The Franchise for Women

Equal franchise means, of course, equal freedom. Because of its derivation and connotation, the term is in some ways even more expressive than the phrase "equal suffrage," which has to do distinctly with the voting power. Since divine Principle, which is the source of all real freedom, is infinite, it can be infinitely stated. It is always possible to reason anew on the relation of the elective franchise, or of anything else, to Principle. With the extension of the franchise to women in the United States, Great Britain, and other countries, the great need is understanding of this basic relationship. There can be no settling down into a complacent apathy after the first accomplishment. Attainment of one goal is just an opportunity for still further unfoldment, which is always simply the infinity of Principle expressed. Intelligently reasoned activity is what constitutes the practice or demonstration of Principle throughout experience.

The work of the citizen is to be governed wholly by divine intelligence, not by human opinions of any sort. In this understanding of divine government lies the only eternal freedom. The true franchise consists, therefore, in the acceptance of Principle as the sole governing power. There could not possibly be any freedom in the attempted acceptance of any supposed opposite to Principle as power or influence. By knowing that the divine Mind expressed is all there is to any activity or election, one unerringly chooses the right, for the divine Mind is always right. Firmness in this understanding of Mind, not persons, as the one truly executive power requires oftentimes a giving up of false preconceptions, since the limited always has to give way to the infinite. That is why the progress of suffrage is real progress. It is the surrender of fancied limitations in the voting function to the understanding that the true man is unlimited in his reliance on Principle.

Now the word "man," properly used, does not refer to merely masculine gender. The real man in the image and likeness of God is the complete expression of the divine Mind, whether that expression be called masculine, feminine, or neuter. As Mrs. Eddy says in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 516): "To emphasize this momentous thought, it is repeated that God made man in His own image, to reflect the divine Spirit. It follows that man is a generic term. Masculine, feminine, and neuter genders are human concepts." As one comprehends the meaning of man as a generic term, one necessarily sees the truth of the equal franchise. The real man, generically expressing Principle, has infinite franchise, or freedom, in the orderly unfoldment of the divine government. Thus understood, the whole problem of suffrage is not as to whether one division of human beings shall extend the voting function to another group of human beings, but simply the turning of all together to the one Principle and its generic idea. In this way, what has hitherto seemed to be incompleteness gives way to the entirely of the divine action.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Among the Churches
September 11, 1920

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.