Times- Democrat New Orleans, Sept. 11-1913. (Editorial Page. Woman Suffrage in the South.
The woman suffragists of the Southern States have called a convention to meet in New Orleans, Nov 10 and 11. to discuss some phases of the suffrage question that may affect the South. That the conclusions of the convention may have weight and official character they have invited the Governors from Virginia to Louisiana to meet them here and talk matters over with them.
These women realise that in the South the suffrage movement present different angles from other sections and that what is so generally favored by their sisters and friends in the North and West may be productive of unpleasant results this side of the Ohio. The South stands for State rights, for State control and regulation of suffrage - it battled for years in that cause. It is naturally and violently opposed to any more national legislation or to any more constitutional amendments on the suffrage. The war amendment adopted in 1867, which gave the negro the ballot, was one of the colossal mistakes of the last century and inflicted untold damage on the South and on the country, and cost thousands of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars. The case as between woman suffrage and negro suffrage is of course wholly different. In the first instance it is proposed to grant equal franchise to persons equally capable of exercising it: by the fifteenth amendment the vote was given by the national government to nearly two million people wholly disqualified for it, with the result of eight or nine years of misgovernment and spoliation.
But to the principle of national control of suffrage the South is still as strongly opposed as ever, and insists that this privilege should come form the State. How strong the sentiment is on this point was shown only the other day at the consideration in Congress of the bill for the popular election of Senators: when the Southern Congressmen, in spite of the fact that they were unanimously in favor of this democratic measure, refused to accept conditions which, they thought, might bring about national interference with State elections. This sentiment is probably as strong today in the South as it ever was - that the ballot must come from the State, be under its control and regulation, and never be surrendered to the national government. That conviction has been burnt deep into our brains by the misfortunes and disasters we had in the sorrowful days of reconstruction.
With great good sense the woman suffragists of the country, as a whole, have proceeded on these lines and have gone before the State Legislatures for the suffrage - with most satisfactory results. They have already brought over nine States to their way of thinking, with nearly half a dozen more almost ready to fall into line with them. Every State which votes for suffrage strengthens the cause in all other parts of the country. The cause has moved forward with increasing momentum, gaining strength with every victory if not with every year. There are many suffragists who are not satisfied with the progress - it is not fast enough to suit them; and they would hurry matters by a constitutional amendment, by making woman a voter by national legislation. Thus by one measure they would extend woman suffrage to all thirty nine States that have not yet acted. Instead of this being the shortest route to success, we believe it will prove much the longest. But without discussing this phase of the question, it is sufficient to say that the suffragists of the South appreciating the difficulties lying in their pathway, and believing, as the men of the South, that the electoral franchise should come of right from the States rather than from the national government, and fearing that the Federal control of the ballot might prove offensive, if not injurious to their section, and that the presence of negro women at the polls would hurt their cause, are desirous of eliminating, as far as possible, this issue from the campaign. They wish, therefore, to secure the ballot direct from the State itself, instead of by means of a constitutional amendment.