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38 Epilogue: "Citizens at Last" Following the successful conclusion of the woman suffrage movement in Texas, Jane Y. McCallum went on to lead the Women's Joint Legislative Council , known as the "Petticoat Lobby/' and to serve as Secretary of State under two governors. The following is her account of the women's political activity in the ten years following their enfranchisement. DOCUMENT* ACTIVITIES OF WOMEN IN TEXAS POLITICS, II BY JANE Y. MCCALLUM With what high hopes and enthusiasms women stepped forth into a world in which they were citizens at last! How quickly and permanently they expected to transform their State into a better, happier place for living and for the rearing of little children! Among the participants in the equal suffrage fight were many who had attained state and some who had attained national leadership in other organizations. After a time these pooled their ideas and interests with the League of Women Voters. The consensus of opinion was that a Joint Legislative Council, composed of representatives of these state-wide organizations would be the quickest, most effective method of transforming their recently acquired voting privilege into legislative power. True to their training, each organization devoted more than a year to the selection and studying of reforms first to be advocated, securing full cooperation of the other organizations, and thorough understanding by the thousands of women involved. (Education for the men, especially candidates and members of the Legislature, was by no means overlooked.) The newly formed and proudly christened "Texas League of Women *From: Jane Y. McCallum, "Activities of Women in Texas Politics/7 in Frank Adams, ed., Texas Democracy: A Centennial History of Politics and Personalities of the Democratic Party 1836-1936 (Austin: Democratic Historical Association, 1937), vol. 1, 487-493. 221 222 CITIZENS AT LAST Voters" zealously advocated efficiency in government, and education in citizenship as major measures. Child welfare and educational advancement were the Legislative interests of the Texas Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Association. The goal of the Texas Federation of Womens Clubs was then, as now, "the enrichment of life through a better adjustment of human relations." "More and better prohibition laws" were the main objectives of the Texas Woman's Christian Temperance Union, while the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women were concerned to see that just recognition was accorded women, especially those in business and the professions. (Later the Texas Graduate Nurses Association became a member of the Council.) The desire of the women to concentrate their efforts on a few fundamental , well understood measures was made possible of fulfillment because of the overlapping interests of the several organizations. Only six proposed measures appeared on the official program that each of the 181 lawmakers found spread on top of his desk on the day of his arrival at the Capitol January, 1923. "Reasonable, did you say?" an old time House member stormed at his desk-mate who had innocently complimented the brevity of the women's program. "Why you haven't read it. It is the most audacious piece of Bolshevism ever permitted to clutter up this chamber." And into shreds and the waste basket went one emblem of the aspirations of thousands. The irate lawmaker expressed a half truth. It was "audacious " to advocate Federal "interference" for mothers and babies in a section of as "rock-ribbed States righters" and "rugged individualists " as certain types of political orators gloried, killed time, and beclouded issues in claiming Texas to be. And acceptance of the Federal Sheppard-Towner, or Infancy and Maternity Act, appeared among the first measures on the women's program. Furthermore, the "Petticoat Lobbyists," as the women workers were calmly dubbed, had calmly circulated a "talking point" calling attention to their state's inconsistency in Federal matters and concluding with the declaration that "a state bending every effort to secure all Federal aid possible for the highways, and accepting Federal Aid on the 50-50 plan to promote agricultural interest, should not hesitate to accept Federal Aid on the same 50-50 plan to promote the health and security of its mothers and babies." Insult was added to injury by the demand of the women lobbyists DOCUMENTS 223 that the Educational Survey advocated on their program should be made by out-of-state educators. Their frankly stated reason was that no matter how well local school men might do the work, discrimination would be claimed. (Later, in preference to accepting an amendment cutting out this provision, floor...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781623493684
Related ISBN
9781623493653
MARC Record
OCLC
954671611
Pages
268
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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