The History of Woman Suffrage Volume V Part 32
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A campaign under a salaried organizer was conducted through the resort regions of New Jersey, Long Island and Rhode Island during July, August and September; and one through New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland during July. A month's campaign was carried on in North Carolina. On September 1 permanent headquarters were opened in Wilmington in charge of a salaried organizer and since that time a vigorous campaign has been carried on in Delaware in the attempt to influence the att.i.tude of the Senators and Representatives from that State.
A salaried press chairman has been employed throughout the year, who has furnished daily press copy to the local papers, to the Was.h.i.+ngton correspondents of the various papers throughout the country and to all of the telegraphic bureaus in Was.h.i.+ngton.
Approximately 120,000 pieces of literature have been printed and distributed. A weekly paper under the editors.h.i.+p of Mrs. Rheta Childe Dorr was established on November 15. This now has a paid circulation of about 1,200 and is self-supporting from its advertis.e.m.e.nts.
A Men's League was organized, General Anson Mills, U. S. A., being the temporary and Dr. Harvey W. Wiley the permanent chairman. A large number of Congressmen are members.
Eight theater meetings, exclusive of those during this convention, have been held in Was.h.i.+ngton. Smaller meetings both indoor and out have been held almost daily and frequently as many as five or ten a day. A tableau was presented on the Treasury steps at the time of the suffrage procession of March 3 under the direction of Miss Hazel Mackaye. A suffrage play was given, also two banquets, a reception and a luncheon, and a benefit and a luncheon were given for the purpose of raising funds.
A delegation in two special cars went to New York for the procession of May 3. An even larger delegation went to Baltimore for the procession of May 31. The play given in Was.h.i.+ngton was reproduced in Baltimore for the benefit of one of the suffrage societies there. A week's campaign was conducted in the four southern counties of Maryland prior to the primary election, at the request of one of the State's societies.
The Congressional Union was formed during the latter part of April and now numbers over a thousand members.
Senate and House Joint Resolution Number One for Federal Amendment introduced in Congress April 7, 1913.
Woman Suffrage Committee of Senate voted on May 14 to report the resolution favorably and did so unanimously, one not voting. On July 31 twenty-two Senators spoke in favor of the resolution and three against it. On September 18 Senator Andrieus Jones (N. M.) spoke in favor and asked for immediate action. On the same day Senator Henry F. Ashurst (Ariz.) announced on the floor of the Senate that he would press the measure to a vote at the earliest possible moment.
Three resolutions were introduced in the House for the creation of a Woman Suffrage Committee and referred to the Rules Committee and are still before it.
The amendment resolution is awaiting third reading in the Senate and is before the Judiciary Committee of the House.
The action of the Senate was due to the fact that under the new administration a committee had been appointed which was favorable to woman suffrage instead of one opposed as heretofore, with a chairman, Senator Charles S. Thomas of Colorado, who had helped the women of his own State to secure the suffrage twenty years before. The resolutions in the Lower House were introduced by old and tried friends and the a.s.sociation's new Congressional Committee had arranged hearings, brought pressure to bear on members and not permitted them to forget or ignore the question. Miss Agnes E. Ryan, business manager of the _Woman's Journal_, said in her account: "The convention received the report with enthusiastic applause, giving three cheers and rising to its feet to show its appreciation."
This report was signed by Miss Paul as "chairman of the Congressional Committee and president of the Congressional Union" and she said at the beginning that it was impossible to separate the work of the two.
At its conclusion Mrs. Catt moved that the part of the report as from the Congressional Committee be accepted, which was done by the convention. She then asked what was the relation between the two and why, if this was a regular committee of the National American a.s.sociation, no appropriation had been made for its work during the coming year and why there was no statement in the treasurer's report of its expenditures during the past year. It developed that the committee had raised and expended its own funds, which had not pa.s.sed through the national treasury, and that the Congressional Union was a society formed the preceding April to a.s.sist the work of the committee. It was moved by Mrs. Catt and carried that the convention request the Official Board to continue the Congressional Committee and to cooperate with it in such a way as to remove further causes of embarra.s.sment to the a.s.sociation. The motion was amended that the board should appropriate what money could be spared for the work of this committee.
The movement for woman suffrage was now so plainly centering in Congress, which had been the goal for over forty years, that there was a widespread feeling that the national headquarters should be established in Was.h.i.+ngton. Mrs. Oliver H. P. Belmont, a delegate from New York, through whose generosity it had been possible to take them to that city in 1909, offered a motion that they now be removed to Was.h.i.+ngton. She had given notice of this action the preceding day and the opponents were prepared. A motion to lay it on the table was quickly made and all discussion cut off. The opposition of the national officers was so apparent that many delegates hesitated to express their convictions for the affirmative but nevertheless the vote stood 134 ayes, and 169 noes.
The National a.s.sociation had now so many auxiliaries and so much work was being done in all the States that the day sessions were largely consumed in hearing reports from them and the usual conferences and symposiums were almost crowded off the program. For the first time Hawaii took her place among the auxiliaries, a suffrage society having been formed there during the year. At one of the morning sessions U.
S. Senator Moses E. Clapp of Minnesota was presented to the convention and extended a pressing invitation to hold its next meeting in St.
Paul. Later this invitation was repeated in a cordial invitation from Governor Adolph O. Eberhard. At another morning session Representative Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee addressed the convention and invited it to meet in Chattanooga the next year. The last evening there was not standing room in the large theater. Miss Harriet May Mills, president of the New York State Suffrage a.s.sociation, took for her subject A Prophecy Fulfilled and gave convincing reasons for believing that the successful end of the long contest was near. Mrs. Katharine Houghton Hepburn made a strong arraignment of Commercialized Vice, using her own city of Hartford, Conn., for an example. Mrs. Catt gave the last address, a comprehensive review of the advanced position that had been attained by women and the great responsibilities it had brought. Dr.
Shaw, who presided, spoke the final inspiring words.
A delightful ending of the week was the reception the last afternoon in the hospitable home of Senator and Mrs. Robert M. LaFollette. Three members of the Cabinet were among the guests, Secretaries Lane, Houston and Daniels. Those in the receiving line were: Senator and Mrs. LaFollette, Dr. Shaw and Mrs. Catt; also Mrs. Franklin K. Lane, Mrs. Josephus Daniels, Mrs. Albert Sidney Burleson, Mrs. David Franklin Houston, Mrs. Miles Poindexter, Mrs. Reed Smoot, Mrs. Victor Murdock, Mrs. Wm. L. LaFollette, Mrs. J. W. Bryan, Mrs. John E. Raker, Mrs. James A. Frear, Mrs. Henry T. Rainey, Mrs. Albert B. c.u.mmins, Mrs. John D. Works and Mrs. William Kent, all members of the Cabinet and Congressional circles, and the husbands of most of them were present. To the older members of the a.s.sociation it recalled the conventions of olden times when even the wives of members of Congress, with a few rare exceptions, feared to attend the social functions lest it might injure the political status of their husbands.
The Senate committee of the Sixty-third Congress had already granted three hearings on woman suffrage during its extra session: on April 10, 1913, to representatives of the Anti-Suffrage a.s.sociation; on April 21 to those of the Federal Women's Equality a.s.sociation and on April 26 to those of the National American Suffrage a.s.sociation. This new committee, which the advocates of the Federal Suffrage Amendment will always remember with deep appreciation for its firm and favorable action, consisted of the following Senators: Charles S. Thomas (Colo.), chairman; Robert L. Owen (Okla.); Henry F. Ashurst (Ariz.); Joseph E. Ransdell (La.); Henry P. Hollis (N. H.); George Sutherland (Utah); Wesley L. Jones (Wash.); Moses E. Clapp (Minn.); Thomas B.
Catron (N. M.). The last named was an opponent of woman suffrage by any method and was the only member who did not sign the favorable report. Senator Ransdell at first said that he had an open mind but he soon placed himself on the suffrage side, signed the report and later voted several times in favor of the amendment.
The immediate object of the National American a.s.sociation at the present moment was to secure a Committee on Woman Suffrage in the Lower House such as had long existed in the Senate. A resolution to create such a committee had been introduced April 7 by Edward T.
Taylor (Colo.) and referred to the Committee on Rules. The hearing at the regular session during this convention, therefore, was before this committee, which would have to recommend the Woman Suffrage Committee to the House, and it was set for 10:30 A.M., December 3. As soon as the application was made the National Anti-Suffrage a.s.sociation also asked to be heard, and Chairman Henry, who was opposed to the proposed new committee and to woman suffrage, announced that he proposed to allow both sides all the time they wanted. The leaders of the National Suffrage a.s.sociation stated that they would ask for only the usual two hours and would not discuss the general question of woman suffrage but only the need of a special committee. Their arguments were concluded at the morning session. The "antis" began after luncheon with ma.s.sed forces and talked the entire afternoon and all of the next day and part of the third, covering the whole subject of woman suffrage, with the appointment of the committee only one feature of it. Several of their men speakers consumed nearly an hour each and were repeatedly requested by the chairman to face the committee instead of the audience, which filled the largest room in the House office building.
The first morning all of the committee were present but they gradually dwindled until during the latter part of the "antis'" arguments only two or three were in their seats, not including the chairman. Only limited extracts of the speeches are possible. Dr. Shaw presided and said:
Our purpose in coming before you this morning is not to make any attempt whatever to convert the members of the Rules Committee, if they should need converting, to the democratic principle of the right of the people to have a voice in their own government.
It is to ask you to appoint a committee in the House on woman suffrage, which corresponds with the one in the Senate, in order that we may have hearings before a committee which is not so burdened with other business as is the Committee on the Judiciary.... It seems to the women of the United States that a question of so much importance that the parliaments of Europe feel under obligations to discuss and act upon it, is at least of sufficient importance in this great republic of ours for the committee which has it under consideration to take time for a report. Year after year we have asked the Judiciary Committee not that they should believe in woman suffrage or express any opinion on it but only to report the measure either favorably or unfavorably so as to bring it before the House, in order that the representatives of the men of this country might be able to consider it, but thus far it has been impossible to secure any sort of a report....
Mrs. Helen H. Gardener (D. C.), after showing that woman suffrage was a mere side issue with the Judiciary Committee and that it would be busier than ever the coming session, said: "Those of us who live here and have known Congress from our childhood know that an outside matter has less chance to get any real consideration by such a committee under such conditions than the proverbial rich man has of entering the kingdom of heaven." She pointed out that over one-fifth of the Senate and one-seventh of the House were elected by the votes of women and continued:
You will remember that there is a committee on Indian Affairs.
Are the Indians more important than the women of America? They did not always have a special committee, they used to be a mere incident, as we now are. They used to be under the War Department and so long as this was the case n.o.body ever doubted for an instant that the "only good Indian was a dead Indian"--just as under the incidental administration of the Judiciary Committee it is not doubted by some that the only good woman is a voteless woman. When the Indians secured a committee of their own they began to get schools, lands in severalty and the general status of human beings.... It became the duty of that committee to investigate the real conditions, the needs, the grievances and the best methods of promoting the interests of the Indians. That was the beginning of the end of Indian wars; the first hope of a possibility--previously sneered at--of making real and useful citizens of this race of men who now have Representatives in Congress. It was precisely the same with our island possessions, only in this case we had profited by our experience with Indian and labor problems, and it did not take so long to realize that a committee whose duty it should be to utilize, develop and conserve the best interests of these new charges of our Government and to develop them toward citizens.h.i.+p as rapidly as possible was the safe and sane method of procedure....
We want such a committee on woman suffrage in the House. We do not ask you to appoint a partisan committee but only one open-minded and honest, which will really investigate and understand the question, its workings where it is in effect--a committee which will not accept wild statements as facts, which will hear and weigh that which comes from the side of progress and change as well as that which is static or reactionary.... The recommendation that we have such a committee does not in any way commit you to the adoption of a belief in the principle of self-government for women. This is not much to ask and it is not much to give, nor will it be needed for very many more years.
Mrs. Ida Husted Harper was introduced as one of the authors of the four-volume History of Woman Suffrage and the biographer of Susan B.
Anthony and began: "This is not the time or place to enter into an argument on the merits or demerits of woman suffrage and we shall use the valuable hours you have so graciously accorded us simply to ask that you will give us a committee of our very own, before which we may feel that we have a right to discuss this question. In making this request we ask you to decide, first, whether the issue of woman suffrage is sufficiently national in its character to justify a special committee for its consideration; second, whether it has been so fairly treated by the committee which has had it in charge for forty-four years that another is not necessary; and, third, whether justice requires that it should come under the jurisdiction of Congress."
The national status of the woman suffrage movement was sketched and then the question asked: "Has the treatment of this subject by the committee to which it has always been referred been such as to warrant a continuance of this custom?" which she answered by saying:
The National Woman Suffrage a.s.sociation was formed in 1869 for the express purpose of obtaining an amendment to the Federal Const.i.tution. Its representatives went before the congressional committees that year and have continued to do so at each new Congress since that time, never having been refused a hearing. At the beginning of 1882 both Senate and House created special Woman Suffrage Committees. The Senate has continuously maintained this committee, but in 1884 the House declined to renew it by a vote of 124 nays, 85 yeas; 112 not voting. The debate was long and heated and almost wholly on the question of woman suffrage itself. Thenceforth the women appeared before the House Judiciary Committee, which, although busy and overworked, had always a good representation present and was respectful and often cordial.
The ablest women this country has produced have appeared before this committee.... Repeatedly the eminent members of this Judiciary Committee have said that no hearings before them were conducted with such dignity and ability as those of the advocates of woman suffrage. And what is the result? Six reports in forty-four years and five of these unfavorable! Does the record end here? No; for there has been no report of any kind since 1894. For the last twenty years the women of this nation have made an annual pilgrimage to Was.h.i.+ngton to plead their cause before a committee which has forgotten their existence as soon as they were out of sight.... Gentlemen of the Committee on Rules, will you not give to women a committee of their own that will not ignore them for half a century?...
The entire status of woman has changed since the Federal Const.i.tution was framed, and ethical and social questions have entered into politics which could not have been foreseen. It is inevitable that this Const.i.tution must occasionally be amended to meet new conditions, while leaving its fundamental and vital provisions undisturbed. The advocates of woman suffrage believe that it should now be changed so as to give a voice in governmental affairs to a half of the people which has become an important factor in the public life of the nation. By the only means now available the half which possesses the ballot has the absolute authority over its further extension and no ruling cla.s.s likes to divide its power. State rights are desirable to a very large extent when all the people of the State have a voice, but it is not in harmony with the spirit of our republic that one half of the citizens of a State should have complete power over the political liberty of the other half.
Instance after instance was given from different States showing how this power had been abused after the women had struggled long and heroically for even a partial franchise and the speaker concluded: "Women have been defeated over twenty times in the strongest campaigns they were able to make for full-suffrage amendments to State const.i.tutions. From 1896 to 1910 they were not once successful.
Sometimes they were sold out by the party 'machines' at the last moment; sometimes they were counted out after they had really secured a majority; but, whatever the reason, they lost. The victories of the last three years may be cited as evidence that henceforth they will succeed. Those victories were largely due to political conditions which do not exist in many other States and against them must be set the crus.h.i.+ng defeats these same years in Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan, where the woman suffrage amendment was fought by every vicious interest which menaces the body politic...."
Miss Jane Addams was presented by Dr. Shaw as one who did not need to be introduced to any civilized being, "not because of any political agitation by her but for the service she has rendered humanity, one which is distinctly woman's service, and she long ago came to realize that it was impossible to do this work as it should be done unless she and the women a.s.sociated with her had the ballot." Miss Addams referred to a committee hearing once before when she was able to give but one precedent for the jurisdiction of Congress over the franchise--the 15th Amendment--but now, she said, she could give nine more. She cited the case of the Indians, the Confederate soldiers, foreigners who fought in the Civil War, naturalized foreigners, Federal prisoners, American women marrying aliens, election of U. S.
Senators, etc. Each point brought questions or objections from the committee and the discussion was very interesting.
Members of the committee asked Dr. Shaw if the a.s.sociation would be willing to have the matter of a Federal Suffrage Amendment referred to the Committee on Election of President, Vice-President and Representatives in Congress but after consultation with members of her board it was decided to stand for a special committee. Mrs. Desha Breckinridge was introduced as the great granddaughter of Henry Clay and in the course of a speech worthy of her ancestry she recalled the early history of Kentucky, the part of her grandfather in preserving the Union, the fact that the State had not maintained its prestige and that if this was to be regained the women must be permitted to help and said:
I do not feel that I am doing any injustice to the men of my State in asking this Federal Amendment, in asking the help of the Congress of the United States. Some years ago, after we had worked for our School-suffrage law at three sessions of the Legislature and had at last gotten it past the House and up to the Senate, only three days before adjournment a letter was sent to the members by the German-American Alliance, calling upon the men of Kentucky to protect the homes and womanhood of the State by defeating it and saying that the Alliance believed the home was the sphere for women. When we investigated we found that the German-American Alliance was the brewers' alliance, with headquarters at Louisville.... I would suggest to the men of this committee, who I understand are mostly southern, that if they object to having the suffrage for women forced upon them by the U. S. Government, there is still time in which they may go home and get it for their women in the States.
Representative John E. Raker (Calif.), speaking with a full knowledge of the inner machinery of Congress, brushed aside all objections, showed that it was the custom to appoint special committees for special subjects, stood up against the heckling of the Rules Committee and put the necessity for this desired committee beyond argument. Dr.
Shaw joined him in refuting the reiterated charge that the suffragists would insist on having it composed entirely of their supporters. Mrs.
Mary Beard (N. Y.) addressed the committee as Democrats and from the standpoint of party expediency with such a knowledge of politics as they never had met in a woman. She said in a scathing arraignment:
This committee is composed of thirteen men and seven const.i.tute the deciding vote on our appeal for the Woman Suffrage Committee.
These seven belong to the majority, the Democratic party. One of them comes from a partial suffrage State, Illinois, and another from a campaign State, New York, where the Legislature has declared in favor of submitting this question to the voters. I shall, therefore, limit my examination to the remaining five gentlemen whose point of view will in all probability decide the women's destiny in the House of Representatives at least for the moment. These five all represent one section of the country and my a.n.a.lysis of them is made in the hope that they will take a national point of view and help us obliterate sectional feeling.
Who are you that hesitate to promote, if you do not actually obstruct this Federal Amendment? In looking over various public records I find that the honored chairman of this committee holds his strategic position as a result of the will expressed at the polls of 7,623 men. Opposite his name should be written: "No opposition." Another of the five comes here through the vote of 13,906 men. Another is sent by the very small group of 6,474 men, and the remaining two represent respectively 18,000 and 16,000 men. The total vote behind all five of these gentlemen is 63,570.
These 63,570 voters, therefore, have the decision of this momentous question....
You know the fight that you Democratic men put up against the combination by the Committee on Rules under the leaders.h.i.+p of Speaker Cannon and you led that fight against the domination of the committee over the House. You are today in this same position of political power. Can you consistently oppose now the things for which you fought so bitterly a short time ago? We know how rapidly you have appointed committees when changed economic conditions demanded it. I have here the report of the Committee on the Judiciary for the special session, showing what work it did, how many sittings it held, which proves conclusively that it has not time for the consideration of our question....
This part of the hearing closed with the address of Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, who was introduced as president of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, representing the organized womanhood of twenty-six nations. She said in the course of her address:
A few weeks ago a dispatch was sent out from Was.h.i.+ngton, saying that the Judiciary Committee for the next year was going to be more overworked than ever before. It was accompanied by a letter from the President to Mr. Clayton, begging him to continue as chairman of that committee and to withdraw from his candidacy for the Senate from Alabama because this committee was going to do more work than it had ever been required to do before. He called attention to the fact that the Ways and Means Committee had been obliged to work day and night, sometimes spending the whole night on their particular business, and he warned Mr. Clayton that this might be the expectation of the Judiciary Committee in this coming Congress. When this committee has only worked during the day, we suffragists have not been able to get the attention which we think our cause demands and with this additional work it is quite impossible to expect more attention than we have had in the past. Since the suggestion was offered that possibly our business might go before the Elections Committee, the information has come that the President's plan for presidential primary legislation will make this committee also a very busy one this coming session.... We pride ourselves on our democracy, but while the Judiciary Committee has been refusing to report our measure and bring it before the House for discussion the question of woman suffrage has been considered by the Imperial Parliaments of twelve European countries. This has been done in fact within the past two years.
Mrs. Catt gave particulars from each and said the only ones where it had not been discussed were those of Germany, Austria, Turkey and the United States. This a.s.sertion stung the committee and Representative Hardwick (Ga.) asked if there was not the wide difference that in this country State laws reached the suffrage while in others the Parliament regulated the vote, and she answered: "Of course there is that difference but I wish to add my opinion to that of Miss Addams, that while the States have the right to extend the vote it is the most outrageously unfair process through which any cla.s.s of unenfranchised citizens of any land have ever been called upon to obtain their enfranchis.e.m.e.nt and that is the reason why we come to Congress. The overwhelming majority of the men of this country have not secured their suffrage by any vote at the polls in the States. The only cla.s.s that I have ever been able to find in our history so enfranchised are the working men in the original thirteen colonies, and they got the vote by the process long ago when the population was exceedingly small. There are more men today voting on the basis of their citizens.h.i.+p under naturalization than for any other reason and yet our State const.i.tutions compel us to go to these men and ask our vote at their hands. They say whether the women who have been born and bred here and educated in our schools shall have the vote. We believe we have the right to have our question considered by Congress and that is why we ask for a special committee."
A spirited discussion followed in which the 15th Amendment played a part and Mr. Hardwick said all the women had to do in order to vote was to add the word "s.e.x" to it and Dr. Shaw answered: "This would require a const.i.tutional amendment and what we are asking is such an amendment to our National Const.i.tution, which shall forbid the States to deprive women citizens of the right which it grants to every man born in the United States and to every man imported from any country under the light of the sun. No nation has subjected its women to the humiliating position occupied by those of this nation today. There is no race which is not represented in the citizens.h.i.+p of this country and these citizens are made the governing power which determines the destinies of our women. While women are disfranchised in Germany, yet German women are governed by German men; French women are governed by Frenchmen; in all the nations of Europe where women are disfranchised it is by the men of their own nation but in the United States men of every race may go to the polls and vote that American-born women may not have a voice in their own government. Therefore we claim that it is the business of the Government to protect women citizens in this right of suffrage as it protects men citizens, and we ask for this committee because we believe that if our question can be brought before Congress and discussed freely, it will be submitted to the Legislatures and decided favorably."
Two anti-suffrage a.s.sociations were represented, the National, headed by its president, Mrs. Arthur M. Dodge of New York, and the Guidon Club, headed by its president, Mrs. William Force Scott of New York.
Mrs. Dodge presented as speakers Miss Alice Hill Chittenden and Miss Minnie Bronson (N. Y.), Mrs. Robert Garrett (Md.), Miss Emily P.
Bissell (Del.), Mrs. A. J. George (Ma.s.s.), Miss Annie Bock (Calif.), Mrs. O. D. Oliphant (N. J.), Miss Ella Dorsey (D. C.), Mrs. R. C.
The History of Woman Suffrage Volume V Part 32
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