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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/107

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95
POLITICAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF WOMEN.

good? then will the era of social and political construction upon a grander order begin. Meantime, to the chorus of the citizen, the workingman, the serf, the slave, all accusing the old tyrannies of denied justice, is added the shrill note of "insurgent" womanhood—not universal womanhood, for universal womanhood, acquiescent and content in the spheres of service which her lot as wife and mother and other equally helpful relations to society give her, has not joined in the revolt.

The formula of the demand of "insurgent" womanhood is the ballot, but the ballot must be considered with all the power to make and administer the laws which it confers, with the probable changes in social customs it involves, and the new conditions it will present under which the struggle for life will go on.

I have assumed that the concession of the ballot, pure and simple, will not be satisfactory to those bodies that represent what is called the Woman's Cause. Senator Hoar, perhaps the most conspicuous man who has appeared as their champion, specially says: "I am quite willing to agree that no class of persons who are permitted to vote should be excluded as a class from holding office."

We may as well consider what changes in human society, and especially in the character and fortunes of woman, the new order of things sought to be inaugurated will be likely to bring about.

Immediately, and in one generation, not very many or considerable. Character, that has been slowly molded by certain influences, acting for long periods, will not be modified immediately by the withdrawal of those influences. Whatever deterioration occurs, whatever new hardships make the lot of woman more tragic, will only appear after adverse influences have had their full term of operation.

Neither in readjusting the duties toward society of the sexes respectively are men likely to insist that, in taking full political powers, women shall surrender any or all of their present immunities and privileges. The relation of the contracting parties is not one that will make any such rigid and hard bargain possible. But that surrender will inevitably be brought about by the indignant disdain of the women, who will have effected the social revolution, at being the recipients of any privileges which differentiate their situation or hamper them in their complete development. The inevitable ultimate result of subjecting the two human sexes to the same labors, the same employments, the same cares, will be just the same as when domestic animals have been subjected for long periods to the same conditions: sexual differences, physical and mental, will tend to disappear, and the two branches of the race will approximate a common type.

He has inadequately considered the nature of the demands