I tried to scan this but it is too wrinkled to read.
From The Farmer’s Wife, June, 1922
The Woman Citizen’s Job
A Brief Outline of Her New Rights, Duties And Privileges
by Ellis Meredith
Times have changed since THE FARMER’S WIFE began its career as a monthly journal for farm women. Women of city and small town and country, all alike are citizens with serious responsibilities. they have new lessons to learn and new things to do. Many requests have reached the editors of THE FARMER’S WIFE for articles related to woman’s citizenship duties and in answer to these requests we this month begin a series of short citizenship studies by Ellis Meredith who is well qualified to speak an advise on this subject. Her contributions from month to month, we feel very sure, will be of great practical value to our readers.—The Editors.
Every woman who has brought up a family has had experience in teaching the first fundamental principle without which no government can last—Obedience. If women bring into public affairs the spirit of obedience to law and willingness to abide by the will of the majority, they will do their country a very great service.
The rights and duties of citizens fall into two groups, and the first is compulsorty. Whether we like it or not we must:
1.—Obey the laws
3—Give military service in time of war (with exceptions)
4—Serve on juries (with many exemptions)
The second group of rights and duties is voluntary. We owe our country:
1—Loyalty in word and deed
2—An intelligent vote
Curiously, the success of our system of government depends upon our voluntary actions. Voting is the most that the vast majority of us can do and the lest any of us should do for our country.
“Yes, I know all that,” says a discouraged woman in the back seat, “but how am I to know who or what to vote for?” And she may even add under her breath, “Men seem to get fooled pretty often!”
The do. This does not have to be proved. They admit it. The great questions for us are: How are women to make the ballot serve them and their country? How are they to avoid the pitfalls their brothers have fallen into? Above all, how are they to make a beginning?
Here are a few concrete things the woman voter can do—any woman voter, in any community.
First learn what organizations of women there are in her state or local community which are doing educative work along citizenship lines. Everywhere she will find the W.C.T.U. which has been a pioneer in all legislation for women and children. Every state has its Federation of Women’s Clubs and some of these clubs have fairly ambitious legislative programs. Many of the states, if not all, have Parent-Teacher associations and most of them have The League of Women Voters. Then there are farm clubs and farm bureaus that embody citizenship studies in their programs.
Last of all (alas!) come the great political parties, willing to be the last when it comes to political education and content merely to make votes and let it go at that.
The voter, having learned what organizations there are which definitely offer women an opportunity for study and activity on these lines, will also have found out what they are doing. From them she can learn whether there is any handbook concerning the government of her state which is available and practical. Some state organizations publish brief compendiums at nominal prices, simply written in language the layman can understand. These are of great service. A woman must know the outlines of state, county, city and local government before she can ask intelligent questions, let alone answer them. Here are some of the questions that women are putting to themselves and others:
1—Are our taxes justly levied and wisely expended?
2—Have we adequate laws for the protection of women and children?
3—Are our school facilities sufficient and our teachers well trained and fairly paid?
4—Are the school buildings used as Community Centers?
5—Have we a Rest Room in the County Court House for the women who drive in from the country?
6—What state institutions have we for the care of children?
7—Are feeble-minded persons who are in any way a menace permitted to roam at large, kept in county jails and almshouses, or committed to proper institutions?
8—Do we have hospitals for the insane or merely asylums?
9—What vitality statistics are kept by the state—birth registration, mortality, etc.
10—Does the state cooperate in putting into effect the provisions of the Federal Maternity Law?
These are merely samples of the questions which every woman should be able to answer. She can think of many more questions, some of them local and some of them general in character. There may be a stream running through the home farm, for instance, that is a source of infection. There may be need of certain stock laws. There is sure to be a road in front of her door that is a just cause for pride or an incessant aggravation.
We do not have to go far afield to find a beginning in the exercise of our citizenship duties. Politics, like charity, starts a home, and the precinct where we live is the unit of government so far as we are concerned. We reap as we sow; the best corn must be saved for the planting; only the fullest, plumpest grains, will do for seed wheat. This is a principle, a law of cause and effect the American voter needs to learn and to apply. When we put only our very best into the ballot box it will begin to yield exactly in proportion to the time and thought and sincerity of the endeavor we have “sown.”
Learn more about Ellis Meredith http://www.historycolorado.org