A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
Tyranny on a Southern plantation is far more
easily seen by white men at the North than the wrongs of the
women of their own households.

Then, again, when men have devoted their lives to one reform,
there is a natural feeling of pride, as well as an earnest
principle, in seeing that one thing accomplished. Hence, in
criticising such good and noble men as Gerrit Smith and Wendell
Phillips for their apathy on woman's enfranchisement at this
hour, it is not because we think their course at all remarkable,
nor that we have the least hope of influencing them, but simply
to rouse the women of the country to the fact that they must not
look to these men as their champions at this hour. While
philosophy and science alike point to woman as the new power
destined to redeem the world, how can Mr. Smith fail to see that
it is just this we need to restore honor and virtue in the
Government? There is sex in the spiritual as well as the
physical, and what we need to-day in government, in the world of
morals and thought, is the recognition of the feminine element,
as it is this alone that can hold the masculine in check.

Again; Mr. Smith refuses to sign the petition because he thinks
to press the broader question of "universal suffrage" would
defeat the partial one of "manhood suffrage"; in other words, to
demand protection for woman against her oppressors, would
jeopardize the black man's chance of securing protection against
his oppressors. If it is a question of precedence merely, on what
principle of justice or courtesy should woman yield her right of
enfranchisement to the negro? If men can not be trusted to
legislate for their own sex, how can they legislate for the
opposite sex, of whose wants and needs they know nothing? It has
always been considered good philosophy in pressing any measure to
claim the uttermost in order to get something. Being in Ireland
at the time of the Repeal excitement, we asked Daniel O'Connell
one day if he expected to secure a repeal of the Union. "Oh, no!"
said he, "but I claim everything that I may be sure of getting
something." But their intense interest in the negro blinded our
former champions so that they forsook principle for policy, and
in giving woman the cold shoulder raised a more deadly opposition
to the negro than any we had yet encountered, creating an
antagonism between him and the very element most needed to be
propitiated in his behalf. It was this feeling that defeated
"negro suffrage" in Kansas.

But Mr. Smith abandons the principle clearly involved, and
intrenches himself on policy. He would undoubtedly plead the
necessity of the ballot for the negro at the south for his
protection, and point us to innumerable acts of cruelty he
suffers to-day. But all these things fall as heavily on the women
of the black race, yea far more so, for no man can ever know the
deep, the damning degradation to which woman is subject in her
youth, in helplessness and poverty. The enfranchisement of the
men of her race, Mr. Smith would say, is her protection. Our
Saxon men have held the ballot in this country for a century, and
what honest man can claim that it has been used for woman's
protection? Alas! we have given the very hey day of our life to
undoing the cruel and unjust laws that the men of New York had
made for their own mothers, wives, and daughters.

As to the "rights of races," on which so much stress is laid just
now, we have listened to debates in anti-slavery conventions, for
twenty years or more, and we never heard Gerrit Smith plead the
negro cause on any lower ground than his manhood; his individual,
inalienable right to freedom and equality, and thus, we conjure
every thoughtful man to plead woman's cause to-day. Politicians
will find, when they come to test this question of "negro
supremacy" in the several States, that there is a far stronger
feeling among the women of the nation than they supposed. We
doubt whether a constitutional amendment securing "manhood
suffrage" alone could be fairly passed in a single State in this
Union. Women everywhere are waking up to their own God-given
rights, to their true dignity as citizens of a republic, as
mothers of the race.

Although those who demand "woman's suffrage" on principle are
few, those who would oppose "negro suffrage" from prejudice are
many, hence the only way to secure the latter, is to end all this
talk of class legislation, bury the negro in the citizen, and
claim the suffrage for all men and women, as a natural,
inalienable right. The friends of the negro never made a greater
blunder than when, at the close of the war, they timidly refused
to lead the nation in demanding suffrage for all. If even Wendell
Phillips and Gerrit Smith, the very apostles of liberty on this
continent, failed at that point, how can we wonder at the
vacillation and confusion of politicians at this hour. We had
hoped that the elections of '67, with their overwhelming
majorities in every State against negro suffrage, would have
proved to all alike, how futile is compromise, how short-sighted
is policy. We have pressed these considerations so often on Mr.
Phillips and Mr. Smith during the last four years, that we fear
we have entirely forfeited the friendship of the one, and
diminished the confidence of the other in our good judgment; but
time, that rights all wrongs, will surely bring them back to the
standpoint of principle.

As soon as we had a mouthpiece in _The Revolution_ we found that many
noble women in every State understood the situation, and saw that
while the question of reconstruction was under debate, woman was false
to herself not to put in her claims. In face of all opposition, those
who did see the policy and justice of claiming this time as the
woman's hour also, made the most persistent, brave fight possible.
Again were appeals and petitions sent to Congress and the people, but
now for woman's enfranchisement. When the whole nation was as it were
resolved into its original elements, and the fundamental rights of
citizens the topic for discussion in the halls of legislation and at
every fireside, the time seemed so opportune for the settlement of the
broad question of representation, that the persistency and
determination of a few women to secure their rights was neither
surprising nor unreasonable.

This was one of the most trying periods in the woman suffrage
movement. Negro suffrage being a party measure, a political necessity
and the culmination of the anti-slavery conflict, Republicans and
Abolitionists could bid each other a most sincere and heartfelt
Godspeed. And with them, too, stood the majority of the woman suffrage
associations. Wives and daughters of Republicans and Abolitionists,
imbued with the ideas of politicians, "one measure at a time," "one
reform for a generation," lost sight of the true philosophy, that
justice is always in order, and the fact that "universal suffrage" was
the one reform that belonged specifically to the period of
reconstruction. But women educated to self-sacrifice and
self-abnegation readily accepted the idea that it was divine and
beautiful to hold their claims for rights and privileges in abeyance
to all orders and classes of men. They forgot that the highest
patriotism, and the best interests of man himself demanded the
enfranchisement of woman.

The few who insisted on absolute right stood firmly together under a
steady fire of ridicule and reproach even from their life-long friends
most loved and honored. They knew their position was unassailable, for
they had well learned the lesson taught in the early days of
anti-slavery and the Republican party, that all compromises with
principle are dangerous. Statesmen and reformers alike admitted that
the demands of the women were just and proper, though not opportune.
But when the whole question of suffrage was up for discussion, there
could not be a better time to get all the agitation possible in regard
to woman's claims. The subject once settled on the narrow ground of
class, it would not be renewed for a generation. Time has proved their
fears well grounded. Nearly twenty years have passed, and there has
been no such agitation and excitement as then on the question. If all
the women, to say nothing of the Republicans and Abolitionists who
claimed to believe in the truth of the idea, had stood firm, woman
would have been enfranchised with the negro. But few could withstand
the persecution, the ridicule, the pathetic appeals to keep silent,
and in a large measure when the Anti-Slavery Society disbanded the
woman suffrage movement became the toy of the Republican party, and
has been trifled with ever since, like the cat with the mouse in the
fable.

But Democrats seeing the inconsistency of Republicans, did advocate
our cause, present our petitions in Congress, and frank our documents
to all parts of the country. And because these women, denied help and
encouragement from other sources, accepted aid from the Democrats,
they were called "Copperheads";[108] disloyal to the Government.
Women who had been complimented by the Republican press as "wise,"
"prudent," "noble," while rolling up 300,000 petitions for
emancipation, were now said to be "selfish," "impracticable,"
"unreasonable," because forsooth they demanded some new liberties for
themselves. More over said the Republicans, "these Democrats are
hypocritical, they do not believe in the extension of suffrage to any
class." To this the women replied, "If the Democrats advocate a grand
measure of public policy which they do not believe, they occupy much
higher ground than Republicans who refuse to press the same measure
which they claim to believe.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | 143 | | 144 | | 145 | | 146 | | 147 | | 148 | | 149 | | 150 | | 151 | | 152 | | 153 | | 154 | | 155 | | 156 | | 157 | | 158 | | 159 | | 160 | | 161 | | 162 | | 163 | | 164 | | 165 | | 166 | | 167 | | 168 | | 169 | | 170 | | 171 | | 172 | | 173 | | 174 | | 175 | | 176 | | 177 | | 178 | | 179 | | 180 | | 181 | | 182 | | 183 | | 184 | | 185 | | 186 | | 187 | | 188 | | 189 | | 190 | | 191 | | 192 | | 193 | | 194 | | 195 | | 196 | | 197 | | 198 | | 199 | | 200 | | 201 | | 202 | | 203 | | 204 | | 205 | | 206 | | 207 | | 208 | | 209 | | 210 | | 211 | | 212 | | 213 | | 214 | | 215 | | 216 | | 217 | | 218 | | 219 | | 220 | | 221 | | 222 | | 223 | | 224 | | 225 | | 226 | | 227 | | 228 | | 229 | | 230 | | 231 | | 232 | | 233 | | 234 | | 235 | | 236 | | 237 | | 238 | | 239 | | 240 | | 241 | | 242 | | 243 | | 244 | | 245 | | 246 | | 247 | | 248 | | 249 | | 250 | | 251 | | 252 | | 253 | | 254 | | 255 | | 256 | | 257 | | 258 | | 259 | | 260 | | 261 | | 262 | | 263 | | 264 | | 265 | | 266 | | 267 | | 268 | | 269 | | 270 | | 271 | | 272 | | 273 | | 274 | | 275 | | 276 | | 277 | | 278 | | 279 | | 280 | | 281 | | 282 | | 283 | | 284 | | 285 | | 286 | | 287 | | 288 | | 289 | | 290 | | 291 | | 292 | | 293 | | 294 | | 295 | | 296 | | 297 | | 298 | | 299 | | 300 | | 301 | | 302 | | 303 | | 304 | | 305 | | 306 | | 307 | | 308 | | 309 | | 310 | | 311 | | 312 | | 313 | | 314 | | 315 | | 316 | | 317 | | 318 | | 319 | | 320 | | 321 | | 322 | | 323 | | 324 | | 325 | | 326 | | 327 | | 328 | | 329 | | 330 | | 331 | | 332 | | 333 | | 334 | | 335 | | 336 | | 337 | | 338 | | 339 | | 340 | | 341 | | 342 | | 343 | | 344 | | 345 | | 346 | | 347 | | 348 | | 349 | | 350 | | 351 | | 352 | | 353 | | 354 | | 355 | | 356 | | 357 | | 358 | | 359 | | 360 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.