Woman suffrage by federal constitutional amendment, comp. by Carrie Chapman Catt : Stories, History

7. Treatment of Question Demands Intelligence.

The handicaps of a popular vote upon a question of human liberty which must be described in technical language will be clear to all who think. It is probable that at least a fourth of the voters in West Virginia, one of the recent suffrage campaign states, could not define the following words intelligently: constitution, amendment, franchise, suffrage, majority, plurality. It is probable they would succeed even less well at an attempt to give an account of the Declaration of Independence, the Revolution, Taxation without Representation, the will of the majority, popular government. Such men might make a fairly intelligent choice of men for local offices because their minds are trained to deal with persons and concrete things. They could decide between Mr. Wilson and Mr. Hughes with some discrimination, but would have slight if any knowledge of the platforms upon which either stood. A referendum in many of our states, means to defer woman suffrage until the most ignorant, most narrow-minded, most un-American, are ready for it. The removal of the question to the higher court of the Congress and the Legislatures of the several states means that it will be established when the intelligent, Americanized, progressive people of the country are ready for it.