according to the Census of 1910.

Woman suffrage would help to _correct election procedure_. In all
states where women vote, the polling booths have been moved into
homes, church parlors, school houses or other similar respectable
places. Women serve as election officials and the subduing influence
of woman's presence elsewhere has had its effect upon the elections.
Women greatly increase the number of competent persons who can be
drawn upon as election officials. No class of persons in the nation
is so well trained as school teachers for this work. The presence of
women as voters and officials would in itself eliminate certain
types of irregularity and go a long way toward establishing a higher
standard of election procedure. Woman suffrage cannot possibly make
political conditions worse, since all the elements which combine to
produce those conditions are less conspicuous among women than men. On
the other hand the introduction of a new class possessing a very
large number of persons who would unwillingly tolerate some of the
conditions now prevailing offers evidence that a powerful influence
for better things would come with the woman's vote.


It should be remembered that prohibition may be obtained by statutory
enactment, a privilege denied woman suffrage; that it has been largely
established by local option, another privilege denied woman suffrage.
These facts account for the larger success as indicated by relative
territory covered by prohibition and woman suffrage.


The Following Statement Shows the Extent of Suffrage Enjoyed by Women
in Other Lands:

THE AUSTRALIAN PROVINCES granted municipal suffrage to women as
follows: New South Wales, 1867; Victoria, 1869; West Australia, 1871;
South Australia, 1880; Tasmania, 1884; Queensland, 1886. They granted
full suffrage to women as follows: South Australia, 1897; West
Australia, 1899; New South Wales, 1902; Tasmania, 1903; Queensland,
1905; Victoria, 1908.

       *       *       *       *       *

Full suffrage was granted to the women of The Isle of Man, 1892; New
Zealand, 1893; Finland, 1906; Norway, 1907; Denmark, 1915; Iceland,

       *       *       *       *       *

CANADIAN PROVINCES extended municipal suffrage to women as follows:
Ontario, 1884, to widows and spinsters assessed for not less than
$400, married women entitled to vote on some propositions; New
Brunswick, 1886, to women and spinsters rate payers; Nova Scotia,
1887, to all women rate payers; Manitoba, 1888, to all woman rate
payers; British Columbia, 1888, widows and spinsters rate payers;
Alberta, 1888, widows and spinsters rate payers; Saskatchewan, 1888,
widows and spinsters rate payers; Prince Edward Island, 1888, widows
and spinsters property holders; Quebec, 1892, widows and spinsters
property holders. The full suffrage was granted to all women in the
Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia in

       *       *       *       *       *

SOUTH AFRICA--Municipal suffrage was extended to women as follows: In
The Transvaal, in 1854, to burghers' wives; in 1903 to white women
on a property qualification; in Cape Colony, 1882, to all women on
a property qualification; in Orange River Colony, 1904, to all women
resident householders.

       *       *       *       *       *

SWEDEN--Municipal suffrage for unmarried women, School Board and
Ecclesiastical Franchise (without eligibility to office), 1862; School
Board and Poor Law (with eligibility), 1889; eligibility to municipal
and church councils, and extension of suffrage rights to married
women, 1909.

       *       *       *       *       *

In ENGLAND and WALES the first extension of suffrage to women was
granted in 1834. Since that time various extensions of suffrage to men
and to women have taken place. The first woman suffrage was given to
widows and spinsters. The disability of married women was removed in
1900, and English and Welsh women now enjoy suffrage in all elections
upon the same terms as men with the sole exception of the right to
vote for members of Parliament.

       *       *       *       *       *

SCOTLAND--1872--First extension of suffrage to women to elect School
Boards (with eligibility). 1881--Municipal suffrage for unmarried
women (with eligibility). 1900--Disability of married women in
municipal elections removed. 1907--Town and County Council eligibility
for married and unmarried established.

       *       *       *       *       *

IRELAND--1837--First extension of suffrage to women to elect Poor
Law Guardians. 1887--Municipal suffrage granted the women of Belfast.
1894--Municipal suffrage extended to other cities. 1911--Town
and County Council eligibility for married and unmarried women


(In the table below, the 36 male suffrage states are grouped under
classifications which represent, as far as can be represented in a
table, the various degrees of difficulty met in the amending clauses
of State Constitutions.)

A.--Amendment passed by the Legislature or Constitutional Convention:

Delaware: Amendments are not put to the referendum vote.

They must pass two legislatures by a two-thirds majority each time.
The Legislature sits biennially. A Constitutional Convention can also
pass amendments without reference to the people.

B.--Passed by majority one Legislature and majority vote of people on
the referendum or by constitutional convention with referendum:

Missouri--Biennial Legislature. Initiative petition also possible.

South Dakota--Biennial. Constitutional Convention hard to call.

C.--Large Legislative vote necessary:

Florida, three-fifths, biennial.

Georgia, two-thirds, annual.

Maine, two-thirds, biennial.

Michigan, two-thirds, biennial. Initiative petition also possible.

North Carolina, three-fifths, biennial.

Ohio, three-fifths, biennial. Initiative petition also possible.

West Virginia, two-thirds, biennial.

D.--Same as C., but no, or infrequent Constitutional Conventions:

Louisiana, two-thirds, biennial, no Constitutional Convention.

Texas, two-thirds, biennial, no Constitutional Convention.

Maryland, three-fifths, biennial, 20 years interval between
Constitutional Conventions.

E.--Difficult States:

Alabama--Legislature: three-fifths vote of one Legislature
(quadrennial). People: Majority of all votes cast at the election.

Iowa--Legislature: Majority of two Legislatures (biennial). People:
Majority of all voting for representatives.

Minnesota--Legislature: Majority vote of one Legislature (biennial).
People: Majority of votes at the election.

New York--Legislature: Majority of two Legislatures (annual). People:
Majority voting on amendment.

Virginia--Legislature: Majority of two Legislatures (biennial).
People: Majority of people voting on amendment.

Oklahoma--Legislature: Majority vote of one Legislature (biennial).
Initiative petition possible. People: Majority voting at election.

North Dakota--Legislature: Majority of two Legislatures (biennial).
Initiative petition possible. People: Majority voting on the
amendment. No Constitutional Convention.

South Carolina--Legislature: Two-thirds of two Legislatures
(annual).--One before submission to people; the other after
ratification by them. People: Majority voting for representatives.

Wisconsin--Legislature: Majority of two Legislatures (biennial).
People: Majority voting at the election.

F.--Very Difficult States:

Arkansas--Legislature: Majority vote of one Legislature (biennial).
People: Majority of all voting at election. Only three amendments at
once. No Constitutional Convention.

Connecticut--Legislature: Majority vote of one Legislature; two-thirds
vote a second Legislature (biennial). People: Majority votes of the
people on the amendment. No Constitutional Convention.

Kentucky--Legislature; three-fifths vote of one Legislature
(biennial). People: Majority of people voting on the amendment. Not
more than two amendments at once.

Massachusetts--Legislature: Majority in Senate and two-thirds House in
two Legislatures (annual). People: Majority voting on the amendment.
No Constitutional Convention.

New Jersey--Legislature: Majority of two Legislatures (annual).
People: Majority voting on amendment. Same amendment can be submitted
only once in five years. No Constitutional Convention.

Mississippi--Legislature: Two-thirds vote of one Legislature; majority
of a second, after the referendum vote (quadrennial). People: Majority
voting at the election. No Constitutional Convention.

Pennsylvania--Legislature: Majority of the two Legislatures
(biennial). People: Majority of people voting at election. Same
amendment can be submitted only once in five years. No Constitutional

Rhode Island--Legislature: Majority of two Legislatures (annual).
People: Three-fifths of all voting at election. No Constitutional

Tennessee--Legislature: Majority vote in one Legislature, and a
two-thirds vote in a second (biennial). People: Majority of all voting
for representatives. Same amendment can be submitted only once in six

G.--Most Difficult States:

Vermont--Legislature: Majority in House and two-thirds in Senate
in one Legislature; majority of both houses in a second (biennial).
People: Majority voting on the amendment. No Constitutional
Convention. Constitution can be amended only once in ten years.

New Hampshire--Constitutional Convention alone can propose amendment.
This convention is held once in seven years. People: Two-thirds
majority vote on amendment.

Illinois--Legislature: Two-thirds vote of one Legislature (biennial).
People: Majority voting at the election. Only one amendment at a time.
Same amendment only once in four years.

Indiana--Legislature: Majority vote of two Legislatures (biennial).
People: Majority of voters in state. While one amendment awaits action
no other can be proposed. No Constitutional Convention.

New Mexico--Legislature Three-fourths vote of one Legislature
(biennial). People: Three-fourths of those voting at election;
two-thirds from each county.

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