Document 5: “Gone Up,” Editorial in The Pueblo Chieftain (9 October 1877), reprinted in “Colorado Opponents of Woman Suffrage,” Woman’s Journal, 8 (3 November 1877), p. 352.

Introduction

       Opponents of woman suffrage rejoiced in their victory on October 5, 1877. The following article from The Pueblo Chieftain, located in the south central area of Colorado, revealed the delight of anti-suffragists over the results of the election as well as the resentment toward the East felt by many westerners. The fear that female enfranchisement would overturn the traditional gender order, and already had done so among suffragists--making women superior rather than inferior to men in the social hierarchy--was also very clear from this document.

GONE UP.

       To the thinking, conservative citizen, perhaps the most satisfactory feature of the late election is the overwhelming defeat of the efforts of certain windy fanatics to foist Woman Suffrage upon the people of Colorado.

       Colorado being the youngest of all the States, and her people having just escaped from the guardianship of the general government, presumably the most verdant in matters of statecraft, was considered by the Woman Suffrage shriekers as an excellent place wherein to try experiments. They left their homes in New England to make a desperate effort to have their pet hobby inaugurated here, knowing that its evil effects would not be felt directly by themselves and utterly regardless of the injury which might be inflicted upon us. Massachusetts discarded them, Kansas disdainfully spat them out[A], and then they alighted in full force in Colorado.

       Their first strong effort was made here during the governorship of the great and good Ed. McCook[B]. The scheme at that time was almost forced through the Legislature, but a speech, one of the finest ever delivered on the subject, was made by the late Hon. Geo. A. Hinsdale[C] in the territorial council, which completely demolished the arguments of the Suffragists and overwhelmingly defeated them. McCook, the chivalrous and valiant Edward, was so enraged at the failure of his pet scheme, that he filled himself with rum, and bullied Gov. Hinsdale with a pistol in the streets of Denver.

       That backset quieted the matter for a while, and the movement showed its head no more until the meeting of the constitutional convention. Then the friends of Woman Suffrage rallied again in force and “heifer-dozed” the convention into allowing a proviso to be incorporated in the constitution requiring the people to vote upon the question[D]. This was done because the members of the convention were bored to death by men in petticoats and women in pantaloons, whose senseless gabble became an intolerable nuisance which it was necessary to abate to save some of the constitution makers from premature lunacy.

*   *   *

       Upon the opening of the late campaign the Suffrage party girded themselves for the conflict. The eastern States were scoured, and all of the crowing hens and clucking cocks in that region of advanced ideas were collected, brought west, and let loose like a flock of magpies upon the people of our State. Calling to their aid a few spavined, superannuated political hacks of native production, they penetrated every town, village, and cross roads settlement in Colorado. The churches were prostituted for political meetings, the peace and silence of the Sabbath evenings were broken by their insane screechings, bare faced lies were telegraphed all over the country, and every trick known to the most unprincipled politician was brought into play to forward their ends. In the city of Denver women of good standing so far forgot the native modesty of their sex as to appear at the polls and electioneer in favor of their pet scheme. This alone should have been enough to disgust any respectable, well-meaning man with the cause and its advocates.

       A great deal of good hard work was done, and if Grandma Blackwell[E] is to be believed “large and enthusiastic meetings of voters” were held in almost every city and town in the State. The friends of Woman Suffrage had it all their own way, no effort beyond a speech or two in Denver having been made in opposition to them. After all of this effort what was the result? An overwhelming defeat, which ought to kill the movement for all time. This, however, we can hardly expect. “Cheek” is one of the principle attributes of Woman Suffragists, and our people may expect to see the scheme advocated soon again.

       Go home Lucy Stone, go home Grandma Blackwell Stone, depart Colonel Susan Boanerges Anthony, leave our gates Major Hindman[F], and “bag your head” Judge Miller; the people of Colorado are not at present prepared for your advanced ideas. They are of the opinion that Suffrage is sufficiently extended already and that Woman’s true sphere is the center of the home circle and not at the polls or in the jury-box.

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A. This referred to the 1867 defeat for equal suffrage in Kansas.
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B. Edward H. McCook, one of Colorado’s territorial governors, and his wife endorsed woman suffrage. In 1870, in his message to the territorial legislature, Republican McCook urged the mostly Democratic Colorado legislature to join Wyoming in granting women the right to vote, but the subsequent bill was defeated.
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C. George A. Hinsdale, president of the territorial council, strongly and successfully opposed the woman suffrage bill in 1870.
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D. The proviso was Article 7, Section 2 of the Colorado Constitution.
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E. This referred to Henry Blackwell.
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F. This referred to Matilda Hindman, originally from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, who worked as a suffrage organizer in Colorado and then in 1890 in South Dakota.
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