Woman Suffrage and the Darwinian Theory

Woman Suffrage and the Darwinian Theory (1878)

DEAR BALLOT BOX: Do you know that this interminable drudgery imposed on American mothers of petitioning—petitioning for the ballot—this humiliation of forever praying to their own sons to be allowed to enjoy their birthright with the men born of them, furnishes me with stronger evidence of the Darwinian theory than anything I am able to find elsewhere. Were it not for this relic which has no parallel in the history left us of the dark ages—of the long ago buried past, there would be little proof of such an age having once enshrouded the earth.

The brutish vulgarity which we see cropping out in men who ignorantly disgrace themselves by ignoring their own mothers, is conclusive evidence to me that the race must have come up through the long line of animal ancestry to the “man in the dugout,” and from thence to the men in our present Congress, some of whom still seem inclined to root, and grunt, and squeal, if others assert rights equal to their own: lest the visual line of their own pen be the world’s extent, and, if others should be allowed to enjoy like blessings, they would be crowded, off the stage of action. While there are other men on the same floor, who, I am proud to say, are infinitely in advance of all this, which is a promise and prophecy of the oncoming of those others, for which I thank God and take courage; and love to accept this theory because it gives us a better outlook—this law of eternal progress must in cycles of years lift the most sordid to a higher plane of nobler action.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.


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American Women: What they have done to bring peace to the world

From time immemorial, the part of woman in war has been the hardest. It has been her lot to send her loved ones away as sacrifices on the altar of her country and to remain at home, torn by all the emotions that rend the spirit of mothers, wives and sweethearts. She has been forced in the ages past to await with fearful forebodings the news from the scenes of conflict; she has suffered the pangs of sudden bereavement, and has borne the consequent burdens in the future years.

Our collection, America and World War I: American Military Camp Newspapers, addresses a topic and period that continues to be of the widest interest and importance to scholars, students, and the general public – America in the World War I Era. Camp newspapers make important original source material—much of it written by soldiers for soldiers—readily available for research.

The success of any nation’s arms has been due largely to the fortitude of its women. What we of the present day know as morale and which is maintained by large organizations in and out of the army, was just as important a factor in the years that have gone as it is today. But then there were no well organized bodies to see to it that our soldiers were kept in good spirits and guided in the right paths. The burden of the task lay with the women of our country.

It was their bravery at the parting, their cheerfulness in adversity, their fortitude in bereavement, their happiness in victory which inspired men to do or die, and which has demonstrated that “they also serve who stand and wait.” The ancient Spartan mother said to her son when he left her to do battle for Sparta, “Return with your shield or on it.” Human nature has not changed a great deal in the last two thousand years, and although the mother of today does not say so in so many words to her son, when he goes forth to battle, “acquit yourself honorably or do not return home,” she teaches him from childhood the value of bravery and the wretchedness of the coward. (more…)

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A Look Inside - Reminiscences of Levi Coffin

A Look Inside: Reminiscences of Levi Coffin


Accessible Archives subscribers can find this fully searchable 712-page book in part VII of our Civil War collectionAbraham Lincoln Library Abolitionist Books.


I have been solicited for many years to write a history of my anti-slavery labors and underground railroad experiences, and although I had kept a diary the most of my life, it was without any prospect of ever putting it into book form. I had no desire to appear before the public as an author, having no claim to literary merit.

What I had done I believed was simply a Christian duty and not for the purpose of being seen of men, or for notoriety, which I have never sought. But I was continually urged by my friends to engage in the work, believing that it would be interesting to the rising generation; but being so fully occupied with other duties, I seemed to find no time that I could devote to this work, so that it was put off from year to year. I also often received letters from different parts of the country, desiring me to write the history of my life and labors in the anti-slavery cause, reminding me that the most of my co-laborers had passed away, and that I must soon follow, and that these stirring anti-slavery times in which I lived and labored were a part of the history of our country, which should not be lost.

But still, I deferred it until now, in the seventy-eighth year of my age. And although I feel the infirmities of that period of life fast gathering around me, I have gathered up my diaries, and other documents that had been preserved, and have written a book. In my own plain, simple style, I have endeavored to tell the stories without any exaggeration. Errors no doubt will appear, which I trust the indulgent reader will pardon, in consideration of my advanced age and feebleness. It is here proper also to acknowledge the valuable services of a kind friend, for aid received in preparing these pages for the press. I regret that I have been obliged to leave out many interesting stories and thrilling incidents, on account of swelling the size and cost of the book beyond what was agreed upon with the publishers.

Among the stories omitted is the account of the long imprisonment and sufferings of Calvin Fairbank, of Massachusetts, in the Kentucky penitentiary, for aiding fugitives, and of Richard Dillingham, of Ohio, who suffered and died in the penitentiary at Nashville, Tennessee, for a similar offense.

Part VII of our Civil War collection, Abraham Lincoln Library Abolitionist Books: Compiled by the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Library in Springfield, Illinois this unique collection brings together a disparate group of abolitionist era reference materials.

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The Ordinance of 1787 and Jefferson’s Last Letter

In the admirable speech of Mr. Tappan, of New Hampshire, delivered on the 29th of July, we find the following brief history of the Anti-Slavery Ordinance of 1787, accompanied by a letter from Mr. Thomas Jefferson, never before published, which was written only about six weeks before his death. The history of the Ordinance has frequently appeared in the Era, but its importance, particularly in the present crisis, requires that it should be accessible to every person.

We regret that we are unable at present to make further extracts from the excellent speech of Mr. Tappan. Like that of his colleague, Mr. Cragin, it abounds in historical vindications of the Republican platform, and show, beyond controversy, that our party and candidate are the true representatives of the Whigs and Republicans of the Revolution; while the present sham Democracy have abandoned all liberal principles, and adopted the maxims of Austro-Russian despotism.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

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An Amazing Line-Up of Women Voters (1919)

Whether or not the Federal Suffrage Amendment is ratified by a sufficient number of the States in time to permit the women of every State to vote in the next Presidential campaign, there will be 15,492,751 women eligible to vote in 1920. Leaders of women in this country are endeavoring to increase the number to 29,000,000, by securing the ratification of the Federal Amendment by thirty-six States within the next few months.

Sixteen States have ratified the amendment since its passage by the Sixty-sixth Congress last June, within two weeks after the Republicans returned to power when eighty-six percent. of the G. O. P. members of the Senate voted “for” the resolution, and forty-six percent of the Democrats voted “against.”

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.

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