Should We Ask for the Suffrage?, by Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensse

Re: Should We Ask for the Suffrage?, by Mrs. Schuyler Van Re

Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:25 am

X.

If it is indeed true that the work of the world must be divided, and that nature, experience, and a sane philosophy unite in showing that the labor of government is part of man's proper share, it is hardly needful to consider any such minor arguments as that if women could vote " there would be no more wars." But I may say that most of them are on a par with this one as regards any basis of demonstrated or probable truth.

Does the history of the female sovereigns of Europe, or of India, show that women hate war more than men, or does it show that when their emotions are excited they are apt to be more recklessly bellicose than men? How was it with the women of France in the days of the great Revolution? And do recent Instances differ from those of earlier date? Was not the terrible Franco-German war of 1870 called by the French empress "my war"? Was it not recognized as such by the French people? Do not the investigations of historians and memoir- writers show it to have been such? And which were recognized as the most bitter opponents of the Union in our Southern States during the War of the Rebellion and long after its close — the women or the men?

But the worst of all the fallacies now being used as persuasive arguments is the declaration that if American working-women could vote their wages would be equalized with men's. Those who promise this do not give their reasons, and they could not base them upon past facts with regard to rises in the value of men's labor. Even to-day women are paid much more nearly the same as men for really equal work than the makers of this promise would have us believe. But often what is called equal work shows some inequality, if not in the perfection of its performance then in the probability that the worker will continue permanently at her task. Although certain agitators have declared that the "law of supply and demand" is a foolish fetish, it nevertheless affects the pay of every laboring individual in the world. Amid social and commercial conditions like ours, the slightest inequality in working power, the slightest difference in the relations of a supply to a demand, tell in financial results; and no laws can possibly obviate this fact. Not legislation but organization has raised the wages of men during the past two generations. And the most successful result of labor-organization — the famous strike of the dock-laborers in London a few years ago — was accomplished by men a very small proportion of whom had votes.
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Re: Should We Ask for the Suffrage?, by Mrs. Schuyler Van Re

Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:25 am

XI.

Thus there are many things to think about, many serious questions to decide, before we can conscientiously say that we believe woman suffrage should be established. And, be it noted, the burden of proof lies with those who advocate the innovation. We are not obliged to prove that woman suffrage is undesirable; they are obliged to prove that it is so clearly desirable that, for its sake, the country should run the enormous risk involved in a political and social revolution of the most radical and far-reaching sort. This is law and justice all the world over: The status quo, like the human individual, must be considered in the right until we have good evidence that it is in the wrong. Otherwise there would never be any security for individuals, never any peace or safety for the State.

Therefore all I desire to do is to bid you pause — pause, and think, and consider the arguments of the advocates of the "movement," without passion, without prepossession, and especially without that foolish vanity of would-be imitation of men which means a great lack of true feminine pride. But above all do not be tempted to say, "We women must look out for ourselves and our own interests." It is a slander upon the men of America to say this — upon those men who have so cordially helped us to become the freest and most highly considered women in the world. And it is a defiance of the laws of nature and of common sense to declare that the best interests of the sexes are separable. To declare this is to give men an excuse, a temptation — nay, a veritable right — to say: " Then we also must look out for ourselves and our own special interests." Do you think that the country would fare better if our men said this, or that its women would fare better? Do you not think, rather, that the best way to serve our country and to serve ourselves is to do our own work as well as we can — which means a great deal better than in the past? And do you really believe that part of this work should consist in a half-share in the actual immediate power to make those laws which deal chiefly with matters that men's daily occupations fit them to understand better than we do, and in the execution of which, strive as we might, we could take but a very small share?

J.J. O'Brien & Son, Printers and Stationers, 122 East 23D St., New York

Copies of this pamphlet may be obtained from the American News Company. Price, ten cents.
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