(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
WHY SHOULD SUFFRAGE BE
IMPOSED ON WOMEN?
Do they want it?
For many years the female suffragists in this State have been
doing all in their power to secure converts. They have an organ and
an organization. They have endeavored to convince women that they
are imposed upon and deprived of their rights, and that they ought to
be dissatisfied. Their arguments have been most ingenious and seductive.
Notwithstanding all their shrewd agitation, their following embraces only
a small minority of the women of the State. This statement can be con-
firmed by personal experience among women in various directions, and
by the fact that no encouragement was given by friends of female
suffrage to the Governor's proposal to submit the decision of the question
to the women of Massachusetts.
Would it promote the general welfare?
The average woman being no better than the average man, it could
not be a public benefit simply to double the present vote for good and
for evil alike. The female suffragists constantly inform us how one and
another good measure might have been carried if the men who advocated
it "could only have had the votes of the women who wished it also."
They seem utterly to forget that a measure is not carried by any fixed
number of votes in its favor, but by the proportion those votes bear
the whole number cast. The difficulty in American politics has long
been the proportion of ignorant, selfish, and thoughtless voters. These
elements would certainly exist quite as largely among women. There
is nothing in the mental or moral characteristics of women to make them
more scrupulous than men in the use of the ballot or in the conduct
of public affairs.
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The Massachusetts Man Suffrage Association argued that women's suffrage would not have a significant effect on government. Their argument was that it is the proportion of votes which decides issues, not the total number of votes. They also argued that women do not have better mental or moral characteristics than men, so that their votes would not have a sufficient impact. This article is interesting in that the men argue that women should not have suffrage "imposed" upon them, as if it would be a burden.
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"Why Should Suffrage Be Imposed on Women?
| author Massachusetts Man Suffrage Association
| date c. 1896
| location Boston, Massachusetts
| height 8.5"
| width 5.75"
| process/materials printed paper, ink
| accession # #L08.019
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