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Mr. Dos Passos. They are not. They are stronger. Women to-day have more influence in this country than men who vote
Mr. NELSON. But you want her to occupy an inferior position. Mr. Dos Passos. No; no; a superior position. I don't want to see her dragged down from that superior position. I want to see her kept up there where she is to-day.
The CHAIRMAN. May the Chair request the audience to refrain from applause, which is interrupting the proceedings; it is getting quite late, and I am sure we want to hear these speakers. I would respectfully ask the audience to refrain from any more applause.
Mr. CHANDLER. Your position is this: That woman suffrage will have a tendency, sooner or later, to destroy the home and will hurt the social and moral standard of woman?
Mr. Dos PASSOS. Yes, sir; and to convert them into beasts; you might as well carry it on out.
Mr. CHANDLER. If you will excuse me a minute, I would like to go on. I understand there has been practical experience in this matter; women have been voting in Colorado for 20 years; it seems to me that is sufficient time, almost a generation; they have passed laws out there; there is a woman senator in that State, I believe.
Mr. Dos PASSOs. Yes, sir.
Mr. CHANDLER. They have voted to elect their governors, and their Congressmen, and all that sort of thing; it has been a practical experiment in the State of Colorado, and do you believe that the men of Colorado, or anybody else, would listen to you or believe your assertion if you should say that those women have been degraded on account of their having the right of suffrage?
Mr. Dos PASSOS. I do not say so.
Mr. CHANDLER. Well, if it doesn't take 20 years to do it, how long will it take?
Mr. Dos Passos. I do not know; but if you were to try it in New York for 20 years you would see how long it would take. You gentlemen, as legislators, are not making laws for to-day; you are making them for the future, and you should make them while looking far into the future. Your horoscope is there. You are not passing laws for to-day, or for 5 years, or 10 years from to-day
Mr. CHANDLER. What would be the limit of time for destroying the home?
Mr. Dos Passos. I have no limit of time, but you might say 50 years; I said so in a written pamphlet I prepared on this subject; but I tell you that so far as the history of the balloting of women in this country is concerned, if you will look back over the years since 1841, which is the date that has been fixed here, you will find a series of laws passed every one of which was to the advantage of women and which have lifted her into the superior position which she occupies to-day.
Now, one question I will put to you, and I want you to answer it: Is there a solitary piece of cruelty or act of injustice that could be committed against women to-day that would not be rectified by the House of Representatives without woman's vote? You answer that. Mr. CHANDLER. I think the House of Representatives would do that.
Mr. Dos Passos. Then, why do they want to bring themselves down from their superior position if their interests are fully protected?
Mr. VOLSTEAD. Isn't it true that women in many respects do not get the same consideration as men with reference to property? In some of the western States husband and wife are practically partners, but the woman has not ordinarily the same rights as to their property that a man has. Is not that true in most of the States?
Mr. Dos PASSOS. No, no; in the State of New York, which is followed by other States all over the world, a woman is the sole owner of her property, and her husband can not touch it.
Mr. McCoy. In New York a woman really has a higher right with respect to property than a man.
Mr. Dos Passos. You have it exactly right, sir; she has a higher right.
Just one word further, gentlemen, and I am through. I see there is a great deal of by-play in these hearings. I do not object to it myself, for I can take care of myself when I am on my feet, but I am very sorry to see that this question is not treated seriously enough.
Mr. VOLSTEAD. It is a question whether we ought to give them the right to vote. I am not going to discuss that now, but when it is contended that women have as much right in the matter of property as men I do not believe it. In my State
Mr. Dos Passos. Which is your State?
Mr. VOLSTEAD. Minnesota. Here are two people. They get married. By mutual effort they build up a property, and the woman very often works just as hard as the man, and sometimes harder, but if merged with that of her husband, the man owns the property, every bit of it, unless there is an express contract to the contrary. It is the law in my State, and, as far as I know, it is the law in many other States.
Mr. Dos Passos. Then, if I were you, I would go off that bench and go out there to redress that wrong.
Mr. VOLSTEAD. But isn't that true, that the man
Mr. Dos Passos. No, sir; it is denied; it is denied. It is not true in other States, and if the House of Representatives pledges itself to rebuff this movement we will go out to the State of Minnesota, and we won't leave there until she rights that wrong.
Mr. VOLSTEAD. What State are you from?
Mr. Dos PASSOS. New York.
Mr. VOLSTEAD. Then, I will venture the opinion that under the New York statute the same condition is true.
Mr. Dos Passos. No, sir; you can not; you are absolutely wrong. Mr. VOLSTEAD. Isn't it true that where they live together and by mutual effort acquire property, the man controls that property and practically does with it as he wants, unless there is some special arrangement to the contrary?
Mr. Dos Passos. No, sir; that is not true. The woman's share is her own property; that is separated by law.
Mr. VOLSTEAD. But what they earn by their mutual efforts?
Mr. Dos Passos. She has as much right to it as he has. The law gives it to her; she has the right to dissolve a partnership; she has the right of injunction.
Mr. VOLSTEAD. When did you change the law in New York?
Mr. Dos Passos. That was in the revision of the statutes, five years ago.
Mr. VOLSTEAD. Five years ago?
Mr. Dos PASSos. Yes, sir.
Mr. McCoy. I think it is a much older statute than that. The right of woman to her own property in New York was given much longer than five years, ago, wasn't it?
Mr. Dos PASSos. Yes, sir; but they revised the statute.
Mr. VOLSTEAD. Whether a husband and wife in New York own real estate as joint tenants or in common depends upon the deed, does it not?
Mr. Dos Passos. There is no joint tenantcy in New York. You can agree in writing, of course, as to the disposition of the property. Mr. VOLSTEAD. But that doesn't change the fact that money or other personal property earned by the mutual efforts of the two, unless kept separate, is presumed to belong to the husband, who controls it.
Mr. Dos PASSOs. No, sir; that is not so; it is absolutely incorrect. Now, Mr. Chairman, if you gentlemen will let me alone for five minutes without any questions, I will get through, because I know you don't want to hear much more of this to-day. I want to close this discussion, so far as I am concerned, with these remarks: You have before you two propositions. You have a proposition as to the jurisdiction of Congress to pass upon this legislation. That you have, and we need not refer to that. Then, if you come to the conclusion that you have the jurisdiction to pass the legislation, why, then, the question comes, Is it good policy; is it right to do it? Is it right to put on the Nation these eight or twelve millions of additional voters?
Now, one word in regard to the psychological and physiological aspects of this question which have already been most thoroughly touched upon by Miss Chittenden. We know the origin of creation, so far as divine history is concerned. The heat and cold were created, the light and darkness were created, water and fire were created, and man and woman were created. They were all in that general scheme of salvation which we read of in divine history. You might as well undertake to put light and darkness together and make them operate together; you might as well undertake to put fire and water together; you might as well undertake to make heat and cold one, as to undertake to alter the plan of creation with respect to man and woman and make them one, as is the aim of those who are seeking to get this legislation through Congress.
Mrs. DODGE. I don't think I will take up much of the time, Mr. Chairman, but I would like to say to the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Volstead] that if he will just give me a little memorandum of anything else that is not right in his State which they have been unable to correct, I will say that the antisuffrage advocates will see what they can do. I have just come from the State of Minnesota, and I have been much interested in what he says about the property rights of woman in that State.
Mr. VOLSTEAD. I understand you have the same thing in nearly every State; I have not looked up the law in the different States, but I know that in most States husband and wife are not partners in the products of their joint efforts; unless there is a contract to the contrary, the husband owns that property; it is not common property. So far as I am concerned, Mr. Chairman, the hearing is concluded.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Mary Walker requested the chairman a few days ago to allow her to speak here to-day. I don't know which side she is on, but if it is agreeable to the gentlemen of the committee we will hear Dr. Mary Walker now.
Mr. NELSON. I understand Dr. Mary Walker does not belong to either of these contending parties.
Dr. WALKER. I do belong to the International Suffrage Association of the District of Columbia.
Mr. NELSON. I know that Dr. Walker has the right to speak before the committee, but Mrs. Evans, representing the other side (suffragists), wished to have about five minutes in rebuttal, and then I was going to suggest we hear Dr. Walker.
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair will decide that the committee will hear Dr. Walker now for 10 minutes, and then the other side may have their time for rebuttal.
STATEMENT OF DR. MARY E. WALKER, OF OSWEGO, N. Y.
Dr. WALKER. Mr. Chairman and other gentlemen of the committee, I am the only one here belonging to the Interstate Franchise Association in this District who is here to speak, and if these gentlemen think that I am not entitled to more than 10 minutes I shall be obliged to yield, but I do not expect you will think any such thing in the face of the fact that so much time has been allowed that has had nothing to do with the question before you.
I am speaking to legislators who have solemnly sworn to support the Constitution of the United States, the most sacred oath in all the world. I am opposed to an amendment to the Constitution of the United States in the interests of woman, because you have no jurisdiction, and, besides, it would be tautology. My coat has touched a law college as well as yours, and I am to present to you the crowning Constitution argument which settles the vote question with all people, except those who, like Gen. Santa Anna, did not know when he was whipped.
It is for the States to remove the "null and void" word "male." I am very glad that you are all lawyers, and that you will all be capable of comprehending what has come from a woman's brain. I have had nobody to help me about anything I shall say to you. I do not put you on the plane of ex-Senator Dixon, of Montana, chairman of the Bull Moose national committee, who spoke about "the prattle about the United States Constitution being pitiably thin."
The greatest of pains was taken at the beginning of the four months work in framing the Constitution of the United States not to offend any class of citizens. They did not commence "We, the Army and Navy," or "We, the freeholders," or "We, the men," but "We, the people." This commencement was because the women in New Jersey had been voting 12 years before the Constitution of the United States was ratified, in 1787, by that State, and in Maryland they were voting before 1747. Maryland ratified the Constitution of the United States in 1788, and it went into effect that year, making 41 years that Maryland women had been voting before the United States Constitution was ratified.
Margaret Brent, a relative of Lord Baltimore, stated she "ought to have more than one vote," as men who owned men slaves who were of legal age to vote had a vote for each five, and in 1747 her holdings were investigated, long before the Constitution was even thought of, and she was told that "she could have but one vote," thus establishing woman's franchise as a principle for the government of the then 13 States.
Twenty-seven years thereafter in New Jersey, in 1774, the women commenced to vote, and continued to vote until 1844, when the legislature of that State barred them by passing an act that they knew women would not sanction and would not vote for their return. But they passed it, and it is so bad an act I am too modest to tell you what it was. Women did not know that the Constitution of the United States pronounced an "act in conflict with said Constitution null and void," and they submitted to that exclusive act.
When the Constitution of the United States was ratified by the 13 States, it was done under the guaranty that it should be a republican form of government, not half republican, and it was understood that all States should be sharers in all the rights of the respective States, and that no rights should be curtailed in any State that was enjoyed in any other State. They should be on an equal footing. Women had been voting in New Jersey and Maryland before the Declaration of Independence, and when the Constitution of the United States was framed there was not a thought of taking any rights from any State, well knowing that attempted oppression would prevent ratification.
The Constitution of the United States is the foundation of our Government; but for that there would be no Congress, no Supreme Bench, no President, and woe be to any citizen who belittles the executive, the judicial, or the greatest branch of all, the legislative, by attempting a wheedling process to defeat the provisions of the Constitution of the United States, as you see many women have been doing this very day, in clamoring for an "amendment."
President Wilson exhibited his intelligence when he refused to sanction a committee on woman suffrage in the House of Representatives, since there can be nothing to be brought before such a committee, as the United States Constitution fully recognizes women as having all the rights that men enjoy by having a clause that every State shall have a republican form of government.
The Crowning Constitutional Argument was sent to him and to all governors of States and he did not ignore it.
The women seaboard State voters were to be respected, since they were by location in possession of power to permit or invite Britain to land upon their soil if this was not to be a republic in reality, recognizing the rights of women citizens as well as those of men citizens, because they could not have been voting in either New Jersey or Maryland if they had not been citizens; citizenship carries all rights.
That the women of other States, besides New Jersey and Maryland, did not use the right to vote, did not preclude them from such rights, any more than that the clergymen of all denominations not using the right to vote, until they saw it was their right in the time of the Civil War, and began to vote unquestioned. No one can be deprived of rights because they do not use them as soon as accorded.