Tag Archives: Women Suffrage

Lucretia Mott: Social Reformer

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English: Painting of Lucretia Mott (1793 - 188...

English: Painting of Lucretia Mott (1793 – 1880), the proponent of women’s rights. The artist is Joseph Kyle (1815 – 1863). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before the Civil War, a minority of Americans believed that slavery should end in the United States. These abolitionists had heard horror stories of mothers witnessing their children being sold to a different slave owner, of men being whipped to death, and female teens being raped by their masters. The abolitionists traveled the country and the world, giving speeches against slavery in hopes of persuading the rest of the public to join their cause. Though both male and female abolitionists had the same goal, the females were excluded from certain events and meetings; the women soon learned that they too were not equal to men. Lucretia Mott quickly learned women were not equal to men so she spent the rest of her life fighting for equality for slaves and women.

Lucretia Mott, born Lucretia Coffin, was born on January 3, 1793 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Her parents were Quakers so she grew up hating slavery. After attending a Quaker boarding school, she became a teacher. As a teacher, she learned that male teachers made more than female teachers. This surprised her sine the Quakers preached equality, yet women still were not equal with men. A fellow teacher, James Mott, followed her to Philadelphia and the couple married in 1811. He would support his wife throughout their marriage. After the death of her son, Mott became a Quaker minister to spread the word of God. Mott, along with the rest of the Quakers, protested slavery by refusing to buy products of slave labor. Her husband got out of the cotton trade around 1830. Mott became a huge supporter of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and his American Anti-Slavery Society. Though she was threatened with physical violence at several anti-slavery meetings, Mott never stopped speaking out against slavery.

In 1833, she and 30 other female abolitionists organized the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. In 1840, she was voted to be the delegate for the organization at the World’s Anti-Slavery Convection in London. When she arrived in London, Mott could not actively participate in the convection because she was a female. The male delegates voted to exclude the women because the women might try to make the meeting about themselves and women suffrage. Another woman there was Elizabeth Cady Stanton; as the two women sat in chairs in a rope-off area, they agreed that when they returned to the United States, they needed to create a convection for women about women’s rights. In 1848, the two women helped create the Seneca Falls Convection, the first women convection. This meeting was the official start of the women’s suffrage movement.

After the Civil War ended, many abolitionists believed their work was done since slaves were now free. Mott continued to work for black suffrage, traveling the country speaking about how the former slaves deserved to vote and how they deserved government aid. She also spoke about the importance of women’s suffrage. She was elected the head of the American Equals Rights Association, which split into National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association; one believed the 15th Amendment shouldn’t pass because it didn’t guarantee votes to women while the other believed that women must be patient. When the two women organizations split, she tried to ring them together (eventually the two groups did rejoin). This organization would succeed in getting women to vote, though it wasn’t until 1919. She died on November 11, 1880 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from pneumonia.

Lucretia Mott was born into a religion that preached freedom and equality, yet still believed women were not equal to men. As she traveled the world speaking out against slavery, she realized that society still treated women as men’s property. Mott, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organized the first women’s convection in Seneca Falls, New York. This meeting would inspire hundreds of women to take action and because of these feminists, women are now able to own property, marry for love, have a career, and vote. Lucretia Mott, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, is honored in the Capitol Rotunda as a sculpture.

 

 

Sources:

 

Lucretia Mott. biography

 

Women’s Rights

 

Lucretia Mott

 

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Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Feminist

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Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When one thinks of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, one usually thinks only about Susan B. Anthony. Besides giving speeches and getting arrested trying to vote, Anthony also appeared on the U.S. coin dollar. Besides Anthony, there were hundreds of women involved in getting women the right to vote, including Anthony’s best friend  Elizabeth Cady Stanton. While majority of the women focused only on voting, Stanton also focused on women leaving unhappy marriage and saying “no” to their husband if they didn’t want to have sex; two very radical ideas at the time. Stanton believed before many women did that women are equal to men.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born on November 12, 1815 in Johnston, New York. Her father, Daniel Cady, was a New York Supreme Court judge so she grew up learning about law and how to debate. She attended Emma Willard’s Academy but because she was a woman, she could not attend college. After the academy, she spent much of her time at her cousin’s, the abolitionist Gerrit Smith. While she was there, Stanton met Henry B. Stanton and the two married in 1840. They spent their honeymoon at the World’s Antislavery Convection in London where Stanton met Lucretia Mott, an American female abolitionist. The two women were not allowed to participate in the antislavery convection, forced to sit in a rope-off area. The couple went to live in Boston, Massachusetts, where Stanton was surrounded by free-thinkers, including Louisa May Alcott and Frederick Douglass.

In 1847, the Stantons moved to Seneca Falls, New York. After having seven children, Stanton grew tired of domestic confinement and began working to get the Married Women’s Property Bill passed. The bill passed in New York in April 1948; it allowed women to own their property after marrying, instead of having their belongings go to the husbands. In July 1848, with the help of Mott, she organized the world’s first women’s rights convection. The two women never forgot being roped off from men at the slavery convection.Over 300 people attended, – it was the official start of the women suffrage movement.  In 1851, she met Susan B. Anthony through Amelia Bloomer; the two would remain best friends for the rest of their lives. While Stanton had to stay at home to take care of her husband and children, Anthony was single and able to travel; thus, Stanton wrote the speeches and Anthony delivered them. In 1854, Stanton addressed the New York Legislation on a women’s rights bill. Stanton and Anthony formed the National Women’s Loyal League on the constitutional abolition of slavery. They were upset when the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments allowed former male salves to vote but not American women, black or white. In 1969, they established the National Woman’s Suffrage Association, the forerunner of the organization that eventually secured the Nineteenth Amendment. The organization was upset that the Amendments passed excluding women while the American Woman Suffrage Association, founded by Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Julia Ward Howe, supported the Amendments. In 1876, she wrote the Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States, which Anthony presented, uninvited, at the Centennial Celebration in Washington, D.C. in 1876. The Rights were signed by several feminists, including Lucretia Mott. Stanton, Anthony, and Matilda Gage wrote the first three volumes of A History of Women Suffrage.

While majority of women concentrated on gaining voting rights, Stanton focused on women being able to divorce alcoholic husbands and to leave unhappy marriages; she also believed women should decide if they want more children and if not, they should be able to tell their husband “no” when he wanted to have sex or use birth control. Stanton believed organized Christianity was sexist, so in 1898, along with Gage, published The Women’s Bible. Stanton’s radical ideas shocked the conservative AMSA members, the reason why Stanton grew unpopular. In 1890, the National American Woman Suffrage merged with the conservative American Woman Suffrage Association. Stanton opposed the merge, but became the first president. Though the two ideas had differing ideas, they both agreed that women should be able to vote.

Stanton died from heart failure on October 26, 1902, 18 years before women were granted the right to vote. Though she almost disappeared from the history books due to her radical views in the late 1800’s, she is gaining popularity as Americans realize that women do deserve to have a happy marriage. At the Capital Rotunda, there is a sculpture of  Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton on display. Stanton’s biggest regret was that she was not able to attend college because she was a woman; her daughters were able to attend college.

Sources:

 Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Women’s Rights

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

Jane Addams: Nobel Peace Prize Winner

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English: American social reformer, Jane Addams

Jane Addams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of the 100 individuals awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, only 15 are women. Of the 15, 3 are from the United States. In 1931, the first female American won the Nobel Peace Prize for being a pioneer social worker in America. Jane Addams never wanted to raise children or stay at home, though her family wanted her to. When they took her to Europe in hopes of changing her mind, the trip instead inspired her to take action.

Jane Addams was born in Cedarville, Illinois on September 6, 1860. Her father was State Senator John Addams, a friend of President Abraham Lincoln. Her mother died when she was two, but she was inspired by her mother’s kindness to the poor to study medicine. Addams’ poor health caused by curvature in her back prevented her from attending medical school. While she was traveling in Europe, she came across Toynbee Hall, a settlement house. When she returned to Chicago, she and her friend, Ellen Starr, decided to open their own settlement house. The two women leased a large house built by Charles Hull; the house became known as the Hull House. The goal of the Hull House was “to provide a center for a higher civic and social life; to institute and maintain educational and philanthropic enterprises and to investigate and improve the conditions in the industrial districts of Chicago.”

The two women raised money by giving speeches and convinced young woman to help take care of children and nurse the sick. By the second year, it was hosting 2,000 people a week; kindergarten classes took place in the morning, elementary children clubs in the afternoon, and classes for adults in the evening. In 1905, she was appointed to Chicago’s Board of Education and in 1908, participated in the founding of the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy and became the first woman president of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections. She led investigations on midwifery, narcotics, child labor, and sanitary conditions.In 1910, she received the first honorary degree ever awarded to a woman by Yale University and in 1911, she became the vice-president of the National American Women Suffrage Association.

Before the United States entered the World War One, she became outspoken against the war and became expelled from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Though her publicity decreased, she continued to help the poor by working as an assistant to Herbert Hoover in providing relief supplies of food to the women and children of the enemy nations. In 1926 she had a heart attack that she never recovered from; in fact, she was at the hospital on the day the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to her in 1931. On May 21, 1935, she died after an operation reveled unsuspecting cancer. The funeral service was held in the courtyard of the Hull House and was attended by thousands of people

Jane Addams grew up knowing that her mother helped the poor and she wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps. Though her poor health prevented her from becoming a doctor, she instead found a new calling that allowed her to help thousands in the poor area of Chicago. When she realized the root of the problem were the lack of laws, she became involved in the government to create new laws to improve sanitary conditions. Addams had several setbacks, but continued to work toward her goal and because of her determination, thousands benefitted from her good will.

 

Sources:

The Nobel Peace Prize 1931

Jane Addams

Harriet Tubman: Black Moses

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Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery and never dreamed of running away from her family until her owner died, increasing the possibility of her being sold. After running away to the free state of Pennsylvania, Tubman realized she could not live a life of freedom while her family and friends were still slaves. Tubman made it her mission to lead slaves to freedom until the Civil War erupted. During the war, she helped the Union solders navigate the Southern States, becoming the first woman to lead an armed expedition during war . Even after slaves became free, Tubman continued to help others until she became too ill to do so.

Araminta Harriet Ross was born around 1822 in Maryland. Like many other slaves, Harriet was a victim of physical violence. When Tubman was a teen running errands at the market, she encountered a slave who had left the fields without permission. When the slave’s overseer demanded Harriet help him restrain the slave, she refused; the overseer then threw a two-pound weight that struck her in the head. Harriet would have severe headaches and seizures for the rest of her life. Years later,  Harriet married a free black man named John Tubman and changed her name to Harriet Tubman. Though her husband was saving up to buy her freedom, Harriet’s owner died and she feared she would be sold and be separated from her family due to her frequent illnesses. Tubman escaped  in 1849 with her two brothers, but her brothers turned back after seeing their reward notice in the newspaper.Tubman had to continue on her own to Pennsylvania.

After reaching Pennsylvania, Tubman realized she had to save her friends and family from slavery. In December 1850, she heard her niece and niece’s children were going to be sold. Harriet managed to save her niece’s entire family. When she returned to Maryland to see her husband, she found out he was happily remarried. Tubman kept her head up and returned to work, using the Underground Railroad to save over 70 slaves, including her siblings and parents. After the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 made it a crime to help slaves avoid capture, Tubman had to re-route the Underground Railroad to Canada. In December 1851, Tubman led a group of 11 fugitives to Canada; one of her stops was Frederick Douglass’ house. Though locals in Maryland knew someone was responsible for all 70 missing slaves, no one suspected the petite disabled slave who ran away years ago. Years later, Tubman stated “I was conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say – I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” Her frequent trips earned her the nickname  Black Moses for leading slaves to freedom.

When the Civil War broke out Tubman acted as a cook and a nurse to the Union Army before being recruited as a spy due to her knowledge of the land. Tubman became the first American woman to lead an armed expedition in the war when she guided the Combahee River Raid. The raid liberated more than 700 slaves in South Carolina. When she was not helping the Union Army, she returned home to Auburn, New York to take care of her aging parents. After the Civil War ended, Tubman returned home on a train. After refusing to move into the smoking car, the conductor broke her arm while fellow passengers  cursed her. Tubman had risked her life helping the North win the war, yet she was still treated as an inferior being. She did not receive a Civil War pension until 1899.

In 1869, Tubman married Civil War veteran Nelson Davis and the couple adopted a baby girl name Gertie. Though slavery was over, Tubman knew she still had work to do. Tubman began attending women suffrage meetings and traveled to speak out in favor of women’s voting rights. Tubman even met Susan B. Anthony. After years of working for equality, Tubman was admitted to the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged due to her head injuries. Surrounded by friends and family, she died of pneumonia in 1913.

Harriet Tubman risked her life to save her friends, family, and strangers even though she was a black woman with a disability. Tubman  worked without pay cooking and taking care of the Union soldiers because she knew the North needed to win to free all of the slaves. And when she was not taking care of the soldiers, she was back at home taking care of her parents. Though Tubman could have had an easy life in Philadelphia, she spent her whole life helping others even when she didn’t have much  money. Tubman shows how anyone, no matter gender, color, disability, or level of education can become a hero.

 

Sources:

Harriet Tubman. biography