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Suffrage Singalong! Download printable PDF

These and more songs are found on Songs of the Suffragettes, recorded in the 1958 and reissued in 1995, with excellent liner notes about the women's suffrage movement. Now available at

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--Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be? (Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be?) by L. May Wheeler
Set to a popular parlour tune, this song addresses an argument made against woman's suffrage: that women already had everything they needed - male protection, a sphere of their own - and didn't need to vote as well. Download this song


Oh Dear, what can the matter be
Dear dear what can the matter be
Oh dear, what can the matter be
Women are wanting to vote


Women have husbands, they are protected
Women have sons by whom they're directed
Women have fathers, they're not neglected
Why are they wanting to vote?

Women have homes, there they should labor
Women have children whom they should favor
Women have time to learn of each neighbor
Why are they wanting to vote?

Women can dress, they love society
Women have cash with all its variety
Women can pray with sweetest piety
Why are they wanting to vote?

Women have reared all the sons of the brave
Women have shared n the burdens they gave
Women have labored this country to save
And that's why we're going to vote

Final Chorus:

Oh Dear, what can the matter be

Dear dear what can the matter be

Oh dear, what can the matter be

Why should men get every vote?


--Keep Woman in Her Sphere (Auld Lang Syne) by D. Estabrook
This song is found in numerous suffrage songbooks, and was widely sung at rallies.

I have a neighbor, one of those
Not very hard to find
Who know it all without debate
And never change their mind

I asked him"What of woman's rights?"
He said in tones severe--
"My mind on that is all made up,
Keep woman in her sphere."

I saw a man in tattered garb
Forth from the grog-shop come
He squandered all his cash for drink
and starved his wife at home

I asked him "Should not woman vote"
He answered with a sneer--
"I've taught my wife to know her place,
Keep woman in her sphere."

I met an earnest, thoughtful man
Not many days ago
Who pondered deep all human law
The honest truth to know

I asked him"What of woman's cause?"
The answer came sincere --
"Her rights are just the same as mine,
Let woman choose her sphere."


--The New America (America)
Sung at the National-American Woman's Suffrage Convention, 1891, this song reflects a common suffrage argument - that giving women the vote simply fullfilled the promise of 1776.

Our country, now from thee, Claim we our liberty, In freedom's name
Guarding home's altar fires, Daughters of patriot sires, Their zeal our own inspires, Justice to claim

Women in every age, For this great heritage, Tribute have paid
Our birth-right claim we now, Longer refuse to bow, On freedom's altar now, Our hand is laid

Sons, will you longer see, Mothers on bended knee, For justice pray?,
Rise now, in manhood's might, With earth's great souls unite, To speed the dawning light, Of freedom's day

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