The New Citizenship, (21 September 1920) Knoxville, Tennessee

Speech Text

[1] To the chairman, and, to the organizations represented, permit me to say that I appreciate the honor you do me by inviting me to be present this evening.

[2] And it is with much pleasure that I salute those who have acquired “The New Citizenship” as “Fellow citizens in the truest sense!”

[3] The opportunity given the women of America, of Tennessee, Knoxville, and to the individual, to assist in placing higher standards in the political world, and to institute needed moral reforms, will not be neglected. The interest being manifested proves this assertion to be true.

[4] Do not understand me to predict great reforms as sweeping the country in a short period, but that with the ballot as a weapon the correcting measures will gradually be applied by the entire citizenship, men and women.

[5] The credit for the great reform that produces the opportunity for the women to share her portion in the struggles that will be fought by means of the ballot, belongs to the women themselves, and it is to them that the suffrage service medal should be given.

[6] I am pleased that fate gave me an opportunity to have a small part in making Tennessee “The Perfect 36th,” but the fact should be recognized that right ultimately triumphs and if Tennessee had not acted then some other state would have done so. To the credit of the Volunteer State let it be said that the majority of the men in the governing body made of Tennessee a Guiding Star to the women of America who were seeking political freedom.

[7] Since “The New Citizenship” is the attaining political liberty, we may expect personal, domestic, educational and economic rights, for women, to follow in rapid succession. These will ultimately make this world a better place in which to live.

[8] You all have heard the fear expressed that the good women will not vote. Let me say that the women will not, as they never have, endeavored to escape the performance of duty and to vote is now a duty. And the mothers will not cast their ballots with only the present to be thought of but for the good of coming generations as well.

[9] If the new citizenship would result in only one thingbetter schools, then it would be worth while. Ignorance is what endangers America today. Proper education so that each would understand would do much to abolish the strife between capital and labor, and solve many other troublesome problems. To those who claim they fear that social legislation supported by the mothers of America will cause unreasonable tax budgets, let me say that the cost of saving American civilization for the world cannot be valued in dollars and cents.

[10] There are many things I would like to say to you but I have a motto that I try to keep before me when attempting to talk to others; and that motto is “Waste not the time of others by trying to tell them something they already know.” Naturally, this motto causes me to take very little of the time of this audience!

[11] I would enjoy telling you what I see in the future of America because of influence for good that has recently been liberatedI am somewhat of a dreamerbut the problems that confront us are stern facts; questions requiring an immediate answer; and I am confident the enlightened womanhood of America are capable of giving the right answer in each instance.

[12] Therefore I would congratulate you on the victory you have one and for the great good you will do by becoming a part of the governing power in this great nation!