From the editorial page, March 13, 1917, Scotland Neck Commonwealth
Rep. Robert W. Winston Jr. struck the keynote on the question of Woman’s Suffrage, at least for North Carolina, in his speech before the Assembly in opposition to the measure when he stated the question was not what we could gain but what we would lose in North Carolina if the plans of the suffragists went through.
“Even granted that we would have better laws,” said Mr. Winston, “what would become of the home and the fireside?”
The objection of women’s suffrage is as we see it not a question of the vote. That would be a small matter, but it is the unsexing of women that we fear. Putting women into man’s arena. Associating her with that free and easy mode of life that has the tendency towards the absolution of the sacredness of Sunday, wild and untrained children, loose family ties, childless marriages, empty churches and deserted homes.
As we try to fathom the future under such a rule our mind dwells on the many lovely feminine natures around us in this vicinity, both dame and maid, whose great charm is that daintiness of femininity that makes the men of the south courageous and ready to fight for these loved ones who have so far evaded the call of the “Free Woman,” which is not liberty but license. Think for a moment what a change would take place here if, instead of having the homage of every man in town they should become brazen, self-sustained, the equal of men in argument, both political and secular, upon the street corners, and leaving the home to take care of itself. Such a picture is horrible to our mind. And yet, we are asked to remove the mother from the home and put her in politics.
As Cardinal Gibbons rightly stated on this question “When I depreciate female suffrage I am pleading for the dignity of women, I am contending for her honor, I am striving to perpetuate those peerless prerogatives inherent in her sex, those charms and graces which exalt womankind and make her the ornament and coveted companion of man. Woman is queen indeed, but her empire is a domestic kingdom. The greatest political triumphs she would achieve in public fade into insignificance compared with the serene glory which radiates from the domestic shrine and which she illumines and warms by her conjugal and motherly virtues. If she is ambitious of the dual empire of public and private life, then, like the fabled dog, beholding to his image in the water, she will lose both, she will fall from the lofty pedestal where nature and Christianity have placed her and will fail to grasp the spectre of political authority from the strong hand of her male competitor.”