Meriwether family papers, Special Collections Department, University of Memphis Libraries
Letter to Elizabeth Avery Meriwether from John H. Reagan detailing reasons that he opposes women's suffrage. Many of his arguments were common arguments used to deny suffrage to women. The following are excerpts from the letter. "I did not do so [recommend a committee on women’s suffrage] from any want of respect for women and their rights. I trust no man has more profound respect for women and their rights than myself. Two objections...: One of them was that under the constitution of the United States the states alone have the power to regulate the right of suffrage within their several borders… I think that conferring of the right of suffrage upon women would be an injury to them instead of benefit and that it would be a most serious injury to society in general. My experience is that [women] are in no earthly danger of losing their rights under the law as administered in the American Courts. I have examined the codes of many states and have never found in any of them that the rights of women were not carefully guarded and protected by law. If [women] were taken from the high pedestal they now occupy in man’s esteem, and caused to mingle in the strifes [sic] of politics and play the part of man in conventions and elections at the polls, and holding office...man would not have the same delicate respect for women that he now has, and that he would not feel under the same moral obligation to defend and protect her in all her rights as he now does. The God of nature did not design the different sexes for the same employment … it seems more reasonable to be the queen and mistress of the household; that she should govern and care for the household affairs and contribute to the home comfort and felicity of her family in happiness and love that benefit her sex and condition, than that she should be engaged in the worrying and corrupt struggles and political strife with man."
1884 January 3
"Letter to Elizabeth Avery Meriwether from John H. Reagan, 1884" (2021). The Government is Man's Work: The Anti-Suffragists. 1.
Woman--Suffrage., Meriwether, Elizabeth Avery, 1824-1917.