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It needs but little
observation to see that the tide of progress in all countries is
setting toward the enfranchisement of woman, and that this
advance step in civilization is destined to be taken in our day.

We conjure you, then, to turn from the dead questions of the past
to the vital issues of the hour. The brute form of slavery ended
with the war. The black man is a soldier and a citizen. He holds
the bullet and the ballot in his own right hand. Consider his
case settled. Those weapons of defense and self-protection can
never be wrenched from him. Yours the responsibility now to see
that no new chains be forged by bondholders and monopolists for
enslaving the labor of the country.

The late war, seemingly in the interest of slavery, was fought by
unseen hands for the larger liberties of the whole people. It was
not a war between North and South, for the principle of class and
caste knows neither latitude or longitude. It was a war of
ideas--of Aristocracy and Democracy--of Capital and Labor--the
same that has convulsed the race through the ages, and will
continue to convulse future generations, until Justice and
Equality shall reign upon the earth.

I desire, therefore, an opportunity to urge on this Convention
the wisdom of basing its platform on universal suffrage as well
as universal amnesty, from Maine to California, and thus take the
first step toward a peaceful and permanent reconstruction.

In behalf of the Woman's Suffrage Association,

Respectfully yours, SUSAN B. ANTHONY.

The comments of the daily city press[110] on this "innovation" were
as varied as amusing. During the reading of this document, several
members of the Equal Rights Association occupied conspicuous seats in
the Convention. This was the first time in the history of that party
that any effort had been made to secure the attendance of their
mothers, wives, and daughters. But observing that women had been an
element of enthusiasm in Republican meetings all through the war and
the period of reconstruction, and seeing the improved tone and manner
their presence had given to the speeches, and the general conduct of
the proceedings, it was thought best to secure the same influence
henceforth in Democratic conventions. The attempt at this
time was quite satisfactory and successful. A large number of
handsomely-dressed ladies helped to swell the immense audience that
assembled in Tammany Hall, one of the most spacious and elegant
auditoriums in the city, to be dedicated on that day, July 4th, 1868,
to Democratic principles.

As there were strong hopes that that party was about to take some new
departure; some onward step; even to nominate for their leader so
radical a man as Salmon P. Chase, a large number of Radicals and
Liberals were present. Had the Democrats made that nomination, and put
a woman suffrage plank in their platform, they would probably have
carried the election. But they timidly clung to their old moorings,
nominated a man who had an unpopular war record, and submitted a
platform without one vital principle with which to rouse the
enthusiasm of the people.

Thus was the movement inaugurated of sending women as delegates to
both Republican and Democratic Presidential conventions, giving rise
to the agitation of the suffrage question on new platforms. With what
success the example has been followed, the records from time to time
fully show.


FOOTNOTES:

[108] GOING OVER TO THE COPPERHEADS.--As we have received several
letters from radical friends, warning us that we are going over to the
copperheads, for their comfort and instruction we will state some part
of our political creed.

1. We believe that suffrage is a natural right that belongs to every
man and woman of sound mind, without any qualification of property,
education, or sex, and moreover, that no reconstruction is worthy the
name that does not secure this right to the humblest citizen under
government.

2. We believe that both the spirit and the letter of the Federal
Constitution and the Declaration of Independence give Congress the
right to secure a republican form of government in every State in the
Union, and if they had done their duty at the end of the war and
proclaimed universal suffrage and universal amnesty, North and South,
the Republican party would not have been floundering about in the fogs
and mists of statesmanship to-day, without one inspiring party cry, or
one grand motto inscribed upon their banners, to carry them through
the coming Presidential campaign.

3. We believe that behind the rights of the Federal Government and the
rights of the several States are fundamental rights more sacred than
either, namely the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and
happiness; that out of these rights all just governments flow, and
whatever hinders the growth of the individual, restricts his liberty,
and destroys his happiness, is tyranny, and it is his sacred duty to
resist it to the death, as it is that of the State to resist the
Federal Government, in order to secure larger liberty for its whole
people. Rebellion in defense of justice, mercy, and the higher law is
always in order. Inasmuch as the rights of the individual are above
all constitutions, customs, creeds, and codes, it is the duty of the
general government to protect these rights against all intermediate
authorities.

4. While we have always demanded emancipation and enfranchisement for
the African race, we have no great enthusiasm for "negro suffrage" as
a party cry, because it is too narrow and partial for the hour. In
'56, Republicans asked aid and comfort of Abolitionists, because they
were opposed to the extension of slavery, but the Abolitionists, who
demanded "immediate emancipation," scouted the proposition;
non-extension, said they, is by no means grappling with the principle;
shutting up slavery where it is, is a step in the right direction, and
will eventually strangle the whole system, but to educate the people
into an idea we need the enthusiasm of a principle. When we say
"slavery is a sin," and therefore demand "immediate emancipation," we
end the evil and its extension in the same breath. So we say, to-day,
to the Abolitionists and Republicans, we can not accept your platform,
because it is not based on the idea that suffrage is a natural right,
we admit that "negro suffrage" is a step in the right direction, but
to educate the people to this partial demand even, we need the
enthusiasm of a principle, which you do not proclaim, so long as you
ask simply the extension of suffrage to two million men, instead of
its universal application to every citizen of the republic. As the
greater includes the less, when we say universal enfranchisement, we
claim all that the most radical Abolitionists and Republicans claim
and much more. Now, if the copperheads are educated up to this point,
we are happy to give them the right hand of fellowship, and shall hope
to be one of the delegates to the Tammany Hall Convention. We have
read their platform, as set forth in four mortal columns of the
_World_, and really do not see much to choose between it and the
Chicago platform. In fact, with the two Democratic candidates, Gen.
Grant and Chief-Justice Chase, and their twin platforms, stump orators
will have a hard task to prove why the people should prefer one
candidate or party to the other. The aristocratic principle--the
government of the many by the few--has been tried six thousand years
in every latitude and longitude, and under every imaginable form, and
the nations based on this principle have all alike perished. We have
proclaimed the true democratic idea on this continent, but never lived
it. Now the work of this generation is to realize what the fathers
declared a government of equality. The ballot is the symbol of this
idea, and it is not too much to demand to-day that it be placed in the
hand of every citizen. It is not too much to ask that this idea,
baptized in the blood of two revolutions, be now made the corner-stone
of the republic, the test of loyalty to the Union, to justice, to
humanity.--E. C. S. _The Revolution_, June 11, 1868.

[109] Lucretia Mott, Martha C. Wright, Robert Purvis, Olympia Brown,
Josephine Griffing, Parker Pillsbury, Paulina Wright Davis, Matilda
Joslyn Gage, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ernestine L.
Rose, Clarina Howard Nichols.

[110] (_New York Herald_, July 1, 1868): THE WOMEN'S RIGHTS WOMEN AND
THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION.--The Central Committee of the Woman's
Suffrage Association has prepared a woman's rights platform for the
coming National Democratic Convention. This association was given the
cold shoulder and completely ignored by the radicals at Chicago, and
the Democrats have therefore a splendid opportunity to take wind out
of the Republican sails on "womanhood suffrage" against "manhood
suffrage," and for white women especially, as better qualified for an
intelligent exercise of the suffrage than the thousands of black men
just rescued from the ignorance of negro slavery. The Democratic
Convention can turn the radical party out of doors upon this issue
alone if only bold enough to take strong ground upon it in favor of at
least the same political rights to white women that Congress has given
to Southern niggers.

(_World_, July 1, 1868): The Woman's Suffrage Central Committee have
spoken with a kindness which will be appreciated at its proper value;
they propose to anticipate and obviate the labors of the National
Democratic Convention by preparing a platform for the party in
advance. To this platform we elsewhere give the benefit of our
circulation. The document will not be amenable to censure for any lack
of explicitness or novelty, and will doubtless receive all the
attention to which its intrinsic merits entitle it, and which its
exceptional comprehensiveness will challenge. _Place aux dames!_

(_Evening Telegram_, July 2, 1868): THE WOMAN'S PLATFORM.--The Woman's
Suffrage Association present to the Tammany Hall Fourth of July
Democratic National Convention a platform of principles which contains
some good sound planks and proves at all events that an educated white
woman is more fit to be intrusted with the ballot than is the
brutalized and ignorant negro who has been invested with political
power by the radicals of Congress.



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