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14 1893 and 1894 Texas Woman's Congress Meets in Dallas The Texas Woman's Congress met for the first time in October 1893, at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, six months after the Texas Equal Rights Association convention. When the Congress met again in 1894, women's clubs from all across Texas sent delegates. The Houston Ladies' Reading Club, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the WCTU, the Associated Charities of Fort Worth, the Woman's Council of Dallas, and the Shakespeare Club of Sherman were among those represented. The speakers for the Congress focused on a variety of topics, including "Law as a Profession for Women," "Kindergartens as Adjuncts of the Public Schools," "The Study of Higher Mathematics for Girls," and, of course, suffrage. DOCUMENT* WANT POWER AT ONCE MRS. M. L. WATSON VIGOROUSLY APPEALS FOR THE BALLOT FOR HER SEX "START YOUR DAUGHTERS OUT IN LIFE/' SHE SAYS, "WITH AN OUNCE OF POWER TO PROTECT HER INDIVIDUALITY." The following was one of the papers read at the women's council at the fair. The author is Mrs. Margaret L. Watson of Beaumont, Tex.: "Public affairs in this country are the affairs of every patriotic citizen. Register." So reads the Galveston News of Oct. 20. The supreme court of the United States decided in 1883 that "Sex has never been made one of the elements of citizenship in the United States." (See Minor vs. Happersett, 2 Wallace, 162.) This gives the highest authority in the land for woman's enfranchisement. In 1883 the supreme court decided that "A citizen of the United States is thus made a voter in every state of the union." (See slaughterhouse cases, Wallace 16.) Women are citizens , amenable under the same laws, taxes and punished the same as men, bear the burdens of life equally and therefore should be equally *From: "Want Power at Once/7 [Dallas Morning News, November 1894]. Texas Equal Rights Association Scrapbook, Jane Y. McCallum Family Papers, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. 104 DOCUMENTS 105 i V Margaret Watson of Beaumont was a founding member of the Texas Equal Rights Association and served as recording secretary. (Courtesy Jane Y. McCallum Family Papers, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.) interested in the affairs of this country to-day and their names appear on the same register. Why are they not there? Because from an alleged necessity that one-half the world must govern the other half, whether they will or not. Again, the News of the 1st of October has this "snap shot:" "Registration, like salvation, is free. Get a certificate." Well, if 106 CITIZENS AT LAST registration is free like salvation, then why preach salvation to women and registration to men? We are often fed with words of flattery and asked for our influence . . . and all this time the tangible substance, the actual power to voice the sentiment is in the hand of the male alone and he without blush asserts that if he allows this power in the hands of the female it will corrupt her. Yet she is supposed to hold the moral power. . . . In this great conflict now waging woman finds the solution of conditions that if she will only realize and strike while the iron is hot, she will achieve a victory. . . . The time has now come when it is utterly useless to attempt to hold a place in this grand processing without power. . . . She has been living too long on influence without the salt of power that gives it health. . . . We want a higher education ever yet given to women. We want to go to the great school of the people, the ballot-box. . . . We want civil education, now open only to the male. We want, if we choose or have the brain, to work amid the stirring, busy scenes of life. . . . Organization is that great chain whose unbroken links control the destiny of nations, and as the whole world is organizing what can woman expect to accomplish unless she bands together and joins the conflict. . . . Now, does it not require as much time and money to educate a woman as a man? And what is [its] effect when it comes to their employment ? They generally do the most of the work on a salary that leaves no margin for their old age. If a woman teacher is of the same caliber as a man she is voted out on account of her sex and the man gets all the...


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