Hearing of the Woman suffrage association (1892)

Address of Mrs. Isabella Beecher Hooker.

Mrs. Isabella Beecher Hooker next addressed the committee. She said: Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I want to speak to you, gentlemen, as a grandmother. Miss Anthony speaks of me as if I was young; well, I am young in spirit. I have simply this to say: You all know those old Jewish words we read in the Decalogue, “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long in the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee.“ If we want to help the Republic, and if we want to perpetuate the institutions our fathers brought across the water, we have got to honor the mothers equally with the fathers in the Government; and for this reason, that to-day our law compel our sons the moment they are twenty-one years old to come to us and say: “My mother, I owe you much; sometimes I think all that is good in me has come from you, but to-day you will retire and I will rule. I will no longer listen to your counsel; the law will not permit me to in that sense, but I will make the laws for you and my sisters, and you must obey them. Henceforth I am your ruler.“

Now, friends, a government can not last long that teaches its sons to disrespect its mothers. It is our principle that we recognize the mother element in the Government as well a in the family. Suppose we tried to cross the ocean in a vessel with paddles and we locked up one set of paddles, how many Atlantics could we cross? Then another point: To-day we have all Asia and Europe coming here, which complicates our case. You do not get along as well as you did when you had no complication of foreigners and you lived entirely with each other; but to-day you have got to carry all Europe and Asia, and you have got to unlock the mother paddle and let American women's voices be heard, her powers be felt.