A History of the National Woman's Rights Movement
A History of the National Woman's Rights Movement, for Twenty Years, with the Proceedings of the Decade meeting held at Apollo Hall, October 20, 1870, From 1850 to 1870. With an appendix containing the history of the movement during the Winter of 1871, in the National Capitol. Compiled by Paulina W. Davis (New York: Journeymen Printers' Co-operative Association, 1871).
P.5: At half-past ten o'clock on Friday morning the convention assembled at Apollo Hall. A large number of the long-tried friends were on the platform and a fine audience in attendance. Mrs. [Elizabeth Cady] Stanton called the meeting to order and read the call.WOMAN SUFFRAGE CELEBRATION
The Twentieth Anniversary of the Inauguration of the Woman Suffrage Movement in this country, will be celebrated in Apollo Hall, in the city of New York, on the 19th and 20th of October, 1870.
The movement in England, as in America, may be dated from the first National Convention, held at Worcester, Mass., October, 1850.
The July following that Convention, a favorable criticism of its proceedings and an able digest of the whole question appeared in the Westminster Review, written by Mrs. John Stuart Mill, which awakened attention in both hemispheres. In the call for that convention, the following subjects for discussion were presented: Woman's right to Education, Literary, Scientific, and Artistic; Her Avocations, Industrial, Commercial and Professional; Her Interests, Pecuniary, Civil and Political: In a word, Her Rights as an Individual, and her Functions as a Citizen.
. . . We specially invite the presence of those just awakening to an interest in this great movement, that from a knowledge of the past they may draw fresh inspiration for the work of the future and fraternize with a generation now rapidly passing away.
As those who inaugurated a reform, so momentous and far reaching in its consequences, held themselves above all party considerations and personal antagonisms, and as this gathering is to be in no way connected with either of our leading Woman Suffrage organizations, we hope that the friends of real progress everywhere will come together [P.6] and unitedly celebrate this twentieth anniversary of a great national movement for freedom.
Committee of Arrangements. Lucretia Mott, Sarah Pugh, Elizabeth C. Stanton, Ernestine l. Rose, Samuel J. May, C.I.H. Nichols.
On behalf of the Committee,
PAULINA W. DAVIS, Chairman.
|Mrs. Stanton then said that after due consultation the committee had decided that as Mrs. Davis had called the first National Convention twenty years ago, and presided over its deliberations, it was peculiarly fitting that she should preside over this also. A motion was made and seconded to that effect, and unanimously adopted.|
On taking the chair, Mrs. Davis gave the following history:
The History of the Woman's Rights Movement, Read in the Meeting Held in Apollo Hall, New York, Oct. 21, 1870.
In assembling as we have done to review the past twenty years, it is a fitting question to ask if there has been progress; or has this universal radical reform, which was then declared, been like reformations in religion, but the substitution of a new error for an old one; or, like physical revolutions, but a rebellion?ADDRESSES
Has this work, intended from its inception to change the structure of the central organization of society, failed and become a monument of buried hopes? Have we come together after twenty years, bowed with a profound grief over the wrecks and debris of the battle unwon, or to rejoice over what has been attained and mark out work for the next decade?
In the beginning it was natural that minds devoted for years to the work in hand should undertake the array of the required forces and the definite direction of the effort for the future; and now, it is equally proper that we call young, fresh workers, to receive from our hands the sacred cause.
We affirmed a principle, an adjustment of measures to the exigencies of the times, a profound expediency true to the highest principles of rights, and to-day we reiterate the axiom with which we started, that "They who would be free themselves must strike the blow," believing it as imperative as when the first woman took it up, and ap- [P.7] plied it to her needs; and it must be kept as steadily before the eye, for not yet can we rest on our oars and play with the privileges gained.
Women are still frivolous; the slaves of prejudice, passion, folly, fashion and petty ambitions, and so they will remain till the shackles, both social and political, are broken, and they are held responsible beings -- accountable to God alone for their lives. Not till then can it be known what untold wealth lies buried in womanhood -- "how many mute, inglorious Miltons."
Men are still conceited, arrogant and usurping, dwarfing their own manhood by a false position toward one-half the human race.
In commencing this work we knew that we were attacking the strongholds of prejudice, but truth could no longer be suppressed, nor principles hidden. It must be ours to strike the bottom line. We believed it would take a generation to clear away the rubbish, to uproot the theories of ages, to overthrow customs, which at some period of the world's history had their significance. We knew that in attacking these strongholds we should bring ridicule and opposition, but having counted the cost, and put our hand to the plow, we would not turn back.
We proclaimed that our work was to reform, reconstruct and harmonize society; not to lay waste to her homes and her sanctuaries.
We did not promise that we would not probe to the core if we found ulcers eating into the very vitals of our social or political organizations. A few only have been found brave enough to do more than touch the fringe work that circles round the vortex which is heaving and surging with social pollutions, which might well make angels stand appalled; but should the occasion come in this country, the pure women of our nation will rise, as the women of England are now doing, resisting a legislation [the regulation of prostitution] which degrades womanhood to the lowest depths.
We proclaimed a peaceful revolution; for we abhorred then as now the horrors of war, hence our demand for a participation in government, that we might bring a new element into it to restrain and purify it.
P. 8: Having laid the foundations broad we have steadily demanded equality in all relations, all rights and immunities, all duties as citizens, never asking favors because we are women, but even-handed justice and the ballot; without which we know that rights, if conceded, are held by an insecure tenure.
Two years previous to the issue of the call of 1850, there had been three conventions held, one in Seneca Falls, one in Rochester, N.Y., and one in Ohio.
. . . The Ohio convention had some peculiar characteristics; it was held in the Friends' Meeting-House in Salem. It was officered entirely by women; not a man was allowed to sit on the platform, to speak or to vote. Never did men so suffer. They implored just to say a word; but no, the President was inflexible--no man should be heard. If one meekly rose to make a suggestion he was at once ruled out of order. For the first time in the world's history men learned how it felt to sit in silence when great questions were pending. It would have been an admirable closing, if a rich banquet had been provided to which the men should have had the privilege of purchasing tickets to the gallery, there to enjoy the savory odors and listen to the after-dinner speeches. A little pity, mingled with justice, prevented this finale. And at the close, after the adjournment, the men organized and indorsed all the women had said and done.
[Here follows the text of the resolutions adopted: one for the vote and one declaring the prohibition of women from participating in government "a direct violation of the first principles of nature."]
P. 9: Were I to go back of these conventions, to see what had roused women thus to do and dare, I should be obliged to go into a long history of the despotism of repression, which German jurists call "soul murder"; an unwritten code, universal and cruel as the laws of Draco, and so subtle that, entering everywhere, they weigh most heavily where least seen. By nature, women are conservative, and hold steadily to principle; faith is inborn, not grafted on; hence there must have been deep-seated causes to drive them out of that quiet interior life so pleasantly pictured by reverend divines of modern times. We must turn to the discussions in the churches as to the right and propriety of their speaking and praying in public. The controversy there waxed hot, churches were divided, presbyteries were disturbed, Paul and Christ were made to appear antagonistic, and women must choose between the freedom which Christ gave to all, or accept the false interpretation of priestly arrogance. A few chose to be their own expounders of the Word and hold their consciences toward God void of offence.
[here follows an account of the career of Frances Wright, early reformer and lecturer.]
P.10: The spider sucks poison from the same flower from which the bee gathers honey; let us therefore ask if the evil be not in ourselves before we condemn others.
This brave, unselfish, noble woman [Frances Wright], did not pass unscathed through her ordeal. Phariseeism, then as now, was ready to stone the prophet of freedom. She bore the calumny, reproach and persecution to which she was subjected for the truth, as calmly as Socrates. Looking down from the serene heights of her philosophy she pitied and endured the scoffs and jeers of the multitude, and fearlessly continued to utter her rebukes against oppression, ignorance and bigotry. Women joined in the hue and cry against her, little thinking that men were building the gallows and making them the executioners. Women have crucified in all ages the redeemers of their own sex, and men mock them with the fact. It is time now that we trample beneath our feet this ignoble public sentiment which men have made for us; and if others are to be crucified before we can be redeemed, let men do the cruel, cowardly act; but let us learn to hedge womanhood round with generous, protecting care and love. Then men will learn, as they should, that this system of traducing women is no longer to be used as a means of their subjugation: it has been the most potent weapon to work on the minds of women.
Let them learn to demand that all men who come into their presence be as pure as they claim that woman should be. Let the test be applied which Christ gave, that if any is without sin in word, or deed, or thought, he shall "cast the first stone."
[Here follows an account of "Mrs. Ernestine L. Rose, a beautiful and highly cultivated Polish lady" who began her lecturing career in 1836 and of Mary S. Gove who, in 1837, "commenced lecturing" on woman's right to medical education.]
P.11: The same year  came Sarah and Angelina Grimke, from Charleston, South Carolina. Having emancipated their slaves, they were prepared to run the parallel between the slave code and those laws made expressly for women.
In 1839, a National Woman's Anti-Slavery Convention was called in Philadelphia. In this those sisters took an active part, and Angelina was appointed to prepare an appeal for the slaves. Thus the first National Woman's [Anti-Slavery] Convention, may be said to have inaugurated the national work of women.
In this convention Abby Kelley first became known. Her eloquence, together with that of Angelina Grimke, so excited the curiosity and interest of men, that they insisted upon coming in to hear, and thus, without premeditation, they found themselves speaking to promiscuous audiences. This Abby Kelley continued for years, and in 1840 the Anti Slavery Society, which boasted the only free platform the world had ever known, was rent in twain, because her friends placed her name on a committee, and demanded the right of woman to speak and vote.
In this conflict for principle, the names of Wm. L. Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Edmund Quincy, Oliver Johnson, Parker Pillsbury and S.S. Foster stand out conspicuously, and will so be remembered in all the future. The resolution was carried by one hundred majority.
About this time a World's Anti-slavery Convention was called in London. A number of women were sent by their respective societies as delegates.
After going three thousand miles, regularly accredited [as delegates]; their hearts bleeding for the wrongs of the slave and burning with love of freedom; they found that they were only women; and had no rights there. A furious discussion ensued. The vexed question came in the persons of [P.12] Lucretia Mott, Sarah Pugh, Ann G. Phillips and others; all alike refused their seats. . . .This holocaust to prejudice, served rather to hasten than hinder the uprising of womanhood for freedom.
[Here follows a brief account of the work of Lydia Maria Child, Margaret Fuller, and several others]
P.12: In May, 1850, a few women in Boston, attending the Anti-Slavery meeting, proposed that all who felt interested in a plan for a National Woman's Rights Convention should consult in the ante-room. Out of the nine who went out into that dingy, dark room, a committee of seven were chosen to do the work. Worcester was the place selected, [P.13] and the 18th and 19th of October [sic] the time appointed. The work soon devolved upon one person [Paulina Wright Davis]. Illness hindered one, duty to a brother another, duty to the slave a third [Abby Kelley Foster], professional engagements a fourth, the fear of bringing the gray hairs of a father to the grave prevented another serving; and thus the work was left to one, but the pledge was made and could not be withdrawn.
The call was prepared, an argument in itself, and sent forth with earnest private letters in all directions. This call covered the entire question, as it now stands before the public.
[Here follows a quotation.]
. . .This call, though moderate in tone, carefully guarding the idea of the absolute unity of interests and of the destiny of the two sexes which nature has established, still gave the alarm to conservatism.
Letters curt, reproachful and sometimes almost insulting, came with absolute refusals to have the names of the writers used or added to the swelling list already in hand. There was astonishment at the temerity of the writer in presenting such a request.
[Here follows excerpts from the positive responses of Wm. L. Garrison, Catherine M. Sedgwick, William Henry Channing, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ann Green and Wendell Phillips, Samuel J. May, and Elizur Wright. Next came a list of others, including Gerrit Smith, Joshua R. Giddings, John G. Whittier, Ralph Waldo Emerson, A. Bronson Alcott, Caroline Kirkland, Ann Estelle Lewis, J.G. Swisshelm, William Elder, Rev. Thomas Brainard, who also wrote in support. The inclusion of Jane Grey Swisshelm on this list is interesting since, as editor of the Visitor, she had faulted the Convention for advocating racial equality as likely to weaken support for women's rights.]
P. 14: The convention came together on the bright October days, a solemn, earnest crowd of workers.
One great disappointment fell upon us. Margaret Fuller, toward whom many eyes were turned as the future leader in this movement, was not with us. The "hungry, ravening sea," had swallowed her up, and we were left to mourn her guiding hand -- her royal presence. To her, I, at least, had hoped to confide the leadership of this movement. It can never be known if she would have accepted this leadership; the desire had been expressed to her by letter; but be that as it may, she was, and still is, a leader of thought -- a position far more desirable than of numbers.
The convention was called to order by Mrs. Sarah Earl, of Worcester, and a permanent list of officers presented in due order, and the whole business of the convention was conducted in a Parliamentary manner.
Mrs. Earl, to whose memory we pay tribute to-day as one gone before, not lost, was one of the loveliest embodiments of womanhood I have ever known. She possessed a rare combination of strength, gentleness and earnestness, with a childlike freedom and cheerfulness. I miss to-day her clear voice, her graceful self-poise, her calm dignity.
From our midst another is missing: Mrs. Sarah Tyndale, of Philadelphia - one of the first to sign the call. Indeed, the idea of such a convention had often been discussed in her home, more than two years before, a home where every progressive thought found a cordial welcome. To this noble woman, who gave herself to this work with genuine earnestness, it is fitting that we pay a tribute of affectionate respect. She was, perhaps, more widely known than any other woman of her [P. 15] time for her practical talents: having conducted one of the largest business houses in her native city for nearly a quarter of a century.
Genial and largely hospitable, there was for her great social sacrifice in taking up a cause so unpopular; but she had no shrinking from duty, however trying it might be. Strong and grand as she was, in her womanly nature, she had nevertheless the largest and tenderest sympathies for the weak and erring. She was prescient, philosophical, just and generous. The mother of a large family, who gathered around to honor and bless her, she had still room in her heart for the woes of the world, and the latter years of her life were given to earnest, philanthropic work [particularly in providing shelter and occupational training to prostitutes]. We miss to day her sympathy, her wise counsel, her great, organizing power.
Many others there are, whose names well deserve to be graven in gold, and it is cause of thanksgiving to God that they are still present with us, their lives speaking better than words.
Some are in the far West, doing brave service there[;] others, are across the water; others are withheld by cares and duties from being present; but we would fain hope none are absent from choice.
Profound feeling pervaded the entire audience, and the talent displayed in the discussions, the eloquence of women who had never before spoken in public, surprised even those who expected most. Mrs. C.I.H. Nichols, of Vermont, made a profound impression. [Davis here confused the 1851 with the 1850 convention.] There was a touching, tender pathos in her stories which went home to the heart; and many eyes, all unused to tears, were moistened as she described the agony of the mother robbed of her child by the law.
Abby H. Price, large hearted, and large brained, gentle and strong, presented an address on the social question [i.e., prostitution] not easily forgotten, and seldom to the present time bettered.
Lucy Stone, a natural orator, with a silvery voice and a heart warm with enthusiasm, and Antoinette Brown, a young minister, met firmly the scriptural arguments, and Harriet K. Hunt, earnest for the education of woman, gave variety to the discussions and deliberation of the meeting.
In this first national meeting, the following resolution was passed, which it may be proper here to reiterate, thus showing that our present demand has always been one and the same:
"Resolved, That women are clearly entitled to the right of suffrage, and to be considered eligible to office; the omission to demand which, on her part, is a palpable recreancy to duty, and a denial of which is a gross usurpation on the part of man, no longer to be endured; and that every party which claims to represent the humanity, civilization and progress of the age, is bound to inscribe on its banners, 'Equality before the Law, Without Distinction of Sex or Color.'"
[P. 16] From North to South the press found these earnest workers wonderfully ridiculous people. The "hen convention," was served up in every variety of style, till refined women dreaded to look into a newspaper. Hitherto man had assumed to be the conscience of woman, now she indicated the will to think for herself; hence all this odium. But, however the word was preached, whether for wrath or conscience sake, we rejoiced and thanked God.
In July following this convention, an able and elaborate notice appeared in the "Westminster Review." This notice, candid in tone and spirit, as it was thorough and able in discussion, successfully vindicated every position we assumed, reaffirmed and established the highest ground taken in principle or policy by our movement.
The wide-spread circulation and high authority of this paper told upon the public mind, both in Europe and this country. It was at the time supposed to be by Mr. John Stuart Mill. Later we learned that it was from the pen of his noble wife, to whom all honor for thus coming to the aid of a struggling cause.
I can pay no tribute to her memory so beautiful as the following extract from a letter recently received from her husband:
"It gives me the greatest pleasure to know that the service rendered by my dear wife to the cause which was nearer her heart than any other, by her essay in the Westminster Review, has had so much effect and is so justly appreciated in the United States. Were it possible in a memoir to have the formation and growth of a mind like hers portrayed, to do so would be as valuable a benefit to mankind as was ever conferred by a biography. But such a psychological history is seldom possible, and in her case the materials do not exist. All that could be furnished is her birth place, parentage and a few dates, and it seems to me that her memory is more honored by the absence of any attempt at a biographical notice than by the presence of a most meagre one. What she was, I have attempted, though most inadequately, to delineate in the remarks prefaced to her essay, as reprinted with my 'Dissertations and Discussions.'
"I am very glad to hear of the step in advance made by the Rhode Island Legislature in constituting a Board of Women for some important administrative purposes. Your intended proposal, that women be impaneled on every jury where women are to be tried seems to me very good, and calculated to place the injustice to which women are at present subjected, by the entire legal system, in a very striking light.
"I am, dear madam,
"Mrs. P.W. Davis J.S. Mill"
[P. 17] About this period Elizabeth Oakes Smith, with her graceful pen and fertile genius, came to the aid of our cause by defending the convention and the movers of it, through the columns of the Tribune and afterward published a series of essays entitled "Woman and her Needs."
Immediately after the reports were published, they were sent to various persons in Europe; and before the next convention, letters of cheer were received from Harriet Martineau and Mrs. Marion Reid, author of a work on education. From the French Prison, where Pauline Roland and Jeanne Deroine were incarcerated for their out-spoken love of freedom, came the following letter which is so prophetic of the present that it will not be less interesting to-day than when received in 1851. [Here followed the text of the letter.]
[P.19] What then was left to us, but to go on with a work which had challenged the understanding and constrained the hearts of the best and soundest thinkers in the nation; had given an impulse to the women of England and of Sweden -- for Frederika Bremer had quoted from our writings and reported our proceedings; our words had been like an angel's visit to the prisoners of state in France and to the wronged and outraged at Home?
Many letters were received from literary women in this country as well as abroad. If not always ready to be identified with the work, they were appreciative of its good effects, and like Nicodemus they came by night to inquire "how these things could be."
Self-interest showed them the advantages accruing from the recognition of equality -- self-ism held them silent before the world till the reproach should be worn away; but we credit them with a sense of justice and right, which prompts them now to action. The rear guard is as essential in the army as the advance; each should select the place best adapted to their own powers.
In the second convention, held in the same place (October 1851), Elizabeth Oakes Smith came forward, and honored herself by her fearless advocacy of the truth, and by her graceful eloquence made many new friends to the cause.
She made her way into the lyceums and some pulpits never before open to woman.
In this convention Mrs. Ernestine L. Rose made an address of an hour in length, which has never been surpassed. She printed it at her own expense, and circulated it extensively. It is embodied in the report of that meeting, as also Wendell Phillips' speech, and the able report on industrial avocations and one on education presented by the president.
At the close of Mrs. Rose's speech, Mrs. Emma R. Coe, of Ohio, spoke on the legal disabilities of woman. She reviewed in a strain of pungent irony, the laws of several of the States in relation to woman, showing them to be unjust and oppressive, and prejudicial to the best and highest interests of the whole community. She was a fluent, earnest speaker, and held a strong, magnetic power over her audience.
[Here followed a brief summary of succeeding conventions followed by a listing of those who played conspicuous roles in them and in advancing the woman's rights' cause generally.]
[P. 28] Early among women journalists Mrs. Jane G. Swisshelm stands out conspicuously. Some time in 1842 or '43 she commenced the Pittsburgh Saturday Visitor, which she edited for several years with marked ability. It was the paper most often quoted, and made war upon by all opposers of progress.
There is yet one other name that well deserves not one page but many, for his good deeds and unselfish work. A man with a strong, vigorous mind, a quick conception of principle, and perfectly fearless in his advocacy of them, holding always his personality so in reserve as sometimes to be overlooked among the many more forthputting. Parker Pillsbury was for some time editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard, and co-editor of the Revolution. His pen, wherever found, has always been sharpened against wrong and injustice, and has done for the Woman cause an incalculable amount of good. His editorials [P.29] have been marked by an almost prophetic spirit; and the profoundness of their thought will be more justly appreciated as there is a larger development and a higher demand for unqualified justice.
The Hutchinson family were among our earliest workers, giving of time and money liberally without regard to party or sectionalism. Mr. John Hutchinson and family went through Kansas with the lecturing tourists, in 1867, and with their inspiring songs for freedom did much toward increasing the vote for woman suffrage in the West. They still continue their work penetrating into the most benighted regions, and, asking for freedom, for temperance, for peace, and the reign of righteousness; they are doing their quota in the world's great work.
[Here followed a listing of prominent women in a variety of fields. Davis concluded with an apology that limitations of space and time that forced her to give but a "meagre outline, condensed from notes . . . [that] in no way satisfies the writer." (p.31)]
[P. 31] Mrs. Mott rose at the conclusion of Mrs. Davis' history of the work for the past twenty years and expressed herself as greatly pleased with its succinct and careful preparation. She felt that it was of great importance to the future work that this history be preserved, and hoped it would be published as part of the proceedings of this meeting. She felt that we had lost in not having kept more careful record of the progress of the work. She was sorry Mrs. Davis had not said more of herself, as she had done much toward opening the medical profession to women, and also in making the lecturing field a lucrative and respectable profession for them. She was, I believe, the first woman to claim the right in this to equal pay with men for her lectures.
Mrs. L. Mott said: "Among Quakers there had never been any talk of woman's rights -- it was simply human rights; and in Nantucket, which was founded by the Quakers, the women had always transacted business. Their husbands were much of the time away at sea, and so they became merchants, and went to and fro between Boston and the island, taking with them their oil, their candles and their whalebone, and returning with such dry-goods and groceries as were needed on the island. Women were now received as pastors of churches and teachers. They received, in some places, a salary greater than any men teachers.
Mrs. Stanton followed Mrs. Mott, and expressed the same pleasure in listening to the report, and satisfaction in its historical accuracy and [P. 32] completeness, but said she thought Mrs. Davis, in her modesty, had not done justice to herself; her work commenced before any of the woman's rights conventions were held.
As early as 1844 she commenced the study of anatomy and physiology, and gave public lectures on these subjects. She sent to Paris and imported the first femme modele that was ever brought into the country. She has told me many amusing anecdotes of the effect of unveiling this manikin in the presence of a class of ladies. Some would leave the house, others faint in their seats, others draw down their veils, and a few only had the moral hardihood and scientific curiosity to appreciate it and examine the fearful and wonderful manner in which they were made. In course of time, however, these natural "weaknesses and disabilities" were overcome, and many of Mrs. Davis' classes are to-day professors as well as pupils in our medical colleges, hospitals and dissecting rooms, the result of her early efforts in urging the medical education of women. Many who are now comfortably supporting themselves in that profession gratefully acknowledge her influence in directing the whole future of their lives.
Mrs. Davis took an active part too in the early movements for "Moral Reform," and was a contributor to "McDowall's Journal" and "Woman's Advocate," which were published for many years. She established too the first woman's rights paper ever published in the country, "The Una," in January, 1852. In looking over the pages of this paper it is surprising to see how perfectly the leaders of this movement understood all the bearings of this question, and with what boldness they followed the truth in all directions, in the consideration of woman's social as well as political wrongs. I state these facts in regard to Mrs. Davis, that our report, which is to be published, may do full justice to all.
[P. 41] Mrs. A.H. Price was introduced and read the following poem:
We meet once more, with thanks and tears
For what we've gained and what we've lost;
Our little bark for twenty years
Has been on stormy billows tost.
But still we see a beacon-light
Shine ever on our darkened way;
And love of Truth, and love of Right,
Shall guide us to the perfect day.
Freedom and Equal Rights must plow
Deep furrows in this hardened soil;
Man must his proud will humbly bow,
And cease God's heritage to spoil.
Then the true Woman will appear,
Clothed in a robe of perfect love,
The altar of sweet peace to rear,
Girt with the wisdom from above.
Then shall earth's Eden-home be ours,
Regained by hands that wrought the fall;
Adorned by her, its happy bowers
With mother-love shall shelter all.
In 1869 the suffrage movement split over the question of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guaranteed the right to vote to males irrespective of race, national origin, or previous condition of servitude. One wing, led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, opposed the amendment because it explicitly limited the vote to men. They formed the National Woman Suffrage Association. A second wing, led by Lucy Stone, accepted the argument that it was "the Negro's hour" and that widening the franchise to include the freedman would ultimately assist the cause of woman's rights. This group formed the American Woman Suffrage Association.
Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto ii, Stanza 76:
Hereditary bondsman! Know ye not,
Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow?
Thomas Gray (1716-1771), Elegy in a Country Churchyard, Stanza 15:
Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
The idea that prostitution should be legalized and then regulated so that prostitutes would receive licenses based upon monthly medical examinations became popular in first Great Britain and then the United States among police and public health officials, both of whom saw the measure as a way of reducing the incidence of venereal disease and of restricting an activity which, laws to the contrary notwithstanding, seemed resistant to effective police control. A good history is David Pivar, Purity Crusade: Sexual Morality and Social Control, 1868-1900 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1973) which traces the opposition to regulation among former abolition activists, feminists, and early advocates of sex education. It is worth noting, in this context, that Paulina Wright Davis was a pioneer in the field of sex education.
Athenian ruler whose code (circa 621 B.C.) made most crimes punishable by death. His successor, Solon, repealed all of the Draconian measures except those applying to murder.
Frances Wright (1795-1852) was born in Dundee, Scotland and raised in London. After a tour of the U.S. from 1818 to 1820, she wrote Views of Society and Manners in America (1821). In 1824 she started Nashoba, an utopian community near Memphis, Tennessee, where she hoped to educate slaves for freedom. In 1828, after Nashoba failed, Wright turned to lecturing, and edited of the New Harmony Gazette with Robert Dale Owen. In 1829 they founded the Free Inquirer. Wright was a strong advocate of woman's rights, including free access to birth control, as well as abolition.
John, Chapter 8: 7: So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
In 1839 those who sought to link woman rights to abolitionism, led by William Lloyd Garrison and Abby Kelley, challenged the leadership of the American Anti-Slavery Society who either regarded women's participation as "a great moral wrong," as Lewis Tappan called it, or as politically inexpedient as did Theodore Dwight Weld, Angelina Grimke's new husband. Her marriage effectively ended her career as a public lecturer.
Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) was a noted anti-slavery activist. In 1833 she wrote An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans. Child's Appeal attracted a great deal of publicity, and a number of abolitionists, such as Wendell Phillips, said that it first converted them to the cause. From 1841 to 1849 Child and her husband edited the National Anti-Slavery Standard, a weekly newspaper. She also wrote novels, books of household advice, and other works.
Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was born May 23, 1810 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Educated first at home by her father and then at a female academy in Groton., Connecticut, she taught at the Temple School organized by Bronson Alcott, the father of Louisa May Alcott. Later, she moved to Providence, Rhode Island, and taught at the Green Street School for two years. In 1839 she returned to Boston, where she started holding "conversations" in her home on various topics as a way of supporting herself. She was also a member of the Transcendental Club along with Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, W.E. Channing, and served as the editor of The Dial which she and Emerson founded. In 1843 she published in The Dial "The Great Lawsuit: Man versus Men, Woman versus Women" in which she argued for woman's rights. In 1845 she wrote Woman in the Nineteenth Century, one of the most important treatises on the issue of gender equality. In 1849 she married an Italian revolutionary and, the following year, she, her husband, and their son died in a shipwreck off the coast of New York.
Marion Kirkland Reid, Woman, Her Education and Influence (New York: Fowler and Wells, 1847).
|Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) was a British writer whose Society in America (1837) was a best seller on both sides of the Atlantic. In it she criticized the notion that marriage should be the sole object in life for women and the shallow and limited educational opportunities available to them. She also castigated the denial of women's right to form their own ethical judgments and rejected the notion that there were specifically feminine (or masculine) virtues.|
John, Chapter 3 (King James Version):
1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
Among the most popular musical performers of the middle of the nineteenth century, the Hutchinson Family Singers toured the northern states in support of temperance, anti-slavery, and other reforms. Their theme song, "The Old Granite State," can be found here.