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15 1894 "Equal Suffrage Means Purer Laws" In defense of their right to the franchise, women marshalled an array of arguments ranging from the injustice of taxation without representation to the potential benefits of bringing the female point of view to bear on legislation . Many believed that the ballot in hands of women, especially wives and mothers, would be a tool for improving the educational system, eliminating vice, and strengthening the moral foundations of society. Sue Greenleaf delivered her views before the second convention of the Texas Equal Rights Association in a speech entitled "Equal Suffrage Means Purer Laws." DOCUMENT* WOMAN SHOULD VOTE Miss SUE GREENLEAF'S PLEA FOR THE ENFRANCHISEMENT OF THE FEMALE SEX SAYS WOMAN SHOULD CONTROL HER INDIVIDUAL PROPERTY—WHAT THE BOY AND GIRL SHOULD BE TAUGHT Fort Worth, Tex., June 8.—One of the interesting papers read before the State Equal Rights association was that of Miss Greenleaf of Fort Worth. Her subject was: "Equal Suffrage Means Purer Laws." The paper was well received and its reading elicited frequent applause. At the conclusion she was made the recipient of a handsome bouquet by admiring friends. She dealt with the subject as follows: " 'Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.' "As I quote these words of St. Luke I imagine I can smell the mold from the sarcophagus, and it might cause me to meditate upon the doings of women in the time of St. Luke and during the long number of years since he passed from this physical plane, but time thus spent would be a useless waste, for the environments of the nineteenth century women are wholly different from the women of St. Luke's time, hence the results would not be practicable. Too much time is spent haranging about 'Aauld Lang Syne' by the press, the public speaker and the minister. We live to-day. Do all the good to-day we can, is the *From: "Women Should Vote; Miss Sue Greenleaf's Plea for the Enfranchisement of the Female Sex," Dallas Morning News, 8 June 1894. 107 108 CITIZENS AT LAST He thinks woman is competent to prepare his son to be a voter — But that she is not competent to vote herself. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution, Photo number 65636) DOCUMENTS 109 best policy. Through the successive years of evolution those words of St. Luke have come down to us and we interpret them literally, and we are going to 'ask' for a great many things that we might have had before had it not been for certain conditions of long ago, making the women of the past ignorant of what would be given to them for the asking. We have been 'seeking' and the 'open sesame' 'ask and it shall be given you' is in our keeping now and before many moons we shall ask to submit an amendment to the people to read after this fashion: 'Every female not under 21 years of age, not an idiot or lunatic or a pauper supported by any county, or a female who has been convicted of any felony, subject to such exceptions as the legislature may make, and is a citizen of the United States and who shall have resided in this state one year next preceding an election and the last six months within the district or county in which she offers to vote, shall be deemed a qualified voter; and every female of foreign birth subject to none of the foregoing qualifications, who at any time before an election shall have declared her intentions to become a citizen of the United States in accordance with the federal naturalization law and shall have resided in this state one year next preceding such election and the last six months in the county in which she offers to vote, shall be deemed a qualified elector, and all electors shall vote in the election precincts of their residence. Provided, that electors living in any unorganized county may vote at any election precinct in the county to which such county is attached for judicial purposes.' "This particular right is ours now. 1. By the right of divine inheritance . 2. By the constitution of the United States, in which there is no prohibitory clause. A fundamental principle of our government is equality. At the ballot the constitution recognizes no distinction or preferences. The constitution secures to all classes an equal measure of political power [and...


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