Kudos for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer… in 1887

Editorial cartoon credit: washingtonhistoryonline.org

Editorial cartoon credit: washingtonhistoryonline.org

Doing some research for a memoir about my father, who grew up in Yakima, I waded through microfiche of old — very old — newspapers. When Washington was still a territory, women had the vote. It may have won statehood, but women lost… until 1910 when the state constitution was amended to grant voting rights to women. The Yakima Republic ran this editorial piece on February 17, 1887, during one of many unsuccessful suffrage pushes:

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer says ‘it has recently been charged with being in league with the devil. It will now probably be charged with being in league with the Democratic party. The first accusation was bad enough, but the second would be unbearable.’ And this, because it had the nerve and independence to express its views upon woman suffrage, as a question of public policy. When the press is sought to be throttled because of independence and utterance of its convictions, by those who do not happen to agree with such convictions of public policy, it shows a narrow and illiberal spirit, and, if it yields to an attempt to bulldoze it for opinions [sic] sake, it losses [sic] its influence and becomes a mere weather cock, turned by every varying breeze. An intelligent press is a public teacher, and its mission, like the pulpit, is to mould public opinion for the best interest of the greatest number of society, and of a higher civilization. This should be done, not by bluster, by threats, by command nor by ridicule but by addressing the reason, and presenting the advantages and disadvantages of a measure sought to be adopted, modified or abrogated, to the judgment of the public. Ours is a Republican form of government, which guarantees the free utterance of convictions, whether of speech or of the press, and they who seek to silence or stifle them by any species of restraint, because they are not in accord with their own, exhibit a dogmatism partaking of tyrany [sic]. The Republic admires the independent utterance of convictions, whether in accord with them or not.

Source: Washington State Library

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