The Liberator (1831-1865) was an abolitionist newspaper founded by William Lloyd Garrison and Isaac Knapp in 1831. They published weekly issues of The Liberator from Boston continuously for 35 years, from January 1, 1831, to the final issue of December 29, 1865. Although its circulation was only about 3,000, the newspaper earned nationwide notoriety for its uncompromising advocacy of “immediate and complete emancipation of all slaves” in the United States.
The Liberator also became an avowed woman’s rights newspaper when the prospectus for its 1838 issue declared that as the paper’s object was “to redeem woman as well as man from a servile to an equal condition,” it would support “the rights of woman to their utmost extent.”
The paper carried announcements for Women’s Rights Conventions around the North East and often carried detailed reports on the meetings like the one here from September 28, 1855.
1855 Boston Woman’s Rights Convention
This convention met in September and the attendance was large, and to those present. Miss Harriot Kezia Hunt read an address on the progress of women in this country, to the women present.
The meeting appointed Paulina W. Davis, of Providence, as President. Miss Harriot K. Hunt, Mrs. Carolina H. Call, Mrs. Sean Harris, Mrs. Harris Carolina, Mrs. Richard Hildreth, and Rev. T.W. Higginson, as Vice-presidents, and Miss Cariton of Dorchester and William H. Fish, of Hopedale, as Secretarians.
Mrs. Davis took the chair with as address on the hopes and purposes of the Woman’s Rights government and incidentally advised that memorials be made to every State Legislature in the loud, asking for woman the right of citizenship, and that petitions must be everywhere circulated for same – urging zeal in the work.
Mrs. Caroline H. Dall read a report relating to the laws of Massachusetts regarding married women, stating their objectionable features which were as follows:
- All that give to the husband the custody of his wife’s person; these are fruitful in cruel
- Those which give the husband the exclusive central and guardianship of his children.
- Those which give to the husband the sole ownership of a wife’s personal and real estate; those are in part repealed—at least as for as old property not given to the wife by the husband, he concerned—by the 304th section of the statutes for 1858.
- Those which give the husband an absolute right to the property of his wife’s industry; all repealed by the Legislatures of 1855, but likely to be put in force again by the next Legislature.
- Those which give to the widower a larger and were permanent interest in the property of his deceased with, than they give to the widow in that of her deceased husband.
- Those which suspend the legal existence of a wife during marriage.
Addresses were made, before dinner, by Mrs. Lucy Stone Blackwell, who was in favor of woman voting and by T.W. Higginson, of Worcester, who believed the time would come when it would be a disgrace not to be a Woman’s Rights man.
That evening, Dr. Harriot K. Hunt of Boston presented the following regulations:
Resolved, That the present position assumed by Medical schools, precluding Woman from the educational advantages enjoyed by Man, on the ground of delicacy, virtually acknowledges the impropriety of man over being her medical attendant. [Applause and laughter.]
Resolved, That we will do all in our power the sustain those women , who, from a conviction of duty, enter the medical profession, in their efforts to overcome the evils which have accumulated in their path, and in their attacks upon the strongholds of vice, in which women are so effectual.
Resolved, That the present army of snack nostrums and the utter incompetency of physicians to stay them, and the reception of some of them into the Pharmacopeias, together with the varied pathless and of the day, are suggestive of a need of that higher element in medical life, which can only be supplied by the admission of woman.
Miss Hunt mode a few remarks, chiefly in compliment to Dr. Buchanan’s Eclectic Medical School of Cincinnati, the Starling Medical College of Columbus, and the Cleveland College, all of Ohio, and to all of which woman are admitted. “Think of Massachusetts in this contract!” added Miss Hunt.
On Thursday, Mr. William Lloyd Garrison spoke, he began the evening pledging himself to the advancement of women. It was, he said, a reformation that was destined succeed here and over the world. No good argument can be brought against it.
The objections so it are similar to these made against the freeing of the slave. But this rights of a human being does not depend on sex. Wherever the rights of one human being is defended, there are the rights defended for every other human being on the face of the earth.
Mr. Garrison went on to show that all the Objectives, made to the women’s cause are identical with against the cause of the slave; and belong in the community of oppression. Whoever is not for women’s Rights is not for Human Rights. He is not a Republican.
Source: The Liberator, September 28, 1855
Top Image: Statue of Lucy Stone in the Boston Women’s Memorial