Again, in the sight of the Christian world, have the skill and power of two great nations exhausted themselves in mutual murder. Again have the sacred questions of international justice been committed to the fatal mediation of military weapons. In this day of progress, in this century of light, the ambition of rulers has been allowed to barter the dear interests of domestic life for the bloody exchanges of the battle-field. Thus men have done. Thus men will do. But women need no longer be made a party to proceedings which fill the globe with grief and horror. Despite the assumptions of physical force, the mother has a sacred and commanding word to say to the sons who owe their life to her suffering. That word should now be heard, and answered to as never before.
The Revolution, a weekly women’s rights newspaper, was the official publication of the National Woman Suffrage Association formed by feminists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to secure women’s enfranchisement through a federal constitutional amendment. Published between January 8, 1868 and February, 1872, it was edited by Stanton and Parker Pillsbury and initially funded by George Francis Train, a wealthy and eccentric Democrat, and David Melliss, financial editor of the New York World newspaper.
According to the Rochester Union there are two remarkable woman living on the shore of Canandaigua Lake in this State. They appear to have demonstrated the truth that some women become successful agriculturists. The Misses Fuller are the owners of two beautiful farms which they have reclaimed from the primitive wilderness. At the death of their father, a settler of half a century ago in what was then the great West, his children were left with nothing but an inheritance of land; and the two girls, Laura and Electra, resolved to become practical farmers. Both are now past sixty, and since early womanhood they have cultivated their ground with their own hands. Each has a smiling farm and a sung cottage, the latter nestling among shade-trees, close to the edge of the lake. The lands bearing “fruit, vines, grass and other crops,” stretch far away up the rolling hills.
Miss Laura Fuller is described as wearing a “short and rather loosely-fitting dress, a hood, and a pair of men’s boots.” She has “a beard as heavy as is often seen upon a man, and a voice that would not be mistaken for that of a woman. She is well informed, and shows that her heart is in her work, which she carries on without masculine help, and with decided prosperity. Her sister Electra is regarded as the main business manager. She has much the appearance of her sister, but she is “more dignified and patriarchal, with a head considerably bald, and locks whitened by the frosts of many Winters.” She cut away the virgin forest that once covered her farm with her own hands. All the toil that was needed to bring the land into condition she performed, solitary and alone. She has reared stock of all kinds, including fine horses and colts, for which a great fancy had been taken.
West Eau Clare, Wis., Dec. 20, 1869
DEAR REVOLUTION: The doleful condition of the enfranchised negroes suggests the question, whether when we call the ballot “the one thing needful,” we can mean any more than this. “It is that right without which there is no security for any other.”
At least three other things are needful to make it effective:
- 1st. Education. We must teach them to vote right. The school is the only hope of the South, and the only hope for the Southern schools is in our pockets.
- 2d. Independence. “ Electors meet in vain, when want makes them the slaves of the landlord.” Now, the negroes in America, as well as Hayti, the British West Indies, etc., show a general disposition to get and use land for themselves, in a very slovenly and lazy way indeed; still the tendency is wholesome, and we must inspire them with our own ambitious spirit, and make them not only desire land, but wealth.
- 3d. Force, and the spirit to use it. This the negroes possess. It is sometimes said that women do not, and therefore should not vote. ‘But it is daily becoming more universally true that power consists less in animal strength than in wealth, which can buy animal strength, and knowledge which can govern it. Let women have education —not the trifling, superficial education which they now receive, but education of a practical and thorough character; let them be encouraged to get and use wealth, and they will not only be able to obtain the ballot—they will get it before that—but the ballot in their hands will be a power, and so it will in the negroes’ hands when he is armed with wealth and knowledge.
–C. L. James
“As a colored man, and a victim to the terrible tyranny inflicted by the injustice and prejudice of the Nation, I ask no right that I will not give to every other human being, without regard to sex or color. I cannot ask white women to give their efforts and influence in behalf of my race, and then meanly and selfishly withhold countenance of a movement tending to their enfranchisement.” —Robert Purvis, Philadelphia.
Source: The Revolution, January 6, 1870
One beneficial effect which I hope and expect to see as a result of the right education and ultimate enfranchisement of women is that it shall cease to be fashionable to be “delicate.”
Ill health is doubtless a wide-spread curse of American women, and those who suffer from it are entitled to our most tender sympathy. The heavy burden of pain and suffering borne constantly, and often uncomplainingly, by women wrings the heart with sorrow when the fact is contemplated. Nevertheless it is true that many women, especially sentimental young women, rather enjoy the distinction of being physically frail and easily overcome by any little extra exertion. Indeed! they often feign an exhaustion and delicacy that they do not feel.
That miserable misanthrope; Lord Byron, wrote “there is a sweetness in woman’s decay,” and who can tell the amount of sentimental, sickly young ladyism that has resulted from it. A school of novelists, that, happily, is fast passing away, always represent the angelic young woman who is heroine of the tale, as slender, fragile, pale, fainting away upon the slightest provocation, exhausted by the smallest exertion. It seems to be the aim of many young women of the present day to imitate her.
I want you to tell me what you would propose should be done about those noisy, pushing women who will enter into party strifes and feuds, and, conjoined with the same kind of pushing, managing men, will manage everything, leaving the gentle, earnest ones unheard? And what about those primary meetings of which we hear and truly, such a lamentable account—how could women of the gentler order go into them? Should there not be an intelligence list, or some other list fixed upon for all voters before we go further?
So writes an excellent young woman now traveling and visiting in this country, and whose sovereign, when at home, is a woman, but no better woman than herself; nor by natural and acquired endowments, aside from the experience of a thirty years reign, any more competent to rule a great nation. But to her, evidently, there is something, if not quite preposterous, at least a little perilous in extending the right of suffrage to the women of this Republic. If it were certain to make one of them Chief-Magistrate for the space of thirty, perhaps fifty years, most of us would deem it dangerous also. And yet the Elizabeths and Victorias of Great Britain have little cause to fear comparison with any of the governments of the globe in ancient or in modern times. But to divide the sovereignty among millions, and half of them men, and with a vast preponderance of both men and women, not of “ the noisy, pushing kind,” but of “ the gentle and earnest,” rather, surely there could be but small danger.