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Woman Suffrage in Colorado

Document 5

The Right Reverend Joseph P. Machebeuf (1812-1889) was a Roman Catholic priest in Denver during the 1877 woman suffrage campaign:

       Though strong-minded women who are not satisfied with the disposition of Providence and who wish to go beyond the condition of their sex, profess no doubt to be Christians, do they consult the Bible?--do they follow the Bible? I fear not. Had God intended to create a companion for man, capable of following the same pursuits, able to undertake the same labors, he would have created another man; but he created a woman, and she fell. . . .

       The class of women wanting suffrage are battalions of old maids disappointed in love--women separated from their husbands or divorced by men from their sacred obligations--women who, though married, wish to hold the reins of the family government, for there never was a woman happy in her home who wished for female suffrage . . . Who will take charge of those young children (if they consent to have any) while mothers as surgeons are operating indiscriminately upon the victims of a terrible railway disaster? No kind husband will refuse to nurse the baby on Sunday (when every kind of business is stopped) in order to let his wife attend church; but even then, as it is not his natural duty, he will soon be tired of it and perhaps get impatient waiting for the mother, chiefly when the baby is crying.

-- Joseph Projectus Machebeuf, "Woman's Suffrage: A Lecture Delivered
in the Catholic Church of Denver, Colorado," 6 February 1877

8. What was Machebeuf's main argument against suffrage for women?

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9. What did Machebeuf think of women suffragists?

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