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Womans Suffrage

women, rights, political, position, mary, century and freedom

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WOMAN'S SUFFRAGE. The movement in favor of granting suffrage to women is one phase of the demand for (vial political, indus trial, and edimational opportunities for women, whi V11 was brought into prominence by the °m amair changes of the niliMeenth century.

A few early writers disenssed the position of women. Plato ill I be Ketnnbdir• proposed that they should have the same education as men and do the same work, being 'lesser men.' The Chris tian religion raised woman's position by recog nizing individual rights, but it stigmatized her as the sufferer for Eve's sins. Paul's discourses condemned her to silence. Monkish literature symbolized her as man's temptress. Yet even in the Middle Ages equal rights for women were now and then advocated, as by Cornelius Agrippa (1509) : Ruse•elli (1552) ; Anthony Gibson (1599) ; and later Paul Ribera and Count ST"-gur. In 1696 De Foe suggested an institution for the better education of women. Women themselves have prophesied and written in all ages. In the fourteenth century, Christine of Pisa and Mar garet of Angouleme attained distinction. The eighteenth century was especially favorable to women writers, and France developed many tal ented women. Political theorists, however, did not advocate power for women. :Montesquieu would give them freedom in a monarchy, since luxury is desirable, but be thought their freedom dangerous to a republic. Rous seau, inconsistently with his principle of universal suffrage, does not give the ballot to women. Comte teaches the natural sub ordination of women, and their inferiority in everything except a spontaneous expansion of sympathy aad sociality, Sehopenhauer describes women as big children. examples of arrested de velopment. An exception to prevailing views was the philosophy of Condorc•et, who urged that women should be granted the same rights as men. The French Revolution developed the idea of in dividual rights, but all petitions from women were ignored. It was in 1790, however, that :Mary Wollstoneeraft published the Vindication of the Rights of Women.

As early as 1647 Margaret Brent, the executor and representative of Lord Baltimore, demanded a seat in the Assembly of Maryland. Abigail Adams,

the wife of John Adams, and Mary Otto Warren asked that woolen should he reeognized in the Constitution. and Ilannah Lee Corbin protested against taxation without representation. the first Constitution cp New Jersey, by an in advertenee, women could vote from 1776 to 1807. Various causes led to the discussion of woman's position: (I) interest in the property rights of married women: (2) the lectures of Frances Wright (1820) : (3) interest in temperance; and (4) the anti-slavery struggle. At an early date an efi'o•t was made to modify property laws. Lucy Stone and 'Henry Blackwell influenced legislation in 'Massachusetts from 1845 on. A bill was intro duced in New Yo•k in 1836, but w•as not passed until 1848.. Anti-slavery assoeiations were dis turbed IT the 'the woman question.' Attempts were mode to silence the Grinik6 sisters and Ahhy Kelley, and the American women delegates were ref useil adini,:ion to the World's Conven tion in 1840. William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillip; were always strong supporters of the cause.

The year 184S was an important date in the woman's suffrage agitation. as in all tor political rights. The first woman's suffrage con vention was ("ailed in Seneca Falls, ,luly 19. 184S, M I.:. Elizabeth 'ally Stanton. Lit eret in 'Alott, Martha C. Wright, and Mary A. McClintock were prime movers. A declaration of sentiments and a statement of civil and political disabilities were made. The second convention met at Salem, Ohio, in April, 1850, the third at Worces ter. Mass., in October, 1850, and thereafter a convention was held every year until the Civil War. In 1852 an agitation for dress reform was started, and the wearing of the bloomer costume was a proof of ailegia nee to the muse. Woman so trragists were ridiculed. and accused of being advocates of free love, easy divorce, and the amalgamation of races: but a few prominent men —Horace Greeley among them—treated the ques tion with respect.

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