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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/577

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557
EDITOR'S TABLE.

letter, and that still others have been enacted that favor women." We must not, however, thank "man's own sense of equity and right" for these beneficial changes. Why? because they have all been subsequent to certain "writings and arguments" of "women agitators." So that man does not exhibit any "sense of equity and right" when he is influenced by the pleadings of "women agitators." Poor man! He is judged very severely these days. We should like to remark, however, that post hoc propter hoc is not a very sound form of argument. Grant that the "writings and arguments are a matter of record," it does not follow that these writings and arguments Ideally determined the changes in legislation referred to. What we know is that the changes were made, and that they were made by men under no actual compulsion.

At the outset of her article Miss Tweedy states that, "if every man considered it a matter of conscience to give voice in his vote to the feminine element in his household, it would put another aspect upon the demand for woman suffrage." How is it now, we feel like inquiring, in this matter? We imagine that the great majority of men who put any conscience into their voting at all do consider, as far as it is possible to do so, the interests of the feminine element in their households. When a man votes, he votes for a certain individual who is seeking a certain office. The cases in which there can be any division of interest in the family as to which candidate should be supported must be exceptional. When, however, a man gives a vote for one side or the other, there is good reason to believe—corrupt motives apart—that he thinks, not solely of his own interest as a male individual, but of all the interests, domestic and social, which he represents. In that sense the average elector's vote is meant to be, and is, representative. Our contributor's idea is that "after a family conclave" the husband, father, or brother should "quietly pocket his own conflicting opinion and support the measures favored by the home majority." The plan is beautifully simple in appearance, but we fear would present difficulties in practice. The man who was earning a living for his family could scarcely be expected to pocket his opinion upon a question, such as protection or free trade, which he believed had an important bearing on his business prospects; but at the same time we are sure that most men would be very glad to have any assistance which the female members of their households could give them in arriving at right conclusions on questions of the day.

If women are to be called upon to vote, it should be for very broad and sufficient reasons. The mere fact that some are demanding it is not a sufficient reason, inasmuch as others, and probably the great majority, not only do not join in the demand but are prepared to oppose it. Let us endeavor to indicate briefly how the matter presents itself to our mind.

In the exercise of the suffrage the individual asserts himself, claiming his share of political power. The vote is given to him for the protection of his political rights against the encroachments of other men. On voting day society is momentarily resolved into its constituent units. As long as men alone do the voting, they are supposed to represent the non-voting sex. Every man has or has had a mother, most have one or more sisters, and a very large proportion have wives. Every man's vote, therefore, we do not hesitate to say, ought to express his consciousness of