Why Women Should Not Seek the Vote



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Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, “Why Women Should Not Seek the Vote” (1869)

Source: From Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, “Why Women Should Not Seek the Vote,” 1869. Reprinted in Women and the National Experience, pp.100-101 2nd Edition, Ellen Skinner, Copyright 2003 by Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers

Questions

Text

Glossary


  1. Who are intelligent and benevolent persons that Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe refer to?

  1. What is the grand remedy that these intelligent and benevolent people want?

  1. Why do Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe think it is dangerous to bring women into the political sphere?

  1. What is the first argument that Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe make against women needing the right to vote?

  1. What solution do Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe offer?

  1. How does Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe describe men? What does that make women?

  2. What do women have to gain with the right to vote?

  3. According to Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe when will women get the right to vote?

Many intelligent and benevolent persons imagine that the grand remedy for the heavy evils that oppress our sex is to introduce woman to political power and office, to make her a party in primary political meetings, in political caucuses, and in the scramble and fight for political offices; thus bringing into this dangerous melee the distinctive tempting power of her sex. Who can look at this new danger without dismay?...




Let us suppose that our friends have gained the ballot and the powers of office: are there any real beneficent measures for our sex, which they would enforce by law and penalties, that fathers, brothers, and husbands would not grant to a united petition of our sex, or even to a majority of the wise and good? Would these not confer what the wives, mothers, and sisters deemed best for themselves and their children they are to train, very much sooner than they would give power and office to our sex to enforce these advantages by law? Would it not be wiser thing to ask for what we need, before trying to so circuitous and dangerous method? God has given to man the physical power, so that all that woman may gain, either by petitions or by ballot, will be the gift of love or of duty; and the ballot never will be accorded till benevolent and conscientious men are the majority - a millennial point far beyond our present ken.


benevolent- well meaning

caucuses- a meeting of the members of a legislative body who are members or a particular political party, to select candidates or decide policy.
melee - a confused fight, skirmish, scuffle
beneficent- good
confer- grant or bestow
circuitous- longer than the most direct way
conscientious- wishing to do what is right, to do one’s work well and thoroughly
millennial- a period of righteousness and happiness
ken- one’s range of knowledge or sight




Alice Paul, Why the Suffrage Struggle Must Continue (1917)

Source: From Alice Paul “Why the Suffrage Struggle Must Continue,” The Suffragist, April 21, 1917

Reprinted in Women and the National Experience, pp.168 2nd Edition, Ellen Skinner, Copyright 2003 by Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers

Questions

Text

Glossary


  1. What was decided at the national convention?

  2. What is the “highest interest of the country” that the Nation Women’s party is serving?

  3. As democracy is increasing in the face of war, what are women facing at home (in the U.S.)?

  4. Within the Democratic caucus what are willing to discuss?

  5. According to Paul, what war measure will create the greatest sense of unity?

  6. What does Paul mean, “It will always be difficult to wage a war for democracy abroad while democracy is denied at home.”?

  7. Do you find Paul’s linking suffrage to the U.S. involvement in World War I persuasive?

In our national convention in March, our members, though differing widely on the duty of the individual in war, were unanimous in voting that in event of war the Nation Women’s party, as an organization, should continue to work for political liberty for women and for that alone, believing, as the convention resolution stated, that in so doing the organization “serves the highest interest of the country.”...
Never was there greater need of work for internal freedom in this country. At the very moment when democracy is increasing among nations in the throes of war, women in the United States are told that attempts at electoral reforms are out of place until war is over. The Democrats have decided in caucus that only war measures shall be included in their legislative program, and have announced that they will take up no new subjects, unless the President considers them of value for war purposes. Suffrage has not yet been included under his head...No “war measure” that has been suggested would contribute more toward establishing unity in the country, than would the giving of suffrage to all the people. It will always be difficult to wage a war for democracy abroad while democracy is denied at home.


unanimous- two or more people fully in agreement


throes- intense or violent pain and struggle
electoral reforms- change in systems to improve public desires
caucus- A closed meeting of party members within a legislative body to decide on questions of policy

Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, “Why Women Should Not Seek the Vote” (1869)

  1. Who are intelligent and benevolent persons that Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe refer to?


  1. What is the grand remedy that these intelligent and benevolent people want?


  1. Why do Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe think it is dangerous to bring women into the political sphere?


  1. What is the first argument that Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe make against women needing the right to vote?


  1. What solution do Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe offer?


  1. How does Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe describe men? What does that make women?


  1. What do women have to gain with the right to vote?


  1. According to Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe when will women get the right to vote?


  1. Do you find Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s argument compelling? Cite specifics from the text to defend your position.


Alice Paul, Why the Suffrage Struggle Must Continue (1917)

  1. What was decided at the national convention?


  1. What is the “highest interest of the country” that the Nation Women’s party is serving?


  1. As democracy is increasing in the face of war, what are women facing at home (in the U.S.)?


  1. Within the Democratic caucus what are willing to discuss?


  1. According to Paul, what war measure will create the greatest sense of unity?


  1. What does Paul mean, “It will always be difficult to wage a war for democracy abroad while democracy is denied at home.”?


  1. Do you find Paul’s linking suffrage to the U.S. involvement in World War I persuasive? Why or why not? Cite specifics from the text.


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