THE Monthly has lately given place to two articles on the subject of the demand which is now being made by some women on behalf of their sex to be allowed to participate in political life on a footing of perfect equality with men. One of our contributors has tried to show cause why the demand should not be granted, taking the ground that the change would be injurious to society as a whole and particularly injurious to the female sex. The other treats the arguments of the first with scorn, and, if we are not mistaken, betrays not a little of that "antagonism of the sexes" which nevertheless she declares to be "unnatural and vicious." The question is one which ought to be discussed with complete dispassionateness; and we think that on this score there was no fault to find with the earlier of the two contributions, that by Mr. George F. Talbot, in our May number.
Our second contributor, Miss Alice B. Tweedy, disclaims the idea that "woman suffrage is proposed as a panacea for social evils, or that it will usher in a millennial condition. Man," she adds, "would be disfranchised if such requirement was made of his vote." The retort is sharp, but is it logical? Miss Tweedy's main contention is that a suffrage restricted to men is fundamentally insufficient for the best social results; and yet she does not want that complete system of voting which she advocates judged by any higher standard than the present incomplete system. If, however, woman suffrage is not "proposed as a panacea for social evils," what is expected of it? Our contributor says that "stringent laws are needed to prevent various evils, and to make certain offenses punishable"; adding that "women are quick to recognize vicious tendencies that men with a greed for money-getting often overlook." "Men with a greed for money-getting" is a phrase which suggests reflections. What is the chief cause of the greed which men display for money? We do not think we are far wrong in saying that it is the social ambition of the women of their families. It is women far more than men who establish social ideals; and, so far as there is a scramble for money, it is their scramble, to say the least, quite as much as the men's.
This, however, is a side issue: the contention that concerns us is that laws are wanted to make certain offenses punishable that are not punishable now; and that women, being quicker than men to recognize vicious tendencies, would get such laws passed if they only had the suffrage. This is a case in which a few examples would be very serviceable. The proposed laws are either such as would recommend themselves to the approval and support of men, or they are such as would not so recommend themselves. If they are of the former kind, they can get passed now; if they are of the latter kind, it is presuming upon an easy compliance worthy of the immortal Captain Reece, R. N., to ask men to make a constitutional change for the express purpose of defeating their own views and principles. Our contributor acknowledges that in this country "most of the laws (that were unjust to women) have been repealed, that many others are a dead