Carrie Chapman Catt

Statement Before the House Judiciary Committee - February 17, 1892

Carrie Chapman Catt
February 17, 1892— Washington, D.C.
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Following is an excerpt of Catt's statement before the House Judiciary Committee in 1892.

....You know that in these modern years there has been a great deal of talk about natural rights, and we have had an innumerable host of philosophers writing books to tell us what natural rights are. I believe that today both scientists and philosophers are agreed that they are the right to life, the right to liberty, the right to free speech, the right to go where you will and when you please, the right to earn your own living and the right to do the best you can for yourself. One of the greatest of those philosophers and writers, Herbert Spencer, has accorded to woman the same natural rights as to man. I believe every thoughtful man in the United States today concedes that point.

The ballot has been for man a means of defending these natural rights. Even now in some localities of the world those rights are still defended by the revolver, as in former days, but in peaceable communities the ballot is the weapon by means of which they are protected. We find, as women citizens, that when we are wronged, when our rights are infringed upon, inasmuch as we have not this weapon with which to defend them, they are not considered, and we are very many times imposed upon. We find that the true liberty of the American people demands that all citizens to whom these rights have been accorded should have that weapon.

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