Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Real War Against Women - Harry T. Burn, And His Mom

  Americans are led to believe that the Democrats are the friend of blacks and women. Historically that is not so. Slavery was preserved by the Democratic Party from the founding of this country until the Republican Party freed them by passing the 13th Amendment to the constitution in 1865. Before the Democratic Party acquired the name we all recognize they were called the Democrat-Republican Party. In 1868 the Republican Party would give the freedman full civil rights by passing the 14th Amendment. Finally the Republicans would pass the 15th Amendment in 1870 giving blacks the right to vote. The Democrats in the south tried to establish slavery all over again by passing black codes. The Klan would be formed as the storm troopers of the Democratic Party in order to scare blacks away from the polls by means of terror and intimidation. Originally formed in Pulaski Tennessee as a social club the actual hierarchy of the Klan was established in room # 10 of Nashville's Maxwell House hotel. The Democrats knew that blacks would vote Republican. Since 40% of the South was black that could mean black state representatives, mayors, sheriffs, governors and congressmen. The white Democrats would lose control of the South if the Republicans could make inroads in the South. The Democrats were the party of the white man. At first the South was divided into military districts in order to impose Reconstruction. Because of the Compromise of 1877 however Reconstruction was ended in the South and blacks were left to the mercy of their former slave masters and the overseer class. The contract lease system and segregation was established creating a new form of slavery. Segregation would last until it was ended with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights and 1965 Voting Rights Act. Again it was the Republicans joining forces with Lyndon Johnson and progressive democrats to pass these bills. Southern Democrats were fiercely opposed to their passage.

The early Klan
The convict lease system

  Obama was able to rally the Democratic base in 2012 by claiming that there was a bogus war by the Republican Party on women. Apparently many bought into this lie. The real war on women was conducted by the Democratic Party for many years. Democrats, especially in the South, were vehemently opposed to the 19th Amendment which would grant women the right to vote. In the South they were worried that black women would be allowed to vote if this amendment passed. The Republican controlled territory of Wyoming granted women the right to vote in 1869. Wyoming would be the first state to allow women to vote in 1890. The territory of Utah granted the right to vote to their women in 1870. Congress allowed this in the hope that the women of Utah would vote against the polygamy of the Mormon Church. This backfired when the women voted overwhelmingly for plural marriage.  Congress passed the Edmund-Tucker Act of 1882 which disenfranchised the women of Utah and outlawed the Mormon Church, seizing much of it's property. Utah women would gain the right to vote again in 1896. Fifteen states, which were mostly western states and Republican controlled  gave women the right to vote before the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Twelve states, including Tennessee, allowed women to vote in presidential elections only. 

  During the late 1800's the Republicans in Congress introduced the 19th Amendment on a regular basis but it was always shot down by the Democrats. It read “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” In 1914 it was again voted down by the Democratic Senate and again in 1915. However the 1918 midterm elections swept the Republicans into power in both the House and Senate because of voter outrage over the fact that Woodrow Wilson had violated his pledge of keeping us out of a war with Germany. Wilson asked for a declaration of war on Germany in April 1917. Wilson, a Democrat, was also opposed to the 19th Amendment. However he changed his mind at the 11th hour when he thought the amendment would pass. With both houses of Congress the Republicans were able to pass the 19th Amendment in 1919. In the House it passed with 304 ayes and 89 nays. Ninety-one percent of the Republicans voted for it. In the Senate there were 56 ayes and 25 nays. Eighty-two percent of the Republican Senators voted for it. When the Amendment was passed to the states for ratification it was fiercely resisted by Democrats everywhere. However 26 of the 36 states needed to ratify it were controlled by the Republicans. The vote to ratify the Amendment was taken on August 18th 1920 in Tennessee. We were the 36th and last state needed to ratify the amendment. The problem was that the Southern states were the only states left that could pass the amendment and they were violently opposed to it. It looked like the amendment was very close to passage but no cigar. Most people have this image of well dressed women marching and carrying signs in parades and protests during the fight for the right to vote. However women were abused in many ways. They were beat up and arrested. Some were sent to prisons and insane asylums.
Alice Paul went on a hunger strike where she was force fed raw eggs (down her nose) until she vomited blood. She was then put into a sanitorium with the hopes of being declared insane. Her doctor's reply said, “Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.” Suffrage passed 3 years later.
A suffragette being beaten by a male mob

  Harry Burn was a legislator from East Tennessee and at 22 was the youngest member of the state legislature. On August 18th 1920 he was 24 and wearing a red rose on his lapel to signify his opposition to the 19th Amendment. The amendment easily passed the Tennessee senate but stalled in the house when thousands of pro and anti amendment activists arrived in Nashville to turn up the heat. If Burn and his fellow anti amendment representatives all voted against the amendment it would be defeated by one vote. A motion to table the amendment was defeated by a 48 to 48 tie. The speaker called for a ratification vote. Earlier that morning Harry Burn received a note from his strong willed mother, Phoebe Ensminger Burn, or Miss Febb as her friends and family called her. She wrote “Hurrah, and vote for suffrage! Don’t keep them in doubt. I notice some of the speeches against. They were bitter. I have been watching to see how you stood, but have not noticed anything yet.” The letter ended as an endorsement for the famous suffragist leader Carrie Chapman Catt. She urged her son to “be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt put the ‘rat’ in ratification.” Fearing his mother more than the mob outside the capital and his colleagues in the legislature he changed his vote in favor of the 19th Amendment. Burn fled to the attic of the capital in order to hide until the mob outside dispersed. The following day he spoke again to the Tennessee state legislature. He said “I believe we had a moral and legal right to ratify. I know that a mother’s advice is always safest for her boy to follow, and my mother wanted me to vote for ratification.” Many famous women over the years fought for the vote, such as Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and locally the most famous Tennessee suffragette Anne Dallas Dudley, who is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Mrs Catt wrote in her book (Woman Suffrage and Politics.) “To get the word ‘male’ in effect out of the Constitution cost the women of this country 52 years of pauseless campaign. He also invoked the fury of his red rose-carrying peers while presumably avoiding that of his mother—which may very well have been the more daunting of the two. 
Ann Dallas Dudley made this picture with her family in order to soften her image. Many accused her of being mannish because she was an outspoken feminist.
Statue honoring the suffragettes in Centennial Park - Nashville

Blaine & Robbie Segroves November 2017

Blaine, Lisa and my son Rob Segroves

The following information is from a website called National Constitution Center.

States granting women the right to vote prior to the 19th Amendment:

Wyoming 1890
Colorado 1893
Utah 1896
Idaho 1896
Washington 1910
California 1911
Arizona 1912
Kansas 1912
Oregon 1912
Montana 1914
Nevada 1914
New York 1917
Michigan 1918
Oklahoma 1918
South Dakota 1918

Full Voting Rights before 19th Amendment and before statehood

Territory of Wyoming 1869
Territory of Utah 1870
Territory of Washington 1883
Territory of Montana 1887
Territory of Alaska 1913

Could vote for President prior to the 19th Amendment

Illinois 1913
Nebraska 1917
Ohio 1917
Indiana 1917
North Dakota 1917
Rhode Island 1917
Iowa 1919
Maine 1919
Minnesota 1919
Missouri 1919
Tennessee 1919
Wisconsin 1919

Gained Voting Rights after the passage:

New Hampshire
New Jersey
West Virginia
North Carolina
South Carolina
New Mexico

No comments:

Post a Comment