Tag Archives: Matilda Joslyn Gage

Susan B. Anthony: Women Suffrage Leader

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Susan B. Anthony spoke at every convention fro...

Susan B. Anthony spoke at every convention from 1852 onward, and served as president in 1858. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In the 2012 Presidential Election, the group that decided the vote was the women. As politicians are starting to realize, women pay attention to politics and are capable of influencing the vote. Less than one hundred years ago, women were not able to vote. Though they make up 50% of the population, they could not vote under the Bill of Rights or the 14th Amendment that allowed men of any color to vote. Then a woman by the name of Susan B. Anthony united women and led the women suffrage movement.

Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. Though most women did not receive a formal education in the early 1800’s, her Quaker parents believed in equal treatment for boys and girls. When she was denied from learning long division because of her gender, Anthony realized that not all people believed in equality. After her father’s business failed, she moved with her family to Rochester, New York to become a teacher. As a teacher, she demanded that female teachers receive better pay. She also became involved in the abolitionist movement; her family’s farm served as a meeting place for abolitionists. Anthony joined the Daughters of Temperance to limit the sale of alcohol since some women were stuck in marriages to alcoholic men. When she was refused to speak at the state convection because of her gender, Anthony began to focus her time on women’s rights.

At an anti-slavery conference in 1851, she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton through mutual friend Amelia Bloomer. Anthony and Stanton would spend the rest of their lives as friends fighting for women’s rights since they knew if they were to influence public affairs, they needed to vote. In 1852, Anthony attended her first women’s rights convection in Syracuse. Stanton wrote the speeches and Anthony traveled across the country, giving the speeches. When the 15th Amendment passed, giving the black man a right to vote, Anthony was upset that women still could not vote. In 1968, she wrote The Revolution, a newsletter that advocated better working conditions and equality for all races and genders. In 1869, she and Stanton founded the National Woman’s Suffrage Association. This organization focused on getting the federal government to allow women to vote.

On November 5, 1872, Anthony became the first person to be arrested, put on trial, and fined for voting in the presidential election. In 1878, Anthony, Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage wrote “The History of Woman Suffrage.” In 1887, the National Woman’s Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association merged as the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Though both groups differed on several issues, the only issue that brought all the women together was voting. It was Anthony who realized that the women needed to concentrate on getting the right to vote before demanding more rights in work, marriages, and court. In 1900, University of Rochester admitted women for the first time because of Anthony.

In 1878, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, which later became the 19th Amendment. It stated that all sexes were given the right to vote in the United States. When asked if women would ever be able to vote, she replied, “It will come, but I Shall not see it…It is inevitable. We can no more deny forever the right of self-government to one-half our people than we could keep the Negro forever in bondage. It will not be wrought by the same disrupting forces that freed the slave, but come it will, and I believe within a generation.” Anthony died on March 13, 1906. 14 years later, on August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed – 41 years after Anthony first wrote the Amendment.

In 2012, 53% of the voters were women – it was these women who decided who would become president. Besides choosing the president in 2012, a historic number of women were voted into U.S. Congress. 53% of the voters were women. Women are now able to influence public affairs– an event Susan B. Anthony knew would one day happen after women received the vote. Now, the government knows it can no longer control women as long as women continue to make their voices heard by enforcing their right to vote.


Sources:

Susan B. Anthony. biography

Biography of Susan B. Anthony

Susan Brownell Anthony

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Matilda Joslyn Gage: Radical Feminist

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Public relations portrait of Matilda Joslyn Ga...

Public relations portrait of Matilda Joslyn Gage as used in the History of Woman Suffrage by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Volume I, published in 1881. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the United States Capitol, there is a memorial to Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These two women are the most famous feminists in the United States and they are the reason why women can vote today. What many do not know is that there was a third woman: Matilda Joslyn Gage. Gage nearly disappeared from history due to her radical views and attacks on the Christian Church, but her legacy will continue forever. After all, she influenced one of the most famous movie characters of all time.

Matilda Joslyn Gage was born on March 24, 1826 in Cicero, New York. Her parents raised her to be an abolitionist; their home was a station on the Underground Railroad. Her parents also believed that their daughter should have an education, an uncommon belief in the United States at this time. In 1845, she married Henry Hill Gage and the couple settled in Fayetteville, New York. When she was not taking care of her four children, she was continuing her fight for freedom for the slaves. In 1850, Gage signed a petition stating that she would face a six month prison term and a $2,000 fine rather than obey the Fugitive Slave Law, which made criminals of anyone assisting slaves to freedom in the United States. During the Civil War, she organized supplies for the Union soldiers because she knew slavery would only end if the North won.

Gage missed the first Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, but she attended and addressed the third national convection in Syracuse in 1852. Though she was inaudible to her audience and trembled, this was just the beginning of her fight for women’s rights. After the Civil War ended and her children grew up, Gage spent the rest of her life traveling across the country, giving lectures on equality. Along with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Gage was a founding member of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Gage attempted to vote in 1871, but failed to make it to the polls. In 1872, Anthony was arrested after voting in the presidential election; Gage came to her aid and supported her during Anthony’s trial. In 1880, Gage led Fayetteville women to the polls when New York allowed women to vote in school district elections. In 1881, she co-wrote History of Woman Suffrage with Anthony and Stanton. She was frustrated about how history kept women out of it so she wrote about the famous accomplishments from females.

Besides speaking about the fair treatment of women and African Americans, she talked about the Native Americans. She spoke out against the unfair treatment of Native Americans and how the United States was forcing them to become citizenship and pay taxes. She was adopted into the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk nation and given the name Ka-ron-ien-ha-wi (Sky carrier). Gage also spoke about how women were considered equal in the Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy’s form of government. In 1890, Gage formed the Women’s National Liberal Union to fight against the effort to create a Christian state. She was worried that if religion and government united, women would never be able to vote since the bible believed women should serve men. She co-wrote The Women’s Bible with Stanton. The two women were ahead of their time since it is only recently that people have begun to question women’s roles in the bible.

When Gage left the National American Woman Suffrage Association to form the Women’s National Liberal Union, her belief that women were guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution to vote was deemed too liberal by other feminists; plus her attacks on the church didn’t help her popularity. She died in Chicago, Illinois on March 18, 1898. Her lifelong motto appears on her gravestone: “There is a word sweeter than Mother, Home or Heaven; that word is Liberty.” Her son-in-law, L. Frank Baum, was inspired by Gage to create strong female characters in his books. One of the character’s name was Dorothy and she was exploring a land called Oz…

Sources:

Who was Matilda Joslyn Gage

Matilda Joslyn Gage

Matilda Joslyn Gage. biography

Women’s Rights Activist