페이지 이미지

Letter to the Berlin Congress.


letter. In behalf of the progressive women of this country we would express to you the deep interest we feel in the present movement among the women of Europe, everywhere throwing off the lethargy of ages and asserting their individual dignity and power, showing that the emancipation of woman is one of those great ideas that mark the centuries. While in your circular you specify various subjects for consideration, you make no mention of the right of suffrage.

As yours is an Industrial Congress in which women occupied in every branch of labor are to be represented, you may think this question could not legitimately come before you. And even if it could, you may not think best to startle the timid or provoke the powerful by the assertion that a fair day's wages for a fair day's work and the dignity of labor, alike depend on the political status of the laborer. Perhaps in your country, where the right of representation is so limited even among men, women do not feel the degradation of disfranchisement as we do under this Government, where it is now proposed to make sex the only disqualification for citizenship.

The ultimate object of all these labor movements on both continents, is the emancipation of the masses from the slavery of poverty and ignorance, and the shorter way to this end is to give all the people a voice in the laws that govern them, for the ballot is bread, land, education, dignity, and power. The extending of new privileges and abating of old grievances may afford some temporary relief; but the kernel of the whole question of the people's wrongs can never be touched until the essential equality of all citizens under the government is fully recognized. In America we have the true theory of government, and step by step we are coming to its practical realization.

Seeing that no class ever did or ever can legislate wisely for another, the women, even in this country, have done complaining of specific wrongs, and are demanding the right to legislate for themselves. We are now holding conventions in the chief cities of the several States, and petitioning Congress for a sixteenth amendment to the Federal Constitution that shall forbid the disfranchisement of any citizen on account of sex. In January, soon after the convening of Congress, we shall hold a National Convention in Washington to press our arguments on the representatives of the people. Sooner or later you will be driven to make the same demand; for, from whatever point you start in tracing the wrongs of citizens, you will be logically brought step by step to see that the real difficulty in all cases is the need of representation in the government. However various our plans and objects, we are all working to a common centre. And in this general awakening among women we are taking the grandest step in civilization that the world has yet seen. When men and women are reunited as equals in the great work of life, then, and not till then, will harmony and happiness reign supreme on earth. Tendering you our best wishes for the success of your convention and the triumph of our cause in Europe, we are yours, with much esteem, ELIZABETH CADY STANTON,



The following ladies were appointed delegates to the Woman's Industrial Congress called to meet at Berlin : Ernestine L. Rose, Laura C. Bullard, New York; Kate N. Doggett, Mary J. Safford, Illinois; Mary Peckenpaugh, Missouri. A letter from Mrs. Bullard* was listened to with interest.

During the Autumn of this year there was a secession from our ranks, and the preliminary steps were taken for another organization. Aside from the divisions growing ont of a difference of opinion on the amendments, there were some personal hostilities among the leaders of the movement that culminated in two Societies, which were generally spoken of as the New York and Boston wings of the Woman Suffrage reform. The former, as already stated, called the “National Woman Suffrage Association," with Elizabeth Cady Stanton for President, organized in May; the latter called “The American Woman Suffrage Association,” with Henry Ward Beecher for President, organized the following November. Most of those who inaugurated the reform remained in the National Association-Lucretia Mott, Martha C. Wright, Ernestine Rose, Clarina Howard Nichols, Paulina Wright Davis, Sarah Pugh, Amy Post, Mary H. Hallowell, Lydia Mott, Catharine A. F. Stebbins, Adeline Thomson, Josephine S. Griffing, Clemence S. Lozier, Rev. Olympia Brown, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony—and continued to work harmoniously together.

* LONDON, July 18, 1869. Mrs. President and Members of the Woman's National Suffrage Association :

I send an account of the first woman suffrage meeting ever held in London. But if we may judge anything of the prospects of the movement from the list of men and women who have interested themselves in the cause, it will not be the last. When such men as John Stuart Mill, Charles Kingsley, Prof. Newman, and their peers, put the shoulder to the wbeel, a cause is bound to move on and crush all obstacles in the way of its progress. No old stumbling blocks of prejudice, or deep ruts of conventionality can impede the onward movement. As in America, I find that intellect, genius, wealth, and fashion even, are beginning in England to fall into the ranks and push on the woman suffrage question, Miss Francez Power Cobbe writes me : “ The uprising of a sex throughout the civilized world, is certainly an unique fact in history, and can hardly fail of some important results."

With the confident expectation that her prophecy will find a speedy and perhaps grander fulfillment than she or any of us dream of now, I remain yours, respectfully,

LAURA C. BULLARD, Cor. Sec'y N. W. S. Association.




Francis Minor's Resolutions—Hearing before Congressional Committee-Descriptions by

Mrs. Fannie Howland and Grace Greenwood-Washington Convention, 1870–Rev. Samuel J. May–Senator Carpenter-Professor Sprague, of Cornell University-Notes of Mrs. Hooker-May Anniversary in New York—The Fifth Avenue Conference-Second Decade Celebration-Washington, 1871–Victoria Woodhull's Memorial Judiciary Committee-Majority and Minority Reports-George W. Julian and A. A. Sargent in the House-May Anniversary, 1871—Washington in 1872–Senate Judiciary Committee-Benjamin F. Butler—The Sherman-Dahlgren Protest-Women in Grant and Wilson Cainpaign.

ALTHOUGH with Charles Sumner many believed that under the original Constitution women were citizens and therefore voters in our Republic, much more bold and invincible were their claims when the XIV. Amendment added new barriers to the already strong bulwarks of the Supreme Law of the land.

The significance of these amendments in reference to women was first seen by Francis Minor, of Missouri, a member of the legal profession in St. Louis. He called attention to the view of the question, afterward adopted by many leading lawyers of the American bar, that women were enfranchised by the letter and spirit of the XIV. Amendment. On this interpretation the officers of the National Association began soon after to base their speeches, resolutions, and bearings before Congress, and to make divers attempts to vote in different parts of the country.

At a woman suffrage convention in St. Louis, October, 1869, following suggestive resolutions were presented by Francis Minor, Esq., enclosed in the accompanying letter to The Revolution :

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 14, 1869. DEAR REVOLUTION :- I wish to say a few words about the action of the Woman's Suffrage Convention just held here. It is everywhere spoken of as a complete success, both in point of numbers and the orderly decorum with which its proceedings were conducted. But I desire to call special attention to the resolutions adopted. When I framed them, I looked beyond the action of this Convention. These resolutions place the cause of equal rights

the far in advance of any position heretofore taken. Now, for the first time, the views and purposes of our organization assume a fixed purpose and definite end. We no longer beat the air-no longer assume merely the attitude of petitioners. We claim a right, based upon citizenship. These resolutions will stand the test of legal criticism-and I write now to ask, if a case can not be made at your coming election. If this were done, in no other way could our cause be more widely, and at the same time definitely brought before the public. Every newspaper in the land would tell the story, every fireside would hear the news. The question would be thoroughly discussed by thousands, who now give it no thought-and by the time it reached the court of final resort, the popular verdict would be in accord with the judgment that is sure to be rendered. If these resolutions are right, let the question be settled by individual determination. A case could not be made here for a year to come, but you could make one in New York at the coming election.

Respectfully, FRANCIS MINOR.

THE ST. LOUIS RESOLUTIONS. WHEREAS, In the adjustment of the question of suffrage now before the people of this country for settlement, it is of the highest importance that the organic law of the land should be so framed and construed as to work injustice to none, but secure as far as possible perfect political equality among all classes of citizens; and,

WHEREAS, All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States, and of the State wherein they reside; be it

Resolved, 1. That the immunities and privileges of American citizenship, however defined, are National in character and paramount to all State authority.

2. That while the Constitution of the United States leaves the qualification of electors to the several States, it nowhere gives them the right to deprive any citizen of the elective franchise which is possessed by any other citizen-to regulate, not including the right to prohibit the franchise.

3. That, as the Constitution of the United States expressly declares that no State shall make or enforce any laws that shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, those provisions of the several State Constitutions that exclude women from the franchise on account of sex, are violative alike of the spirit and letter of the Federal Constitution.

4. That, as the subject of naturalization is expressly withheld from the States, and as the States clearly would have no right to deprive of the franchise naturalized citizens, among whom women are expressly included, still more clearly have they no right to deprive native-born women citizens of this right.

5. That justice and equity cau only be attained by having the same laws for men and women alike.

6. That having full faith and confidence in the truth and justice of these principles, we will never cease to urge the claims of women to a participation in the affairs of government equal with men.

Extracts from the Constitution of the United States, upon which the resolutions are based :

PREAMBLE, We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Uniou, establish justice, insure domnestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

ARTICLE I. Sec. 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States, and the electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature.

« 이전계속 »