A Broken Record

With the racial justice events surrounding Ferguson and my neighborhood and my personal experiences of backlash while supporting the #blacklivesmatter movement, I decided to create an interesting perspective by combining my social activism and historical research – ta da!  I thought it would be interesting to examine the ‘anti’ perspectives from a historical lens in order to see how time does or does not affect people’s perspective on social justice issues.  But what I expect to see is a lot of the same language and excuses for people’s personal biases and justification for preserving the comfortable status quo.  The anti-arguments start sounding pretty much the same.   Let’s start playing the broken record and listen to the music…

Anti-Suffrage – 14 Feb 1900, Wilkes-Barre Record (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania)

from a letter as testimony in front of the Senate committee, read by Mrs. Arthur M. Dodge:

“… The ‘union’ referred to in the preamble to the constitution was one of states.  But if the phrase could be strained so as to refer to the union or harmony between men and women it seems evident that the suffrage would not tend to perfect this union, but would produce strife that would render ‘domestic tranquility’ a byword among the people and would be far from promoting the general welfare.  Women could not take part in the ‘common defense’ which is essential to establish justice.  The extension, therefore, of the suffage so as to include women would not merely be an invasion of the sovereign right of the state, but would tend to disrupt society.”

image courtesy MentalFloss.com

Anti-suffrage interviews from the 13 March 1912 Chicago Tribune:

Miss Alice Walsh, cigar clerk at the Auditorium hotel: “Me for woman suffrage? Never.  The women should stay at home and mind their families.  And if they haven’t any kids they should adopt a few.  It is no proper thing for women to be piking around the streets as politicians.  At any rate, I don’t think a one of those suffragets is sincere”

Bank teller:  “I am against suffrage.  Women are so flighty and careless, even in the important matter of banking.  There is no excuse for their voting.”

Fred W. Townsley, cigar clerk:  “I can only make fun of suffrage.  What will the politicians do?  They won’t be able to pass cigars among the women.  Will they hand out chewing gum?”

John J. Burke, clerk at the Congress hotel:  ” I can’t present any good argument, but I’m not for suffrage.  It seems to me that women should not invade politics.  They’re losing interest fast enough in cooking and dishwashing.”


Image courtesy of democraticvoices.com
Image courtesy of elections.org.nz


2 thoughts on “A Broken Record

  1. Garry Beucke


    I live in Saint Charles, Missouri and I know exactly what you mean. I heard a lot of complaints from drivers that were siting on the Blanchette Bridge the other night during the demonstration.

    I visit a mom and pop bakery in Ferguson and the Ferguson Brewing Company whenever I can but I was so sorry to see the people who lost their businesses during the demonstrations a year ago. These were hard working people who lost everything they had and even with insurance their lives were adversely affected.


    Garry Beucke

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