THE REASON WHY
By Mary .Johnston,
I am a woman working for my living.
I own property, I pay taxes; I am assessed for this and that. I have a stake
city, in my state, in the United
in the communal life of our race.
I am a member, for better or for worse
of the human society. I cannot escape,
if I would. I am a part of the pattern,
as integral as any other. I receive from
this society and I Contribute to it. 1
have at heart the improvement of my
own milieu, and I have the altruist's
desire for the improvement of that of
my fellow beings.
I have never seen the reason why I,
as well as my neighbors, the butcher.
the baker, the candlestick maker, the
chief cook and bottle washer, and my
neighbors of tomorrow, the male Sicilian
and the Slav, should not have a voice in
my community and state as to taxation,
as to what ideals of government can be
made real and what not, as to the welfare in general of that society of which
I am, indubitably, a member. I see no
reason, indeed, why I should not have
it as well as my neighbor, the lawyer,
the editor, the physician and the divine.
It is my conviction that, in the long
evolution of the race and of political societies, the time has arrived when there
is little sense in any longer bracketing
the two words, sex ad suffrage. I believe in restricted suffrage, but restriction should be on other grounds than on
that of having been born a woman. In-
telligence directed toward the general
good, an honestly won and held foothold in life, character dedicated to the
uplift of all conditions for us all—these
are the desiderata. Intelligence, conscience, character, power to assume responsibility and to work the problem are
not confined to the male organism.
Physiologically differentiated as they
are, man and woman are yet essentially
the same. They are interdependent
branches of one substance, and they begin life with an equal mental inheritance. The man has his mother in him,
the woman has her father. Nothing after birth occurs to justify the supposition
that woman does not know right from
wrong, clean politics from self-seeking
or indifference, altruism from egotism.
large thought for the future from a
supine resting on the past or a ruinous
dalliance with the present. Even the
stock argument—woman cannot fight—-
seems to me a little shop-worn, a trifle
over-worked. Perhaps, like other war-
riors, she may find a substitute
Perhaps, if she still attends to things at
home while the men go fight, it will
come to be considered only a fair division
of labor. It may, perhaps be re-
membered for her that, when al is said,
she bore the soldier. Assuredly the
south will not be the land to say that
woman cannot take her share of war.
The government of the United States
is founded upon two statements:--
Taxation without representation is
^ Governments derive their just powers
front the consent of the governed.
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