EQUAL SUFFRAGE DEPARTMENT
Mrs. Julia Lucky, President of Equal Suffrage League, and
Mrs. Sara H. Hood, Secretary.
AN APOSTLE OP PROGRESS.
It requires the prophet's vision, and also
also. Jane Addams calls the "social conscience," to be able to see beyond the
narrow confines of present conditions
and personal interest, and to grasp the
ultimate welfare of the race at large,
what Jane Addams calls the "social conscience, become the pioneers of progress,
the leaders of humanity in the upward
march of civilization. Every age and
nation has had such leaders, who, lured
by the "Divine Discount," left beloved
associations and familiar traditions to
open up the toilsome way to new continents, new fields of endeavor, near
realm of thought, new social orders. To
no class of reformers is more honor due,
than to those courageous souls, men and
women, who in the early years of the
nineteenth century set in motion the
"ungodly agitation" derisisely called
"The Woman's Rights Movement." They
went as into battle those brave pioneers
and fought a good fight, the results of
which, in the form of larger religious,
social, educational, industrial and politi-
cal liberty, are felt by women today
throughout the world.
It is gratifying to know that Knox-
ville can boast of at least of one far-
sighted, broad-minded statesman who as
long as thirty years ago, perceived the
justice of this then
and stirred the still waters of southern-
conservatism with his able defense of
it, published while editor of the Knox-
ville. Daily Chronicle—the predecessor of
The Journal, which, in its turn, was
the predecessor of The Journal and
Tribune. Through the courtesy of Judge
Henry R. Gibson, the author of these
editorials, they are again submitted to
the public through the columns of this
"The Equal Suffrage Department" of
The Journal and Tribune.
Though written while the movement
was still in its infancy and practically
untried save as the radical venture of
a new crude state of the far away west,
no stronger, sound or more logical statement of the woman's cause has been
made today than is contained in these
old editorials, which, so far as known,
were the first to appear in a Knoxviile
Moreover, the prophecy that "women's
political sphere would in the main be her
own horizon"—has been literally fulfilled in every state and country in which
Equal Suffrage has been granted.
RESULTS OF WOMAN-SUFFRAGE:
THE IMPROVEMENT OE HOME
(Daily Chronicle, April 8, 1883.)
Our editorial on woman suffrage, inst
Sunday, having attracted such extraordinary attention, and we having been
repeatedly requested to give our views
of the results of woman suffrage, do not
feel entirely at liberty to discontinue the
The opponents of woman suffrage are
fond of drawing two pictures: one representing women lowering themselves by
engaging in all sorts of political immoralities; the other representing base men
as staining women's garments and character in the whirls of political corrup-
These two pictures are painted, ordinarily, either by men who are a very
low order of demagogues, or by men
who so despise demagogy as practically
to confound it with true politics.
Both pictures are wholly imaginary,
and will never have any reality. We
have passed through several eras of this
sort already. When negroes were al-
lowed to be witnesses, it was charged
that they would swear multitudes of in-
nocent white men into the penitentiary
or onto the gallows. When women were
allowed to be witnesses in cases where-
in their husbands were interested, it
was charged that she would swear any
lie her husband would invent. When
poor people were allowed to vote, it was
charged that corruption and ignorance
would soon bury free institutions in the
tomb of infamy.
But all these charges have proved to
be powder too feeble to flash, much less
project the solid shot of truth.
Women are allowed to vote on all
questions in Wyoming territory, and yet,
strange to say, the territory prospers'
and is more free from lynching, robberies,
murders, and other felonies than
any western state or territory.
Women are allowed to vote in Eng-
land and several northern slates for
school directors, and strange to say, the
schools are found to prosper like flowers
Under Elizabeth, England prospered
and spread to a degree thitherto un-
known; and under Victoria her empire
has fortified itself in every climate on every continent and in every ocean of the whole earth.
These facts should, at least, make us
ponder. And are our mothers, our wives,
our sisters and our daughters so
intellectually low in our estimation
as to make a discussion of their rights a thing for jest and ridicule?
We do not believe that woman would,
scourged out of existence, the weak upheld in their rights, the strong prevented
from getting more than their share, virtue revered, education fostered, industry
honored, and religion worshiped.
Has woman NO PLACE in this sort
The truth is: a large part of the opposition to woman suffrage grows, 1st,
out of a fear on the part of the worst
men that woman's vote will interfere
with their sinful practices; and 2nd, out
of a disposition on the part of women to
say "ditto" to whatever men may favor.
The farther the man or the nation
from intelligence and morality the farther woman is from equal rights. The
higher the man or the nation in intelligence and morality the more nearly his
social and political equal do his mother,
wife and sister become.
2nd. The second argument against
woman suffrage is that she is unfit to
bear arms in time of war.
This argumet't would disfranchise a
majority of the males in every nation.
Arms-bearing is no qualification for suf-
frage. Our boys over 18 years are required to bear arms, but not allowed
to vote. A foreigner just landed can
bear arms, but is not allowed to vote. If
arms-bearing is a test of suffrage rights,
the one armed, the lame, the blind, the
deaf, the dumb, the feeble, and the cowardly, would all be disfranchised.
But are murder, robbery, arson, and
wholesale devastation such sacred pursuits of a noble manhood that women
are too ignoble to have any say in them?
Instead of woman's inability to engage
in murder, robbery, arson, and miscellaneous atrocities being an argument
against woman suffrage it is an argument in favor of it.
All wars are crimes, the most mountainous of crimes. Nations have no more
more right io settle their differences with
cannon than individuals to settle theirs
with pistols. Wars convert men into
devils, wives into widows, children into
orphans, homes into ashes, love into
hatreds, earth into hell.
And forsooth! woman is to be disfranchised because she is NOT FIT
to engage in this most diabolical of all
diabolisms of the devil!
Woman's vote will be for peace, for
arbitration of national difficulties, for
keeping the sword sheathed and the
black flag of death forever furled.
The arms-bearing argument means
that if women will become amazons get
hearts of fiends and like
"The Spanish maid aroused,
Hang on the willow her unstrung guitar.
Sing the loud song, aud dare the deed
then she will approximate near enough
to the greatness of man to be allowed
If war is man's mission and destiny
NO ONE would have the right to vote.
Every question would be decided by
Voting implies that peace is man's mission and destiny, aud that intelligence,
morality, justice and right are his weapons. Can't woman use these weapons.
3rd. The crowning argument with
many against woman-suffrage is the
third: that it would not purify politics,
but would debase her.
This grows out of a misconception of
politics and is answered under the first
head. We deny both branches of this
third argument. We believe that woman
suffrage would, purify politics, and would
not contaminate woman. Is the Sister
of Charity contaminated by becoming
a ministering angel in the hospitals of
war? Are the noble ladies of Knoxviile
contaminated by their efforts to save
our vagrant girls from lives of shame
If polities convert our voting places into sinks too foul for woman's angel
tread, that is no argument against woman-suffrage; but is an argument against
free government itself.
We, however, denounce this charge
as a lible on our men. Our voting
places are not dens of infamy. It is
true crowds gather there; but this is
the fault of the law, and one of the
first things our women would do, if
given a vote, would be to prohibit all
manner of crowding, or soliciting votes,
or other electioneering at or near our voting places.
To say that men would so conduct
themselves at the ballot box as to make
a lady blush is an argument against
these men having the right to vote, but,
no argument against woman-suffrage.
This argument would also disfranchise
refined Christian gentlemen!
The truth is every shackle now on woman is a vestige of man's brutality;
and the day is near when woman will
be man's legal and political equal. And
then she will purify the political atmosphere as she now purifies the social atmosphere.
When she becomes entitled to a vote,
vice will sink to its deepest dens, political defamation will be stricken with an
everlasting dumbness, the seducer will
have a brand blacker than Cain's burned
into his cheek, the temperance cause will
triumph gloriously, Avars will soon become the pastime of pagans only, edit
cation will shine with a new and grander brilliancy, and religion will crown
our race with a tiara such as an(missing)
as a rule, take an especially active part
in national politics. If entrusted with
the ballot. Her political sphere, we,
think, would, in the main be her own horizon. Her aspirations would be to
protect and purify her home and her
neighborhood. She would insist on such
legislation as would protect her husband
and her son from the temptations of the
Demon of Drink, from the fascinations
of the Goddess of Gambling and the se-
ductions of the Siren's song.
And herself and her daughter she would protect from the air-defiling profanity of the blasphemer, from the soul-
destroying contamination of the seducer, and from all things that offend the eye
of propriety or the ear of delicacy. She would see to it that the young
vagrant was trained into good citizenship instead of being graduated on the
gallows. The charity of the law she
would make as broad, and as benignant
as that of religion. Churches would no
longer be defiled by the scoffs, of the infidel scorner. Schools would be made as
Sacred as the temples of wisdom should
be. And all manner of works that are
good, true and beautiful would be fostered with kind voices, gentle hands
and loving smiles.
And in our towns, how soon the
streets would be worthy of woman's
tread, how soon disorder, unseemly
crowds, profanity and indecency would
disappear, and how thoroughly sanitary
regulations would be enforced!
In brief, the politics of the woman
would be to promote the welfare of herself, her husband and her children as
human beings rather than as citizens of
And when men become perfect as human beings we will risk them as citizens. And when women make their
homes and neighborhoods worthy of the
abode of Christian ladies and gentle-
men we will go the nation's security
that it will be worthy to float the flag
of peace and sing the song of a new
JUDGE HENRY R. GIBSON.
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