Review of Woman and the Republic
Woman and the Republic. A Survey of the Woman-Suffrage Movement in the United States and a Discussion of the Claims of its Foremost Advocates. By HELEN KENDRICK JOHNSON. D. Appleton & Co. 1897. Pp. 327
IT is remarkable that the most forcible and elaborate dissent from the woman's suffrage movement should come from a woman. Mrs. Johnson regards civilization as a status reached and maintained by farce, or a show of farce, and believes that the male has been and will continue to be the bearer of social force, while woman enjoys benefits proportionate to the degree of socialization effected by man. "The
( 407) greatest danger with which this land is threatened comes from the ignorant and persistent zeal of some of its women. They abuse the freedom under which they live, and to gain an impossible power would fain destroy the government that alone can protect them." In return for man's brute advantage in paint of force, and protected by the system of order in which this force expresses itself, woman is at an advantage in her more intimate connection with the reproduction of life, and her superior moral and psychic opportunity in connection with off-spring and with the race. Woman's position is, therefore, really the enviable one, since the content of life is more precious than the forms regulating life.
In twelve well written and outspoken chapters the author asserts that woman's suffrage is not in accord with true democratic principles, and has historically been allied with despotism, monarchy, and ecclesiastical oppression ; that it was in no wise an aid, but rather a hindrance to the movements of anti-slavery and temperance; that it was not instrumental in opening the trades to women ; that it has extended its sympathy to socialistic and unsound-money agitations ; that it has agitated not for education but for coeducation, and that woman's access to educational opportunity was wrought through the influence of women opposed to the woman suffrage idea; that in relation to the church and the ministry, woman has exhibited qualities rendering her peculiarly dangerous as a public leader; that woman is unable to meet the necessary duties of the voting citizen—in connection with jury duty, police duty, and office holding—and that this has been demonstrated in the Western states; and that the movement strikes a blow squarely at marriage and the home.
Aside from its polemical interest and the merits of the doctrines espoused, this book is a valuable contribution to the history of thought in America.
WILLIAM I. THOMAS.