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EXTENDING THE RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE TO WOMEN.
COMMITTEE ON WOMAN SUFFRAGE..
The committee this day met, Hon. John E. Raker (chairman presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. The Committee on Woman Suffrage has met this morning for the purpose of giving various parties an opportunity to be heard on House joint resolution 200, and which is as follows:
[H. J. Res. 200, Sixty-fifth Congress, second session.]
JOINT RESOLUTION Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States extending the right of suffrage to women.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article be proposed to the legislatures of the several States as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said legislatures, shall be valid as part of said Constitution, namely:
"SECTION 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. "SEC. 2. Congress shall have power, by appropriate legislation, to enforce the provisions of this article."
This joint resolution proposes a constitutional amendment extending the right of suffrage to women. We have determined to first hear the National American Woman Suffrage Association and then the Woman's Party, giving the latter organization an opportunity to be heard to-morrow, if they all get here. Mrs. Wadsworth and her organization will be given a full hearing. We will not fix the time this morning, but will proceed and see how we progress, trying to equalize it so as to give all parties a full opportunity to be heard. The idea is to complete the hearings by the 7th. Therefore I wish the different organizations would arrange and control their time; also designate their speakers.
Mrs. Park will now be recognized.
Mrs. PARK. I represent the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed, Mrs. Park.
STATEMENT OF MRS. MAUDE WOOD PARK.
Mrs. PARK. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, in speaking for the National American Woman Suffrage Association I wish to say, first of all, that we realize as fully as you realize that
the question before your committee is not the question of suffrage itself, but the question of the submission of the suffrage amendment for ratification, by the usual method of procedure, by the respective States. We realize as fully as you do that neither your committee nor the Congress.itself can enfranchise the women of this country, and, therefore, in the remarks that follow we hope to make our arguments bear especially upon the point which you have to consider, the point of whether it is wise at this time for you to recommend to the Members of the House of Representatives that this amendment providing for the suffrage of women be sent on its passage to the States.
When this amendment was first presented to Congress, at the request of our association, in 1878, there were strong reasons for its passage at that time. Those reasons were based upon the essential principles of democracy. They apply to-day just as strongly as they applied then, and they will always be potent so long as the ideal of government in this country is the ideal of government by the people. But in addition to those fundamental reasons there is a new set of reasons, due in part to the extraordinary gains that suffrage has made during the last year and in part to the tremendous crisis which our Nation is now facing and which demands of women, as well as of men, that their uttermost resources shall be poured forth if the crisis is to be adequately met. The speakers who will follow will call your attention to those new reasons, and I am sure that when they are done your committee will agree with us that the time has come when no party or group of men will longer want to take the responsibility of holding back from the States of this Union the opportunity for ratification which the submission of this amendment will give.
Mr. Chairman, our first speaker is a woman who was appointed by the Secretary of War to be the head of the woman's work for war throughout this country. By virtue of that appointment she is the chairman of the woman's committee of the Council of National Defense; she is also the honorary president of our association. She has had in her lifetime many titles and many honors, but I think there is none which has given her greater pleasure than her newest title of voter in the State of New York, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw.
STATEMENT OF DR. ANNA HOWARD SHAW.
Dr. SHAW. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for nearly a half century the women of this Nation have been coming before various committees of Congress asking for the passage of a Federal amendment to be submitted for ratification to the States which will enfranchise the women of the United States. The arguments, as Mrs. Park has said, which have been advanced heretofore are no longer urged against the passage of the amendment or against the enfranchisement of women. A new set of arguments has appeared, two of which are presented before your body at this time and were presented during the whole of the last session. They are, first of all, the camouflage which covers and seeks to obliterate the whole argument in regard to woman suffrage with the cry of pro-Germanism, pacifism, and socialism, and the other argument which is presented is based upon constitutional objections and obstructions and
parliamentary rulings. With the latter I think another of our members will deal, and I would like to deal with a part of the former objections. The delay in the progress of our movement seems so unnecessary in the face of existing facts. I have no objection to theories. Every human being has a right to his own theory, but theories are of no advantage whatever if they do not conform to facts. One theory is as good as another until facts disprove one or the other, and the theory which is advanced to-day on the basis of pacifism and proGermanism was all right in the minds of those who advanced it until facts disproved every charge which has been made.
The first of these is a very comforting one, that women are lovers of peace and that they are possessed of a very large sympathy for the sufferings of the human race. This certainly is not to the discredit of women, nor should it be laid against their participation in concerns of national importance. It is true that women are lovers of peace; it is true they have large sympathy for the sufferings of the human race; we admit those two charges. But when you can disprove a point made by your opponent by your opponent's own arguments, I believe it is conceded in law that you have won two points instead of one. Those who advanced this argument most strongly are the women opposed to the enfranchisement of women and they claim that they oppose it on the ground that women are pacifists, and that possessing these characteristics are unfit for active service as citizens during a time of great distress and war. Then they also claim that the vast majority of women in this country are opposed to the enfranchisement of women. These opponents of the enfranchisement of women are opposed to pacifism and opposed to any attempt for peace; therefore, they have themselves proved that the large majority of women are opposed to pacifism and opposed to an undesirable peace, provided we accept their statements. Now, having by their own statements proven that the women who are opposed to suffrage are opposed to pacifism and to an inconclusive peace, we have simply to turn to those who are in favor of suffrage and who it is claimed are in favor of peace.
As I said a moment ago, we grant that we are in favor of peace; we grant that we have a large sympathy for the sufferings of the human race, but we also claim to be possessed of intelligence and of more or less knowledge, and intelligence and knowledge have convinced us that there could be nothing more disastrous to the human race than an undesirable peace at this time; that such a peace would lead to greater suffering than a continuation of the war. Therefore, because we love peace and because we have large sympathy for the sufferings of humanity, we are opposed to anything which will bring to pass a peace which does not forever and forever make it impossible that such sufferings shall be again inflicted on the world. Also because of that knowledge that we possess, added to our natural love of peace and sympathy, we are not pacifists in the sense of desiring an undesirable peace at this time, and the women of the whole world take that stand with us. We have only to face the facts; we have only to look the conditions of our times in the face to know that any charges that women as a whole are not courageous, are not patriotic, and not devoted to the highest interests of their country are wholly false. We have proof in the facts which confront us from