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- The Unexpurgated Case Against Woman Suffrage - 1/17 -


THE UNEXPURGATED CASE AGAINST WOMAN SUFFRAGE

BY SIR ALMROTH E. WRIGHT M.D., F.R.S.

1913

CONTENTS

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

Programme of This Treatise--Motives from which Women Claim the Suffrage--Types of Men who Support the Suffrage--John Stuart Mill.

PART I

ARGUMENTS WHICH ARE ADDUCED IN SUPPORT OF WOMAN'S SUFFRAGE

I

ARGUMENTS FROM ELEMENTARY NATURAL RIGHTS

Signification of the Term "Woman's Rights"--Argument from "Justice"--Juridical Justice--"Egalitarian Equity"--Argument from Justice Applied to Taxation--Argument from Liberty--Summary of Arguments from Elementary Natural Rights.

II

ARGUMENTS FROM INTELLECTUAL GRIEVANCES OF WOMAN

Complaint of Want of Chivalry--Complaint of "Insults"--Complaint of "Illogicalties"--Complaint of "Prejudices"--The Familiar Suffragist Grievance of the Drunkard Voter and the Woman of Property Who is a Non-Voter--The Grievance of Woman being Required to Obey Man-Made Laws.

III

ARGUMENTS WHICH TAKE THE FORM OF "COUNSELS OF PERFECTION" ADDRESSED TO MAN

Argument that Woman Requires a Vote for her Protection--Argument that Woman ought to be Invested with the Responsibilities of Voting in Order that She May Attain Her Full Intellectual Stature.

PART II

ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE CONCESSION OF THE PARLIAMENTARY SUFFRAGE TO WOMAN

I

WOMAN'S DISABILITY IN THE MATTER OF PHYSICAL FORCE

International Position of State would be Imperilled by Woman's Suffrage--Internal Equilibrium of State would be Imperilled.

II

WOMAN'S DISABILITY IN THE MATTER OF INTELLECT

Characteristics of the Feminine Mind--Suffragist Illusions with Regard to the Equality of Man and Woman as Workers--Prospect for the Intellectual Future of Woman--Has Woman Advanced ?

III

WOMAN'S DISABILITY IN THE MATTER OF PUBLIC MORALITY

Standards by which Morality can be Appraised--Conflict between Different Moralities--The Correct Standard of Morality--Moral Psychology of Man and Woman--Difference between Man and Woman in Matters of Public Morality.

IV

MENTAL OUTLOOK AND PROGRAMME OF THE FEMALE LEGISLATIVE REFORMER

V

ULTERIOR ENDS WHICH THE WOMAN'S SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT HAS IN VIEW

PART III

IS THERE, IF THE SUFFRAGE IS BARRED, ANY PALLIATIVE OR CORRECTIVE FOR THE DISCONTENTS OF WOMAN?

I

PALLIATIVES OR CORRECTIVES FOR THE DISCONTENT OF WOMAN

What are the Suffragist's Grievances?--Economic and Physiological Difficulties of Woman--Intellectual Grievances of Suffragist and Corrective.

APPENDIX

LETTER ON MILITANT HYSTERIA

PREFACE

It has come to be believed that everything that has a bearing upon the concession of the suffrage to woman has already been brought forward.

In reality, however, the influence of women has caused man to leave unsaid many things which he ought to have said.

Especially in two respects has woman restricted the discussion.

She has placed her taboo upon all generalisations about women, taking exception to these on the threefold ground that there would be no generalisations which would hold true of all women; that generalisations when reached possess no practical utility; and that the element of sex does not leave upon women any general imprint such as could properly be brought up in connexion with the question of admitting them to the electorate.

Woman has further stifled discussion by placing her taboo upon anything seriously unflattering being said about her in public.

I would suggest, and would propose here myself to act upon the suggestion, that, in connexion with the discussion of woman's suffrage, these restrictions should be laid aside.

In connexion with the setting aside of the restriction upon generalising, I may perhaps profitably point out that all generalisations, and not only generalisations which relate to women, are _ex hypothesi [by hypothesis]_ subject to individual exceptions. (It is to generalisations that the proverb that "the exception proves the rule" really applies.) I may further point out that practically every decision which we take in ordinary life, and all legislative action without exception, is based upon generalisations; and again, that the question of the suffrage, and with it the larger question as to the proper sphere of woman, finally turns upon the question as to what imprint woman's sexual system leaves upon her physical frame, character, and intellect: in more technical terms, it turns upon the question as to what are the _secondary sexual character[istic]s_ of woman.

Now only by a felicitous exercise of the faculty of successful generalisation can we arrive at a knowledge of these.

With respect to the restriction that nothing which might offend woman's _amour propre [self love]_ shall be said in public, it may be pointed out that, while it was perfectly proper and equitable that no evil (and, as Pericles proposed, also no good) should be said of woman in public so long as she confined herself to the domestic sphere, the action of that section of women who have sought to effect an entrance into public life, has now brought down upon woman, as one of the penalties, the abrogation of that convention.

A consideration which perhaps ranks only next in importance to that with which we have been dealing, is that of the logical sanction of the propositions which are enunciated in the course of such controversial discussions as that in which we are here involved.

It is clearly a precondition of all useful discussion that the author and reader should be in accord with respect to the authority of the generalisations and definitions which supply the premisses for his reasonings.

Though this might perhaps to the reader appear an impractical ideal, I would propose here to attempt to reach it by explaining the logical method which I have set myself to follow.

Although I have from literary necessity employed in my text some of the verbal forms of dogmatism, I am very far from laying claim to any dogmatic authority. More than that, I would desire categorically to repudiate such a claim.

For I do not conceal from myself that, if I took up such a position, I should wantonly be placing myself at the mercy of my reader. For he could then, by merely refusing to see in me an authority, bring down the whole edifice of my argument like a house of cards.

Moreover I am not blind to what would happen if, after I claimed to be taken as an authority, the reader was indulgent enough still to go on to read what I have written.

He would in such a case, the moment he encountered a statement with which he disagreed, simply waive me on one side with the words, "So you say."

And if he should encounter a statement with which he agreed, he would in his wisdom, censure me for neglecting to provide for that proposition a satisfactory logical foundation.


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