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woman is asking all the questions that the other two ought to ask but do not. Of course it would be the woman who would ask the questions. For one thing, it does not go so hard with women to admit their ignorance as it does with men. For another, woman has had to fight for suffrage while the young man was acquiring it as he acquired his moustache, by the simple expedient of getting older, and the immigrant man was acquiring it by the simple expedient of living in America long enough to take on some of those American ideals and commitments into which the woman, if native, was born; and having fought for the suffrage, the fight has informed woman with a special sense of the value in the thing fought for, and a special desire fully to understand it. Suffragists alone would start the questions, but it is not suffragists alone among women who want the answers. The antis mean to vote, the indifferent mean to vote.
In the result, texts on civil government become at one leap of intimate value. Instead of remote summaries of the function of the “judiciary, the legislative, the administrative," that of which they treat is identified as breakfast table talk—the mayor's appointments, home rule for cities, what the legislature is doing with the child labor bill, what Washington will do with bills defining the authority of the government in its war control of this, that, or the other. There is an acute recognition of "the government” as a matter of close contact and an immediate intention to understand it better. And conversely, from now on, thanks to woman's enfranchisement, achieved or impending, it will be necessary for the government to understand woman better, so that the give-and-take, the reflex from woman suffrage into the body politic, and out again upon the community, may be the better assimilated.
WOMAN SUFFRAGE A WAR MEASURE
When the world war began shaking the existing ideas of government about, it had the effect upon them that is produced by shaking a barrel of apples, the little ones went to the bottom and the big ones came to the top. Consider some of the first little apples to go out of sight. In Italy and in France women had distinct civil disabilities such as the necessity of getting their husbands' authorization before they could act in legal matters. These ideas have not only sunk to the bottom of the barrel, but have apparently shrunk to a size which has permitted them to fall through cracks and disappear. In a cataclysm which has destroyed class distinctions by demanding leadership from all classes, sex discrimination could no longer endure in the light of the complete sacrifice for service shown by both sexes. In Italy and France municipal suffrage is in process of establishment. It is urged by statesmen as much as by woman suffragists. In France it is indeed a necessity, since in many communities the only people left to protect the standards of life are loyal women who have served their country no less ably than the front line soldiers who have given their lives for France.
The fiercest opponents of woman suffrage in England have demonstrated no little ingenuity in their lightning changes from adamantine hostility to suffrage to fervid acceptance of it.
Democracy has become a password. Every state paper and suggested basis of peace drives home, as with bayonet thrusts, the basic fact that for the word democracy, one may now substitute the phrase “government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.'
Outside of Germany it would be hard to find a statesman with the temerity to gainsay this. Up to date Germany is the only great country which has failed to grasp the fact that this is the real issue of
Outside of Germany there are few political leaders—and those few mainly men advanced in years --who do not now know that women are among the "governed.” By its recent Franchise Reform Bill, Hungary has demonstrated that the two vital issues, "government by the people" and "women are people,” are recognized as fundamental to the life of that nation.
WHAT SHE DOES WITH THE VOTE WHEN SHE GETS IT
In the United States the great suffrage victories of the year 1917 have urged the question on beyond interest in its merits or the abstract justice involved in it, to the practical application of it. Whether women vote when they can; what they do with their votes when they get them; and the effects of their enfranchisement upon home and community are, fortunately, demonstrable propositions. In every full voting State in which the records are sufficiently complete to form a basis of judgment, three things have been established: women register and vote in about the same proportion as men; they show an intelligent interest in elections, and they double the voting strength of their states with a comparatively small increase in voting paraphernalia.
Knowledge of the kinds of legislation attempted or achieved by voting women likewise rests upon facts. The legislation accomplished follows the psychology of women; it follows the matters in which they are most vitally interested. If there is truth in the theory that men and women are different, it clinches the absolute need for women in political life. In New Zealand, where women have voted for twenty
five years, the infant death rate is lower than in any other part of the world. And the New Zealand methods of caring for the health of women and children are cited as models by authorities. A burning grievance of mothers for countless years was the fact that in the eyes of the law the children they had borne did not belong to them; they belonged to the fathers. When a controversy arose over the disposition of the child, or its religious education, or the right to inherit from it, the advantage has always lain with the father. As soon as woman began to emerge as a social entity, even before she had the vote, this deep suffering of mothers found voice. For seventy years mothers have struggled for an equal share with fathers in the control of their own children. In almost every full suffrage State in the Union this matter has received a first consideration and equal guardianship obtains in every State where women vote on the same terms as men. It does not obtain to any such extent where fathers only vote, as only twenty-five per cent. of the thirty-six male suffrage States have this law. The District of Columbia's equal guardianship law is the result of the hard work of a woman lawyer.
Six of the woman voting States have secured an eight-hour day for women. Not one male suffrage State has done so. Sixty-three per cent. of the full suffrage States (New York not included) have a min