The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 01, 1915, Page 11, Image 11

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    The Commoner
MARCH, 1915
any republican will have the courage to say any
thing against a democrat now. Why? Because
we have the only president who ever represented
tho educational systems of the nation, a man who
has been identified with the intellectual life of
the country. They can not look down on demo
crats when we have such a representative of cul
ture and intelligence as our democratic president.
Neither can they look down upon the moral
standard that our party has set, for there is a
moral atmosphere in Washington today. Tho
republicans have never lifted the social standard
as high as it has been lifted during this admin
istration. And it helps us, for we people can
look these republicans in the face and challenge
them to show their superiority either in intelli
gence or in morals. But, my friends, remember
that because that high standard has been set we
all have to measure up to it; they expect more of
democrats now than they used to.
"I ask you editors to help to maintain the stand
ard of the democratic party. I ask you to help
maintain in every state thestandard that the pres
ident has set in tho nation. How can you do it?
By being democratic? Yes. You are expected
to be democratic; you are expected to make the
democratic party stand for clean, honest politics
in this state and throughout the United States.
"But we have moral questions to consider, and
the democratic party must take the moral side
of these questions. I am going to speak of two
questions tonight, I have enough speeches to
make here so that I can speak on several ques
tions before I leave, but I have picked out two
for tonight.
"The question of woman suffrage is coming up
in the United States. It has already come up in
several states. I read in the paper two days ago,
that three states have recently submitted the
question. I do not know what you think of wo
man suffrage, but, my friends, you would not
think as much of me as you do if I called a mass
meeting to ask what I should think on any sub
ject. I do my own thinking and I suppose you
do. I listen to everybody, and I hope you will
listen to me. The democratic party can not af
ford to stand with the distiller, tho brewer and
the saloon keeper against woman suffrage. A
man is known by the company he keeps, and so
is a party. The man who prefers to associate
with a saloon keeper at the polls rather than with
his wife will noi remain with the democratic
party very long. You think I speak strongly on
the subject?
"I have been in the habit of speaking strongly
on subjects. I was not afraid to speak strongly
when a handful of New York financiers attempted
to dominate this country at the expense of the
mass of the people; I was willing to take the
people's side against these great financiers,
though they were eminently respectable and
stood high in society. I was not afraid to take
the side of the people against privileged man
ufacturers, although they were rich and power
ful; though the protected interests were respect
able, also, and stood high in society. I took the
side of the farmer and his wife. Our producers
could not take a vacation because they bad to
contribute under a forced levy to the wealth of
those who could take vacations because of ex
ploitation. I was not afraid to speak out against
the beneficiaries 'of privilege, and I would be
ashamed to look you in the face if I was afraid
to speak out against the liquor interests, the low
est and least respectable gang that ever try to
control politics or dominate a nation or a state.
The men whom the democratic party has fought
were respectable men, and most of them honest,
but misguided men. But the men who conspire
against every mother's son, the men who would,
if they were allowed to do so, establish a saloon
on the first floor and put a gambling don above
it and a brothel in the rear I am not afraid to
speak out against them and I askthe democratic
papers of Indiana to oppose them.
"Where is the active force against woman suf
frage? It is to be found amongst tnose who at
tack public morality and public decency. You
can go in any state'where woman suffrage is an
issue and you will find that the man who profits
by sin, who lives off of vice and is an enemy of
society, you will find that he is afraid to let the
women vote. Why have 'good people less sense
than bad people? why do good people divlda
when bad people st,and together? Can you ex
plain it?
"I had occasion to speak on this subject in Ne
braska. I took "the position that a voter needs
two things, intelligence and morality; unless
you can show that a woman lacks one of these,
you can not question her fitness to vote. So I
began to look up statistics, and I found that in
our state penitentiary wo had 350 Inmates, only
five of thorn women; 354 wore men. Moro than
98 per cent of our criminals in Nebraska are men
and less than 2 per cent women. When wo go
into a penitentiary anywhere wo find tho men In
an overwhelming majority, but if we go to
church we find tho women in tho majority. Now,
if the women have senso enough to keep out of
the penitentiary and morality enough to go to
church, who will say they aro not fit to go to tho
polls? You may go throughout this nation, and
wherever people meet to do ovil, tho men out
number the women. But If you go where ileoplo
gather to consider tho things that aro highest
and best, tho women will bo there.
"Some say that tho women will not vote. Well,
that argument does not como with good grace
from those who say that if she does vote, she will
vote wrong. Strange to say, the people who aro
most sure that, if she votes, she will vote wrong,
are the ones who fear that she will not vote at
"Men do not always vote. You know that the
most of tho work in campaigns Is devoted to get
ting the men out to vote. More time is spent in
trying to get the vote out than wo spend in try
ing to convert the people, and you know that in
off years the voto is not as largo as in presiden
tial years.
"Now, If some women do not vote they will
not bo worse than some men. Why find fault
with the women? Suppose a larger per cent of
the women stay at home than men, that is not an
argument against woman suffrage. Suppose wo
men ARE willing to let men run politics in ordin
ary times.
"Since this war in Europe began we havo
heard a groat deal about tho reservist. Do you
know what a reservist is? He is a man who is
not in the regular army, but can be called to tho
colors when necessary. Since this war broke out
the reservists havo been called from all over tho
world and they have responded to the call. Now,
do you think it would bo a bad thing to have a
sort of reserve force in this country, a great body
of women. They might not vote at every elec
tion, but when a great question'becamo an Issue,
a question which affected tho homo and society,
we could call the women to the colors, and they
would come. Women have never failed us.
"Why should you be afraid to entrust women
with the ballot?
"What is the most sacred thing with which we
have to deal? Is it not the child? Are we afraid
to entrust woman with the child? Is she not the
child's first teacher? And is she not as such in
structor, apt to have a largo interest in the gov
ernment under which she and her child must
live? You say women havo not time for thoso
things? Will they not take time for the things
that are important? Is not it true of our wives?
If there is any emergency, if there is any need,
is there anything that stands in the way of their
doing their duty? Every time anything has been
proposed for women the argument has been
made that it would degrade women.
"Go into the Orient and you will find that tho
education of woman Is far behind the education
of man. In India, we found that less than 1 per
cent of the women could read and write, while
14 per cent of men were literate. In China they
are just beginning to establish schools for wo
men. They used to think that it would not do
to educate women, but they have found that you
can actually educate woman and not destroy her
usefulness. Every time she has attempted to
enter upon a new work they have said it would
ruin the woman. In some parts of the Orient
they tell you that woman must wear a veil after
she is twelve years of age--that she must not ap
pear In any company outside the family circle
without a veil. We do not veil our women here.
Have they suffered? And are the women of this
country debased or lowered because of the fact
that they do not wear a veil when they associate
with men? 't , , A
"We are entering a new era. The president
has told us of this new era. We are already in
it. And what is its distinguishing characteris
tic9 It is that we are building upon more eth
icai foundations, and when you put emphasis
upon ethical things, do not be afraid to let wo
men have a voice. I have looked over the things
I stand for, the reforms I want to see brought
about, and there is nothing that I am afraid to
have women understand, nothing that I am afraid
to have women's conscience applied to.
"Democrats, wo stand for morality. Democ
racy is more Just than any other kind of govern
ment, and the democratic party must believe in-
democracy. It Is Juntlco that we want, and jus
tico appeals to the conscience; it finds its center
in the home. The democratic party ought not to
bo afraid to let womon havo a voice in these
things, and I appeal to you, democratic editors,
do not allow tho evil forces of society to put the
democratic party on the wrong side of this ques
tion. Woman suffrage is coming; you can not
prevent It. Why discredit yourselves In tho ef
fort to provent it whon you can obtain credit by
recognizing their right? Is there any ovil In
government from which woman docs not suffer?
If she must bear with man all tho evils of bad
government, why should sho not bear with man
tho responsibility for making government bet
ter? The argument which had most weight In
bringing mo to believe in woman's suffrage is the
right of tho mother to a volco In determining tho
environment that surrounds her children. The
mother sacrifices for tho child. Her life trembles
in tho balance at the child's birth. From one
third lo one-half of tho average woman's llfo Is
given to her children. Sho sponds upon thom her
nervous forces and energy and she endows thom
with the wealth of her lovo. What has a boy
cost when he reaches maturity? You can not
measure what any boy costs, and tho mother
pays by far the larger part of tho price. She Is
tho one who, moro than the father, makes tho
necessary sacrifices, and answer mo, men, when
a mother raises a boy until he is about grown
and thon evil mon conspire to tako him from
her, when they lay snares for him and try to
ruin him for tho money they can mako out of It,
do you toll me it Is Tialr to allow these mon
to uso the ballot and then tic her hands so she
can not protest as strongly as sho would. Give
tho mother a fair chance, at least, with those
who would rob her of that which Is dearest to
her, that upon which she hopes to depend in her,
old age.
"Now, my friends, thoro arc many things I
would like to talk about, but this Is one that I
would rather talk to you about than to tho legis
lature, because you mako legislators. You may
rest assured that tho democratic legislature of
this state vill do what the democratic editors of
this state want done, for If they do not, there
will bo a now legislature that is moro responslvo
to the will of the people. And, if you aro going
to favor woman suffrage, you night as woll com
plete the work and drive the saloon out of pol
itics. You might Just as well do it and do it now,
because tho saloon men allow no inde
pendence. Tho slavery that they ask Is tho most
abject slavery. You may help them on every
thing thy ask until you como to tho question
whether they shall close five minutes before
twelve or keep open till twelve, and if you differ
with them five minutes, on closing time, they will
havo you spotted.
"You might as well cut loose from them, .for
tho democratic party, If it Is going to stand for
moral things, can not be the servile tool of tho
liquor interests, the basest and most iniquitous
combination that ever dared to raise its head in
"I was opposed to the submission of tho na
tional prohibition amendment at this time, not
that I object to the principle, but I did not think
the time ripe. But when they took a vote, eight
majority In the national congress voted for na
tional prohibition, and, my friends, when a ma
jority of the national house at Washington vote
to close every saloon in the United States, the
saloon henceforth is an outlaw and a fugitive
from justice. You can not afford to skulk around
in the highways and byways with it while it Is
trying to escape the rising wrath of the people
of this country.
"Do you think I have laid down a hard task
for you? We.ll, what is the democratic party for
except to perform hard tasks? Has not the dem
ocratic party been performing hard tasks? Has
it not lived under conditions vich no other
party could have survived? And why has it
lived? Because it has had a purpose and that
purpose is to represent the hopes and aspirations
of the common people of this nation. Now whea
the standard has been lifted up and the people
of the nation look to us to maintain, intelligent
ly and morally, the high standard which our
president has set, let not any part of our great
army turn backward, or be found wanting. Es
pecially in this state where you have fought o
bravely and so long, where you have kept the
fire burning on the democratic altar, here let us
find progress, Indiana must, not bring up the
"I remind you that the democratic party i
(Continued on Page '15)