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33 1916-1918 Anti-Suffragists Rally Opposition Opposition to woman suffrage took a variety of forms. The organized liquor interest was strongly anti-suffragist, fearing that enfranchised women would vote in prohibition. Some women's groups also fought against the ballot, claiming that it was unnecessary at best, and potentially harmful to the family and society at worst. Women anti-suffragists organized the Texas Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage in 1916; it was led by Mrs. James B. Wells, the wife of the political boss of South Texas. Advocates of states' rights, and especially those who wanted to retain white political control in Texas by preventing black women as well as black men from voting, also opposed votes for women, especially in the form of a federal amendment. Conjuring up the specter of Reconstruction, they argued that such an amendment would lead to federal control of voter eligibility requirements in the southern states. Former governor Oscar B. Colquitt raised the issue in the 1916 Senate race. Two days before the July 22 primary, Colquitt, a states' rightist and a "wet," attacked former governor Thomas M. Campbell and Baylor University president Samuel P. Brooks, both prohibitionists , for supporting woman suffrage. Colquitt won a plurality in the primary but lost the runoff to the incumbent, Charles Culberson, who three years later cast his vote in the Senate in favor of the Nineteenth Amendment. DOCUMENT* NOT FOR WOMAN'S SUFFRAGE . . . "I am not for woman's suffrage," said Mr. Colquitt, in continuing his state's rights argument to that proposition, "but the question of surrendering our state's rights is the important issue. We can decide for ourselves in Texas, under our Texas constitution, whether or not women shall vote in Texas. I have always regarded women as being better than men. I raise my hat to her on the street out of deference, and get up to give her a seat out of respect to her. I think woman has a right to courtesies from men, but I have seen men who are advocates of equal rights who keep their seat and say 'She is an advocate of equal rights and so am I, let her stand up and try it.'" "Some men say, 'my wife can cast as intelligent a vote as the negro and Mexican.' That is not the question. Probably she can cast a more intelligent vote than her husband who says it, but the point is that *From: Ennis Daily News, 20 July 1916. 179 180 CITIZENS AT LAST Christia Adair, born in 1893, worked to obtain signatures on women's suffrage petitions in Kingsville in 1918, but was not allowed to vote in the primary. Adair later became an NAACP leader in Houston. (Courtesy Christia Adair Collection, Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.) DOCUMENTS 181 when you give the ballot to women, you give it to all women, regardless of color. And if you adopt the policy advocated by Dr. Brooks and Tom Campbell, you abandon your state's rights and you make it possible for negro equality such as you suffered in the carpet bag days after the Civil War, to be forced on you again. And I want you to think of that before you vote for Dr. Brooks or Tom Campbell in election Saturday." DOCUMENT* WOMEN DONT WANT SUFFRAGE, CLAIM OF ANTI LEADER HERE: ASSERTS BEST WILL NOT VOTE Patriotism and efficiency are the watchwords of the antisuffrage society , Mrs. James B. Wells of Brownsville declares. She has come to Fort Worth, the headquarters of the league, to direct the campaign against the amendment granting women suffrage. "We have no parades. We work quietly. We do not march under banners of red or yellow. We have but one flag—the Stars and Stripes— and our watchword is efficiency, as the twenty successful campaigns which we have conducted in the last six years prove," Mrs. Wells said Saturday. "It is true that the suffragists may point to the map and claim that they have gained the greatest area. We may point to our map and claim the greatest population. Population is the most desirable for that means votes." Two Sons in Service. "Bullets not ballots," Mrs. Wells represents, so she was introduced to the Legislature by Senator John M. Bailey. She has two sons in the Army, one a member of the Foreign Legion who has twice been decorated for bravery by the French Government, and the other a lieutenant in the American Army...


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