In the late 1970s, my mother was advocating ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and one of her organizations decided to make the editorial below part of the program they presented to other women’s groups. It is adapted from an editorial in a suffragist newspaper published in Garnett, Kansas, in the era when women were fighting for the right to vote. I guess the idea was to remind women of how far they’d come in the past century, commemorate the struggles of our foremothers, and be amusingly quaint.
They chose me to read this aloud because, at four years old, I was able to read these words (after some coaching on pronunciation and meaning) but still little enough to be cute and to fit into the old-fashioned dress and sunbonnet another woman in the group had made for her daughter several years earlier, and I wasn’t in full-day school so was available for these weekday events. I don’t know how many times I presented it, but it must have been at least a dozen. It was good practice in public speaking, and I learned a lot of history and vocabulary from my mother’s explanations of this text.
After I wrote in my previous article that I couldn’t find this document online, my mom sent me the text. The original title is different, but I remember using the title above, which I think is clearer and more persuasive. Anyway, here it is:
THIRTY REASONS WHY I AM A SUFFRAGIST
1. Because in the beginning God said it was not good for man to be alone.
2. Because it is just as bad for him to be alone at the ballot-box as in the Garden of Eden.
3. Because if woman was a help-meet for him there, she is equally meet at the ballot-box.
4. Because women have been rulers in other countries, and why not voters in this?
5. Because they have been a success as rulers there.
6. Because they will, we believe, be a success as voters here.
7. Because, besides being as intelligent, woman is the peer of man in purity.
8. Because purity and honesty are elements needed in politics.
9. Because of the class of persons who oppose it.
10. Because gamblers oppose it.
11. Because boot-leggers in Kansas oppose it.
12. Because “who-so-ever loveth and maketh a lie” (not referring to lawyers) is against it.
13. Because I don’t want to be classed with such persons.
14. Because ministers as a class favor it.
15. Because educated men strongly urge it.
16. Because all Christian patriots are demanding it.
17. Because some of our noblest women want it.
18. Because I delight to be counted with these classes.
19. Because “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”
20. Because our fore-fathers fought for that principal.
21. Because it is as much of an honor to fight for it now.
22. Because it is as bad to tyrannize over woman as over a few weak colonies.
23. Because there are many beautiful and smart old maids who will not tie themselves to a man and are thus unrepresented.
24. Because we believe women are less susceptible to bribery and corruption than men are.
25. Because they generally have a mind of their own. And,
26. because they sometimes have a piece to spare to the man who tries to dictate.
27. Because women are successful in every line of business.
28. Because the present condition of our government demands it.
29. Because it is right. And,
30. because, in the language of another, “I would rather be right than president.”
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