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why don't they call the reserves into action? We could
help them.'"

Gentlemen, very few of us are very young women. We have forty,
fifty, some of us seventy years of life behind us. We have stood
on this eminence where you in your mistaken kindness and
gallantry placed us, and we have been all this time looking down
upon the battle-field of life where you have been engaged,
single-handed and alone. Those of us who have had half a century
have seen the ranks of men who started out in life with us
shortened one half as they have gone. Here is a husband, there a
brother or a father, men as dear to us as drops of our own
heart's blood. We have seen them steadily sacrificed by means
more appalling than those of Gettysburg, men literally
slaughtered by licentiousness and drunkenness, and all the while
we have looked on and been able to do nothing, and our agony has
become so great that we exclaim, "Oh, God! why don't these
brothers of ours call us, the reserves, into action? We could
help them."

When I look back to the days of our great war, I remember that
women sprang up every day all over the country--women of whom it
was not before believed there was any patriotic blood in their
veins. We all came together by one common instinct--saying, "What
shall we do?" I could tell you of women who have died from
exposure and suffering in the war. Hundreds of the very best
women of the Northwest went down voluntarily as nurses, and in
other capacities, and assisted suffering and dying men, until
they themselves were almost at death's door. "When women do
military duty, they shall vote!" We _did_ do military duty. We
did not cease our labors till all the soldiers had come home,
wearied with their services. We have earned recognition at the
hands of this government, and we ought to have it. Knowing, then,
the qualities of woman and her courage and bravery under trials,
I can never cease to demand that she shall have just as large a
sphere as man has. All we want is, that you shall leave us free
to act.

Mrs. LIVERMORE then spoke of the attempts of men to define the
sphere of women. Let the sphere of woman be tested by the
aspiration and ability of their own minds, and let it be limited
only by what we are able to do. Don't fear that women will not
marry and make good wives if allowed legal equality with men.
They even now make as good wives as men do husbands. Trust God.
This talk of woman getting out of her sphere is sheer lack of
faith in God. He has given us our natures. The gentlest woman is
transformed into a tigress when you go between her and her baby.
There's no sense, therefore, in the fear that the paltry lures of
politicians will draw women from the home circle. There is no
necessity to enact laws to keep women women. Woman's sphere is
that which she can fill, whether it be sea-captain, merchant,
school-teacher, or wife and mother.

Only two millions of women are among the producers of the
country--five millions are wives and mothers, and eight millions
are rusting out in idleness and frivolity. Take eight millions of
men from the world of commerce and productive work; the deficit
will be immediately felt. Add to the producers of the world eight
millions of skilled women, and the quickening would be felt
everywhere. Mrs. Livermore also urged the admission of women to
political life from considerations drawn from the increase of the
foreign element. East and West is a huge, ignorant,
semi-barbarous mass, brought hither from European and Asiatic
shores, needing the enlightenment and the quickening that would
come from the addition of educated women to the polls.

The Thursday morning session was called to order by the
PRESIDENT, Rev. HENRY WARD BEECHER. Mr. Henry B. Blackwell, the
Secretary, read, on behalf of the Business Committee, the
resolutions.[187]

Mr. BLACKWELL moved their acceptance, and, in support of his
motion, said: _Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen_: We have so
often heard of the great step that was taken in the war of the
Revolution--when our connection with Great Britain was
severed--that I fear we have lost sight of the fact that there
have been two great revolutions since that day--revolutions
which, to my mind, are immeasurably more important than the
first. For, when the war of the Revolution ended, a republic in
the present sense of the term did not exist in these United
States. In almost every State there was a property qualification
for voting. It was a government like the government of Great
Britain to-day--like the government of other countries--it was an
aristocracy of wealth, the privilege of voting being based upon a
property qualification. But hardly had the guns of the Revolution
ceased action, before the Democratic party of that day, under the
lead of Mr. Jefferson, demanded suffrage for poor men as a
natural right. The Federal party opposed the change. The
Democratic party were a unit in its favor. They advocated
suffrage for poor men on the same ground that the Republicans
have advocated it more recently for the negro--on the same ground
upon which Mr. Beecher advocated it last night for women--_as a
natural right_. They said, "All men have equal natural rights to
life, liberty, and property; if so, they have a natural right of
self-defense in the enjoyment of these rights. Now, in a state of
nature, self-defense takes the form of individual violence--of
the pistol or the club; but in a state of civilization men appeal
to the law, and government is nothing but an organized system of
self-defense for the benefit of the individual citizen." The old
Democratic party said, "Poor men have rights of life, liberty,
and property, poor men have a natural right of self-defense;
therefore, in a state of society they have a right to the ballot
which is the organized weapon of self-defense for the individual
citizen." What was the result? The Democratic party swept the
Union on that platform. They obtained a majority in the
government of the States and in the Federal Government. For more
than a generation they ruled this country as the poor man's
party. That result followed inevitably from their principles,
because parties, like individuals, are sure to obtain their
deserts in the long run. When any party appeals to that fine
sense of justice which is in the heart of every human being,
sooner or later its success is certain. The Democratic party
obtained the control of the Government for two generations
because it appealed to that sense of justice? But what was the
result to the country? America became known all over the world as
the country of the poor man. In America alone the masses had the
ballot. That was what brought from the shores of Europe this
great influx of foreign labor which has felled our forests, and
fenced our prairies, and built up the waste places of our
continent. There are to-day in Russia hundreds of thousands of
acres of land as good as any in the world, which have never been
cultivated, and yet Europeans, by thousands, turn their backs on
Russia, coming to America and going far into the interior to make
their homes, not because our land is better, or our climate more
genial, but because our Government is established upon the basis
of equal rights for every human being. The child of the poor man
becomes educated, he acquires property, he becomes a member of
the commonwealth, he does his own thinking, and, thank God, his
own voting, too.

But the Democratic party has lost power. To-day the Republicans
control three-fourths of the States of this Union. There was a
reason for these reverses. Before the abolition of slavery, a
certain race was denied the advantages of the Democratic
principle. It was a "white man's government." In the course of
time the inevitable collision came. Slavery was abolished, and
the Republican party attempted a new application of the
Jeffersonian principle. It demanded suffrage for the negro and
the Chinese. The principles of justice again prevailed. The
sentiment of liberty came to the support of the Republican party;
manhood suffrage is forever fixed in the Constitution of the
country, and to-day every man, whether learned or ignorant, rich
or poor, white, yellow, or black, whether he can read the English
language or not, is by the Constitution of the United States
forever made a voter. Now, ladies and gentlemen, every argument
through which an extension of the suffrage has been already
accomplished, applies with still greater force in the case of
women. The extension of the suffrage to woman, will be the last
crowning step in political progress, the final application of the
principles of Christianity and human brotherhood to the political
structure.

We do not advocate a new principle. We only desire to make a
wider application of our admitted American principles. That
application is sure to be made. I do not know what party is going
to accomplish it, but this widening of the political basis is as
certain as the rising of the sun or the flowing of the tide. Woe
be to the party that works against it! I know not whether the
Republicans or the Democrats, or the good men of both parties, or
an altogether new party, will take it up; but this I do know,
that the political party which takes up woman suffrage, and
unfolds its banner to the breeze, holds in its hand the key to
political success on this continent.

I appeal to every man and woman in this audience to go to work
for the great object we have at heart.



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