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A Survey of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States


slavery must be her normal condition; but that her condition is
abnormal is proved by the marvellous change in her character,
from a toy in the Turkish harem, or a drudge in the German fields,
to a leader of thought in the literary circles of France, England, and
America."
I have made this quotation partly on account of its direct
application to the subject to be discussed, and partly to illustrate
the contradictions that seem to inhere in the arguments on which
the claim to Woman Suffrage is founded. If woman has become a
leader of thought in the literary circles of the most cultivated lands,
she has not always been man's slave, subject, inferior, dependent,
under all forms of government and religion; and, furthermore, it is
not true that there has been such a marvellous change in her
character as is implied in this statement. Where man is a bigot and
a barbarian, there, alas! woman is still a harem toy; where man is
little more than a human clod, woman is to-day a drudge in the
field; where man has hewn the way to governmental and religious
freedom, there woman has become a leader of thought. The unity
of race progress is strikingly suggested by this fact. The method
through which that unity is maintained should unfold itself as we
study the story of the sex advancement of our time.
Progress is a magic word, and the Suffrage party has been
fortunate in its attempt to invoke the sorcery of the thought that it
enfolds, and to blend it with the claim of woman to share in the
public duty of voting. Possession of the elective franchise is a
symbol of power in man's hand; why should it not bear the same
relation to woman's upward impulse and action? Modern adherents
ask, "Is not the next new force at hand in our social evolution to
come from the entrance of woman upon the political arena?" The
roots of these questions, and consequently of their answers, lie as
deep as the roots of being, and they cannot be laid bare by
superficial digging. But the laying bare of roots is not the only
way, or even the best way, to judge of the strength and beauty of a
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