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

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One of the most interesting examples of recent evolution in the
industrial status of women is the decision of the Supreme Court of
Illinois in the so-called Ritchie Case. The last Legislature of Illinois
passed a law limiting to ten hours the working day of women in factories
and stores. Now, as far back as 1893, the Legislature had passed a
similar law limiting woman's labour to _eight_ hours; but the Supreme
Court in 1895 declared it unconstitutional on the ground that it was an
arbitrary and unreasonable interference with the right of women to
contract for the sale of their labour. When, therefore, this year a
ten-hour bill was tried, W.C. Ritchie, who had secured the nullification
of the act of 1893, again protested. The decision of the Court, rendered
April 21, 1910, is an excellent proof of the great advance made within
two decades in the position of women. Reversing completely its judgment
of 1895, the Court left far behind it mere technicalities of law and
found a sanction for its change of front in the experience of humanity
and of common sense. These are its conclusions:

"It is known to all men, and of what we know as men we cannot profess to
be ignorant as judges:

"That woman's physical structure and the performance of maternal
functions place her at a great disadvantage in the battle of life.

"That while a man can work for more than ten hours a day without injury
to himself, a woman, especially when the burdens of motherhood are upon
her, cannot.

"That while a man can work standing upon his feet for more than ten
hours a day, day after day, without injury to himself, a woman cannot.

"That to require a woman to stand upon her feet for more than ten hours
in any one day and to perform severe manual labour while thus standing
has the effect of impairing her health.

"And as weakly and sickly women cannot be the mothers of vigorous
children, it is of the greatest importance to the public that the State
take such measures as may be necessary to protect its women from the
consequences produced by long-continued manual labour in those
occupations which tend to break them down physically.

"It would seem obvious, therefore, that legislation which limits the
number of hours which women shall be permitted to work to ten hours in a
single day in such employments as are carried on in mechanical
establishments, factories, and laundries would tend to preserve the
health of women and assure the production of vigorous offspring by them
and would conduce directly to the health, morals, and general welfare of
the public, and that such legislation would fall clearly within the
police powers of the State."

IV. All phenomena that concern family life should be carefully studied
and their bearing on the state ascertained as exactly as possible.
There is no subject, for example, from which such wild conclusions are
drawn as the matter of divorce. The average moralist, but more
particularly the clergy, seeing the fairly astonishing increase in
divorce during the last decade, jump to the conclusion that family life
is decadent and immorality flagrantly on the increase. They point to the
indubitable fact that a century ago divorces were insignificant in
number; and they infer that morality was then on a much higher level
than it is now. Such alarmists neglect certain elementary facts. The
flippant manner in which marriage is treated by the Restoration
dramatists and by novelists of the 18th century, the callous sexual
morality revealed in diaries and in the conversations of men like
Johnson alone are sufficient to suggest the need of a readjustment of
one's view regarding the standard of morality in the past. A century ago
it was the duty of a gentleman to drink to excess; and it was presumed
that a guest had not enjoyed his dinner unless he was at least
comfortably the worse for liquor. This view of drunkenness is admirably
depicted in Dickens's _Pickwick Papers_, where intoxication is treated
throughout as something merely humorous.

There were just as many unhappy marriages formerly in proportion to the
population as there are to-day; but the wife was held effectually from
application for a divorce not only by rigid laws but by the sentiment of
society, which ostracised a divorced woman, and furthermore by her lack
of means and of opportunity for earning an independent livelihood.
To-day women are not inclined to tolerate a husband who is brutal or
debauched. Alarmists make a mistake when they place too much emphasis on
the seeming triviality of the reasons, justifying their course, which
wives advance when applying for a separation. For example, the phrase
"incompatibility of temperament" is in a great number of cases merely a
euphemism for something much worse. The clergy will counsel a woman to
bear with what they call Christian resignation a husband addicted to
drink or scarred by the diseases that are a consequence of sin.
Abstractly considered, this may conceivably be good advice. But viewed
in a common-sense way it is the duty of a woman to reflect on the
consequences of conceiving children from such a man; and the researches
of physicians will furnish her with incontrovertible facts regarding the
impaired health of the offspring of such a union. A law which would
permit of no divorce under such conditions, instead of benefiting the
state, would injure it in its most vital asset--healthy children, the
coming citizens. Doubtless the divorce laws in many States are too lax.
But sweeping generalities based on theory will not remedy matters.
Divorce may simply be a symptom, not a disease; a revolt against unjust
conditions; and the way to do away with divorce or reduce the frequency
of it is to remedy the evil social conditions which, in a great many
instances, are responsible.

The fact is, the institution of marriage is going through a crisis. The
old view that marriage is a complete merging of the wife in the husband
and that the latter is absolute monarch of his home is being questioned.
When a man with this idea and a woman with a far different one marry,
there is likely to be a clash. Marriage as a real partnership based on
equality of goods and of interests finds an increasing number of
advocates. There is great reason to believe that the issue will be only
for the good and that from doubt and revolt a more enduring ideal will
arise, based on a sure foundation of perfect understanding.


[415] See an excellent article on "The American Woman" by Miss Ida M.
Tarbell, in the _American Magazine_ for April, 1910.

[416] In 1893. "Be it resolved by the Second Legislature of the State of

"That the possession and exercise of suffrage by the women of Wyoming
for the past quarter of a century has wrought no harm and has done great
good in many ways; that it has largely aided in banishing crime,
pauperism, and vice from this State, and that without any violent and
oppressive legislation," etc.

[417] Women in Colorado have been of greatest service in establishing
the following laws:

1--Establishing a State Home for dependent children, three of the five
members of the board to be women.

2--Requiring that at least three of the six members of the county
visitors shall be women.

3--Making mothers joint guardians of their children with the fathers.

4--Raising the age of protection for girls to 18 years.

5--Establishing a State Industrial School for girls. There had long been
one for boys, but the women could not get one for girls until they had
the vote.

6--Removing the emblems from the Australian ballots. This is a little,
indirect step toward educational qualifications for voting.

7--Establishing the indeterminate sentence for prisoners.

8--Requiring one physician on the board of the Insane Asylum to be a

9--Establishing truant schools.

10--Making better provision for the care of the feeble-minded.

11--For tree preservation.

12--For the inspection of private eleemosynary institutions by the State
Board of Charities.

13--Various steps toward prevention of cruelty to animals.

14--Providing that foreign life and accident insurance companies, when
sued, must pay the costs.

15--Establishing a juvenile court.

16--Making education compulsory for all children between the ages of 8
and 16, except those who are ill or those who are 14 and have completed
the eighth grade, or those whose parents need their help and support.

17--Making the mother and father joint heirs of a deceased child.

18--Providing for union high schools.

19--Establishing a State travelling library commission.

20--Providing that any person employing a child under 14 in any mine,
mill, or factory be punished by imprisonment in addition to a fine.

21--Requiring the joint signature of the husband and wife to a mortgage
of a homestead.

22--Forbidding the insuring of the lives of children under 10.

23--Forbidding children of 16 or under to work more than six hours a day
in any mill, factory, or other occupation that may be unhealthful.

24--Making it a criminal offence to contribute to the delinquency of
children--the parental responsibility act.

25--Making it a misdemeanour to fail to support aged or infirm parents.

26--Providing that no woman shall work more than eight hours a day at
work requiring her to be on her feet.

27--Restricting the time for shooting doves.

28--Abolishing the binding out of girls committed to the Industrial
School until the age of 21.

29--A pure food law in harmony with the national law.

[418] In the _Boston Herald_ for June 4, 1910.

[419] Quoted in the _New York Times_ of Jan. 9, 1910.

[420] See, for example, Lyman Abbott in the _Outlook_ for Feb. 19, 1910.

[421] _American Magazine_, July, 1909.

[422] _History of European Morals_, vol. ii, pp. 379 and following. New
York, D. Appleton & Co., 1869.

[423] Note, for example, that in Maryland a man can get a divorce if his
wife has had sexual intercourse before marriage; _but a wife cannot get
a divorce from her husband if he has been guilty of the same thing_. In
Texas, adultery on the part of the wife entitles the husband to a
divorce; but the wife can obtain divorce from her husband only if he has
_abandoned_ her and _lived_ in adultery with another woman.

[424] On Jan. 12, 1910, a bill was introduced in the House of
Representatives to check the "White Slave Traffic" by providing a
penalty of ten years' imprisonment and a fine of five thousand dollars
for any one who engages in it.

[425] In some it is even lower; _ten_ in Georgia and Mississippi for

[426] In _Collier's Weekly_, Feb. 5, 1910.

[427] Note what the officers of the Chicago Juvenile Protective
Association, many of whom are women, accomplished in 1909-1910. These
women are fighting the agencies which make for juvenile crime mostly and
each officer has a specified "beat" to patrol. Last year their work
amounted to the following:

Complaints of selling liquors to minors investigated 295
Complaints of selling tobacco to minors investigated 52
Complaints of selling obscene postcards investigated 49
Complaints of poolrooms investigated 203
Complaints of dance halls investigated 92
Five and ten cent theatres visited 1,013
Penny arcades visited 67
Saloons visited 735
Relief visits 174
Cases referred to relief organisations 374
Legal aid cases referred 105
Referred to Visiting Nurses' Association 7
Housing cases referred 51
Applications for work referred 264
Placed in hospitals 103
Sent to dispensaries 192
Children placed in homes 240
Slot machines removed 223
Work found for men 57
Work found for women 81
Work found for boys 84
Work found for girls 90
Visits to ice-cream parlors 356
Visits to candy stores 805


Juvenile 451
Municipal 1,809
Criminal 211
County 86
Grand Jury 26
Conferences with state or city officials 1,244


Cases of abandonment 99
Assault and battery 8
Contributing to delinquency and dependency of children 232
Crimes against children 12
Disorderly conduct 141
Immoral dancing 4
Intoxicating liquors 33
Juvenile Court cases 78
Larceny 4
Tobacco 10
Sale of cocaine 4
Other cases 110
Total prosecutions 738

Convictions 311
Settled out of court 100
Nolle pros, or nonsuit 52
Dismissed 93
Acquittals 50
Pending 92
Total complaints received 5,047



In the four years intervening since this book was first written, the
progress of equal rights for women has been so rapid that the summary on
pages 175-235 is now largely obsolete; but it is useful for comparison.
In the United States at present (August, 1914), Wyoming, Colorado, Utah,
Idaho, Washington, California, Oregon, Kansas, Arizona, and Alaska have
granted full suffrage to women. In the following States the voters will
pass upon the question in the autumn of 1914: Montana, Nevada, North
Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio, the last three by
initiative petition. In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New York, and
Massachusetts a constitutional amendment for equal suffrage has passed
one legislature and must pass another before being submitted to the
people. The advance has been world-wide. Thus, in 1910 the Gaekwar of
Baroda in India allowed the women of his dominions a vote in municipal
elections, and Bosnia bestowed the parliamentary suffrage on women who
owned a certain amount of real estate; Norway in 1913 and Iceland in
1914 were won to full suffrage. The following table presents a
convenient historical summary of the progress in political rights:

On July 2, 1776, two days before the Declaration of Independence was
signed, New Jersey, in her first State constitution, en-franchised the
women by changing the words of her provincial charter from "Male
freeholders worth L50" to "_all inhabitants_ worth L50," and for 31
years the women of that State voted.


Eighty years ago women could not vote anywhere, except to a very limited
extent in Sweden and in a few other places in the Old World.


1838 Kentucky School suffrage to widows with children
of school age.
1850 Ontario School suffrage, women married and
1861 Kansas School suffrage.
1867 New South Wales Municipal suffrage.
1869 England Municipal suffrage, single women and
Victoria Municipal suffrage, married and single
Wyoming Full suffrage.
1871 West Australia Municipal suffrage.
1875 Michigan School suffrage.
Minnesota Do.
1876 Colorado Do.
1877 New Zealand Do.
1878 New Hampshire Do.
Oregon Do.
1879 Massachusetts Do.
1880 New York Do.
Vermont Do.
South Australia Municipal suffrage.
1881 Scotland Municipal suffrage to the single women
and widows.
Isle of Man Parliamentary suffrage.
1883 Nebraska School suffrage.
1884 Ontario Municipal suffrage.
Tasmania Do.
1886 New Zealand Do.
New Brunswick Do.
1887 Kansas Do.
Nova Scotia Do.
Manitoba Do.
North Dakota School suffrage.
South Dakota Do.


1887 Montana . . . . . . . School suffrage
Arizona . . . . . . . Do.
New Jersey . . . . . Do.
Montana . . . . . . . Tax-paying suffrage.
1888 England . . . . . . . County suffrage.
British Columbia. . . Municipal Suffrage.
Northwest Territory . Do.
1889 Scotland. . . . . . . County suffrage.
Province of Quebec. . Municipal suffrage, single women and
1891 Illinois. . . . . . . School suffrage.
1893 Connecticut . . . . . Do.
Colorado. . . . . . . Full suffrage.
New Zealand . . . . . Do.
1894 Ohio. . . . . . . . . School suffrage.
Iowa. . . . . . . . . Bond suffrage.
England . . . . . . . Parish and district suffrage, married and
single women.
1895 South Australia . . . Full State suffrage.
1896 Utah. . . . . . . . . Full suffrage.
Idaho . . . . . . . . Do.
1898 Ireland . . . . . . . All offices except members of Parliament.
Minnesota . . . . . . Library trustees.
Delaware. . . . . . . School suffrage to tax-paying women.
France. . . . . . . . Women engaged in commerce can vote
for judges of the tribunal of commerce.
Louisiana . . . . . . Tax-paying suffrage.
1900 Wisconsin . . . . . . School suffrage.
West Australia. . . . Full State suffrage.
1901 New York. . . . . . . Tax-paying suffrage; local taxation in
all towns and villages of the State.
Norway. . . . . . . . Municipal suffrage.
1902 Australia . . . . . . Full suffrage.
New South Wales . . . Full State suffrage.
1903 Kansas. . . . . . . . Bond suffrage.
Tasmania. . . . . . . Full State suffrage.
1905 Queensland. . . . . . Do.
1906 Finland . . . . . . . Full suffrage; eligible for all offices.
1907 Norway. . . . . . . . Full parliamentary suffrage to the 300,000
women who already had municipal
Sweden. . . . . . . . Eligible to municipal offices.
Denmark . . . . . . . Can vote for members of boards of public
charities and serve on such boards.
England . . . . . . . Eligible as mayors, aldermen, and county
and town councilors.
Oklahoma. . . . . . . New State continued school suffrage for
1908 Michigan. . . . . . . Taxpayers to vote on question of local
taxation and granting of franchises.
Denmark . . . . . . . Women who are taxpayers or wives of
taxpayers vote for all offices except
members of Parliament.
Victoria. . . . . . . Full State suffrage.
1909 Belgium . . . . . . . Can vote for members of the conseils
des prudhommes, and also eligible.
Province of Voralberg Single women and widows paying taxes
(Austrian Tyrol) were given a vote.
Ginter Park, VA . . . Tax-paying women, a vote on all
municipal questions.
1910 Washington. . . . . . Full suffrage.
New Mexico. . . . . . School suffrage.


1910 Norway. . . . . . . . Municipal suffrage made universal.
Three-fifths of the women had it
Bosnia. . . . . . . . Parliamentary vote to women owning a
certain amount of real estate.
Diet of the Crown . . Suffrage to the women of its capital city
Prince of Krain Laibach.
India (Gaekwar of . . Women in his dominions vote in municipal
Baroda) elections.
Wurttemberg . . . . . Women engaged in agriculture vote for
Kingdom of members of the chamber of agriculture;
also eligible.
New York. . . . . . . Women in all towns, villages and
third-class cities vote on bonding
1911 California. . . . . . Full suffrage.
Honduras. . . . . . . Municipal suffrage in capital city, Belize.
Iceland . . . . . . . Parliamentary suffrage for women over
25 years.
1912 Oregon. . . . . . . . Full suffrage.
Arizona . . . . . . . Do.
Kansas. . . . . . . . Do.
1913 Alaska. . . . . . . . Do.
Norway. . . . . . . . Do.
Illinois. . . . . . . Suffrage for statutory officials
(including presidential electors and
municipal officers).
1914 Iceland . . . . . . . Full suffrage.

In the United States the struggle for the franchise has entered national
politics, a sure sign of its widening scope. The demand for equal
suffrage was embodied in the platform of the Progressive Party in
August, 1912. This marks an advance over Col. Roosevelt's earlier view,
expressed in the _Outlook_ of February 3, 1912, when he said: "I believe
in woman's suffrage wherever the women want it. Where they do not want
it, the suffrage should not be forced upon them." When the new
administration assumed office in March, 1913, the friends of suffrage
worked to secure a constitutional amendment which should make votes for
women universal in the United States. The inauguration ceremonies were
marred by an attack of hoodlums on the suffrage contingent of the
parade. Mr. Hobson in the House denounced the outrage and mentioned the
case of a young lady, the daughter of one of his friends, who was
insulted by a ruffian who climbed upon the float where she was. Mr.
Mann, the Republican minority leader, remarked in reply that her
daughter ought to have been at home. Commenting on this dialogue,
_Collier's Weekly_ of April 5, 1913, recalled the boast inscribed by
Rameses III of Egypt on his monuments, twelve hundred years before
Christ: "To unprotected women there is freedom to wander through the
whole country wheresoever they list without apprehending danger." If one
works this out chronologically, said the editor, Mr. Mann belongs
somewhere back in the Stone Age. In the Senate an active committee on
woman suffrage was formed under the chairmanship of Mr. Thomas, of
Colorado. The vote on the proposed new amendment was taken in the Senate
on March 19, 1914, and it was rejected,[428] 35 to 34, two-thirds being
necessary before the measure could be submitted to the States for
ratification. In the House Mr. Underwood, Democratic minority leader,
took the stand that suffrage was purely a State issue. Mr. Heflin of
Alabama was particularly vigorous in denunciation of votes for women. He

"I do not believe that there is a red-blooded man in the world who in
his heart really believes in woman suffrage. I think that every man who
favours it ought to be made to wear a dress. Talk about taxation without
representation! Do you say that the young man who is of age does not
represent his mother? Do you say that the young man who pledges at the
altar to love, cherish, and protect his wife, does not represent her and
his children when he votes? When the Christ of God came into this world
to die for the sins of humanity, did he not die for all, males and
females? What sort of foolish stuff are you trying to inject into this
tariff debate?... There are trusts and monopolies of every kind, and
these little feminine fellows are crawling around here talking about
woman suffrage. I have seen them here in this Capitol. The suffragette
and a little henpecked fellow crawling along beside her; that is her
husband. She is a suffragette, and he is a mortal suffering yet."

Mr. Falconer of Washington rose in reply. He remarked:[430]

"I want to observe that the mental operation of the average woman in the
State of Washington, as compared to the ossified brain operation of the
gentleman from Alabama, would make him look like a mangy kitten in a
tiger fight. The average woman in the State of Washington knows more
about social economics and political economy in one minute than the
gentleman from Alabama has demonstrated to the members of this House
that he knows in five minutes."

On February 2, 1914, a delegation of women called upon President Wilson
to ascertain his views. The President refused to commit himself. He was
not at liberty, he said, to urge upon Congress policies which had not
the endorsement of his party's platform; and as the representative of
his party he was under obligations not to promulgate or intimate his
individual convictions. On February 3, 1914, the Democrats of the House
in caucus, pursuant to a resolution of Mr. Heflin, refused to create a
woman suffrage committee. So the constitutional amendment was quite
lost. In the following July Mr. Bryan suddenly issued a strong appeal
for equal suffrage in the _Commoner_. Among his arguments were these:

"As man and woman are co-tenants of the earth and must work out their
destiny together, the presumption is on the side of equality of
treatment in all that pertains to their joint life and its
opportunities. The burden of proof is on those who claim for one an
advantage over the other in determining the conditions under which both
shall live. This claim has not been established in the matter of
suffrage. On the contrary, the objections raised to woman suffrage
appear to me to be invalid, while the arguments advanced in support of
the proposition are, in my judgment, convincing."

"Without minimising other arguments advanced in support of the extending
of suffrage to woman, I place the emphasis upon the mother's right to a
voice in molding the environment which shall surround her children--an
environment which operates powerfully in determining whether her
offspring will crown her latter years with joy or 'bring down her gray
hairs in sorrow to the grave.'

"For a time I was imprest by the suggestion that the question should be
left to the women to decide--a majority to determine whether the
franchise should be extended to woman; but I find myself less and less
disposed to indorse this test.... Why should any mother be denied the
use of the franchise to safeguard the welfare of her child merely
because another mother may not view her duty in the same light?"

The change in the status of women has been significant not only in the
political field, but also in every other direction. A brief survey of
the legislation of various States in the past year, 1913, reveals the
manifold measures already adopted for the further protection of women
and indicates the trend of laws in the near future. Acts were passed in
Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Ohio to punish the seduction
of girls and women for commercialised vice, the laws being known as
"White Slave Acts"; laws for the abatement of disorderly houses were
passed in California, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington;
Oregon decreed that male applicants for a marriage license must produce
a physician's certificate showing freedom from certain diseases; and it
authorised the sterilisation of habitual criminals and degenerates. The
necessity of inculcating chastity in the newer generation, whether
through the teaching of sex hygiene in the schools or in some other
form, was widely discussed throughout the country. Mothers' pensions
were granted by fourteen States; minimum wage boards were established by
three; and three passed laws for the punishment of family desertion, in
such wise that the family of the offender should receive a certain daily
sum from the State while he worked off his sentence. Tennessee removed
the disability of married women arising from coverture. Ten States
further limited the hours of labour for women in certain industries, the
tendency being to fix the limit at fifty-four or fifty-eight hours a
week with a maximum of nine or ten in any one day. The hours of labour
of children and the age at which they are allowed to work were largely
restricted. A National Children's Bureau, under the charge of Miss Julia
Lathrope, has been created at Washington; and Mrs. J. Borden Harriman
was appointed to the Industrial Relations Commission. The minuteness and
thoroughness of modern legislation for the protection of women may be
realised by noting that in 1913 alone New York passed laws that no girl
under sixteen shall in any city of the first, second, or third class
sell newspapers or magazines or shine shoes in any street or public
place; that separate wash rooms and dressing rooms must be provided in
factories where more than ten women are employed; that whenever an
employer requires a physical examination, the employee, if a female, can
demand a physician of her own sex; that the manufacture or repair for a
factory of any article of food, dolls' clothing, and children's apparel
in a tenement house be prohibited except by special permit of the Labor
Commission; that the State Industrial Board be authorised to make
special rules and regulations for dangerous employments; and that the
employment of women in canning establishments be strictly limited
according to prescribed hours.

The unmistakable trend of legislation in the United States is towards
complete equality of the sexes in all moral, social, industrial,
professional, and political activities.

In England the House of Commons rejected parliamentary suffrage for
women. Incensed at the repeated chicanery of politicians who
alternately made and evaded their promises, a group of suffragettes
known as the "militants" resorted to open violence. When arrested for
damaging property, they went on a "hunger strike," refusing all
nourishment. This greatly embarrassed the government, which in 1913
devised the so-called "Cat and Mouse Act," whereby those who are in
desperate straits through their refusal to eat are released temporarily
and conditionally, but can be rearrested summarily for failure to comply
with the terms of their parole. The weakness in the attitude of the
militant suffragettes is their senseless destruction of all kinds of
property and the constant danger to which they subject innocent people
by their outrages. If they would confine themselves to making life
unpleasant for those who have so often broken their pledges, they could
stand on surer ground. The English are commonly regarded as an orderly
people, especially by themselves. Nevertheless, it is true that hardly
any great reform has been achieved in England without violence. The men
of England did not secure the abolition of the "rotten-borough" system
and extensive manhood suffrage until, in 1831, they smashed the windows
of the Duke of Wellington's house, burned the castle of the Duke of
Newcastle, and destroyed the Bishop's palace at Bristol. In 1839 at
Newport twenty chartists were shot in an attempt to seize the town; they
were attempting to secure reforms like the abolition of property
qualifications for members of Parliament. The English obtained the
permanent tenure of their "immemorial rights" only by beheading one king
and banishing another. In our own country, the Boston Tea Party was a
typical "militant outrage," generally regarded as a fine piece of
patriotism. If the tradition of England is such that violence must be a
preliminary to all final persuasion, perhaps censure of the militants
can find some mitigation in that fact. Some things move very slowly in
England. In 1909 a commission was appointed to consider reform in
divorce. Under the English law a husband can secure a divorce for
infidelity, but a woman must, in addition to adultery, prove aggravated
cruelty. This is humorously called "British fair play." In November,
1912, the majority of the commission recommended that this inequality be
removed and that the sexes be placed on an equal footing; and that in
addition to infidelity, now the only cause for divorce allowed, complete
separation be also granted for desertion for three years, incurable
insanity, and incurable habitual drunkenness. The majority, nine
commissioners, found that the present stringent restrictions and
costliness of divorce are productive of immorality and illicit
relations, particularly among the poorer classes. The majority report
was opposed by the three minority members, the Archbishop of York, Sir
William Anson, and Sir Lewis Dibdin, representing the Established
Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. Thus far, Parliament
has not yet acted and the old law is still in force.

On the Continent, with the exception of a few places like Finland, the
movement for equal suffrage, while earnestly pressed by a few, is not
yet concentrated. Women have won their rights to higher education and
are admitted to the universities. They can usually enter business and
most of the professions. Inequities of civil rights are gradually being
swept away. For example, in Germany a married woman has complete control
of her property, but only if she specifically provided for it in the
marriage contract; many German women are ignorant that they possess such
a right. The Germans may be divided into two classes: the caste which
rules, largely Prussian, militaristic, and bureaucratic; and that which,
although desirous of more republican institutions and potentially
capable of liberal views, is constrained to obey the first or ruling
class. This upper class is not friendly to the modern women's-rights
movement. Perhaps it has read too much Schopenhauer. This amiable
philosopher, whose own mother could not endure living with him, has this
to say of women[431]:

"A woman who is perfectly truthful and does not dissemble, is perhaps an
impossibility. In a court of justice women are more often found guilty
of perjury than men.... Women are directly adapted to act as the nurses
and educators of our early childhood, for the simple reason that they
themselves are childish, foolish, and shortsighted.... Women are and
remain, taken altogether, the most thorough and incurable Philistines;
and because of the extremely absurd arrangement which allows them to
share the position and title of their husbands they are a constant
stimulus to his ignoble ambitions.... Where are there any real
monogamists? We all live, at any rate for a time, and the majority of us
always, in polygamy.... It is men who make the money, and not women;
therefore women are neither justified in having unconditional possession
of it nor capable of administering it.... That woman is by nature
intended to obey, is shown by the fact that every woman who is placed in
the unnatural position of absolute independence at once attaches herself
to some kind of man, by whom she is controlled and governed; that is
because she requires a master. If she is young, the man is a lover; if
she is old, a priest."

Essentially the opinion of Schopenhauer is that of the Prussian ruling
class to-day. It is indisputable that in Germany, as elsewhere on the
Continent, chastity in men outside of marriage is not expected, nor is
the wife allowed to inquire into her husband's past. The bureaucratic
German expects his wife to attend to his domestic comforts; he does not
consult her in politics. The natural result when the masculine element
has not counterchecks is bullying and coarseness. To find the
coarseness, the reader can consult the stories in papers like the
_Berliner Tageblatt_ and much of the current drama; to observe the
bullying, he will have to see it for himself, if he doubts it. This is
not an indictment of the whole German people; it is an indictment of the
militaristic-bureaucratic ruling class, which, persuaded of its divine
inspiration and intolerant of criticism,[432] has plunged the country
into a devastating war. It is not unlikely that the end of the conflict
will mark also the overthrow of the Hohenzollern dynasty. The spirit of
the Germans of 1848, who labored unsuccessfully to make their country a
republic, may awake again and realise its dreams. In concluding this
chapter, I wish to enlarge somewhat upon the philosophy of suffrage as
exhibited in the preceding chapter. The "woman's sphere" argument is
still being worked overtime by anti-suffrage societies, whose members
rather inconsistently leave their "sphere," the home, to harangue in
public and buttonhole legislators to vote against the franchise for
women. "A woman's place," says the sage Hennessy, "is in th' home,
darning her husband's childher. I mean----" "I know what ye mean," says
Mr. Dooley. "'Tis a favrite argument iv mine whin I can't think iv
annything to say." A century ago, the home was the woman's sphere.
To-day the man has deliberately dragged her out of it to work for him in
factory and store because he can secure her labor more cheaply than that
of men and is, besides, safer in abusing her when she has no direct
voice in legislation. Are the manufacturers willing to send their
1,300,000 female employees back to their "sphere"? If they are not, but
desire their labor, they ought in fairness to allow them the privileges
of workmen--that is, of citizens, participating actively in the
political, social, and economic development of the country.

As women enter more largely into every profession and business, certain
results will inevitably follow. We shall see first of all what pursuits
are particularly adapted to them and which ones are not. It has already
become apparent that as telephone and typewriter operators women, as a
class, are better fitted than men. They have, in general, greater
patience for details and quickness of perception in these fields.
Similarly, in architecture some have already achieved conspicuous
success. One who has observed the insufficient closet space in modern
apartments and kitchenettes with the icebox in front of the stove, is
inclined to wish that male architects would consult their mothers or
wives more freely. In law and medicine results are not yet clear. We
shall presently possess more extensive data in all fields for surer

A second result may be, that many women, instead of leaving the home,
will be forced back into it. This movement will be accelerated if the
granting of equal pay for equal work and a universal application of the
minimum wage take place. There are a great number of positions,
especially those where personality is not a vital factor, where
employers will prefer women when they can pay them less; but if they
must give equal pay, they will choose men. Hence the tendency of the
movements mentioned is to throw certain classes of women back into the
home. The home of the future, however, will have lost much of the
drudgery and monotony once associated with it. The ingenious
labor-saving devices, like the breadmixer, the fireless cooker, the
vacuum cleaner, and the electric iron, the propagation of scientific
knowledge in the rearing of children, and wider outlets for outside
interests, will tend to make domestic life an exact science, a
profession as important and attractive as any other.

The home is not necessarily every woman's sphere and neither is
motherhood. Neither is it every woman's congenital duty to make herself
attractive to men. The "woman's pages" of newspapers, filled with
gratuitous advice on these subjects, never tell men that their duty is
fatherhood or that they should make themselves attractive or that their
sphere is also the home. Until these one-sided points of view are
adjusted to a more reasonable basis, we shall not reach an
understanding. They are as unjust as the farmer who ploughs with a steam
plow and lets his wife cart water from a distant well instead of
providing convenient plumbing.

Women who are fitted for motherhood and have a talent for it can enter
it with advantage. There is a talent for motherhood exactly as there is
for other things. Other women have genius which can be of greatest
service to the community in other ways. They should have opportunity to
find their sphere. If this is "Feminism," it is also simple justice. One
reason that we are at sea in some of the problems of the women's-rights
movement, is that the history of women has been mainly written by men.
The question of motherhood, the sexual life of women, and the position
of women as it has been or is likely to be affected by their sexual
characteristics, must be more exactly ascertained before definite
conclusions can be reached. At present there is too much that we don't
know. We need more scientific investigations of the type of Mr. Havelock
Ellis's admirable _Studies in the Psychology of Sex_[433] and less of
pseudo-scientific lucubrations like Otto Weininger's _Sex and
Character_. When human society has rid itself of the bogies and
nightmares, superstitions and prejudices, which have borne upon it with
crushing force, it will be in a better position to construct an ideal
system of government. Meanwhile experiments are and must be made. Woman
suffrage is not necessarily a reform; it is a necessary step in

One venerable bogey I wish to dispose of before I close. It is that the
Roman Empire was ruined and collapsed because the increasing liberty
given to women and the equality granted the sexes under the Empire
produced immorality that destroyed the State. The trouble with Rome was
that it failed to grasp the fundamentals of economic law. Slavery, the
concentration of land in a few hands, and the theory that all taxation
has for its end the enriching of a select few, were the fallacies which,
in the last analysis, caused the collapse of the Roman Empire. The
luxury, immorality, and race-suicide which are popularly conceived to
have been the immediate causes of Rome's decline and fall, were in
reality the logical results, the inevitable attendant phenomena of a
political system based on a false hypothesis. For when wealth was
concentrated in a few hands, when there was no all-embracing popular
education, all incentives to thrift, to private initiative, and hence to
the development of the sturdy moral qualities which thrift and
initiative cause and are the product of, were stifled. A nation can
reach its maximum power only when, through the harmonious cooperation
of all its parts, the initiative and talents of every individual have
free scope, untrammeled by special privilege, to reach that sphere for
which nature has designed him or her.

NOTE: The official organ of the National American Woman Suffrage
Association is _The Woman's Journal_, published weekly. The headquarters
are at 505 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

England has two organisations which differ in methods. The National
Union of Women's Suffrage Societies has adopted the constitutional or
peaceful policy; it publishes _The Common Cause_, a weekly, at 2 Robert
Street, Adelphi, W.C., London. The "militant" branch of suffragettes
forms the National Women's Social and Political Union, and its weekly
paper is _Votes for Women_, Lincoln's Inn House, Kingsway, W.C.

The International Woman Suffrage Alliance issues the _Jus Suffragii_
monthly at 62 Kruiskade, Rotterdam.

A good source from which to obtain the present status of women in Europe
is the _Englishwoman's Year Book and Directory for 1914_, published by
Adam and Charles Black.


[428] Twenty-six senators did not vote. The question of negro suffrage
complicated the matter with Southern senators. Mr. Williams of
Mississippi wished to limit the franchise to "white citizens"; but his
amendment was voted down. The list of senators voting for and against
the woman suffrage amendment appears on page 5472 of the Congressional
Record, March 19, 1914. The debate is contained in pages 5454-5472.
Senator Tillman of South Carolina inserted a vicious attack on northern
women by the late Albert Bledsoe, who advised them to "cut their hair
short, and their petticoats, too, and enter a la bloomer the ring of
political prizefighters." Bledsoe's article will be found in the Record,
July 28, 1913, 3115-3119.

[429] Record, May 6, 1913, 1221-1222.

[430] Record, May 6, 1913, 1222.

[431] Essays of Schopenhauer. Translated by Mrs. Rudolf Dircks Pages

[432] Any criticism of the Kaiser leads to arrest. The most vigorous
checks to Bourbon rule come from the Socialists, who in 1912 polled
4,250,300 votes. But as the Kaiser, as King of Prussia, controls a
majority of votes in the Bundesrath, or Federal Council, can dissolve
the Reichstag, or House of Representatives, at any time with the consent
of the Bundesrath, has sole power to appoint the chancellor, and is lord
supreme of the army and navy, anything like real popular government is
far off.

[433] Philadelphia, 1906. The F.A. Davis Company.



Adultery, under Roman Law,
laws modified by Justinian,
among Germanic peoples,
see also under various States.

Age of Consent, under English Law,
in the United States,
see also under various States.


Apostles, teachings about women,



Attainder, bills of, in Roman Empire,
laws of Arcadius, Honorius, and Constantine,
of Pope Innocent III.


Breach of Promise, under Roman Law,
modification by Constantine,
by Justinian,

Business, woman in, under Roman Empire,
in England,
in the United States
see also under each State



Chastisement, right of husband to chastise wife under English Law,

Christ, teachings about women,



Consent of women to marriage, under Roman Law,
opinions of Church Fathers,
enactments of Christian Emperors,

Crimes against women, under Roman Law,
among Germanic peoples,
under English Law,

Curtesy, defined,
under English Law,
see also under various States.

Custom, power of,



Discrepancy in wages paid to women,

District of Columbia,

Divorce, under Roman Law;
modified by Theodosius and Valentinian;
by Justinian;
by Justin;
among Germanic peoples;
under Canon Law;
under English Law;
general considerations;
see also under various States.
Double standard of morality
Dower, defined;
right of, in English Law;
see also under different States.
Dowry, under Roman Law;
among ancient Gauls;
among Germanic peoples


Education, rights of women to an,
under Roman Empire;
in England;
in the United States


Fathers of the Church, their commands concerning women


Gifts between husband and wife, under Roman Law;
changes by Justinian
Guardian, decay of power of, under Roman Law
Guardians, women as, under Roman Law;
laws modified by Justinian;
see also under various States.
Guardianship under Roman Law;
among Germanic peoples,


Husband and wife, under Roman Law;
among Germanic peoples;
under Canon Law;
under English Law;
see also under various States


Ritchie case,
Indian Territory
Inheritance rights of women, under Roman Law;
modified by Justinian;
among Germanic peoples;
under English Law
Intellectual inferiority of women, argument discussed


Jewish ideas about women




Lecky, analysis of character of women


Macaulay on the effects of freedom
Marriage, women in, under Roman Law;
opinions of Church Fathers;
among ancient Gauls and Germans;
among Germanic peoples;
under Canon Law;
under English Law;
modern changes in views of;
see also under various States.
Moral argument against suffrage


New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota


Old Maid, treatment of, by Christians


Partiality of Roman Law to women
Physiological argument against suffrage
Political or social argument against suffrage
Power of father, under Roman Law;
under early Christians;
among Germanic peoples;
under English Law
Professions, women in, in England;
in United States, and see under
various States;
need of opening all, to women
Property rights of married women, under Roman Law;
among Germanic peoples;
under English Law;
of widows and single women, under Roman Law;
among Germanic peoples;
under English
in the United States,
Protection of property of children under Roman Law,


Respect for women, among Romans,
among ancient Germans,
Rhode Island,
Ritchie case in Illinois,
Roman Catholic Church, attitude to women,


Second marriages, opinions of Church Fathers concerning,
Legislation of Christian Emperors,
Slaves, women, under Roman Law,
among Germanic peoples,
under Canon Law,
South Carolina,
South Dakota,
Suffrage, woman, in England,
in the United States,
see also under various States.
Suits, women engaging in, under Roman Law,


Theological argument against women's rights,
Training of women for higher ideals,




Vestal Virgins,


West Virginia,
Women: see under _Divorce, Dowry, Marriage, Husband and Wife_, etc.



Advance of equal suffrage, chronological tables,
Amendment, constitutional, for suffrage;
rejected by Senate;
and by House


Bryan, favours suffrage


Cat and Mouse Act


Divorce, proposals for reform defeated in England


Europe, general status of women's rights in


Falconer, Congressman, reply to Heflin


Germany, position of women in


Heflin, Congressman, speech on suffrage


Journals, official, of various women's organisations


Legislation, most recent examples of, for protection of


Mann, Congressman, remarks on suffrage parade
Militant suffragettes


Roman Empire, assumption that its fall was due to liberty allowed women
Roosevelt, opinion on suffrage


Schopenhauer, remarks on nature of women
Sphere, woman's sphere argument


Tendencies and results of women's rights movement


Wilson, President, position on suffrage

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