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Du Bois and Washington on Woman Suffrage

Document 8

In his publication The Crisis W. E. B. Du Bois wrote a rebuttal of Kelly Miller's argument against woman suffrage.

       If we turn to easily available statistics we find that instead of the women of this country or of any other country being confined chiefly to childbearing they are as a matter of fact engaged and engaged successfully in practically every pursuit in which men are engaged. The actual work of the world today depends more largely upon women than upon men. Consequently this man-ruled world faces an astonishing dilemma: either Woman the Worker is doing the world's work successfully or not. If she is not doing it well why do we not take from her the necessity of working? If she is doing it well why not treat her as a worker with a voice in the direction of work?

       The statement that woman is weaker than man is sheer rot: It is the same sort of thing that we hear about "darker races" and "lower classes." Difference, either physical or spiritual, does not argue weakness or inferiority....

       To say that men protect women with their votes is to overlook the flat testimony of the facts....There was a day in the world when it was considered that by marriage a woman lost all her individuality as a human soul and simply became a machine for making men. We have outgrown that idea. A woman is just as much a thinking, feeling, acting person after marriage as before.

--W.E.B. Du Bois, "Woman Suffrage," The Crisis (November 1915)

14. In what three ways did Du Bois rebut Miller's arguments opposing women suffrage?

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