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Treatment of the Women's Deputations of November 18, 22 and 23, 1910, by the Police. London: The Woman's Press, Lincoln's Inn House, Kingsway, W.C.
The Life of Emily Davison, G. Colmore. London: The Woman's Press, Lincoln's Inn House, Kingsway, W.C.
The Women's Charter of Rights and Liberties, Lady McLaren. London: Grant Richards, 7 Carlton Street, S.W.
WOMAN SUFFRAGE AND THE LIQUOR TRAFFIC
BY ELLA SEASS STEWART,
Ex-President, Illinois Equal Suffrage Association and former Secretary of National American Woman Suffrage Association.
The equal suffrage movement has suffered from involuntary entanglement with contemporary reforms. In vain has it pleaded to be judged on its own merits. It has had to carry not only its own impedimenta but the prejudices and antagonisms belonging to other reforms. This condition is inevitable for the reason that suffrage is not an end in itself but a means to an end. It is a force which will necessarily have reactions upon many public questions. So those who are vitally interested in these questions calculate the probable effect of the woman's vote upon them and allegiance or antagonism to woman suffrage depends more upon the result of such calculations than upon the abstract phases of justice and right.
The easiest form of argument is the prophetic. Woman suffrage will do this and bring that either chaos or the millennium, according to the principles or prejudices of the prophet. The largest volume of prophecy respecting this proposed innovation has been on the effect of woman suffrage upon the liquor traffic. Many consider the temperance and woman suffrage movements as practically identical. Perhaps this connection started in the earliest years of the woman's rights movement when the battle for a woman's right to speak in public and to exercise all the rights of a delegate in deliberative assemblies was fought out upon the anti-slavery and the temperance society platforms. It was in a national temperance convention that Rev. Antoinette Brown Blackwell held her own for hours while the male delegates stormily proceeded through howls, jeers, and unseemly epithets to a favorable vote on her right to speak. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary A. Livermore and others of the pioneer suffragists divided their early activities among the woman's rights, the abolition, and the temperance movements. There is evidence, however, that those contemporary movements felt the embarrassment of woman's public support and there were those who preferred that these good causes should fail without
woman's help rather than win with it. They were reluctant to receive women members into full fellowship.
The Woman's Christian Temperance Union was organized a quarter of a century after the first woman's rights convention and was silent on the suffrage question for a number of years. Then Miss Anthony converted Miss Willard to suffrage, and she immediately grasped the idea of the expediency of the woman's ballot as a necessary "weapon for home protection." She carried through the next national convention an endorsement which the W. C. T. U. has steadily maintained, exerting a great educational influence in many states and nations.
But long before temperance organizations had seen the potentialities of the woman vote, the saloon men were fearing woman's governmental power. The first campaign to secure enlarged political power for woman was contested by the liquor forces and the last one will be.
The suffrage associations have studiously kept aloof from temperance organization endorsements. They have held that the suffrage question should be decided upon its own merits. They have been willing to receive into membership those persons who believe in woman's right to the ballot, irrespective of their views on any other question. They have claimed for each woman citizen the right to exercise her vote according to her own judgment. In the first suffrage campaigns the hostility of the saloons was less openly displayed and the suffrage leaders tried to walk softly around the sleeping lions. The public aid of known temperance sympathizers was frequently discouraged for fear the suffrage amendment might be compromised. But during the past few years the gauntlet has so repeatedly been thrown down by these forces that the suffragists now know the futility of hoping to gain either the support or the cessation of hostilities of those who profit in any financial or political manner from the liquor traffic. The atmosphere has been cleared and the lines drawn. We now know that the center and strength of the anti-woman suffrage army are the liquor traffic and its vicious allies.
The organs of "the trade" devote regularly a considerable portion of their space to anti-suffrage editorials, framed scare-head posters, scurrilous articles, poems and cartoons. These are the only anti-suffrage papers whose opposition remains on the low planes of
coarse abuse which characterized many more respectable journals in the forties and fifties.
The organ of the Wisconsin Retail Liquor Dealers Association, Progress, congratulating itself on its part in the defeat of the equal suffrage amendment in Wisconsin in 1912, says half apologetically:
During the recent campaign, Progress has been accused of using offensive methods in its warfare. It should be understood that what Progress did was for the benefit of its trade-it was educational-nothing more. A few "high-brow journalists" and a "knocker" tried to put Progress in a bad light. But the vote on suffrage in Wisconsin tells the story, and it also tells of the influence of Progress.
The Wisconsin suffragists arose from this defeat, brought about through all unhallowed means, and appeared promptly the following January at the legislature asking re-submission of this question. They secured a favorable vote in spite of the activity of the liquor lobby. Then Governor McGovern vetoed the bill.
At a public hearing on this bill the lobby of the "GermanAmerican Alliance" was represented by Mr. Robert Wild and Mr. Flanders of Milwaukee. The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison) edited by Richard Lloyd Jones, on March 23, 1913, says editorially that "by a slip of the tongue," when he meant to say 90,000 votes, Mr. Flanders came dangerously near the truth when he said that equal suffrage was defeated in Wisconsin by $90,000.
Evidence is available that enormous sums of money are collected and spent by "the trade" to defeat suffrage bills and amendments. "Woman suffrage means prohibition" is the slogan of these prophets of fear. In all the recent campaigns the cities have been placarded with the sentiment "A vote for woman suffrage is a vote for prohibition" but in the "dry" rural districts quantities of leaflets are circulated urging farmers to vote against suffrage because of the failure of women to abolish saloons in the suffrage states.
After the defeat of the suffrage amendment in Michigan in the spring of 1913 the Michigan Equal Suffrage Association issued a statement in which they declared that:
Every "wet" newspaper in the state opposed equal suffrage. Every "wet" politician opposed equal suffrage. Every saloon and liquor dealers' organization opposed equal suffrage. Every brewer and liquor dealer in the state opposed equal suffrage. The suffragists of Michigan have never made the question a "wet and dry" issue, but the wets have made suffrage an issue and we know that no one factor could have defeated us except the liquor forces.
This analysis was backed up by editorial comment of many leading Michigan papers. The Detroit Journal said:
The fight was made throughout the state by the liquor interests. They are the only opponents of suffrage who have any object in making an intense campaign. They made it an intense and thorough campaign.
The Lansing State Journal said:
Another reason for the defeat of suffrage may be found in the fight which the liquor interests made against it. With unlimited means at their command, they flooded Michigan with misleading literature and under the cloak of the anti-suffrage association, composed of well-known Michigan citizens, worked deadly harm.
The Kalamazoo Gazette said:
Last fall local liquor dealers vigorously denied any connection with the fight against the women, but this spring they all but openly boasted of it. There is no doubt but that thousands of dollars were sent into the state by outside liquor organizations and it was this "barrel of slush" that, more than any other one thing, encompassed the undoing of the suffragists of Michigan and sent them down to bitter defeat.
The Port Huron Times-Herald said:
There is no denying the fact that the liquor interests took a prominent part in the defeat of suffrage. The saloon men saw state wide prohibition staring them in the face if the suffrage movement was successful in Michigan. They worked openly against it and contributed largely to its defeat.
The opposition of the liquor forces is not gauged by the number of women actively engaged in temperance work. That number is still comparatively small. It takes no comfort from the fact that suffrage associations are non-partisan on all questions except suffrage. It would fear and fight off the enfranchisement of women if every temperance organization were to disband today. Therein it unconsciously pays its high tribute to womanhood and confesses its own lack of moral defense. Perhaps needless space has been taken to prove a condition so well known today as to need no citations. The forces of evil fear women's vote.
There are other men who prophesy an end to the saloon after the citizen mothers have a chance to meet it with equal weapons. They are the men who are perplexed by their own mistakes in government; men who distrust their own strength; men who reverence and believe in the nobility of women and who believe that the un