Jane Grey Swisshelm, Half A Century (Chicago: Jansen, McClurg and Company, 1880), 2nd ed.
P. 145: The period of the Visiter [1848-57] was one of great mental activity--a period of hobbies--and it, having assumed the reform roll [sic], was expected to assume all the reforms. Turkish trowsers [trousers], Fourierism, Spiritualism, Vegetarianism, Phonetics, Pneumonics, the Eight hour [of labor per day] law, Criminal Caudling, Magdalenism, and other devices for teaching pyramids to stand on their apex were pressed upon the Visiter, and it was held by the disciples of each as "false to all its professions," when declining to devote itself to its advocacy. There were a thousand men and women, who knew exactly what it ought to do; but seldom two of them agreed, and none ever thought of furnishing funds for the doing of it. Reformers insisted that it should advocate their plan of hurrying up the millennium, furnish the white paper and pay the printers.
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P. 146: The policy of the Visiter in regard to Woman's Rights, was to "go easy," except in the case of those slave-women, who had no rights. For others, gain an advance when you could. Educate girls with boys, develop their brains, and take away legal disabilities little by little, as experience should show was wise; but never dream of their doing the world's hard work, either mental or physical; and Heaven defend them from going into all the trades.
The human teeth proved that we should eat flesh, and the human form proved that men should take the ore out of the mines, subdue the inertia of matter and the ferocity of animals; that they should raise the grain, build the houses, roads and heavy machinery; and that women should do the lighter work. As this work was as important as the heavier, and as it fell principally on wives and mothers, they in these relations should receive equal compensation with the husband and father. By this plan, the estate acquired by [P. 147] a matrimonial firm, would belong equally to both parties, and each could devise this or her share, so that a woman would know that her accumulations would go to her heirs, not to her successor. Consequently, every wife would have an incentive to industry and economy, instead of being stimulated to idleness and extravagance as by existing laws.
Women should not weaken their cause by impracticable demands. Make no claim which could not be won in a reasonable time. Take one step at a time, get a good foothold in it and advance carefully. Suffrage in municipal elections for property holders who could read, and had never been connected with crime, was the place to strike for the ballot. Say nothing about suffrage elsewhere until it proved successful here.
The social philosophy named after Charles Fourier (1772-1837). He was a well-known proponent of utopian socialist ideas (so-called after Marx's distinction between his own "scientific" socialism and the ideas of his predecessors); he was born in Besançon, France and worked as a clerk before publishing his first work, The Social Destiny of Man, or, Theory of the Four Movements (1808). After inheriting his mother's estate in 1812, he devoted himself to working through the details of his ideas in such works as The New Industrial World (1829). He advocated a reorganization of society into self-sufficient units (phalanstères or phalanxes) which would offer a maximum of both cooperation and choice to members. A number of so-called utopian communities in the United States adopted Fourier's principles. Perhaps the best known of these was Brook Farm.
In 1848, Kate and Margaret Fox, two sisters aged twelve and fifteen, who lived outside Rochester, began their careers as mediums to the spirit world by deciphering the meaning of mysterious rapping sounds. Within a few years popular mediums were giving well-attended lectures, sometimes in a trance state, throughout the northern states in which they described the afterlife. Others held séances at which believers communicated with loved ones who had died or recovered memories of previous lives.
A campaign for simplified spelling, based on phonetic principles.
A system of breathing exercises for which proponents claimed health values.
A caudle is a warm beverage, usually a mixture of wine or ale and eggs, sugar, and spices, given to the sick.
A campaign to rescue prostitutes by providing shelter, occupational training, and religious counselling. Mrs. Sarah Tyndale led such a crusade in Philadelphia. Lucretia Mott's speech extolling her friend's success was one of the emotional high points of the 1850 convention.