Speech to the Emporia Normal School, January 12, 1922 (summary)


"There is a great desire for a new type of living, more genuine, more cultured, than the old type among the people of Europe, particularly among the young people," Jane Addams said in a talk to the Normal students this morning. "Groups of students have started a movement known as the 'Better Living Movement,' believing that if better human relationships can be established between the European countries they can better withstand the political and economic strain.

"Women in Europe are getting a hand in governmental affairs. Many of them have offices in Parliament," Miss Addams said. "In [page 2] Vienna there are 11 women in the lower house, four in the upper house, and 22 in the city council. The head of the department of education is a woman."

Miss Addams told of seeing women sitting in the blocs in the [Czechoslovakia] Parliament.

"One little peasant woman who sat in the agrarian bloc could not read or write, I was told, but was very shrewd, and a great help to her group."

"This has all come about since the war," Miss Addams said. "When I attended a suffrage meeting in Vienna in 1913, the women had a literary paper read at the beginning of the meeting so if the police surprised them they could say that they were holding a literary meeting."

Miss Addams told of the starving conditions of the Viennese and of the great deprecation of the Austrian currency. Austria is surrounded by great tariff barriers made by hostile neighbors, Miss Addams declared.

"The League of Nations is trying to give constitutional form to the movement for establishing friendly feeling between countries," Miss Addams said. "The United States has held off because she does not feel the need of it. Europe needs the League and she needs us. It depends upon the young people of America whether we go in or whether we go back to our old policy of isolation."