Coolidge’s daily column “Calvin Coolidge Says” on Oct. 13 1930 commemorated the “tencennial” of woman suffrage. As has been reported in an earlier post, Coolidge had long been a supporter of votes for women, not least because he held the view that women were apt to vote sensibly and conservatively, a view reiterated in the column. No doubt Coolidge would be thrown for a loop by the feminist movement of later decades – and feminists would likely bristle at what might be construed as his reduction of women’s roles to those of mother and homemaker.
We have just completed the first decade of national woman suffrage. Generally it has revealed that while women are not eager for public office they administer it successfully. Not all the claims made about the value they would add to political life have been substantiated. Party alignments have been little changed. If a purification of politics has not yet been perceptible, probably public life was already reasonably clean.
But women voters have had a very considerable influence on party platforms and governmental policy, especially on the humane and social welfare sides. Education is better served. Ten years are too short for final results. The women are particularly effective on the conservative side of affairs. They are still the homemakers. They look to the future. They think of conditions not only for themselves but for their posterity.
The great benefit of their vote will be in bringing to the aid of the State that spiritual support which they have so long given to the Church. They are devoted, steadfast, sensible. They will not follow radical proposals, but will be influenced by moral values. Nothing can be safer for the commonwealth than the informed judgment of the mothers of the land.
Over at the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library & Museum blog, an interesting post reminds us of Coolidge’s progressive (for his time) views on women’s suffrage. The 19th Amendment, giving women the right and privilege of voting was ratified in August of 1920, after the Tennessee legislature had ratified the amendment by a one-vote margin, making the Volunteer State the nation’s 36th to pass the amendment. Coolidge had long been in favor of women’s suffrage.
Check out the blog post, and the accompanying picture showing then-Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge and his wife Grace (who cast her first vote in a Federal election in November of 1920 – presumably for the Republican ticket that included her husband as vice-presidential running mate to Warren G. Harding) at the ballot box in Northampton, Mass. It would be interesting to see what share of the women’s vote Harding/Coolidge and Coolidge/Dawes received in 1920 and 1924, respectively.