After reading Francis Parkman’s article, Women Are Unfit to Vote, I found myself both offended and annoyed. His arguments were not only shaky, but they were also illogical. He states that the family has been the political unit; consequently, the head of the family should be the political representative. He goes on by stating that women have shared imperfectly in the traditions and not in the practice of self-government. Lastly, he suggests women might vote that men should go off and fight in war. Not only are these statements wrong, but they are very much so offensive. Women are humans, too, and they should be treated how a man is treated. We are, after all, of an equal race, so why do we women not get the right to vote? In my opinion,this question cannot be answered logically. Many reasons can contradict Parkmans statements included in his article, and I plan to do so.
To start with, Parkman declares that the family, and not the individual, has been the political unit, and the head of the family… has been the political representative of the rest. He is saying that the men are the head of the family; therefore, they should be the ones that vote. But what if the head of the family is a woman? Lets say, for example, the husband dies unexpectedly, leaving the woman behind to raise the children and take the position as head of the family. Does she then get the right to vote? Or do we simply deny her that right because she is a woman? According to Francis Parkman, the head of the family is the political representative, and no where in that statement did he once specify the head of the family could not be a woman. Therefore, as long as the woman is the head of the family, they should be granted the right to vote. Many circumstances in ones life may cause them to become, without notice, the head of their family. As quick as they become the new head, they should then be allowed to vote just as quickly. If they are denied that right, then Parkmans statement is false. The head of the family should not be limited to just being a man, and neither should the right to vote.
Parkman follows by commenting that they [women] have shared very imperfectly in the traditions, and not at all in the practice of self-government. While reading this statement, a well-known woman comes to my mind: Abigail Adams. Abigail Adams was known for writing many letters containing her personal opinions of the society. One of her most important letters she wrote contained valuable information about British troops and their ships that were in the Boston area. It was sent to her husband, John Adam, during the Revolutionary War. Though she had hardly any schooling, she still managed to read and become a well informed woman. If Abigail Adams could self-educate herself and help her husband during war, why then deny her the right to vote when clearly she has earned it? Why deny other women the right to vote based on their sex and not their intelligence? If you only let them practice in self-government, they can begin to learn the ins and outs of voting and the government. If you dont give us a chance, how will we ever learn?
One of the last points Parkman makes is that it is conceivable [possible] that they might discover a [reason for fighting] when the men could not see it; and … might vote in the majority that the men should fight. I could not disagree with this statement more. Clara Barton, the founder of the Red Cross, not only carried supplies to soldiers during the war, but she also nursed the wounded men on the battlefield. Everyday she saw the horrors of the war. Men were being killed right in front of her, and those who did not die, faced the agonizing pain of their wounds. If Clara Barton was given the right to vote, I am most certain that she would not chose to send men off to fight. She saw how war affected the men and took care of the effects. She would not vote to send more men to war and have them suffer like many others have. Also, why would women would vote to have their men shipped to war, when the risks of losing them would be too great? Being a woman myself, I certainly would not chose to send my husband off to fight. I would not be guaranteed his safe return. However, if he did return, he could be injured either emotionally or physically for life. Therefore, I, along with many other women, if granted the right to vote, would not vote on sending our men off to war.
In closing, Parkmans article, Women Are Unfit to Vote, proved to be a shaky argumentative article on reasons why women should not be given the right to vote. He states that the familys head is the political unit, but does not state the head must be a family. He also claims that women do not have practice in self-government, and therefore, should not be given a chance to learn by voting. Lastly, he writes that a women, if given the right to vote, would send men to war not knowing any better. Women are smart; they learn quickly. If men would only trust in us, they would be surprised at what they would find. Who knows, maybe in the near future, when women do have the right to vote, we will not only have proved Parkmans arguments false, but our country might even have a woman president. Only time will tell, but for now, women need their right to vote!