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Democracy Deferred: Elizabeth Cady Stanton Women are citizens (Political Science 565)

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Presentation on theme: "Democracy Deferred: Elizabeth Cady Stanton Women are citizens (Political Science 565)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Democracy Deferred: Elizabeth Cady Stanton Women are citizens (Political Science 565)

2 Seneca Falls Convention July 19-20, 1848 at Seneca Falls, NY – Begun by women excluded from anti-slavery convention – Organizers & speakers included Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass – Strong Quaker, evangelical Methodist presence – Foundational moment in movement for womens suffrage – Proving the humanity of women 2

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6 Elizabeth Cady Stanton Abolitionist & Suffragist In addition to vote, focus on – promoting property rights, birth control, custody rights, womens employment, temperance, divorce rights Refused to support 14 th & 15 th Amendments on grounds that women remained disenfranchised The Womans Bible 6

7 Declaration of Sentiments When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course. Declaration of Independence When in the course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Natures God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation. 7

8 We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed… 8

9 Grievances He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise. He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice Having deprived her of this first right as a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides. He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead. He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns. 9

10 Grievances He has made her morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master - the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement. After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it. 10

11 Grievances He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and her God. He has endeavored, in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life. 11

12 Speech at Seneca Falls Woman alone can understand the height and the depth, the length and the breadth of her own degradation and woe. Man cannot speak for usbecause he has been educated to believe that we differ from him so materially, that he cannot judge of our thoughts, feelings and opinions by his own. Moral beings can only judge of others by themselvesthe moment they give a different nature to any of their own kind they utterly fail. – Let a man once settle the question that woman does not think and feel like himself and he may as well undertake to judge of the amount of intellect and sensation of any of the animal creation as of woman's nature. He can know but little with certainty, and that but by observation. 12

13 Universal Oppression Every allusion to the degraded and inferior position occupied by woman all over the world, has ever been met by scorn and abuse. From the man of highest mental cultivation, to the most degraded wretch who staggers in the streets do we hear ridicule and coarse jests, freely bestowed upon those who dare assert that woman stands by the side of man – So long has man exercised a tyranny over her injurious to himself and benumbing to her faculties, that but few can nerve themselves against the storm, and so long has the chain been about her that however galling it may be she knows not there is a remedy. 13

14 Universal Oppression Wherever we turn the history of woman is sad and drear and dark, without any alleviating circumstances, nothing from which we can draw consolation. – As the nations of the earth emerge from a state of barbarism, the sphere of woman gradually becomes wider but not even under what is thought to be the full blaze of the sun of civilization is it what God designed it to be. In every country and clime does man assume the responsibility of marking out the path for her to tread,in every country does he regard her as a being inferior to himself and one whom he is to guide and control. 14

15 Universal Oppression From the Arabian Kerek whose wife is obliged to steal from her Husband to supply the necessities of life, – from the Mahometan who forbids pigs dogs women and other impure animals to enter a mosque, and does not allow a fool, madman or women to proclaim the hour of prayer, – from the German who complacently smokes his meerschaum while his wife, yoked with the ox draws the plough through its furrow, – from the delectable gentleman who thinks an inferior style of conversation adapted to women to the legislator who considers her incapable of saying what laws shall govern her, is this same feeling manifested. 15

16 Democracy & Freedom In France the Salic law tells much although it is said that woman there has ever had great influence in all political revolutions. In England she seems to have advanced a little There she has a right to the throne, and is allowed to hold some other offices and some women have a right to vote too But in the United States of America woman has no right either to hold office, nor to the elective franchise, we stand at this moment, unrepresented in this governmentour rights and interests wholly overlooked – Women less free in a democracy? 16

17 Social Construction Let us consider his intellectual superiority. Man's superiority cannot be a question until we have had a fair trial. When we shall have had our colleges, our professions, our trades, for a century a comparison may then be justly instituted. When woman instead of being taxed to endow colleges where she is forbidden to enter, instead of forming societies to educate young men shall first educate herself, when she shall be just to herself before she is generous to othersimproving the talents God has given her and leaving her neighbour to do the same for himself we shall not then hear so much of this boasted greatness. – Same with physical ability 17

18 Difference & Power there is a class of objectors who say they do not claim superiority, they merely assert a difference, but you will find by following them up closely that they make this difference to be vastly in favor of man. 18

19 What is gained with the vote? Are you not already sufficiently represented by your Fathers, Husbands, Brothers and Sons? – Let your statute books answer the question. We have had enough of such representation. In nothing is woman's true happiness consulted, men like to call her an angelto feed her with what they think sweet food nourishing her vanity, to induce her to believe her organization is so much finer more delicate than theirs, that she is not fitted to struggle with the tempests of public life but needs their care and protection. Care and protection? such as the wolf gives the lambsuch as the eagle the hare he carries to his eyrie. Most cunningly he entraps her and then takes from her all those rights which are dearer to him than life itself, rights which have been baptized in blood and the maintenance of which is even now rocking to their foundations the kingdoms of the old world. 19

20 The most discouraging, the most lamentable aspect our cause wears is the indifference indeed the contempt with which women themselves regard our movement. When the subject is introduced among our young ladies among those even who claim to be intelligent and educated it is met by the scornful curl of the lip and by expressions of disgust and ridicule. – But we shall hope better things of them when they are enlighted in regard to their present position, to the laws under which they livethey will not then publish their degradation by declaring themselves satisfied nor their ignorance by declaring they have all the rights they want. They are not the only class of beings who glory in their bondage. 20

21 Happy Homes One common objection to this movement is that if the principles of freedom and equality which we advocate were put to practise, it would destroy all harmony in the domestic circle. Here let me ask how many truly harmonious households have we now? – As to her little world within she finds not much comfort there. Her wishes should she have any must be in subjection to those of her tyranther will must be in perfect subordination, the comfort of the wife, children, servants one and all must be given up wholly disregarded until the great head of the house be first attended to. No matter what the case may be he must have his hot dinner. – On the other hand we find the so called Hen-pecked Husband, oftimes a kind generous noble minded man who hates contention and is willing to do anything for peace. He having unwarily caught a Tarter tries to make the best of her. The only happy households we now see are those in which Husband and wife share equally in counsel and government. There can be no true dignity or independence where there is subordination, no happiness without freedom. 21

22 Appeal for a 16 th Amendment We urge the women of this country to make now the same united effort for their own rights, that they did for the slaves at the south, when the 13th amendment was pending. – Then a petition of over 300,000 was rolled up by the leaders of the suffrage movement, and presented in the Senate by the Hon. Charles Sumner. But the leading statesmen who welcomed woman's untiring efforts to secure the black man's freedom, frowned down the same demands when made for herself. Is not liberty as sweet to her as to him? Are not the political disabilities of Sex is grievous as those of color? Is not a civil rights bill that shall open to woman the college doors, the trades and professionsthat shall secure her personal and property rights, as necessary for her protection, as for that of the colored man? 22

23 Women are citizens, first of the United States, and second of the State wherein they reside: hence, if robbed by State authorities of any right founded in nature or secured by law, they have the same right to national protection against the State, as against the infringements of any foreign power. – If the United States government can punish a woman for voting in one State, why has it not the same power to protect her in the exercise of that right in every State? The Constitution declares it the duty of Congress to guarantee to every State a republican form of government, to every citizen equality of rights. 23

24 Solitude of Self The point I wish plainly to bring before you on this occasion is the individuality of each human soul; our Protestant idea, the right of individual conscience and judgment-our republican idea, individual citizenship. In discussing the rights of woman, we are to consider, first, what belongs to her as an individual, in a world of her own, the arbiter of her own destiny, an imaginary Robinson Crusoe with her woman Friday on a solitary island. Her rights under such circumstances are to use all her faculties for her own safety and happiness. – Secondly, if we consider her as a citizen, as a member of a great nation, she must have the same rights as all other members, according to the fundamental principles of our Government. – Thirdly, viewed as a woman, an equal factor in civilization, her rights and duties are still the same-individual happiness and development. 24

25 Biology and Humanity It is only the incidental relations of life, such as mother, wife, sister, daughter, that may involve some special duties and training. – In the usual discussion in regard to woman's sphere, such as men as Herbert Spencer, Frederic Harrison, and Grant Allen uniformly subordinate her rights and duties as an individual, as a citizen, as a woman, to the necessities of these incidental relations, some of which a large class of woman may never assume. In discussing the sphere of man we do not decide his rights as an individual, as a citizen, as a man by his duties as a father, a husband, a brother, or a son, relations some of which he may never fill. – Moreover he would be better fitted for these very relations and whatever special work he might choose to do to earn his bread by the complete development of all his faculties as an individual. 25

26 Self-Actualization Nothing strengthens the judgment and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility. – Nothing adds such dignity to character as the recognition of one's self-sovereignty; the right to an equal place, every where conceded; a place earned by personal merit, not an artificial attainment, by inheritance, wealth, family, and position. 26

27 Self-Actualization Seeing, then that the responsibilities of life rests equally on man and woman, that their destiny is the same, they need the same preparation for time and eternity. – The talk of sheltering woman from the fierce sterns of life is the sheerest mockery, for they beat on her from every point of the compass, just as they do on man, and with more fatal results, for he has been trained to protect himself, to resist, to conquer. Such are the facts in human experience, the responsibilities of individual. Rich and poor, intelligent and ignorant, wise and foolish, virtuous and vicious, man and woman, it is ever the same, each soul must depend wholly on itself. Whatever the theories may be of woman's dependence on man, in the supreme moments of her life he can not bear her burdens. 27

28 Technology & Social Change Is it, then, consistent to hold the developed woman of this day within the same narrow political limits as the dame with the spinning wheel and knitting needle occupied in the past? – No! no! Machinery has taken the labors of woman as well as man on its tireless shoulders; the loom and the spinning wheel are but dreams of the past; the pen, the brush, the easel, the chisel, have taken their places, while the hopes and ambitions of women are essentially changed. We see reason sufficient in the outer conditions of human being for individual liberty and development, but when we consider the self dependence of every human soul we see the need of courage, judgment, and the exercise of every faculty of mind and body, strengthened and developed by use, in woman as well as man. 28

29 There is a solitude, which each and every one of us has always carried with him, more inaccessible than the ice- cold mountains, more profound than the midnight sea; the solitude of self. – Our inner being, which we call ourself, no eye nor touch of man or angel has ever pierced. It is more hidden than the caves of the gnome; the sacred adytum of the oracle; the hidden chamber of eleusinian mystery, for to it only omniscience is permitted to enter. Such is individual life. Who, I ask you, can take, dare take, on himself the rights, the duties, the responsibilities of another human soul? – To deny women this solitude is to deny them their humanity 29

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