JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 920
This slight, four-page pamphlet was a flare to the newly enfranchised women of Great Britain1, a very-shakily congratulatory bit with wide, sniffy overtones of vast male superiority. The author takes the intended (female) reader at a very slow, almost-stopped pace about what voting is all about, turning down the rhetoric to explain what a vote “is”. Not only that, but the following as well:
“It seems, therefore, important to give as simply as possible a brief sketch of:
(1) What Politics are. [Politics is the Science of Government.] (2) The Duties of Citizenship. (3) Coalition Government”.
Just because women got the vote (or partial vote: they had top be over thirty years of age and have property or be
married to a man with property; full voting rights devoid of property requirements didn’t come in until 1928) didn’t
mean that they enjoyed a relaxation of their inferior social caste. The social consciousness of the status of women may have been slightly fragmented in 1918/19, but only enough to introduce them to the world of politics as you would a child—at least as far as this pamphlet is concerned2.
But this work comes around a bit, retracting its insulting narrative somewhat by the end of the pamphlet, as what the writer really wanted was to snag a bunch of these women to vote for the Coalition Candidate, Mr. Lloyd George, in the General Election of December 1918. Their votes were definitely wanted, and the need was addressed, if not without a little fear that women would retract themselves and form their won party. The pamphlet states:
"If the Voters are mean and corrupt, they will get what they deserve...There is a movement among women at the present time, especially among those who were most active in working for the Vote, to refuse to join any of the old political Associations, but to form a Women's Party or Federation of Women. Such a step is to be very much regretted, for it will certainly lead to a sort of sex war, men and women being divided into opposite camps, each fighting for their selfish ends."
Assuring women of what a "vote" and "politics" are, and demanding that the priorities of "women's political parties" would lead to a "sex war", the author blandly asks his (!) readers to vote for Lloyd George.
- The countries granting partial or full voting rights to women prior to the U.S (1920) include: New Zealand (full voting privileges), 1893; Australia, 1902 (partial); Finland, 1906; Norway (able to stand for election); Denmark (1915); Iceland (1915); Canada (1917); Austria, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation, United Kingdom (partial) (1918); Belarus, Belgium , Luxembourg, Netherlands, Ukraine (1919); Albania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, United States of America (1920).
beautiful a thinker as
was his mind regarding women of the mid-Victorian age was pretty modest, treating his own wife as a sort of advanced child. She never did get a key to the key cabinet at Darwin Downs…
(I should point out an earlier post that I made about the coming equality of women in voting and lung cancer, "Deathly Equality: Liberty, Lung Cancer and Women's Rights".)