Why Women Should Vote, March 29, 1911
Page 2 of 3
Shift + drag to rotate the document.
Did the enfranchised women evoked by our imagination speak thus to the disenfranchised men, the latter would at least respect their scruples and their hesitation in regards to an extension of the obligation of citizenship, but would be temper of the masculine mind if the voting women representing the existing state would present them only with the following halfdozen objections which are unhappily so familiar to many of us; if the women should say, first, that men would find politics corrupting; second, that they would doubtless vote as their wives and mothers did; their that men's suffrage would only double the vote without changing the results; fourth, that men's sufferage would diminish the respect for men;
THE third installment of Miss Jane Addams' forceful plea for woman's sufferage is printed herewith. It is perhaps the most striking chapter of the three so far printed. Miss Addams continues, by a clever transposition of the shoe to the other foot, to indicate what would happen if women now held control and men were suppliants for the franchise. The writer turns man's arguments against votes for women into boomerangs that hurtle about the heads of her opponents in showers.
WHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE
By Jane Addams
The United States alone spends every year five hundred million dollars more on its policemen, courts and prisons than upon all the works of religion, charity and education. The price of one trial might save the state thousands of dollars and the man untold horrors. And yet with all this vast expenditure little is done to reduce crime.
Men are kept in jails and penitentiaries where there is not even the semblance of education or reformatory measures; young men are returned over and over again to the same institution, until they have grown old and gray, and in all of that time they have not once been taught a trade, nor have they been in any wise prepared to withstand the temptations of life.
A homeless young girl looking for a lodging may be arrested for soliciting on the street and sent to prison for six months, although there is no proof against her save the impression of the policeman.
May be Insulted.
A young girl under such suggestion may be obliged to answer the most harassing questions put to her by the city attorney with no woman near to protect her form assault: she may be subjected to the most trying physical examination conducted by a physician in the presence of a policeman, and no matron to whom to appeal.
These things happen consistently in the United States, in Chicago for instance, but possibly not in the Scandinavian countries, where juries of women sit upon such cases, women whose patience has been many times tested by wayward girls, and who know the untold mortal harm which may result from such a physical and psychic shock.
Then these same women would go further and because they had lived in a real-world and had administered large affairs and were therefore not prudish and affected, would say that "worse than anything which we have mentioned is the fact that ever man-ruled city, the world over, a great army of women are so set aside as outcasts that it is considered a shame to speak the mere name which designates them.
Because their very existence is illegal, they may be arrested whenever any police captain chooses; they may be brought before a magistrate, fined and imprisoned. The men whose money sustains their houses, supplies their tawdry clothing, and provides the with intoxicating drinks and drugs, are never arrested, nor indeed even considered lawbreakers.
"Lecky calls this type of woman, 'the most mournful and the most awful figure in history.' He says that 'she remains, while creeds and civilizations rise and fall, the eternal sacrifice of humanity blasted for the sins of the people.'
"Would not these fearless women whose concern for the morals of the family had always been able to express itself through state laws, have meted out equal punishment to men as well as women, when they had equally transgressed the statue law? Would they not secure publicity concerning this darkest side of city life?"
Objections are Fatuous
You don't have permission to discuss this page.