Notable quotes by Jeannette Rankin, American pacifist and first woman in Congress


Jeannette Rankin quotes

Jeannette Rankin, an accomplished orator, known for her incisive, quick-witted commentary.

(Selected quotes by Jeannette Rankin from the biography, One Woman Against War: The Jeannette Rankin Story, by Kevin S. Giles.)

¶ “The time has passed for us to be nice. The army isn’t polite when it selects a young man and says, ‘Come on and fight.’ ”

¶ “There is no reason why old ladies should be denied the right to go into the Capitol and have policemen on every corner to see that we don’t hurt you.”

¶ “Go! Go! Go! It makes no difference where just so you go! go! go! Remember at the first opportunity go!”

¶ “Nothing in the world was as funny, at that time, as the women who wanted to vote.”

¶ “It is not for myself that I making this appeal, but for the million women who are suffering for better conditions, women who should be working amid more sanitary conditions, under better moral conditions, at equal wages with men for equal work performed. For those women and their children, I ask that you support this measure.”

¶ “Ask your fathers why they won’t let your mothers vote.”

¶ “In talking to women, urging suffrage, we said over and over again that war was stupid and futile and couldn’t be used successfully in adjusting human relationships. It was women’s work which was destroyed by war. Their work was raising human beings, and war destroyed humans to protect profits and property.”

¶ “Eventually we had most of the candidates talking about suffrage because they found it was the popular thing to do.”

¶ “Although it is a case of seven men against one woman, still I am entering the political fight unafraid. The primal motive for my seeking a seat in the national congress is to further the suffrage work and to aid in every possible way the movement for nationwide suffrage, which will not cease until it is won.”

¶ “If the hogs of this nation are ten times more important than the children, it is high time that women should make their influence felt in Congress. We have several hundred men in Washington to care for the nation’s tariff and the irrigation and the hogs but there is not a single woman to take care of the interests of the children.”

¶ “I need only every other vote and then one to make a majority.”

¶ “I feel that the strenuous fight for suffrage two years ago was well worth the discouragements and dark days we went through, if the new voters appreciate their franchise enough to be willing to push further their fight for representation in their government.”

¶ “The life of the laborer is not considered of much value. Injury and violent death are very frequent. We are beginning to have occupational diseases. So now we have real labor problems. … Industry, like government, exists only by the cooperation of all, and, like government, it must guarantee equal protection to all.”

¶ “I want to stand by my country but I cannot vote for war.”

¶ “When the people have been taught the sensible and civilized manner of settling disputes, they will vote against warfare and we shall have world peace.”

¶ “You can no more win a war than you can an earthquake.”

¶ “It wasn’t a question of the dispute between countries. The question was the method of settling those disputes. War is a method which has nothing whatever to do with the dispute. It wasn’t so long ago we were sending arms to Russia to protect ourselves from the Germans. Today we are sending arms to Germany to protect ourselves from the Russians…. It is very evident that most people today realize that there is a choice between using violence or using some other method to save our civilization.”

¶ “A man inherently likes to be governed by a woman. Matrimony proves that.”

¶  “What one decides to do in a crisis depends upon one’s philosophy in life, and that philosophy cannot be changed by an accident. If one hasn’t any philosophy, in crises others make the decision. The most disappointing feature of working for a cause is that so few people have a clear philosophy of life. We used to say, in the suffrage movement, that we could trust the woman who believed in suffrage, but we could never trust the woman who just wanted to vote.”

Kevin S. Giles is an American journalist and author whose books have roots in his native western Montana. One Woman Against War was published in October 2016. Two other books take place in his hometown of Deer Lodge: a novel, Summer of the Black Chevy (2015) and the nonfiction work,Jerry’s Riot: The True Story of Montana’s 1959 Prison Disturbance.” (2005)