In 1895 Scott Duniway traveled all the way to Atlanta for the first N.A.W.S.A. convention held in the South, or outside Washington, D.C. The History of Woman Suffrage reported that the following speech provoked “much laughter.”1

This one-paragraph synopsis, remarkably, is the most complete account of a Scott Duniway speech in the entire, six-volume History, which ignores other, far more important–and far more controversial–efforts. That so key a record would so slight so important an advocate of woman suffrage in the West speaks volumes about its biases and limitations.

There are in Oregon three classes of women opposed to suffrage. 1. Women who are so overworked that they have no time to think of it. They are joined to their wash-tubs; let them alone. But the children of these overworked women are coming on. 2. Women who have usurped all the rights in the matrimonial category, their husbands’ as well as their own. The husbands of such women are always loudly opposed to suffrage. The “sassiest” man in any community is the hen-pecked husband away from home. 3. Young girls matrimonially inclined, who fear the avowal of a belief in suffrage would injure their chances. I can assure such girls that a woman who wishes to vote gets more offers than one who does not. Their motto should be “Liberty first, and union afterwards.” The man whose wife is a clinging vine is apt to be like the oaks in the forest that are found wrapped in vines–dead at the top.


    1. 4: 249. []

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