Tag Archives: 19th century
capitol

Gage on Voting Rights for Washington D.C. Citizens

This testimony was delivered by Matilda Joslyn Gage in a special meeting of the committees of the Senate and House of Representatives on the District of Columbia on Friday, March 31, 1876.

Testimony by MATILDA JOSLYN GAGE, of New York:

On behalf of the National Association, which has its officers in every State and territory of the Union, and which numbers many thousands of members, and on behalf of the Woman’s Franchise Association of the District of Columbia, we appear before you, asking that the right of suffrage be secured equally to the men and women of this District.

Article I, Section 8, Clauses 17 and 18 of the Constitution of the United States reads:

Congress shall have power to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such district as may become the seat of government of the United States, … to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.

Congress is therefore constitutionally the special guardian of the rights of the people of the District of Columbia. It possesses peculiar rights, peculiar duties, peculiar powers in regard to this District. At the present time the men and women are alike disfranchised. Our memorial asks that in forming a new government they may be alike enfranchised. It is often said as an argument against granting suffrage to women that they do not wish to vote; do not ask for the ballot. This association, numbering thousands in the United States, through its representatives, now asks you, in this memorial, for suffrage in this District. Petitions from every State in the Union have been sent to your honorable body. One of these, signed by thirty-five thousand women, was sent to congress in one large roll; but what is the value of a petition signed by even a million of an unrepresented class?

Matilda Joslyn Gage

Matilda Joslyn Gage

The city papers of the national capital, once bitterly opposed to all effort in this direction, now fully recognize the dignity of the demand, and have ceased to oppose it. One of these said, editorially, to-day, that the vast audiences assembling at our conventions, the large majority being women, and evidently in sympathy with the movement, were proof of the great interest women take in this subject, though many are too timid to openly make the demand. The woman’s temperance movement began two years ago as a crusade of prayer and song, and the women engaged therein have now resolved themselves into a national organization, whose second convention, held in October last, numbering delegates from twenty-two States, almost unanimously passed a resolution demanding the ballot to aid them in their temperance work. We who make our constant demand for suffrage, knew that these women were in process of education, and would soon be forced to ask for the key to all reform.

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chapel

Presbyterians vs. Slavery in 1849

Some of the New School Synods and Presbyteries of the West, seem but little satisfied with the Assembly at Philadelphia.

Resolutions have been adopted by the Ottowa (Ill,) Presbytery recommending the exclusion of slave holders from the pulpit and the communion table – disapproving the course pursued by the General Assembly, and declaring the formal withdrawal of the Presbytery from that body.

And in the Synod of Illinois, a resolution was reported and discussed declaring slavery a sin, and the action of the late General Assembly in reference to this matter so unsatisfactory, that the Synod of Illinois ought publicly and solemnly to separate itself from that body.

After much discussion, the original proposition was modified by the substitution of the declaration – That, while they feel very anxious to be delivered from all participation in the sin of slavery, they do not feel, at present, willing to be separated from the General Assembly.

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.

Source: The North Star, December 14, 1849

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home-library

Tips on Building a Household Library (1838)

In order to obtain a good library, which every family ought to have, the following directions may be observed with advantage:

  • Select a room, or at least a corner of some room, where the Bible and other books, together with inkstand and paper, shall be kept. Every house ought to have a room for retirement, prayer and study.
  • Obtain a good, convenient book case, and writing table or desk, or both. Let the dust be brushed off, daily used, and kept constantly neat and clean.
  • Whenever a book has been taken into another room for use, let it always be returned to the library for safe keeping.
  • Avoid subscribing for books, unless you feel that the book cannot be published without a subscription, and you do it either as an act of benevolence to the author, or for the purpose of doing good to the world.
  • Lay out your money carefully. Buy no books but good ones. Select the best. Seek to make, from month to month, some increase to the library. Teach your children, servants and friends, to use the books with care.
  • Admit no novels.
  • Select, in addition to religious works, books of reference, school books, scientific works, and philosophical, etc. – a few of the best productions of the best poets.
  • In all departments, get works of established and solid reputation.


By pursuing this course a few years, every farmer and mechanic can have a library which will be of great value to his children, when he is gone, as well as to himself while living.

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.

Source

Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The Colored American
Date: July 7, 1838
Title: Household Libraries
Location: New York, New York

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Ordinance of 1787

The South and the Ordinance of 1787

The drawing above shows men in colonial dress nailing a broadside onto a tree. Other figures, including some which appear to represent historical figures such as George Washington and Patrick Henry, and some Indians, watch. The drawing probably refers to the 1787 Northwest Ordinance which created the Northwest Territory as a part of the United States. The artist was James Henry Beard (1812-1893).

The Ordinance of 1787

We have been accustomed to attribute the unanimity with which the Ordinance of 1787 was enacted, to the prevalend of Anti-Slavery sentiment in the country at the time of its passage. The Richmond Whig seems anxious to divest the South of all credit on this score.

Read the following:

“We have never been able, satisfactorily, to account for the extraordinary unanimity with which the Southern members of Congress supported this famous Ordinance – by which slavery was excluded from the Northwestern Territory. It is explained, however, by a paragraph in a letter from Colonel William Grayson, one of the members of Congress from Virginia at that time, (which we find in the New York Tribune,) addressed to one of his colleagues. He writes: ‘The clause respecting Slavery was agreed to by the Southern members, for the purpose of preventing Tobacco and Indigo,’ (the former the great staple of Virginia, and the latter of South Carolina,) from being made on the Northwest side of the Ohio, as well as for several other political reasons.’

“What those ‘political reasons’ were, however, we are unable to conjecture. That class of reasons now exert a contrary influence.”

It is painful to see this anxiety on the part of a leading Virginia paper to ascribe one of the noblest acts of Virginia and the Southern States, to merely selfish motives.

One is tempted, after reading such a paragraph, to believe that there was too much truth in the imputation made in the Convention that framed the Federal Constitution, that the efforts of Virginia to obtain an immediate prohibition of the foreign slave trade, were stimulated by a disposition to monopolize the business of supplying Georgia and South Carolina with slaves. But, no! we will not follow the example of the Whig, and offer such an indignity to the State which, through its delegates in the Federal Convention, stood pre-eminent in its opposition to slavery.

Whatever the public sentiment in Virginia now, once she had a Washington, who deplored Slavery as a crime, declared that it ought to be abolished by law, and that, so far as his suffrage could go in obtaining such a law, it should not be wanting.

Whatever the political or economical reasons which influenced the action of the Southern States, in 1787, this much is certain – they were unanimous in the passage of an ordinance prohibiting Slavery in the only Territory possessed by the United States.

The fact that they gave changed their policy, and that “that class of reasons exert a contrary influence,” does not make the prohibition of Slavery now, in United States’ territory, unconstitutional, or render it proper now that the other sections of the Union should change their minds – unless, indeed, it be claimed, that the fluctuating views of a few slaveholders, in relation to the interests of Indigo, Tobacco, Rice, Cotton, and Sugar, should decide what is constitutional, just, and politic, for twenty millions of people.

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.

Source: The National Era, February 17, 1848

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Glorious News – Slavery Abolished from the Constitution

We have the pleasure of chronicling in this issue of our paper, for the benefit of our readers, the thrilling and joyous intelligence that on the last day of January, 1865, the House of Representatives of the United States voted to amend the Constitution, so as to cause it to read as follows:

Article XIII

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

This was carried by a vote of 119 for the amendment, to 56 in opposition to it. Thus is has passed by a two-third vote. The Constitution of the United States is now amended beyond doubt.

The Lord be praised for his great work of reformation in the hearts of the American people. We know that this welcome news will gladden the hearts of all patriots and true lovers of God and humanity, freedom and liberty. We hope that our Legislatures will act wisely in the premises. Once more may the old State House Bell ring forth, as in days of yore, proclaiming Liberty throughout the land – proclaiming that the martyrs of today have not cast their lives away in vain. A wild hum of joy comes to our ears on the dancing breeze as the bondman’s shackles fall, and we can almost hear the glad cry gushing like a fountain from his heart – “O God, we thank thee.”

Source: The Christian Recorder, February 4, 1865

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