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There are no new arguments to
be made on human rights, our work to-day is to apply to ourselves
those so familiar to all; to teach man that woman is not an
anomalous being, outside all laws and constitutions, but one
whose rights are to be established by the same process of reason
as that by which he demands his own.

When our Fathers made out their famous bill of impeachment
against England, they specified eighteen grievances. When the
women of this country surveyed the situation in their first
convention, they found they had precisely that number, and quite
similar in character; and reading over the old revolutionary
arguments of Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Otis, and Adams, they
found they applied remarkably well to their case. The same
arguments made in this country for extending suffrage from time
to time, to white men, native born citizens, without property and
education, and to foreigners; the same used by John Bright in
England, to extend it to a million new voters, and the same used
by the great Republican party to enfranchise a million black men
in the South, all these arguments we have to-day to offer for
woman, and one, in addition, stronger than all besides, the
difference in man and woman. Because man and woman are the
complement of one another, we need woman's thought in national
affairs to make a safe and stable government.

The Republican party to-day congratulates itself on having
carried the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution, thus
securing "manhood suffrage" and establishing an aristocracy of
sex on this continent. As several bills to secure Woman's
Suffrage in the District and the Territories have been already
presented in both houses of Congress, and as by Mr. Julian's
bill, the question of so amending the Constitution as to extend
suffrage to all the women of the country has been presented to
the nation for consideration, it is not only the right but the
duty of every thoughtful woman to express her opinion on a
Sixteenth Amendment. While I hail the late discussions in
Congress and the various bills presented as so many signs of
progress, I am especially gratified with those of Messrs. Julian
and Pomeroy, which forbid any State to deny the right of suffrage
to any of its citizens on account of sex or color.

This fundamental principle of our government--the equality of all
the citizens of the republic--should be incorporated in the
Federal Constitution, there to remain forever. To leave this
question to the States and partial acts of Congress, is to defer
indefinitely its settlement, for what is done by this Congress
may be repealed by the next; and politics in the several States
differ so widely, that no harmonious action on any question can
ever be secured, except as a strict party measure. Hence, we
appeal to the party now in power, everywhere, to end this
protracted debate on suffrage, and declare it the inalienable
right of every citizen who is amenable to the laws of the land,
who pays taxes and the penalty of crime. We have a splendid
theory of a genuine republic, why not realize it and make our
government homogeneous, from Maine to California. The Republican
party has the power to do this, and now is its only opportunity.
Woman's Suffrage, in 1872, may be as good a card for the
Republicans as Gen. Grant was in the last election. It is said
that the Republican party made him President, not because they
thought him the most desirable man in the nation for that office,
but they were afraid the Democrats would take him if they did
not. We would suggest, there may be the same danger of Democrats
taking up Woman Suffrage if they do not. God, in his providence,
may have purified that party in the furnace of affliction. They
have had the opportunity, safe from the turmoil of political life
and the temptations of office, to study and apply the divine
principles of justice and equality to life; for minorities are
always in a position to carry principles to their logical
results, while majorities are governed only by votes. You see my
faith in Democrats is based on sound philosophy. In the next
Congress, the Democratic party will gain thirty-four new members,
hence the Republicans have had their last chance to do justice to
woman. It will be no enviable record for the Fortieth Congress
that in the darkest days of the republic it placed our free
institutions in the care and keeping of every type of manhood,
ignoring womanhood, all the elevating and purifying influences of
the most virtuous and humane half of the American people....

I urge a speedy adoption of a Sixteenth Amendment for the
following reasons:

1. A government, based on the principle of caste and class, can
not stand. The aristocratic idea, in any form, is opposed to the
genius of our free institutions, to our own declaration of
rights, and to the civilization of the age. All artificial
distinctions, whether of family, blood, wealth, color, or sex,
are equally oppressive to the subject classes, and equally
destructive to national life and prosperity. Governments based on
every form of aristocracy, on every degree and variety of
inequality, have been tried in despotisms, monarchies, and
republics, and all alike have perished. In the panorama of the
past behold the mighty nations that have risen, one by one, but
to fall. Behold their temples, thrones, and pyramids, their
gorgeous palaces and stately monuments now crumbled all to dust.
Behold every monarch in Europe at this very hour trembling on his
throne. Behold the republics on this Western continent convulsed,
distracted, divided, the hosts scattered, the leaders fallen, the
scouts lost in the wilderness, the once inspired prophets blind
and dumb, while on all sides the cry is echoed, "Republicanism is
a failure," though that great principle of a government "by the
people, of the people, for the people," has never been tried.
Thus far, all nations have been built on caste and failed. Why,
in this hour of reconstruction, with the experience of
generations before us, make another experiment in the same
direction? If serfdom, peasantry, and slavery have shattered
kingdoms, deluged continents with blood, scattered republics like
dust before the wind, and rent our own Union asunder, what kind
of a government, think you, American statesmen, you can build,
with the mothers of the race crouching at your feet, while
iron-heeled peasants, serfs, and slaves, exalted by your hands,
tread our inalienable rights into the dust? While all men,
everywhere, are rejoicing in new-found liberties, shall woman
alone be denied the rights, privileges, and immunities of
citizenship? While in England men are coming up from the coal
mines of Cornwall, from the factories of Birmingham and
Manchester, demanding the suffrage; while in frigid Russia the
22,000,000 newly-emancipated serfs are already claiming a voice
in the government; while here, in our own land, slaves, but just
rejoicing in the proclamation of emancipation, ignorant alike of
its power and significance, have the ballot unasked, unsought,
already laid at their feet--think you the daughters of Adams,
Jefferson, and Patrick Henry, in whose veins flows the blood of
two Revolutions, will forever linger round the campfires of an
old barbarism, with no longings to join this grand army of
freedom in its onward march to roll back the golden gates of a
higher and better civilization? Of all kinds of aristocracy, that
of sex is the most odious and unnatural; invading, as it does,
our homes, desecrating our family altars, dividing those whom God
has joined together, exalting the son above the mother who bore
him, and subjugating, everywhere, moral power to brute force.
Such a government would not be worth the blood and treasure so
freely poured out in its long struggles for freedom....

2. I urge a Sixteenth Amendment, because "manhood suffrage" or a
man's government, is civil, religious, and social
disorganization. The male element is a destructive force, stern,
selfish, aggrandizing, loving war, violence, conquest,
acquisition, breeding in the material and moral world alike
discord, disorder, disease, and death. See what a record of blood
and cruelty the pages of history reveal! Through what slavery,
slaughter, and sacrifice, through what inquisitions and
imprisonments, pains and persecutions, black codes and gloomy
creeds, the soul of humanity has struggled for the centuries,
while mercy has veiled her face and all hearts have been dead
alike to love and hope! The male element has held high carnival
thus far, it has fairly run riot from the beginning, overpowering
the feminine element everywhere, crushing out all the diviner
qualities in human nature, until we know but little of true
manhood and womanhood, of the latter comparatively nothing, for
it has scarce been recognized as a power until within the last
century. Society is but the reflection of man himself, untempered
by woman's thought, the hard iron rule we feel alike in the
church, the state, and the home. No one need wonder at the
disorganization, at the fragmentary condition of everything, when
we remember that man, who represents but half a complete being,
with but half an idea on every subject, has undertaken the
absolute control of all sublunary matters.

People object to the demands of those whom they choose to call
the strong-minded, because they say, "the right of suffrage will
make the women masculine." That is just the difficulty in which
we are involved to-day.



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