In 1881, the Indiana General Assembly debated the right of women to hold school board offices and the right to vote. Two women, Dr. Mary Haggart and Mrs. Helen Gougar, were invited to address the House of Representatives, which they did on the afternoon of February 15, 1881. In response, Senator David Hefron from Greene and Daviess counties, addressed the Senate on February 25, 1881. While complimenting the women on their “eloquent and forcible addresses,” he went on to say that he did not support women suffrage. The Senator stated that “Political power will degrade, not elevate women. … The field of politics is now so corrupt, debauched and debasing that thousands of good men turn from it with disgust and aversion, and shall we make woman–the stay of society, the hope of the world–shall we make her a factor in this cesspool of political corruption? … I am willing to give to woman all the legal rights enjoyed by man, placing her upon an equal footing with him before the law in respect to her person and property, but I wish to save her, and thereby save the purity and morality of society by excluding her from the evil tendencies and debasing influences of political strife.” [Brevier Legislative Reports, v. 19, pp. 228-29]
Indiana did not grant women full suffrage until the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.