The following is a poem addressing the questions, "Is Woman Man's Equal?" and "Is She More Than Man's Equal?" What does the author conclude? What roles and duties does this author, a woman, deem appropriate for men and women? According to this poem, what accomplishments and interests could society expect from men and from women?
Can she cull from the forest and mines and shape
A ship that will stand the gale?
Or fashion a monster of steel and steam
To writhe o’er the polished rail?
Can she conquer the forces of earth and air
To bend to her own sweet will?
Or current the water to furnish power
for the wheels of a giant mill?
Can she burrow the earth for a great subway?
Or chain up the lightning’s bars?
Or harness a jumble of wheels and wings
And soar to the distant stars?
Can she dig and delve while her brow reeks sweat
In the bowels of a fetid mine?
Can she face the powder and the shot and ball
Of the enemy’s firing line?
Can she sleep in a trench the whole night through
With a knapsack under her head?
Is she willing to die as soldiers do
On the field with the unclaimed dead?
She cannot rear castle or tower
But, ah, when the sun sinks to rest,
She makes glad the beautiful hour
When home and its shelter in best
She may not meet all of life’s wrestle
In forum, in field and in mart,
But when sleepy little ones nestle,
She gathers them close to her heart.
And all that were bad are forgiven,
And blessed at the close of the day
With prayers and with tears, they are shriven
As only a mother can pray.
Secure from the paths that are tempted
She guides, by that wonderful plan
And law which her sex has pre-empted,
The course and the future of man.
Then who would deprive her of dower?
Or who would detract from her grace?
Or pilfer one tithe of her power
As mother—the Queen of the race?
Far greater than man, made immortal
By prowess, or chisel or pen,
Is she who approaches Death’s portal
That we may have soldiers and men.
By Florence Goff Schwarz
To continue this investigation of anti-suffrage arguments, see these pages grouped under the titles Women' Don't Want the Vote and Consequences of Voting. You can also explore the issue of woman suffrage as part of the political process during the election of 1912 as well as prominent pro-suffrage arguments.
[ Up ]