On October 10, 1912, candidate Debs gave the following speech, entitled "Woman's Emancipation" to a New York City crowd. Read closely and see what Debs thinks suffrage will mean to women, to civilization, and to the very concept of "freedom."
Had I at my command the fabled horn of Gabriel, whose blast is to summon earth's myriad dead on resurrection morn, I would be tempted to mount high Olympus, crown this hour and proclaim to all the world the emancipation of womankind.
Until that Hour strikes in which the womankind of the world is freed from economic and political slavery, this earth can never know the meaning of liberty.
In its final analysis, every burden, every wrong, every injustice of our so-called civilization, rests at last its crushing weight upon the womanhood of the world.
For many centuries this condition has obtained. Man has been born of woman enslaved, and he has, in turn, suffered enslavement.
The most glorious feature of the present world-wide revolution, and its most potent feature for the weak of mankind, is the millions upon millions of women who have bravely and boldly shattered the social and economic shackles of the ages and who are inviting their sisters of every state and clime to join them in demanding their freedom and enfranchisement.
With the power and responsibility of the ballot will come a mental awakening such as the womanhood of the world has never known.
Intelligent considerations and discussion of the mighty problems of this age will become a part of the mental life of every man and woman, to the great and permanent profit of the race.
Once unlock the fetters that for countless ages have cramped and warped and starved the soul of woman and you have opened the very doors of heaven.
The political enfranchisement and the economic freedom of women means the birth of a race of freedom.
No event in the upward, onward, Godward course of the race was ever fraught with such portentous meaning as is the emancipation of the womanhood of the world.
And the Socialists of the world welcome their sisters in revolt with souls aflame and hearts afire. We face the rosy dawn of a new civilization, and we welcome woman's emancipation as the harbinger of the glad new day.
To learn more about the positions the Republicans, Democrats, and Progressives took regarding woman suffrage in 1912, be sure to visit their pages. Through this website you can also examine the arguments the antisuffrage forces and prosuffrage forces used in their struggles.
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