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Even Horace Greeley,[56] who had ever been a true
friend to woman, in favor of all her rights, industrial, educational,
and political, said the time had not yet come for her enfranchisement.

From _The Congressional Globe_ of December 11th, 12th, 13th, 1866, we
give the debates on Mr. Cowan's amendment. In moving to drop the word
"male" from the District of Columbia Suffrage bill, he said:

Mr. PRESIDENT: It is very well known that I have always
heretofore been opposed to any change of the kind contemplated by
this bill; but while opposing that change I have uniformly
asserted that if it became inevitable, if the change was certain,
I should insist upon this change as an accompaniment. It is
agreed--for I suppose when my honorable friend from Rhode Island
[Mr. Anthony] and myself agree to it, it will be taken to be the
universal sentiment of the body--that the right of suffrage is
not a natural right, but a conventional right, and that it may be
limited by the community, the body-politic, in any manner they
see fit and consistent with their sense of propriety and safety.

The proposition now before the Senate is to confer on the colored
people of this District the right of franchise; that is, the
advocates of the bill say that that will be safe and prudent and
proper, and will contribute, of course, to the happiness of the
mass of the inhabitants of the District; and they further say
that no reason can be given why a man of one color should not
vote as well as a man of another color, especially when both are
equally members of the same society, equally subjected to its
burdens, equally to be called upon to defend it in the field, and
all that. I agree to a great portion of that. I do not know and
never did know any very good reason why a black man should not
vote as well as a white man, except simply that all the white men
said, "We do not like it." I do not know of any very good reason
why a black woman should not marry a white man, but I suppose the
white man would give about the same reason, he does not like to
do it. There are certain things in which we do not like to go
into partnership with the people of different races and between
whom and ourselves there are tribal antipathies. It is now
proposed to break down that barrier, so far as political power
may be concerned, and admit both equally to share in this
privilege; and since the barrier is to be broken down, and since
there is to be a change, I desire another change, for which I
think there is quite as good a reason, and a little better,
perhaps, than that offered for this. I propose to extend this
privilege not only to males, but to females as well: and I should
like to hear even the most astute and learned Senator upon this
floor give any better reason for the exclusion of females from
the right of suffrage than there is for the exclusion of negroes.
I want to hear that reason. I should like to know it.

Now, for my part, I very much prefer, if the franchise is to be
widened, if more people are to be admitted to the exercise of it,
to allow females to participate than I would negroes; but
certainly I shall never give my consent to the disfranchisement
of females who live in society, who pay taxes, who are governed
by the laws, and who have a right, I think, even in that respect,
at times to throw their weight in the balance for the purpose of
correcting the corruptions and the viciousness to which the male
portions of the family tend. I think they have a right to throw
their influence into the scale; and I should like to hear any
reason to be offered why this should not be. Taxation and
representation ought to go hand in hand. That we have heard here
until all ears have been wearied with it. If taxation and
representation are to go hand in hand, why should they not go
hand in hand with regard to the female as well as the male? Is
there any reason why Mrs. Smith should be governed by a goat-head
of a mayor any more than John Smith, if he could correct it? He
is paid by taxes levied and assessed on her property just in the
same way as he is paid out of taxes levied on the property of
John. If she commits an offense she is subjected to be tried,
convicted, and punished by the other sex alone; and she has no
protection whatever in any way either as to her property, her
person, or to her liberty very often. There is another thing,
too. A great many reflections have been made upon the white race
keeping the black in slavery. I should like to know whether we
have not partially kept the female sex in a condition of slavery,
particularly that part of them who labor for a living? I do not
know of any reason in the world why a woman should be confined to
two dollars a week when a man gets two dollars a day and does not
do any more work than she does, and does not do that which he
does do quite so well at all times.

Mr. President, if we are to venture upon this wide sea of
universal suffrage, I object to manhood suffrage. I do not know
anything specially about manhood which dedicates it to this
purpose more than exists about womanhood. Womanhood to me is
rather the more exalted of the two. It is purer; it is higher; it
is holier; and it is not purchasable at the same price that the
other is, in my judgment. If you want to widen the franchise so
as to purify your ballot-box, throw the virtue of the country
into it; throw the temperance of the country into it; throw the
purity of the country into it; throw the angel element, if I may
so express myself, into it. [Laughter]. Let there be as little
diabolism as possible, but as much of the divinity as you can
get. Therefore, Mr. President, I put this as a serious question
for the consideration of this body. In the presence of the
tendencies of the age and in recognition of this movement, which
my honorable friend from Massachusetts is always talking about,
and of which he seems to have had premonition long before it came
to any of the rest of us--I say in the face of this movement and
in recognition of it, I earnestly beg all patriots here to think
of this proposition. It is inevitable. How are you to resist when
it is made the demand of fifteen million American females for
this right, which can be granted and which can be as safely
exercised in their hands as it can in the hands of negroes? And I
would ask gentlemen while they are bestowing this ballot which
has such merit in it, which has such a healing efficacy for all
ills, which educates people, and which elevates them above the
common level of mankind, and which, above all, protects them, how
they will go home and look in the face their sewing women, their
laboring women, their single women, their taxed women, their
overburdened women, their women who toil till midnight for the
barest subsistence, and say to them, "We have it not for you; we
could give it to the negro, but we could not give it to you."

How would the honorable Senator from Massachusetts face the
recent meeting of the Equal Rights Society in Philadelphia? How
would he answer the potent arguments which were offered there and
which challenge an answer even from the Senate of the United
States, when made by women of the highest intellect, perhaps, on
the planet, and women who are determined, knowing their rights,
to maintain them and to secure them? I ask honorable Senators of
his faith how they are to answer those ladies there? If this is
refused, how are Senators to answer, especially those who
recognize the onward force of this movement, who are up to the
tendencies of the times, who desire to keep themselves in front
of the great army of humanity which is marching forward just as
certainly to universal suffrage as to universal manhood suffrage.
Therefore, Mr. President, I offer this amendment and ask for the
yeas and nays upon it.

The yeas and nays were ordered.

Mr. ANTHONY: I move that the Senate do now adjourn. ["Oh, no!"]

Mr. WILSON: I hope not.

The PRESIDENT _pro tem._: The motion is not debatable and must be
put unless withdrawn.

The motion was agreed to; and the Senate adjourned.


SUFFRAGE IN THE DISTRICT.
IN SENATE, TUESDAY, _Dec. 11, 1866_.

The PRESIDENT _pro tempore_: If there be no further morning
business, and no motion is interposed, the chair, although the
morning hour has not expired, will call up the unfinished
business, which is the bill (S, No. 1) to regulate the elective
franchise in the District of Columbia, the pending question being
on the amendment of the Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. Cowan] to
strike out the word "male" before the word "person" in the second
line of the first section of the amendment, reported by the
Committee on the District of Columbia as a substitute for the
original bill.

Mr. ANTHONY: I suppose the Senator from Pennsylvania introduced
this amendment rather as a satire upon the bill itself, or if he
had any serious intention it was only a mischievous one to injure
the bill; but it will not probably have that effect, for I
suppose nobody will vote for it except the Senator himself, who
can hardly avoid it, and I, who shall vote for it because it
accords with a conclusion to which I have been brought by
considerable study upon the subject of suffrage. I do not contend
for female suffrage on the ground that it is a natural right,
because I believe that suffrage is a right derived from society,
and that society is competent to impose upon the exercise of that
right whatever conditions it chooses.



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