In this commencement address, Addams discusses the changes in perception of women's intelligence and argues that the time is ripe for women's intelligence to hold sway. The speech was later published in the Bryn Mawr Alumnae Quarterly.
Opdyke asks Addams to find someone in the psychology department at the University of Chicago to counter an article written by Professor Hugo Münsterberg that claimed women were not fit for jury duty because they are stubborn and will not listen to arguments.
Roosevelt compliments Addams' article in McClure's, which argues that woman's suffrage will lift up women from vice. But he also offers a caution that women's suffrage could fail to impart real change as suffrage failed to impart real change for African Americans in the South.
Addams argues for women to have the vote in order that they may continue to perform their duties to family and to home in the modern world, where responsibilities, like feeding their children and keeping them safe, are no long directly within their control.
Addams gave this lecture at least two times; once at the February 2 meeting of the New York City Women's Political Union, and again on February 14 at the Boston School Voters' League. In the lecture, she discusses the philosophical relationship between women and the State and argues for the value of women in government, leading to the importance of woman suffrage. She may have also delivered a version of this lecture in Chicago on Dec. 8, 1910, to the Fortnightly Club.