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


No effort is made in the following pages to present an argument for woman suffrage. No careful observer of the modern trend of human affairs, doubts that “governments of the people“ are destined to replace the monarchies of the world. No listener will fail to hear the rumble of the rising tide of democracy. No watcher of events will deny that the women of all civilized lands will be enfranchised eventually as part of the people entitled to give consent and no American possessed of political foresight doubts woman suffrage in our land as a coming fact.

The discussion herein is strictly confined to the reasons why an amendment to the Federal Constitution is the most appropriate method of dealing with the question. This proposed amendment was introduced into Congress in 1878 at the request of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Since 1882 the Senate Committee has reported it with a favorable majority every year except in 1890 and 1896. Twice only has it gone to vote in the Senate. The first time was on January 25, 1887; the second, March 19, 1914. In the House it has been reported from Committee seven times, twice by a favorable majority, three times by an adverse majority and twice without recommendation. The House has allowed the measure to come to vote but once, in 1915. Yet while women of the nation in large and increasing numbers have stood at doors of Congress waiting and hoping, praying and appealing for the democratic right to have their opinions counted in affairs of their government, millions of men have entered through our gates and automatically have passed into voting citizenship without cost of money, time or service, eye, without knowing what it meant or asking for the privilege. Among the enfranchised there are vast groups of totally illiterates, and others of gross ignorance, groups of men of all nations of Europe, uneducated Indians and Negroes. Among the unenfranchised are the owners of millions of dollars worth of property, college presidents and college graduates, thousands of teachers in universities, colleges and public schools, physicians, lawyers, dentists, journalists, heads of businesses, representatives of every trade and occupation and thousands of the nation's homekeepers. The former group secured its vote without the asking; the latter appeals in vain to Congress for the removal of the stigma this inexplicable contrast puts upon their sex. It is hoped this little book may gain attention where other means have failed.

C. C. C.

January, 1917.