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A Short History of Women's Rights by Eugene A. Hecker

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AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16.

POPULATION: Male 1,248,905; female 1,172,077.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Husband controls wife's earnings. Dower prevails, but
not curtesy. When the wife has separate real estate, she controls it as
if single. The husband cannot give full title to his real estate unless
the wife joins so as to cut off her dower. Father is guardian of the
children. Husband must support.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, impotence, imprisonment for three years,
desertion for two years, habitual drunkenness, if husband or wife has
obtained a divorce in another State.

Limited or absolute divorce at the discretion of the court for extreme
cruelty, desertion for two years, neglect to provide.

LABOUR LAWS: No female may be employed in any place where liquor is
sold. Seats must be provided for female employees. Ten hours a legal
day's work. No Sunday labour. No child under 16 may take part in any
acrobatic or mendicant or dangerous or immoral occupation, nor shall any
minor be given obscene literature to sell. No female under 21 may be
employed in any occupation endangering life, health, or morals. At least
forty-five minutes must be allowed for lunch.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: All
women who pay taxes may vote upon questions of local taxation and the
granting of franchises. Parents and guardians have also school suffrage.
Women serve as notaries public. 105 women in ministry, 17 dentists, 81
journalists, 27 lawyers, 270 doctors, 26 professors, 23 saloon keepers,
13 bankers, 53 commercial travellers, 32 carpenters, etc.

_Minnesota_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16.

POPULATION: Male 932,490; female 818,904.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings, but cannot convey or
encumber her separate real estate without husband's consent. No dower or
curtesy. If either husband or wife die intestate, the survivor, if there
is issue living, is entitled to the homestead for life and one third of
the rest of the estate in fee simple. If there are no descendants, the
entire estate goes absolutely to the survivor. Husband is guardian of
children and must support family.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, impotency, cruel and inhuman treatment,
sentence to imprisonment after marriage, wilful desertion for one year,
habitual drunkenness for one year.

Limited divorce--to wife only--for cruel and inhuman treatment, on part
of husband, or such conduct as may make it unsafe and improper for her
to cohabit with him, desertion and neglect to provide.

LABOUR LAWS: Children between 8 and 18 must be sent to school during
whole period schools are in session, except in cases of unusual poverty.
Ten hours a legal day's work. Seats must be provided for female
employees. No Sunday labour. No child under 18 may engage in any
occupation between 6 P.M. and 7 A.M.; nor in any mendicant, acrobatic,
immoral, or dangerous business. No child under 14 may work in factory or
mine. A _female_ factory inspector must be appointed.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: Women
have school suffrage and may vote for library trustees. 80 women in
ministry, 18 dentists, 75 journalists, 21 lawyers, 199 doctors, 16
professors, 17 saloon keepers, 10 bankers, 46 commercial travellers, 8
carpenters, etc.

_Mississippi_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 10.

POPULATION: Male 781,451; female 769,819.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Husband controls wife's earnings. He manages her
separate property, but must give an account of it annually. No dower or
curtesy. If husband or wife dies intestate, the entire estate goes to
the survivor; if there is issue, surviving husband or wife has a child's
share of the estate. Each has equal rights in making a will. Father is
legal guardian of children, but cannot deprive mother of custody of
their persons. Husband must support.

DIVORCE: Absolute for marriage within prohibited degrees, natural
impotence, adultery, sentence to the penitentiary, wilful desertion for
two years, habitual drunkenness or excessive use of drugs, habitually
cruel treatment, pregnancy of wife at time of marriage unknown to
husband, bigamy, insanity, or idiocy when party applying did not know of
it.

No limited divorce. The court may decree that the guilty party must not
marry again.

LABOUR LAWS: No Sunday labour. There are no other laws.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: A
woman as a free-holder or lease-holder may vote at a county election to
decide as to the adoption or non-adoption of a law permitting stock to
run at large. If a widow and the head of a family, she may vote on
leasing certain portions of land in the township which are set apart for
school purposes. Widows in country districts may also vote for school
trustees. Women cannot be notaries public. 13 women in ministry, 2
dentists, 19 journalists, 4 lawyers, 16 doctors, 3 professors, 1 saloon
keeper, 3 bankers, 9 commercial travellers, 13 carpenters, etc.

_Missouri_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 18.

POPULATION: Male 1,595,710; female 1,510,955.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Her separate property is
liable for debts contracted by the husband for necessaries for the
family. Wife can sue and be sued, make contracts, etc., in her own name.
She may hold real property under three different tenures: an equitable
separate estate created by certain technical words in the conveyance,
and this she can dispose of without husband's consent; a legal separate
estate, which she cannot convey without his joinder; and a common law
estate in fee, of which the husband is entitled to the rents and
profits. Dower and curtesy prevail. Husband is guardian of children and
must support.

DIVORCE: Absolute for impotence, bigamy, adultery, desertion for one
year, conviction for felony or infamous crime, habitual drunkenness for
one year, cruel treatment endangering life or intolerable indignities,
vagrancy of husband, pregnancy of wife at time of marriage unknown to
husband.

No limited divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: Seats must be provided for female employees. No woman may
be employed in any place where liquor is served except wife, daughter,
mother, or sister of owner. No child under 14 to engage in any
acrobatic, mendicant, dangerous, or immoral occupation. No Sunday
labour. No female may work underground in a mine. Children between 8 and
14 must go to school. No child under 14 may work in any theatre, concert
hall, factory; but this applies only to cities with 10,000 or more
inhabitants, No female may labour more than 54 hours a week.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: No
suffrage. Women may be notaries public. 138 women in ministry, 32
dentists, 87 journalists, 61 lawyers, 303 doctors, 17 professors, 44
saloon keepers, 30 bankers, 37 commercial travellers, 15 carpenters,
etc.

_Montana_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16.

POPULATION: Male 149,842; female 93,487.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. There is dower, but not
curtesy. Wife controls separate property. Husband is guardian of
children and must furnish support; but wife must help, if necessary. Her
personal property is subject to debts incurred for family expenses.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, extreme cruelty, wilful desertion,
wilful neglect, habitual intemperance, conviction of felony.

No limited divorce; but wife may have an action for permanent
maintenance, at discretion of court, even though absolute divorce is
denied.

LABOUR LAWS: Children under 16 may not be employed in mines. Children
between 8 and 14 must go to school. No child under 16 may take part in
any acrobatic, mendicant, or wandering occupation. No Sunday labour. No
child under 16 may work in mill, factory, railroad, in any place where
machinery is operated, or in any messenger company.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: Women
may vote for school trustees. Those owning property may vote on all
questions submitted to tax-payers. They cannot be notaries public. 22
women in ministry, 3 dentists, 6 journalists, 3 lawyers, 16 doctors, 7
saloon keepers, 2 commercial travellers, 2 carpenters, etc.

_Nebraska_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 18.

POPULATION: Male 564,592; female 501,708.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and separate property. Both
dower and curtesy prevail; but wife can mortgage or sell her real estate
without husband's consent and without regard for his right of curtesy.
He can do the same with his separate property, but subject to her dower.
Husband and wife are equal guardians of the children. Husband must
provide; but wife's separate property can be levied on for necessaries
furnished the family, if husband has no property. Wife is not "next of
kin" and cannot sue, for example, for damages to a minor child, even
though she is divorced and has custody of children.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, impotence, imprisonment for three
years, desertion for two years, habitual drunkenness, imprisonment for
life, extreme cruelty, neglect to provide.

Limited divorce also for last three causes. Annulment for bigamy, when
one party is white and other has one fourth or more negro blood,
insanity or idiocy at time of marriage, consanguinity, obtaining
marriage by fraud or force, when there has been no subsequent
cohabitation.

LABOUR LAWS: Children must go to school between 7 and 15. Ten hours a
legal day's labour. Sunday labour forbidden. Females to be employed
between 6 A.M. and 10 P.M. Seats must be provided. No child under 14 may
be employed in any place where liquor is sold, factory, hotel, laundry,
messenger work. No child under 14 may be employed at all during school
term.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: Women
who are mothers of children of school age or who are assessed on real or
personal property have school suffrage; but they cannot vote for State
or county superintendents or county supervisors. Women act as notaries
public. 95 women in ministry, 16 dentists, 35 journalists, 23 lawyers,
134 doctors, 11 professors, 10 saloon keepers, 15 commercial travellers,
12 carpenters, etc.

_Nevada_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 14.

POPULATION: Male 25,603; female 16,732.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. She may control her
separate property, if a list of it is filed with the county recorder,
but unless it is kept constantly inventoried and recorded, it becomes
community property. The community property, both real and personal, is
under absolute control of husband and at wife's death it all belongs to
him. On death of the husband, wife is entitled to half of it. A wife's
earnings are hers if her husband has allowed her to appropriate them to
her own use, when they are regarded as a gift from him to her. Husband
is legal guardian of children. Husband must provide; but there is no
penalty if he does not.

DIVORCE: Absolute for impotence, adultery since marriage remaining
unforgiven, wilful desertion for one year, conviction for felony or
infamous crime, habitual drunkenness which incapacitates party from
contributing his or her share to support of family, extreme cruelty,
wilful neglect to provide for one year.

No limited divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: There are none dealing with women and children.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: No
suffrage. Women cannot serve as notaries public. 2 women in ministry, 4
dentists, 1 journalist, 1 lawyer, 6 doctors, 5 saloon keepers.

_New Hampshire_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16.

POPULATION: Male 205,379; female 206,209.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Dower and curtesy prevail.
Wife can sue and be sued and make contracts without husband's consent.
Husband is legal guardian of children, and must provide.

DIVORCE: Absolute for impotence, adultery, extreme cruelty, imprisonment
for one year, treatment seriously injuring health or endangering reason,
absence for three years without being heard from, habitual drunkenness
for three years, joining any religious sect which believes relation of
husband and wife unlawful, desertion for three years with neglect to
provide.

No limited divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: No child under 12 may be employed in any factory, nor any
child under 14 while schools are in session. Nine hours and forty
minutes the legal limit for female labour per day. No child under 14
shall engage in any acrobatic exhibition or in the selling of obscene
literature. No Sunday labour. Seats must be provided for female
employees. No female may sell or serve liquor.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS. Women
have school suffrage. They may be notaries public. 25 women in ministry,
3 dentists, 12 journalists, 2 lawyers, 61 doctors, 3 professors, 9
saloon keepers 6 commercial travellers, 5 carpenters, etc.

_New Jersey_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16.

POPULATION: Male 941,760; female 941,909.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Dower and curtesy prevail.
She has full disposal of her personal property by will; but must get
husband's consent to convey or encumber her separate estate. Husband is
guardian of children. Husband must furnish support; but wife must
contribute, if he is unable.

DIVORCE: Absolute for bigamy, marriage within prohibited degrees,
adultery, wilful desertion for two years, impotence.

Limited divorce for extreme cruelty.

In case of desertion and neglect to provide, wife has an action for
support.

LABOUR LAWS: Seats must be provided for female employees. Hours for
labour must be from 7 A.M. to 12 M. and from 1 P.M. to 6 P.M., except in
fruit canning and glass factories. Sunday labour forbidden. No child
under 18 may engage in any acrobatic, immoral, or mendicant occupation.
No child under 15 may engage in any vocation unless he or she shall have
attended school within twelve months immediately preceding. No child
under 14 may work in a factory. No female employee shall be sent to any
place of bad repute.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS:
Women in villages and country districts have school suffrage. They may
be notaries public. 87 women in ministry, 19 dentists, 45 journalists,
23 lawyers, 176 doctors, 4 professors, 208 saloon keepers, 4 bankers, 11
commercial travellers, 12 carpenters, etc.

_New Mexico_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 14.

POPULATION: Male 104,228; female 91,082.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Curtesy prevails. Neither
husband nor wife can convey real property without consent of other.
Husband is legal guardian of children, but is not required by law to
support the family.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, cruel treatment, desertion, impotency,
neglect to provide, habitual drunkenness, conviction for felony and
imprisonment subsequent to marriage, pregnancy of wife at time of
marriage unknown to husband.

No limited divorce. But when husband and wife have permanently
separated, wife has an action for support.

LABOUR LAWS: No Sunday labour. There are no other laws relating to women
and children.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: No
suffrage. Women may be notaries public. 10 women in ministry, 2
dentists, 5 doctors, 3 professors, 2 saloon keepers, 1 commercial
traveller, 3 carpenters, etc.

_New York_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 18. (Trials may be held privately, and it is
almost impossible to secure a conviction.)

POPULATION: Male 3,614,780; female 3,654,114.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Dower and curtesy prevail.
Wife holds separate property free from control of husband. Both husband
and wife can make wills without knowledge or consent of other. Wife can
mortgage or convey her whole estate without husband's consent; he can do
this with his personal property; but not with his real estate. Husband
and wife are equal guardians of the children. Husband must provide.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery only.

Limited for cruelty, conduct rendering cohabitation unsafe or improper,
desertion, neglect to provide.

Court refuses to allow party guilty of adultery to marry again, but may
modify this after five years if conduct of defendant has been uniformly
good. Adultery is now a crime in New York.

LABOUR LAWS: No child under 16 may take part in any acrobatic,
mendicant, theatrical, wandering, dangerous, or immoral occupation.
Children must attend school between 8 and 16. No child under 14 may be
employed in any occupation during school term. Eight hours a day's work.
Seats must be provided for female employees. No child under 14 may work
in a factory. Female labour is confined between 6 A.M. and 9 P.M., and
must not exceed 10 hours. No girl under 16 shall sell papers or
periodicals in any public place. Female employment agencies may not send
applicant to any place of bad repute.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS:
Tax-paying women in towns and villages may vote on questions of local
taxation. Parents and widows with children have school suffrage in towns
and villages. Women may be notaries public. 511 women in ministry, 108
dentists, 365 journalists, 124 lawyers, 103 commercial travellers, 925
doctors, 49 professors, 348 saloon keepers, 81 bankers, 84 carpenters,
etc.

_North Carolina_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 14.

POPULATION: Male 938,677; female 955,133.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Dower and curtesy prevail.
Wife controls separate property. Wife is not bound by a contract unless
husband joins in writing. In actions against her he must be served with
the suit. Wife cannot be sole trader without husband's written consent.
Husband is legal guardian of children, and must provide.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, impotence, pregnancy of wife at time of
marriage unknown to husband.

Limited for desertion, turning partner maliciously out of doors, cruel
treatment endangering life, intolerable indignities, habitual
drunkenness.

Wife has an action for separate maintenance if husband neglects to
provide or is a drunkard or spendthrift.

LABOUR LAWS: No Sunday labour. No child under 12 may be employed in
factory, except oyster canning concerns which pay for opening oysters by
the bushel. No person under 18 shall be required to labour more than 66
hours per week. No child under 12 shall work in a mine. No boy or girl
under 14 shall work in a factory between 8 P.M. and 5 A.M.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: No
suffrage. Women cannot be notaries public. 25 women in ministry, 6
journalists, 22 doctors, 2 professors, 2 saloon keepers, 3 bankers, 4
commercial travellers, 6 carpenters, etc.

_North Dakota_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 18.

POPULATION: Male 177,493; female 141,653.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and separate property
absolutely. Dower and curtesy do not prevail; if husband or wife dies
intestate, survivor takes one half of the estate, if there is only one
child living or the lawful issue of one child; if there are more,
survivor gets one third. If husband is unable to support family, wife
must maintain him and the children. Husband is guardian of children.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, extreme cruelty, wilful desertion for
one year, wilful neglect for one year, habitual intemperance for one
year, conviction of felony.

No limited divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: Children under 12 may not work in mines, factories, or
workshops. Children must go to school between 8 and 14, unless they have
already been taught adequately and poverty compels them to work. No
Sunday labour. No woman under 18 shall labour more then ten hours per
day.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: Women
have school suffrage and are eligible to all school offices. They may be
notaries public. 15 women in ministry, 5 dentists, 2 journalists, 6
lawyers, 15 doctors, 1 professor, 1 commercial traveller, 4 carpenters,
etc.

_Ohio_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16.

POPULATION: Male 2,102,655; female 2,054,890.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Husband controls wife's earnings, but wife controls
separate property. Either husband or wife on the death of the other is
entitled to one third of the real estate for life. Husband is legal
guardian of children, and must provide; but if he is unable, wife must
assist.

DIVORCE: Absolute for bigamy, desertion for three years, adultery,
impotence, extreme cruelty, fraudulent contract, any gross neglect of
duty, habitual drunkenness for three years, imprisonment in
penitentiary, procurement of divorce in another State. No limited
divorce; but wife has an action for alimony without divorce for
adultery, any gross neglect of duty, desertion, separation on account of
ill treatment by husband, habitual drunkenness, sentence and
imprisonment in penitentiary.

LABOUR LAWS: No child under 14 may work in a mine. Children must go to
school between 8 and 14. Seats and suitable toilet rooms must be
provided for female employees. No child under 14 may be employed in any
establishment or take part in any acrobatic, mendicant, dangerous, or
immoral vocation. Hours for girls under 18 confined between 6 A.M. and 7
P.M., nor may they work more than ten hours per day. No Sunday labour.
No labour agency shall send any female to an immoral resort.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: Women
may vote for members of boards of education, but not for State
commissioner nor on bonds and appropriations. They cannot be notaries.
206 women in ministry, 40 dentists, 151 journalists, 66 lawyers, 451
doctors, 26 professors, 337 saloon keepers, 15 bankers, 62 commercial
travellers, 31 carpenters, etc.

_Oklahoma_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16.

POPULATION: Male 214,359; female 182,972.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and separate property
absolutely. If husband or wife dies intestate, leaving one child or
lawful issue of child, survivor receives one third of the estate;
otherwise one half. If there are no kin, survivor takes all. Husband is
guardian of children, and is expected to provide; but law assigns no
penalty if he does not.

DIVORCE: Absolute for bigamy, desertion for one year, impotence,
pregnancy of wife at time of marriage by other than husband, extreme
cruelty, fraudulent contract, habitual drunkenness, gross neglect of
duty, conviction and imprisonment for felony after marriage.

Wife may have an action for separate maintenance for any of these causes
without applying for divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: No children under 15 may be employed in any occupation
injurious to body or morals. No Sunday labour. Ten hours per day legal
labour for children under 14.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS:
Women may vote for school trustees. They may be notaries public. 29
women in ministry, 1 dentist, 5 journalists, 5 lawyers, 26 doctors, 1
professor, 4 commercial travellers, 3 carpenters, etc.

_Oregon_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16.

POPULATION: Male 232,985; female 183,972.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. By registering as a sole
trader, she can carry on business in her own name. Civil disabilities
are same for husband and wife except as to voting and holding office. If
husband or wife dies intestate, and there are no descendants living,
survivor takes whole estate. If there is issue living, the widow
receives one half of husband's real estate and one half of his personal
property. The widower takes a life interest in all the wife's real
estate, whether there are children or not and all her personal property
absolutely if there are no descendants living; otherwise one half.
Husband and wife are equal guardians of children. Husband must provide.

DIVORCE: Absolute for impotency, adultery, conviction for felony,
habitual drunkenness for one year, wilful desertion for one year, cruel
treatment or indignities making life burdensome.

No limited divorce. Annulment if either party is one fourth negro or
Mongolian blood.

LABOUR LAWS: No Sunday labour. No child under 14 shall work in factory,
mill, mine, telegraph, telephone, or public messenger service; and no
child under 14 shall be employed at all during school session.
Attendance at school compulsory between 8 and 14. Hours of work for
children under 16 to be confined between 7 A.M. and 6 P.M. Seats must be
provided for female employees. Ten hours a day the legal limit for
female labour.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: Women
having property in school districts have school suffrage and may be
elected school trustees. They may be notaries. 40 women in ministry, 15
dentists, 17 journalists, 8 lawyers, 82 doctors, 7 professors, 5 saloon
keepers, 10 bankers, 18 commercial travellers, 7 carpenters, etc.

_Pennsylvania_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16.

POPULATION: Male 3,204,541; female 3,097,574.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Dower and curtesy prevail.
Wife cannot mortgage separate estate without husband's consent; cannot
sue or be sued or contract without his consent; and in order to carry on
business in her own name must secure special permission from the court.
Husband is legal guardian of children, and must provide.

DIVORCE: Absolute for impotence, bigamy, adultery, desertion for two
years, cruelty or intolerable indignities, marriage within prohibited
degrees of consanguinity or affinity, fraud, conviction for felony for
more than two years, lunacy for ten years.

Limited divorce for desertion, turning wife out of doors, cruelty,
adultery.

LABOUR LAWS: Seats must be provided for female employees. Employment of
females in mines forbidden. Children under 18 may not engage in any
mendicant occupations; those under 15 may not exhibit in any place where
liquor is sold nor take part in any acrobatic or immoral vocation.
Sunday labour forbidden. No female may work in bakery or macaroni or
other establishment more than twelve hours per day. Children must go to
school between 8 and 16. No child under 16 may work in any anthracite
coal mine. No child under 14 shall be employed in any establishment. One
hour must be allowed for lunch. No employment bureau shall send any
female to an immoral resort.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: No
suffrage. 290 women in ministry, 73 dentists, 125 journalists, 73
lawyers, 601 doctors, 38 professors, 183 saloon keepers, 17 bankers, 44
commercial travellers, 40 carpenters, etc.

_Rhode Island_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16.

POPULATION: Male 210,516; female 218,040.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and separate estate,
subject to husband's right to curtesy. Curtesy and dower both prevail.
Husband is legal guardian of children and must provide.

DIVORCE: Absolute or limited for marriages originally void by law,
conviction for crime involving loss of civil status, when either party
may be presumed to be naturally dead from absence, etc., impotence,
adultery, desertion for any time at discretion of court, continued
drunkenness, neglect to provide, any gross misbehaviour.

LABOUR LAWS: No child under 13 may be employed except during vacation.
No child under 15 may be employed unless he or she has school
certificate. No child under 14 to work in factory. Hours of labour for
children under 16 confined between 6 A.M. and 8 P.M. Seats must be
provided for all female employees. No child under 16 shall be employed
in any acrobatic, mendicant, dangerous, or immoral occupation. Hours for
female labour confined to ten. Sunday labour forbidden.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: No
suffrage. 24 women in ministry, 5 dentists, 7 journalists, 3 lawyers, 56
doctors, 2 saloon keepers, 5 commercial travellers, 6 carpenters, etc.

_South Carolina_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 14.

POPULATION: Male 664,895; female 675,421.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and separate estate
absolutely. Dower prevails, but not curtesy. Husband is legal guardian
of children, and is required to provide, but law as it stands offers
many loopholes.

DIVORCE: There are no divorce laws in South Carolina.

LABOUR LAWS: Seats must be provided for female employees. Sunday labour
forbidden. No child under 12 to work in factory, mill, or textile
establishment, except in cases of extreme poverty duly attested; all
such labour to be confined between 6 A.M. and 8 P.M.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: No
suffrage. Women cannot be notaries. 17 women in ministry, 1 dentist, 6
journalists, 3 lawyers, 17 doctors, 13 professors, 3 saloon keepers, 2
commercial travellers, 13 carpenters, etc.

_South Dakota_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16.

POPULATION: Male 216,164; female 185,406.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and controls separate
estate. Joint real estate can be conveyed only by signature of both
husband and wife, but husband can dispose of joint personal property
without wife's consent. In order to control her separate property, wife
must keep it recorded in the office of the county register. No dower
and no curtesy. Survivor gets one half of estate, if there is one child
or issue of child; otherwise one third; unless there are neither
children nor kin, when survivor takes all. On the death of an unmarried
child, father inherits all its property. If he is dead and there are no
other children, mother succeeds; but if there are brothers and sisters,
she inherits a child's share. Husband is guardian and must support; but
if he is infirm, wife must do so.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, extreme cruelty, wilful desertion or
neglect or habitual intemperance for one year, conviction of felony.

No limited divorce.

Party guilty of adultery cannot marry any other, except the innocent
party, until death of latter.

LABOUR LAWS: Sunday labour forbidden. No woman under 18 may labour more
than ten hours a day. No child under 15 may work in mine, hotel,
laundry, factory, elevator, bowling alley, or any place where liquor is
sold. No child under 15 shall be employed at all while schools are in
session.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: Women
can vote for school trustees. They may be notaries. 29 women in
ministry, 3 dentists, 4 journalists, 12 lawyers, 24 doctors, 7
professors, 3 saloon keepers, 3 commercial travellers, etc.

_Tennessee_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 18.

POPULATION: Male 1,021,224; female 999,392.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Husband controls wife's earnings, and wife can do
nothing with her separate estate without his consent. Dower and curtesy
prevail. Husband has right to all rents and profits of wife's estate. No
law requires husband to provide. Husband is guardian of children.

DIVORCE: Absolute for impotence, bigamy, adultery, desertion for two
years, conviction for felony, attempted murder, pregnancy of woman at
time of marriage without knowledge of husband, habitual drunkenness.

Limited for wife only for cruel treatment by husband or intolerable
indignities, and desertion or refusal to provide.

Party guilty of adultery cannot marry person with whom adultery has been
committed during life of former partner.

LABOUR LAWS: No Sunday labour. No child under 14 may be employed in
factory, workshop, or mine. Seats must be provided for female employees.
Hours for labour of women confined to 60 per week.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: No
suffrage. 30 women in ministry, 1 dentist, 19 journalists, 14 lawyers,
48 doctors, 9 professors, 6 saloon keepers, 4 bankers, 16 commercial
travellers, 6 carpenters, etc.

_Texas_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 15.

POPULATION: Male 1,578,900; female 1,469,810.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Husband controls wife's earnings and wife can do
nothing with her separate property without his consent. No dower or
curtesy. Husband and wife succeed equally to each other's estate.
Husband is guardian of children and may be required to provide out of
his wife's estate.

DIVORCE: Absolute for excesses or outrages; in favour of husband when
wife is taken in adultery or has deserted him for three years; in favour
of wife, if husband has deserted her for three years or has abandoned
her and lives in adultery with another woman. In favour of either
husband or wife on conviction for felony.

No limited divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: No Sunday labour. No child under 12 may be employed in any
establishment using machinery. No females shall be employed in any place
where liquor is sold except immediate members of owner's family.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: No
suffrage. Women can be notaries. 50 women in ministry, 12 dentists, 51
journalists, 17 lawyers, 100 doctors, 3 professors, 26 saloon keepers,
18 bankers, 29 commercial travellers, 12 carpenters, etc.

_Utah_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 18.

POPULATION: Male 141,687; female 135,062.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. No dower or curtesy.
Husband and wife succeed equally to each other's estate at death. Woman
controls separate estate absolutely. Husband is legal guardian of
children. There is no penalty for non-support.

DIVORCE: Absolute for impotence, adultery, desertion for one year,
neglect to provide, habitual drunkenness, conviction of felony, cruel
treatment causing bodily injury or mental distress, permanent insanity.

No limited divorce; but wife has an action for separate maintenance in
case of desertion or neglect to provide on part of husband.

LABOUR LAWS: No females may work in mines. No Sunday labour.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: Full
suffrage; therefore all offices are open to women. 20 women in ministry,
5 dentists, 7 journalists, 1 lawyer, 34 doctors, 2 saloon keepers, 1
banker, 3 commercial travellers, 1 carpenter, etc.

_Vermont_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16.

POPULATION: Males 175,138; females 168,503.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and controls separate
property. No dower or curtesy. Husband and wife have same powers of
mutual inheritance, except that widower does not take his wife's
personal property. Husband is guardian of children and must support.

DIVORCE: Absolute or limited for adultery, sentence to hard labour,
intolerable severity, desertion for three years, neglect to provide,
absence for seven years without being heard from.

LABOUR LAWS: No child under 16 to be employed after 8 P.M. No child
under 12 may work in mill, factory, railroad, quarry, or messenger
service. No female shall be employed in barrooms. No Sunday labour.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: Women
have school suffrage. They may be notaries. 17 women in ministry, 3
dentists, 15 journalists, 21 doctors, 1 professor, 2 saloon keepers, 11
commercial travellers, 3 carpenters, etc.

_Virginia_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 14.

POPULATION: Male 925,897; female 928,287.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and separate property
absolutely. Dower and curtesy prevail. Husband is guardian of children
and must support.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, impotence, sentence to penitentiary,
conviction of an infamous offence prior to marriage without knowledge of
other party, desertion for three years, pregnancy of wife at time of
marriage or previous prostitution without knowledge of husband.

Limited for cruelty, reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt, desertion.

LABOUR LAWS: Seats must be provided for female employees. Hours of
female labour confined to ten. No child under 12 may work in factory or
mine; no child under 14 shall work between 6 P.M. and 7 A.M. No child
under 14 shall be hired for any mendicant, acrobatic, dangerous, or
immoral occupation. No Sunday labour.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL, AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: No
suffrage. 37 women in ministry, 1 dentist, 12 journalists, 7 lawyers, 32
doctors, 20 professors, 19 saloon keepers, 13 commercial travellers, 9
carpenters, etc.

_Washington_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 18.

POPULATION: Male 304,178; female 213,925.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and controls separate
estate; but control of community property is vested absolutely in the
husband; this includes everything acquired after marriage by the joint
or separate efforts of either. Husband and wife have equal rights of
inheritance to one another's estate; but are not equal guardians of the
children, as husband can exclude wife by will. Support of the family is
chargeable upon the property of both husband or wife, or either of them.
No dower or curtesy.

DIVORCE: Absolute for any cause deemed by court sufficient, when court
is satisfied that parties can no longer live together, fraudulent
contract, adultery, impotence, desertion for one year, cruel treatment,
habitual drunkenness, neglect to provide, imprisonment.

No limited divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: No female may be employed in a mine. Every profession and
occupation open to women, but they may not hold public office. No Sunday
labour. Females shall not be employed in any place where liquor is sold.
Seats must be provided for female employees. Hours limited to ten. No
child under 14 shall labour in factory, mill, or workshop except at
discretion of juvenile judge. Children must go to school between 8 and
15.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: Women
have school and bond suffrage, but cannot vote for State or county
superintendents. 38 women in ministry, 7 dentists, 13 journalists, 13
lawyers, 62 doctors, 3 professors, 8 saloon keepers, 1 banker, 8
commercial travellers, etc.

_West Virginia_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 14.

POPULATION: Male 499,242; female 459,558.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings, but cannot sell or
encumber her separate property without husband's consent. Husband is
legal guardian and must provide. Dower and curtesy prevail.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, impotence, imprisonment in penitentiary,
conviction of an infamous offence before marriage, desertion for three
years, pregnancy of wife at time of marriage or prostitution before
without knowledge of husband, in favour of wife when husband was
notoriously a licentious person before marriage without her knowledge.

Limited for cruelty, reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt, desertion,
habitual drunkenness.

LABOUR LAWS: No Sunday labour. No child under 12 may work in factory or
mill and no child under 14 shall be employed during school session. No
child under 15 may be employed in any mendicant, acrobatic, immoral, or
dangerous occupation, nor in any place where liquor is sold. Seats must
be provided for female employees. No female may work in mine.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: No
suffrage. Women cannot be notaries. 26 women in ministry, 4 dentists, 4
journalists, 4 lawyers, 18 doctors, 4 professors, 9 saloon keepers, 2
bankers, 3 commercial travellers, 2 carpenters, etc.

_Wisconsin_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 18.

POPULATION: Male 1,067,562; female 1,001,480.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Assignment of wages of
husband must have wife's written consent. Wife controls separate
property absolutely. Dower and curtesy prevail. Husband is guardian of
children and must provide.

DIVORCE: Absolute for impotence, adultery, sentence to imprisonment for
three years prior to marriage. Limited or absolute for desertion for one
year, cruelty, habitual drunkenness, neglect to provide, conduct of
husband rendering it improper or unsafe for wife to live with him.

LABOUR LAWS: Female labour confined to eight hours per day. No child
under 14 may work in factory, workshop, bowling alley, or mine. Children
between 14 and 16 must get permission from juvenile judge. No child
under 16 shall be employed on dangerous machinery. None under 14 shall
take part in theatrical or circus exhibition as musician unless
accompanied on tours by parent or guardian. Authorities shall in all
cases determine whether occupation is dangerous or immoral for children
under 14. No Sunday labour.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: Women
have school suffrage. They may be notaries. 65 women in ministry, 24
dentists, 32 journalists, 23 lawyers, 154 doctors, 12 professors, 143
saloon keepers, 2 bankers, 27 commercial travellers, 9 carpenters, etc.

_Wyoming_

AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 21.

POPULATION: Male 58,184; female 34,347.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and separate property
absolutely. Neither dower nor curtesy prevail. Husband and wife have
same rights of mutual inheritance. Husband is legal guardian of
children, but there is no penalty if he does not provide.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, impotence, conviction for felony,
desertion for one year, habitual drunkenness, extreme cruelty, neglect
to provide for one year, intolerable indignities, vagrancy of husband,
conviction of felony prior to marriage unknown to other party, pregnancy
of wife at time of marriage unknown to husband.

No limited divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: No female shall work in mine. Acrobatic, mendicant,
dangerous, or immoral occupations forbidden to children under 14. No
Sunday labour. Seats must be provided for female employees.

SUFFRAGE, POLITICAL CONDITION, INDUSTRIAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATUS: Full
suffrage. Women are eligible for all offices. 2 women in ministry, 2
journalists, 12 doctors, 1 professor, no saloon keepers, lawyers, or
dentists, 2 carpenters, etc.

In studying these tables, it should be remembered that new laws are
being made constantly; and that the census of 1910 will give figures
which as soon as they appear must supersede those of 1900.

SOURCES

I. The Statutes of the Several States, from earliest times to the
present day. Published by Authority.

II. All newspapers and periodicals.

III. The Census Reports, especially the various separate reports such as
that on "Marriage and Divorce"; and the Reports of the Commissioner of
Labour.

IV. The History of Woman Suffrage: edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Ida Husted Harper, 4 vols.
[First two published by Fowler and Wells, New York, 1881 and 1882; last
two by Susan B. Anthony, Rochester, 1887 and 1902.]

V. The Encyclopedia of Social Reforms: edited by William D.P. Bliss,
with the Co-operation of many Specialists. Funk and Wagnalls, New York
and London, 1898.

NOTES:

[410] See, for example, the account in the _New York Tribune_, Sept. 8,
9, and 12, 1853, of what happened at the Women's Rights Convention at
that time.

[411] In 1900 there were 7399 female physicians and surgeons in the
United States, and 808 female dentists.

[412] In 1900 there were 1049 women lawyers in the United States. The
above statements are from Bliss, _Encyc_., p. 1291.

[413] In 1900 there were 3405 women clergy in the United States.

[414] In 1900 there were 2193 women journalists in the United States.
This does not, of course, include women reporters and the like.

CHAPTER IX

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

It is twenty-three centuries since Plato gave to the world his
magnificent treatise on the State. The dream of the Greek philosopher of
equal rights for all intelligent citizens, among whom he includes women,
has in large part been realised; but much is yet wanting to bring
society to the standard of the Ideal Republic. In not a few States of
the world the conditions affecting property rights are inequitable; in
all but very few States woman is still barred from the field of politics
and from the legitimate rights of citizenship; and the day seems far
distant when the States possessing a representative government will be
prepared to accept the woman citizen as eligible for administrative
positions.

It will, therefore, be my purpose in this chapter first to consider five
of the most serious objections to the granting of equal suffrage, that
is to say, to the concession to women of full citizens' rights under the
law. It will be found that these objections are based on a presumed
inferiority of women to men in various respects. I shall give
consideration next in order to the question of the inferiority or
superiority of one sex over the other. In view, furthermore, of the new
ferment in thought in modern society, it will be useful to analyse
certain habits of mind and to indicate the necessity for a readjustment
of old beliefs in the light of recent evolution. I shall conclude my
history with a suggestion for definite reforms which, I believe, must be
brought about, whether equal suffrage is granted or not, before women
can attain their maximum of efficiency.

The opposition to the granting of equal suffrage is, as I have said,
based mainly upon five classes of contentions:

I. The theological.
II. The physiological.
III. The social or political.
IV. The intellectual.
V. The moral.

A consideration and an analysis of these five classes of objections will
constitute a summary of the relations of woman to the community, and may
also serve as a guide or suggestion to the possibility of a legitimate
development, in the near future, of her rights as a citizen.

I. The theological argument is based upon the distinctly evil conception
of woman, presented in _Genesis_, as the cause of misery in this world
and upon the subordinate position assigned to her by Paul and Peter.
Christ himself has left us no teachings on the subject. The Hebrew and
Oriental creed of woman's sphere permeated the West as Christianity
expanded and forced to extinction the Roman principle of equality. Only
within fifty years, has the female sex regained the rights enjoyed by
women under the law of the Empire seventeen centuries ago. The Apostolic
theory of complete subordination gained strength with each succeeding
age. I have already cited instances of ecclesiastical vehemence. As a
final example I may recall that when, early in the nineteenth century,
chloroform was first used to help women in childbirth, a number of
Protestant divines denounced the practice as a sin against the Creator,
who had expressly commanded that woman should bring forth in sorrow and
tribulation. Yet times have so far changed within two decades that the
theological argument is practically obsolete among Protestants, although
it is still influential in the Roman Catholic Church, which holds fast
to the doctrine laid down by the Apostles. We may say, however, that of
all the objections, the theological has, in practice, the least weight
among the bulk of the population. The word _obey_ in the clerical
formula _love, honour, and obey_ provokes a smile.

II. The physiological argument is more powerful. Its supporters assert
that the constitution of woman is too delicate, too finely wrought to
compete with man in his chosen fields. The physiological argument makes
its appearance most persistently in the statement that woman should have
no vote because she could not defend her property or her country in
time of war. In reply to this some partisans of equal suffrage have
thought it necessary to prove that women are physically equal in all
respects to men. But the issues between nations which in the centuries
past it had been believed could be adjusted only by war, by being fought
out (not, of course, to any logical conclusion, but to a result which
showed simply that one party was stronger than the other), are now, in
the great majority of cases, determined by the more reasonable, the more
civilised, method of arbitration.

As a matter of fact, the cause of woman's rights will suffer no harm by
a frank admission that women are not, in general, the peers of men in
brute force. The very nature of the female sex, subjected, as it is, to
functional strains from which the male is free, is sufficient to
invalidate such a claim. A refutation of the physiological objection to
equal suffrage is, however, not hard to find. Even in war, as it is
practised to-day, physical force is of little significance compared with
strategy which is a product of the intellect. In a naval battle for
instance, ships no longer engage at close range, where it is possible
for the crew of one to board the opposing ship and engage in hand to
hand conflict with the enemy; machinery turns the guns and even loads
them; the whole fight is simply a contest between trained gunners, who
must depend for success on cool mathematical computation.

Nevertheless, it is true that under stress or the need of making a
livelihood women in many instances do show physical endurance equal to
that of men. Women who are expert ballet dancers and those who are
skilled acrobats can hardly be termed physiological weaklings. In
Berlin, you may see women staggering along with huge loads on their
backs; in Munich, women are street-cleaners and hod-carriers; on the
island of Capri, the trunk of the tourist is lifted by two men onto the
shoulder of a woman, who carries it up the steep road to the village. In
this country many women are forced to do hard bodily labour ten hours a
day in sweat-shops. In all countries and in all ages there have been
examples of women who, disguised as men, have fought side by side with
the male and with equal efficiency. The case of Joan of Arc will at once
occur to the reader; and those who are curious about this subject may,
by consulting the records of our Civil War, find exciting material in
the story of "Belle Boyd," "Frank Miller," and "Major Cushman."[415]

Doubtless women are stronger physically than they were a half-century
ago, when it was considered unladylike to exercise. If you will read the
novels of that time, you will find that the heroine faints on the
slightest provocation or weeps copiously, like Amelia in _Vanity Fair_,
whenever the situation demands a grain of will-power or of
common-sense. But to-day women seldom faint or weep in literature; they
play tennis or row. When, in 1844, Pauline Wright Davis lectured on
physiology before women in America and displayed the manikin, some of
her auditors dropped their veils, some ran from the room, and some
actually became unconscious, because their sense of delicacy was put to
so sharp a test.

It should be borne in mind, in connection with the contention that the
privileges of a citizen ought to be accorded only to those persons who
are physically capable of helping to defend the community by force, that
no such principle is applied in fixing the existing qualifications for
male citizenship. A large number of the voters of every community are,
on the ground either of advanced years or of invalidism, physically
disqualified for service as soldiers, sailors, or policemen. This group
of citizens includes a very large proportion of the thinking power of
the community. No intelligently directed state would, however, be
prepared to deprive itself of the counsels, of the active political
co-operation, and of the service from time to time in the responsibility
of office, of men of the type of Gladstone (at the age of seventy-five),
of John Stuart Mill (always a physical weakling), of Washington (serving
as President after he was sixty), on the ground that these citizens were
no longer capable of carrying muskets in the ranks.

Any classification of citizens, any privileges extended to voters,
ought, of course, to be arrived at on a consistent and impartial
principle.

Further, under the conditions obtaining in this twentieth century,
governments, whether of nations, of states, or of cities, are carried on
not by force but by opinion. In the earlier history of mankind, each
family was called upon to maintain its existence by physical force. The
families the members of which (female as well as male) were not strong
enough to fight for their existence were crushed out. Par into the later
centuries, issues between individuals were adjusted by the decision of
arms. Up to within a very recent date, it may be admitted that issues
between nations could be settled only by war. It is, however, at this
time the accepted principle of representative government in all
communities that matters of policy are determined by the expression of
opinion, that is by means of the votes given by the majority of its
citizens. It is by intelligence and not by brute force that the world is
now being ruled, and with the growth of intelligence and a better
understanding of the principles of government, it is in order not only
on the grounds of justice but for the best interests of the state to
widen the foundations of representative government, so as to make
available for voting and for official responsibilities all the
intelligence that is comprised within the community. This is in my
judgment the most conclusive reply to the objection that the physical
weakness of woman unfits her for citizenship.

III. According to the social or political argument, if woman is given
equal rights with man, the basis of family life, and hence the
foundation of the state itself, is undermined, as a house divided
against itself cannot stand. It is said that (1) there must be some one
authority in a household and that this should be the man; (2) woman will
neglect the home if she is left free to enter politics or a profession;
(3) politics will degrade her; (4) when independent and self-asserting
she will lose her influence over man; and (5) most women do not want to
vote or to enter politics.

It is astonishing with what vehemence men will base arguments on pure
theory and speculation, while they wilfully close their eyes to any
facts which may contradict their assumptions. It is inconceivable to a
certain type of mind that a husband and wife can differ on political
questions and may yet maintain an even harmony, while their love abates
not one whit. In the four States where women vote--Wyoming, Colorado,
Utah, and Idaho--there is no more divorce than in other States; and any
one who has travelled in these communities can attest that no domestic
unhappiness results from the suffrage. Nor does it in New Zealand.

It is said that there must be some one supreme authority; but this
depends on the view taken of marriage. Under the old Common Law, the
personality of the wife was merged completely in that of her husband;
marriage was an absolute despotism. Under the Canon Law, woman is man's
obedient and unquestioning subject; marriage is a benevolent despotism.
To-day people are more inclined to look upon matrimony as a partnership
of equal duties, rights, and privileges.

Sophocles argued in one of his tragedies that children belong entirely
to the father, that the mother can assert no valid claim for anything.
Lawyers have found this logic excellent; and the records are full of
instances of children being taken from a hard-working mother in order to
be handed over to a drunken father who wants their wages for his
support. It is no longer so in most states. Civilisation has advanced so
far, that the pains of bringing forth and raising children are
acknowledged to give the mother a right almost equal to that of the
father to determine all that concerns the child. There is some reason,
therefore, for believing that she should have a voice also in passing
upon laws which may make or undo for ever the welfare of the boys and
girls for whom she struggles during the years that they are growing to
manhood and womanhood. Men are for the greater part so engrossed in
business that on certain questions they are far less competent to be
"authorities" than women. Against stupid pedagogy, against red-tape,
against the policy that morality must never interfere with business
principles, against civic dirtiness, against brothel and saloon, women
are more active than men, because they see more clearly how vitally the
interests of their children are affected by these evil conditions.
Wherever women vote, these questions are to the fore.

Closely connected with the "one authority" argument is the old
contention, so often resorted to and relied upon, that women, if they
are permitted to vote, will neglect the home, and that, if the
professions are opened to them, they will find these too absorbingly
attractive. Much weight should, however, be given to the great power of
the domestic instinct implanted in the nature of woman. In the States
where women vote and are eligible for political offices, there are fewer
unmarried women in proportion to the population than in States where
they have no such rights. The great leaders of the woman suffrage
movement from Mrs. Stanton to Mrs. Snowden have in their home circle led
lives as beautiful and have raised families as large and as well
equipped morally and intellectually as those who are content to sit by
the fire and spin.

Thus far I have argued from the orthodox view, that matrimony ought to
be the goal of every woman's ambition. But if a woman wishes to remain
single and devote herself exclusively to the realisation of some ideal,
it is hard to see why she should not. Men who take this course are
eulogised for their noble self-sacrifice in immolating themselves for
the advancement of the cause of civilisation; women who do precisely the
same thing are sometimes unthinkingly spoken of in terms of contempt or
with that complacent pity which is far worse. It is difficult for us to
realise adequately what talented women like Rosa Bonheur had to undergo
because of this curious attitude of humanity.

"The home is woman's sphere." This shibboleth is the logical result of
the attitude mentioned. Doubtless, the home is woman's sphere; but the
home includes all that pertains to it--city, politics and taxes, laws
relating to the protection of minors, municipal rottenness which may
corrupt children, schools and playgrounds and museums which may educate
them. Few doctrines have been productive of more pain than the "woman's
sphere" argument. It is this which has, for a thousand years, made the
unmarried woman, the _Old Maid_, the butt of the contemptible jibes of
Christian society, whereof you will find no parallel in pagan antiquity.
Dramatic writers have held her up to ridicule on the stage on account of
the peculiarities of character which are naturally acquired when a
person is isolated from participation in the activities of life. It is
the doctrine which has made women glad to marry drunkards and rakes, to
bring forth children tainted with the sins of their fathers, and to
suffer hell on earth rather than incur the ridicule of the Christian
gentleman who may, without incurring the protest of society, remain
unmarried and sow an unlimited quantity of wild oats. It is this
doctrine which was indirectly responsible for the hanging and burning of
eccentric old women on the charge that they were witches. As men found a
divine sanction for keeping women in subjection, so in those days of
superstition did they blaspheme their Creator by digging out of the Old
Testament, as a justification for their brutality, the text, "Thou shalt
not suffer a witch to live."

"Politics will degrade women"--this naive confession that politics are
rotten is a fairly strong argument that some good influence is needed to
make them cleaner. Generally speaking, it is difficult to imagine how
politics could be made any worse. If a woman cannot go to the polls or
hold office without being insulted by rowdies, her vote will be potent
to elect officials who should be able to secure for the community a
standard of reasonable civilisation. There is no case in which more
sentimentality is wasted. Lovely woman is urged not to allow her beauty,
her gentleness, her tender submissiveness to become the butt of the
lounger at the street corner; and in most instances lovely woman, like
the celebrated Maitre Corbeau, is cajoled effectively. Meanwhile the
brothel and the sweat-shop continue on their prosperous way. By a
curious inconsistency, man will permit woman to help him out of a
political dilemma and will then suavely remark that suffrage will
degrade her.

During the Civil War, Anna Dickinson by her remarkable lecture
entitled, "The National Crisis" saved New Hampshire and Connecticut for
the Republicans; Anna Carroll not only gave such a crushing rejoinder to
Breckinridge's secession speech that the government printed and
distributed it, but she also, as is now generally believed, planned the
campaign which led to the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson and opened
the Mississippi to Vicksburg. How many men realise these facts?

The theory that politics degrade women will not find much support in
such States as Colorado and Wyoming. Here, where equal suffrage obtains,
women have been treated with uniform courtesy at the polls; they have
even been elected to legislatures with no diminution of their
womanliness; and the House of Wyoming long ago made a special resolution
of its approval of equal rights and attested the beneficial results that
have followed the extension of the suffrage to women.[416] Judge Lindsey
of Colorado has said that his election, and consequent power to work out
his great reforms in juvenile delinquency, was due to the backing of
women at a time when men, for "business reasons," were averse to extend
their aid. "No one would dare to propose its repeal [i.e., the repeal of
equal suffrage], and if left to the men of the State any proposition to
revoke the rights bestowed on women would be overwhelmingly defeated."
Experience in Colorado and elsewhere has shown that any important moral
issue will bring out the women voters in great force; but after election
they are content to resume their domestic duties; and they have shown no
great desire for political office.[417]

Before I leave the discussion as to whether politics degrade women, it
will not be out of place to consider the question whether certain women
may not, if they have a vote, degrade politics. Of such women there are
two classes--the immoral and the merely ignorant. As to the former, much
fear has been expressed that they would be the very agents for
unscrupulous politicians to use at the polls. Exact data on this matter
are not available. I shall content myself with quoting a statement by
Mrs. Ida Husted Harper[418]:

"That 'immoral' class," said Mrs. Harper, "is a bogey that has never
materialised in States where women have the suffrage. Those women don't
vote. Indeed, Denver's experience has been interesting in that respect.
When equal suffrage was first granted, women of that class were
compelled by the police to register. It was a question of doing as the
police said, of course, or being arrested. The women did not want to
vote. They don't go under their real names; they have no fixed
residence, and so on. Anyway, the last thing they wanted was to be
registered voters.

"But the corrupt political element needed their vote, and were after it,
through the police. These women actually appealed to a large woman's
political club to use its influence to keep the police from forcing them
to register. A committee was appointed; it was found that the story was
true; coercion was stopped, and the women's vote turned out the chief of
police who attempted it. There is now no coercion, and this class simply
pays no attention to politics at all."

The doubling of the number of ignorant voters by giving all women alike
the ballot would be a more serious affair. A remedy for that, however,
lies in making an educational test a necessary qualification for all
voters. In this connection the remarks of Mr. G.H. Putnam are
suggestive[419]: "If I were a citizen of Massachusetts or of any State
which, like Massachusetts, possesses such educational qualification, I
should be an active worker for the cause of equal suffrage. As a citizen
of New York who has during the last fifty years done his share of work
in the attempt to improve municipal conditions, I am forced to the
conclusion that it will be wiser to endure for a further period the
inconsistency, the stupidity, and the injustice of the disfranchisement
of thousands of intelligent women voters rather than to accept the
burden of an increase in the mass of unintelligent voters. The first
step toward 'equal suffrage' will, in my judgment, be a fight for an
educational qualification for all voters."

Those who maintain that when women are independent and self-asserting,
they will lose their influence over men, assume that we view things
to-day as they did a century ago and that the thoughts of men are not
widened with the progress of the suns. The woman who can share the
aspirations, the thoughts, the complete life of a man, who can
understand his work thoroughly and support him with the sympathy born of
perfect comprehension, will exert a far vaster influence over him than
the milk-and-water ideal who was advised "to smile when her husband
smiled, to frown when he frowned, and to be discreetly silent when the
conversation turned on subjects of importance." It is a good thing for
women to be self-asserting and independent. There is and always has been
a class of men who, like Mr. Murdstone, are amenable to justice and
reason only when they know that their proposed victim can at any time
break the chains with which they would bind her.

This brings us to the last of the social or political arguments, viz.,
"Most women do not want to vote."[420] Precisely the same argument has
been used by slave owners from time immemorial--the slaves do not wish
to be free. As Professor Thomas writes[421]: "Certainly the negroes of
Virginia did not greatly desire freedom before the idea was developed by
agitation from the outside, and many of them resented this outside
interference. 'In general, in the whole western Sahara desert, slaves
are as much astonished to be told that their relation to their owners is
wrong and that they ought to break it, as boys amongst us would be to be
told that their relation to their fathers was wrong and ought to be
broken.' And it is reported from eastern Borneo that a white man could
hire no natives for wages. 'They thought it degrading to work for wages,
but if he would buy them, they would work for him.'" It is akin to the
old contention of despots that when their subjects are fit for freedom,
they will make them free; but nobody has ever seen such a time.

Reform of evil conditions does not come from below; leaders with visions
of the future must point the way. I once heard of a very respectable
lady of Boston who exclaimed indignantly against certain proposed
changes in child labour laws in North Carolina, where she owned shares
in a cotton mill. She maintained that the children who worked at the
looms ten hours a day expressed no discontent; it kept them off the
streets; and the operators, in the kindness of their hearts, had
actually had the looms made especially to accommodate conveniently the
diminutive size of the little workers. Some people might, with great
profit to themselves, read Plato's superb allegory of the men in the
cave.

The fact that various women's associations have been instituted in
opposition to the extension of woman suffrage--as in Boston and New
York--is no argument for depriving all women of the franchise. If the
women who compose these societies do not care to vote, they do not need
to; but they have no right to deprive of their rights those who do so
desire. It is said that good women will not go to the polls; yet there
are in every large city hundreds of respectable males who disdain to
vote. A woman is more likely to have a sense of duty to vote than a man.
It is the old cry, "Don't disturb the old order of things. If you make
us think for ourselves, we shall be so unhappy." So Galileo was brought
to trial, so Anne Hutchinson was banished; and so persecuted they the
prophets before them.

IV. Another argument that is made much of is the intellectual
inferiority of woman. For ages women were allowed nor higher education
than reading, writing, and simple arithmetic, often not even these; yet
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Sand, George Eliot, Harriet
Martineau, Jane Austen, and some scores of others did work which showed
them to be the peers of any minds of their day. And if no woman can
justly claim to have attained an eminence such as that of Shakespeare in
letters or of Darwin in science, we may question whether Shakespeare
would have been Shakespeare or Darwin Darwin if the society which
surrounded them had insisted that it was a sin for them to use their
minds and that they should not presume to meddle with knowledge. When a
girl for the first time in America took a public examination in
geometry, in 1829, men wagged their heads gravely and prophesied the
speedy dissolution of family and state.

To the list of women whose service for their fellows would have been
lost if the old-time barriers had been maintained, may be added the name
of the late Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi. Mary Putnam secured her preliminary
medical education in the early '60's, and found herself keenly troubled
and dissatisfied at the inadequacy of the facilities extended to women
for the study of medicine. She insisted that if women practitioners were
to be, as she expressed it, "turned loose" upon the community with
license to practise, they should, not only as a matter of justice to
themselves but of protection for the women and children whose lives they
would have in their hands, be properly qualified.

At the time in question, the medical profession took the ground that
women might enjoy the benefit of a little medical education but they
were denied the facilities for any thorough training or for any research
work. Mary Putnam secured her graduate degree from the great medical
school of the University of Paris, being the first woman who had been
admitted to the school since the fourteenth century. Returning after six
years of thorough training, she did much during the remaining years of
her life to secure and to maintain for women physicians the highest
possible standard of training and of practice. It was natural that with
this experience of the requirement of equal facilities for women in her
own work, she should always have been a believer in the extension of
equal facilities for any citizen's work for which, after experience,
women might be found qualified. She was, therefore, an ardent advocate
of equal suffrage.

One needs but recall the admirable intellectual work of women to-day to
wonder at the imbecility of those who assert that women are
intellectually the inferiors of men. Madame Curie in science, Miss
Tarbell in political and economic history, Miss Jane Addams in
sociological writings and practice, the Rev. Anna Howard Shaw in the
ministry, Mrs. Hetty Green in business, are a few examples of women
whose mental ability ought to bring a blush to the Old Guard. Mrs.
Harriman and Mrs. Sage, who manage properties of many millions, are
denied the privilege of voting in regard to the expenditure of their
taxes; but every ignorant immigrant can cast a vote, thanks to the
doctrine that the political acumen of a man, however degraded, is
superior to that of a woman, however great her genius--an admirable
obedience to the saw in Ecclesiasticus that the badness of men is better
than the goodness of women. Let me quote again from Professor Thomas:
"The men have said that women are not intelligent enough to vote, but
the women have replied that more of honesty than of intelligence is
needed in politics at present, and that women certainly do not represent
the most ignorant portion of the population. They claim that voting is a
relatively simple matter anyway, that political freedom 'is nothing but
the control of those who do make politics their business by those who do
not,' and that they have enough intelligence 'to decide whether they are
properly governed, and whom they will be governed by.' They point out
also that already, without the ballot, they are instructing men how to
vote and teaching them how to run a city; that women have to journey to
the legislature at every session to instruct members and committees at
legislative hearings, and that it is absurd that women who are capable
of instructing men how to vote should not be allowed to vote themselves.
To the suggestion that they would vote like their husbands and that so
there would be no change in the political situation, women admit that
they would sometimes vote like their husbands, because their husbands
sometimes vote right; but ex-Chief-Justice Fisher of Wyoming says: 'When
the Republicans nominate a bad man and the Democrats a good one, the
Republican women do not hesitate a moment to "scratch" the bad and
substitute the good. It is just so with the Democrats; hence we almost
always have a mixture of office-holders. I have seen the effects of
female suffrage, and, instead of being a means of encouragement to fraud
and corruption, it tends greatly to purify elections and to promote
better government.' Now, 'scratching' is the most difficult feature of
the art of voting, and if women have mastered this, they are doing very
well. Furthermore, the English suffragettes have completely
outgeneralled the professional politicians. They discovered that no
cause can get recognition in politics unless it is brought to the
attention, and that John Bull in particular will not begin to pay
attention 'until, you stand on your head to talk to him.' They regretted
to do this, but in doing it they secured the attention and interest of
all England. They then followed a relentless policy of opposing the
election of any candidate of the party in power. The Liberal men had
been playing with the Liberal women, promising support and then laughing
the matter off. But they are now reduced to an appeal to the maternal
instinct of the women. They say it is unloving of them to oppose their
own kind. Politics is a poor game, but this is politics."

V. The last objection I would call the _moral_. It embraces such
arguments as, that woman is too impulsive, too easily swayed by her
emotions to hold responsible positions, that the world is very evil and
slippery, and that she must therefore constantly have man to protect
her--a pious duty, which he avows solemnly it has ever been his special
delight to perform. The preceding pages are a commentary on the manner
in which man has discharged this duty. In Delaware, for instance, the
age of legal consent was until 1889 seven years. The institution of
Chivalry, to take another example, is usually praised for the high
estimation and protection it secured for women; yet any one who has read
its literature knows that, in practice, it did nothing of the sort. The
noble lord who was so gallant to his lady love--who, by the way, was
frequently the wife of another man--had very little scruple about
seducing a maid of low degree. The same gallantry is conspicuous in the
Letters of Lord Chesterfield, beneath whose unctuous courtesy the beast
of sensuality is always leering.

In the past the main function of woman outside of the rearing of
children has been to satisfy the carnal appetite of man, to prepare his
food, to minister to his physical comfort; she was barred from
participation in the intellectual. In order to hold her to these bonds a
Divine Sanction was sought. The Mohammedan found it in the Koran; the
Christian, in the Bible--just as slavery was justified repeatedly from
the story of Ham, just as the Stuarts and the Bourbons believed firmly
that they were the special favourites of God.

Strangely enough, men who are so sensitive about the moral welfare of
women will visit a dance hall where women are degraded nightly, and will
allow their daughters to marry "reformed" rakes. Men will not permit any
mention of sexual matters in their homes, and will let their children
get their information on the street; and all for the very simple reason
that they are afraid the truth will hurt, will make people think. Men
have been remarkably sensitive about having women speak in public for
their rights; but they watch with zest a woman screaming nonsense on the
stage.

It is quite possible that many women are swayed too easily by their
emotions. We must recollect, however, that for some thousands of years
woman has been carefully drilled to believe that she is an emotional
creature. If a dozen people conspire to tell a man that he is looking
badly, it is not unlikely that he will feel ill. Certainly Florence
Nightingale and Clara Barton exhibited no lack of firmness on the
shambles of battlefields; and there are few men living who cannot recall
instances of women who have, in the face of disaster and evil fortune,
shown a steady perseverance and will-power in earning a living for
themselves and their children that men have not surpassed.

Having in the preceding pages considered the five capital objections to
the concession of equal suffrage, I shall now, in accordance with my
plan, say something of the much-mooted question of the superiority or
inferiority of one sex to the other. It might be concluded from the
foregoing account that I see little difference in the aptitudes and
powers of the sexes physically, morally, or intellectually. That does
not necessarily follow. It is possible to conceive of each sex as the
complement of the other; and between complements there can be no
question either of superiority or of inferiority. The great historian of
European Morals has analysed the constitutional differences of the sexes
as he conceived them; and I may quote his remarks as pertinent to my
theme. Lecky writes as follows[422]:

"Physically, men have the indisputable superiority in strength, and
women in beauty. Intellectually, a certain inferiority of the female sex
can hardly be denied when we remember how almost exclusively the
foremost places in every department of science, literature, and art have
been occupied by men, how infinitesimally small is the number of women
who have shown in any form the very highest order of genius, how many of
the greatest men have achieved their greatness in defiance of the most
adverse circumstances, and how completely women have failed in obtaining
the first position, even in music or painting, for the cultivation of
which their circumstances would appear most propitious. It is as
impossible to find a female Raphael, or a female Handel, as a female
Shakespeare or Newton. Women are intellectually more desultory and
volatile than men; they are more occupied with particular instances than
with general principles; they judge rather by intuitive perceptions than
by deliberate reasoning or past experience. They are, however, usually
superior to men in nimbleness and rapidity of thought, and in the gift
of tact or the power of seizing speedily and faithfully the finer
inflections of feeling, and they have therefore often attained very
great eminence as conversationalists, as letter-writers, as actresses,
and as novelists.

"Morally, the general superiority of women over men is, I think,
unquestionable. If we take the somewhat coarse and inadequate criterion
of police statistics, we find that, while the male and female
populations are nearly the same in number, the crimes committed by men
are usually rather more than five times as numerous as those committed
by women; and although it may be justly observed that men, as the
stronger sex, and the sex upon whom the burden of supporting the family
is thrown, have more temptations than women, it must be remembered, on
the other hand, that extreme poverty which verges upon starvation is
most common among women, whose means of livelihood are most restricted,
and whose earnings are smallest and most precarious. Self-sacrifice is
the most conspicuous element of a virtuous and religious character, and
it is certainly far less common among men than among women, whose whole
lives are usually spent in yielding to the will and consulting the
pleasures of another. There are two great departments of virtue: the
impulsive, or that which springs spontaneously from the emotions, and
the deliberative, or that which is performed in obedience to the sense
of duty; and in both of these I imagine women are superior to men. Their
sensibility is greater, they are more chaste both in thought and act,
more tender to the erring, more compassionate to the suffering, more
affectionate to all about them.... In active courage women are inferior
to men. In the courage of endurance they are commonly their
superiors.... In the ethic of intellect they are decidedly inferior. To
repeat an expression I have already employed, women very rarely love
truth, though they love passionately what they call 'the truth' or
opinions they have received from others, and hate vehemently those who
differ from them. They are little capable of impartiality or doubt;
their thinking is chiefly a mode of feeling; though very generous in
their acts, they are rarely generous in their opinions.... They are less
capable than men of perceiving qualifying circumstances, of admitting
the existence of elements of good in systems to which they are opposed,
of distinguishing the personal character of an opponent from the
opinions he maintains. Men lean most to justice, and women to mercy. Men
are most addicted to intemperance and brutality, women to frivolity and
jealousy. Men excel in energy, self-reliance, perseverance, and
magnanimity, women in humility, gentleness, modesty, and endurance....
Their religious or devotional realisations are incontestably more
vivid.... But though more intense, the sympathies of women are commonly
less wide than those of men. Their imaginations individualise more,
their affections are, in consequence, concentrated rather on leaders
than on causes.... In politics, their enthusiasm is more naturally
loyalty than patriotism. In history, they are even more inclined than
men to dwell exclusively upon biographical incidents or characteristics
as distinguished from the march of general causes."

Experience, by which alone mankind has ever learned or can learn, will
show how far the characteristics enumerated by Lecky are innate and how
far they have been acquired in the course of ages by certain habits of
belief and education.

The securing of citizens' rights for woman will of necessity depend on
the attitude of society. There may be numerous laws for her relief on
the statute books; but if society frowns on her appearance in court, it
will be only in exceptional cases that she will appeal to the courts. To
one who is familiar with the records of daily life a hundred years ago
there is little doubt that conjugal infidelity on the part of the
husband was more flagrant then than it is to-day; but there were
infinitely fewer divorces. The reason for this is simply that public
sentiment on the subject has changed. A century ago, a divorced woman
could do nothing; the wife was exhorted to bear her husband's faults
with meekness; and the expansion of industry had not yet opened to her
that opportunity of making her own living which she now possesses in a
hundred ways. Women were entirely dependent on men; and the men knew it.
To-day they are not so sure.

The old conception of woman's position was subjection, based on mental
and physical inferiority and supported by Biblical arguments. The newer
conception is that of a complement, in which neither inferiority nor
superiority finds place. The old conception was based, like every
institution of the times, on fear. Men were warned against heresy by
being reminded of the tortures of hell fire; against crime by appealing
to their dread of the gallows. Between the death of Anne and the reign
of George III one hundred and eighty-eight capital offences were added
to the penal code; and crime at once increased to an amazing degree. In
a system that is founded on fear, when once that fear is removed--as it
inevitably will be with the growth of enlightenment--there remains no
basis of action, no incentive to good. It has been tried for centuries
and has yielded only Star Chambers and Spanish Inquisitions. It is time
that we try a new method. An appeal to the sense of _fair play_, an
appeal to the sense of duty and of natural affection may yield
immeasurably superior results. It has been my experience and personal
observation that the standard of honour in our non-sectarian schools,
where the _fair play_ spirit is most insisted on, is vastly greater than
it was in the old sectarian institutions where boys were told morning,
noon, and night that they would go to hell if they did not behave.

The new spirit is not going to be accepted at once by society. There
must first be some wailing and much gnashing of teeth; and the monster,
custom, which all sense doth eat, will still for a time be antagonistic
as it has been in the past. "In no society has life ever been completely
controlled by the reason," remarks Professor Thomas, "but mainly by the
instincts and the habits and the customs growing out of these. Speaking
in a general way, it may be said that all conduct both of men and
animals tends to be right rather than wrong. They do not know why they
behave in such and such ways, but their ancestors behaved in those ways
and survival is the guaranty that the behaviour was good. We must admit
that within the scope of their lives the animals behave with almost
unerring propriety. Their behaviour is simple and unvarying, but they
make fewer mistakes than ourselves. The difficulty in their condition
is, that having little power of changing their behaviour they have
little chance of improvement. Now, in human societies, and already among
gregarious animals, one of the main conditions of survival was common
sentiment and behaviour. So long as defence of life and preying on
outsiders were main concerns of society, unanimity and conformity had
the same value which still attaches to military discipline in warfare
and to team work in our sports. Morality therefore became identified
with uniformity. It was actually better to work upon some system,
however bad, than to work on none at all, and early society had no place
for the dissenter. Changes did take place, for man had the power of
communicating his experiences through speech and the same power of
imitation which we show in the adoption of fashions, but these changes
took place with almost imperceptible slowness, or if they did not,
those who proposed them were considered sinners and punished with death
or obloquy.

"And it has never made any difference how bad the existing order of
things might be. Those who attempted to reform it were always viewed
with suspicion. Consequently our practices usually run some decades or
centuries behind our theories and history is even full of cases where
the theory was thoroughly dead from the standpoint of reason before it
began to do its work in society. A determined attitude of resistance to
change may therefore be classed almost with the instincts, for it is not
a response to the reason alone, but is very powerfully bound up with the
emotions which have their seat in the spinal cord.

"It is true that this adhesion to custom is more absolute and
astonishing in the lower races and in the less educated classes, but it
would be difficult to point out a single case in history where a new
doctrine has not been met with bitter resistance. We justly regard
learning and freedom of thought and investigation as precious, and we
popularly think of Luther and the Reformation as standing at the
beginning of the movement toward these, but Luther himself had no faith
in 'the light of reason' and he hated as heartily as any papal dogmatist
the 'new learning' of Erasmus and Hutten.... We are even forced to
realise that the law of habit continues to do its perfect work in a
strangely resentful or apathetic manner even when there is no moral
issue at stake.... Up to the year 1816, the best device for the
application of electricity to telegraphy had involved a separate wire
for each letter of the alphabet, but in that year Francis Ronalds
constructed a successful line making use of a single wire. Realising the
importance of his invention, he attempted to get the British government
to take it up, but was informed that 'telegraphs of any kind are now
wholly unnecessary, and no other than the one in use will be adopted.'"

The reader will doubtless be able to add from his own experience and
observation examples which will support Professor Thomas's admirable
account of the power of custom. Among many barbarous tribes certain
foods, like eggs, are _taboo_; no one knows why they should not be
eaten; but tradition says their use produces bad results, and one who
presumes to taste them is put to death. To-day, we believe ourselves
rather highly civilised; but the least observation of society must
compel us to acknowledge that _taboo_ is still a vital power in a
multitude of matters.

There is a still more forcible opposition to a recasting of the status
of women by those men who have beheld no complete regeneration of
society through the extension of the franchise in four of our States.
Curiously oblivious of the fact that partial regeneration through the
instrumentality of women is something attained, they take this as a
working argument for the uselessness of extending the suffrage. They
point to other evils that have followed and tell you that if this is the
result of the emancipation of women, they will have none of it. For
example, there can be no doubt that one may see from time to time the
pseudo-intellectual woman. She affects an interest in literature,
attends lectures on Browning and Emerson, shows an academic interest in
slum work, and presents, on the whole, a selfishness or an egotism which
repels. There never has been a revolution in society, however beneficial
eventually, which did not bring at least some evil in its train. I
cannot do better in this connection than to quote Lord Macaulay's
splendid words (from the essay on Milton): "If it were possible that a
people, brought up under an intolerant and arbitrary system, could
subvert that system without acts of cruelty and folly, half the
objections to despotic power would be removed. We should, in that case,
be compelled to acknowledge that it at least produces no pernicious
effects on the intellectual and moral character of a people. We deplore
the outrages which accompany revolutions. But the more violent the
outrages, the more assured we feel that a revolution was necessary. The
violence of these outrages will always be proportioned to the ferocity
and ignorance of the people; and the ferocity and ignorance of the
people will be proportioned to the oppression and degradation under
which they have been accustomed to live. Thus it was in our civil war.
The rulers in the church and state reaped only what they had sown. They
had prohibited free discussion--they had done their best to keep the
people unacquainted with their duties and their rights. The retribution
was just and natural. If they suffered from popular ignorance, it was
because they had themselves taken away the key to knowledge. If they
were assailed with blind fury, it was because they had exacted an
equally blind submission.

"It is the character of such revolutions that we always see the worst of
them at first. Till men have been for some time free, they know not how
to use their freedom. The natives of wine-countries are always sober. In
climates where wine is a rarity, intemperance abounds. A newly-liberated
people may be compared to a northern army encamped on the Rhine or the
Xeres. It is said that when soldiers in such a situation first find
themselves able to indulge without restraint in such a rare and
expensive luxury, nothing is to be seen but intoxication. Soon, however,
plenty teaches discretion; and after wine has been for a few months
their daily fare, they become more temperate than they had ever been in
their own country. In the same manner, the final and permanent fruits of
liberty are wisdom, moderation, and mercy. Its immediate effects are
often atrocious crimes, conflicting errors, skepticism on points the
most clear, dogmatism on points the most mysterious. It is just at this
crisis that its enemies love to exhibit it. They pull down the
scaffolding from the half-finished edifice; they point to the flying
dust, the falling bricks, the comfortless rooms, the frightful
irregularity of the whole appearance; and then ask in scorn where the
promised splendour and comfort are to be found? If such miserable
sophisms were to prevail, there never would be a good house or a good
government in the world.... There is only one cure for the evils which
newly acquired freedom produces--and that cure is freedom. When a
prisoner leaves his cell, he cannot bear the light of day--he is unable
to discriminate colours or to recognise faces. But the remedy is not to
remand him into his dungeon, but to accustom him to the rays of the sun.
The blaze of truth and liberty may at first dazzle and bewilder nations
which have become half-blind in the house of bondage. But let them gaze
on, and they will soon be able to bear it. In a few years men learn to
reason. The extreme violence of opinion subsides. Hostile theories
correct each other. The scattered elements of truth cease to conflict,
and begin to coalesce. And at length a system of justice and order is
educed out of the chaos.

"Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a
self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are
fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old
story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learnt to swim.
If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in
slavery, they may indeed wait for ever."

The speedy dissolution of family and state was prophesied by men when
first a girl took a public examination in geometry; whenever women have
been given complete control of their own property; when they have been
received into the professions and industries; and now in like manner
people dread the condition of things that they imagine might follow if
women are given the right to vote and to hold office. We may well
believe, with Lecky, that there are "certain eternal moral landmarks
which never can be removed." But no matter what our views may be of the
destinies, characteristics, functions, or limitations of the sex,
certain reforms are indispensable before woman and, through her, family
life can reach their highest development. Of these reforms I shall speak
briefly and with them close my history.

I. The double standard of morality for the sexes must gradually be
abolished.[423] Of all the sad commentaries on Christian nations none
is so pathetic or so tragical as the fact that for nineteen centuries
men have been tacitly and openly allowed, at least before marriage,
unrestrained liberty to indulge in sexual vice and intemperance, while
one false step on the part of the woman has condemned her to social
obloquy and, frequently, to a life on the street. This strange system, a
blasphemy against the Christ who suffered death in order to purify the
earth, has had its defenders not merely among the uneducated who do not
think, but even among the most acute intellects. The philosopher Hume
justifies it by commenting on the vastly greater consequences attendant
on vice in women than in men; divines like Jeremy Taylor have encouraged
it by urging women meekly to bear the sins of their husbands. This
subject is one of the great _taboos_ in modern society. Let me exhort
the reader to go to any physician and get from him the statistics of
gonorrhea and syphilis which he has met in his practice; let him learn
of the children born blind and of wives rendered invalid for life
because their husbands once sowed a crop of wild oats with the sanction
of society; let him read the Report of the Committee of Fifteen in New
York (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1902) on _The Social Evil_, the records of the
Watch and Ward Society in Boston, or the recent report of the special
jury in New York which investigated the "White Slave Traffic."[424]

The plain facts are not pleasant. A system which has been in vogue from
the beginning of history cannot be changed in a decade; but the desired
state of things will be more speedily achieved and immediate good will
be accomplished by three reforms which may be begun at once--have begun,
in fact. In the first place, the "age of legal consent" should be
uniformly twenty-one. In most States to-day it is fourteen or
sixteen.[425] To the ordinary mind it is a self-evident proposition that
a girl of those ages, the slippery period of puberty, can but seldom
realise what she is doing when she submits herself to the lust of
scoundrels. But the minds of legislators pass understanding; and when, a
few years ago, a woman in the Legislature of Colorado proposed to have
the age of consent raised from sixteen to twenty-one, such a storm of
protest came from her male colleagues that the measure had to be
abandoned. In the second place the public should be made better
acquainted with the facts of prostitution. When people once realise
thoroughly what sickness and social ulcers result from the presence in
the city of New York of 100,000 debauched women (and the estimate is
conservative)--when they begin to reflect that their children must grow
up in such surroundings, then perhaps they will question the expediency
of the double standard of morality and will insist that what is wrong
for a woman is wrong for a man. It is a fact, to be borne carefully in
mind, that the vast majority of prostitutes begin their career below the
age of _eighteen_ and usually at the instigation of adult _men_, who
take advantage of their ignorance or of their poverty. If the miserable
Thaw trial did nothing else, it at least once more called public
attention to conditions which every intelligent man knows have existed
for years. Something can also be done by statute. New York has made
adultery a crime; and the State of Washington requires a physical
examination of the parties before marriage. In the third place,
physicians should take more pains to educate men to the knowledge that a
continent life is not a detriment to health--the contrary belief being
more widely spread than is usually suspected.

II. In the training of women, care should be taken to impress upon them
that they are not toys or spoiled children, but fellow-citizens, devoted
to the common task of advancing the ideals of the nation to their goal.

The woman's cause is man's; they rise or sink
Together, dwarf'd or godlike, bond or free:
If she be small, slight-natured, miserable,
How shall men grow?

TENNYSON, _The Princess_.

A Being breathing thoughtful breath,
A Traveller between life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;
A perfect Woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a Spirit still, and bright
With something of an angel light.

WORDSWORTH.

Towards a higher conception of their duties, women are steadily
advancing. It often happens that the history of words will give a hint
of the progress of civilisation. Such a story is told by the use of
_lady_ and _woman_. Not many decades ago the use of the word _woman_ in
referring to respectable members of the sex was interpreted as a lack of
courtesy. To-day, women prefer to be called _women_.

III. Women should be given the full right to enter any profession or
business which they may desire. As John Stuart Mill says:

"The proper sphere for any human being is the highest sphere that being
is capable of attaining; and this cannot be ascertained without complete
liberty of choice."

"We are, as always, in a period of transition," remarks Mr.
Bjoerkman,[426] "the old forms are falling away from us on every side.
Concerning the new ones we are still uncertain and divided. Whether
woman shall vote or not, is not the main issue. She will do so sooner or
later if it suits her. No, the imperative question confronting us is
this: What are we to do that her life once more may be full and useful
as it used to be? That question cannot be answered by anybody but
herself. Furthermore, it can only be answered on the basis of actual
experience. And urged onward by her never-failing power of intuition,
woman has for once taken to experimenting. She has, if you please,
become temporarily catabolic. But it means merely that she is seeking
for new means to fulfil her nature, not for ways of violating it. And
the best thing--nay, the only thing--man can do to help her is to stand
aside and keep his faith, both in her and in life. Whether it be the
franchise, or the running of railroads, or public offices, that her
eager hands and still more eager soul should happen to reach out for, he
must give her free way. All she wants is to find herself, and for this
purpose she must try everything that once was foreign to her being: the
trial over, she will instinctively and unfailingly pick out the right
new things to do, and will do them."

The opening up of professions and industries to woman has been of
incalculable benefit to her. Of old the unmarried woman could do little
except sit by the fire and spin or make clothing for the South Sea
Islanders. Her limited activities caused a corresponding influence on
her character. People who have nothing to do will naturally find an
outlet for their superfluous energy in gossip and all the petty things
of life; if isolated from a share in what the world is doing, they will
no less naturally develop eccentricities of character and will grow old
prematurely. To-day, by being allowed a part in civic and national
movements, women can "get out of themselves"--a powerful therapeutic
agent. Mrs. Ella Young, a woman of sixty, was last year made
Superintendent of the great Public School System of Chicago. Fraeulein
Anna Heinrichsdorff is the first woman in Germany to get an engineer's
diploma, very recently bestowed upon her; an "excellent" mark was given
Fraeulein Heinrichsdorff in every part of her examination by the Berlin
Polytechnic Institute. Miss Jean Gordon, the only factory inspector in
Louisiana, is at present waging a strong fight against the attempt to
exempt "first-class" theatres from the child-labour law. Mrs. Nellie
Upham, of Colorado, is President and General Manager of the Gold Divide
Mining, Milling, and Tunnel Company of Colorado and directs 300 workmen.
These are a few examples out of some thousands of what woman is
doing.[427] And yet there are men who do not believe she should do
anything but wash dishes and scrub.

Much more serious is the glaring discrepancy in the wages paid to men
and to women. For doing precisely the same work as a man and often doing
it better, woman receives a much lower wage. The reasons are several
and specious. We are told that men have families to support, that women
do not have such expensive tastes as men, that they are incapable of
doing as much as men, that by granting them equal wages one of the
inducements to marry is removed. These arguments are generally used with
the greatest gravity by bachelors. If men have families to support,
women by the hundreds support brothers and sisters and weak parents.
That they are incapable of doing as much sounds unconvincing to one who
has seen the work of sweat-shops. The argument that men have more
expensive tastes to satisfy is too feeble to deserve attention. Finally,
when men argue that women should be forced to marry by giving them
smaller wages, they are simply reverting to the time-honoured idea that
the goal of every women's ambition should be fixed as matrimony. If the
low wages of women produced no further consequence, one might dismiss
the matter as not of essential importance; but inadequate pay has been
found too frequently to be a direct cause of prostitution. No girl can
well keep body and soul together on four dollars a week and some
business managers have been known to inform their women employees with
frankness that a "gentleman friend" is a necessary adjunct to a limited
income.

The women who suffer most from low wages are probably the teachers in
our primary schools. They start usually on a salary of about three
hundred and fifty dollars a year. For this each teacher performs all the
minute labour and bears all the nervous strain of instructing sixty
pupils six and a half hours a day and of correcting dozens of papers far
into the night. And when crime increases or the pupils are not
universally successful in business, the school teacher has the added
pleasure of getting blamed for it, being told that she ought to have
trained them better. These facts lend some colour to Mark Twain's sage
reflection that God at first made idiots--that was for practice; then
he made school boards.

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