inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #26 of 63: Betsy Schwartz (betsys) Sun 9 Apr 06 14:43
    
I was going to ask you when women did achieve equal legal rights, then
I remembered that the ERA never *did* pass. 
Amazing that such a large movement gets so little space in our history
books. The only other women's rights advocates I could name are
Sojourner Truth, Amelia Bloomer , and Mary Lyons - and I know the last
one only because I'm a Mt. Holyoke dropout. I see that the official
first National Women's Rights Convention was held in our backyard in
Worcester, MA ( http://www.wwhp.org/  has some interesting history)



Browsing on your web pages at 
<http://www.clarinanichols.com/antebellum> 
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #27 of 63: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sun 9 Apr 06 14:53
    
If women didn't have the right to vote, how did it happen that men
voted to give it to them? What motivation was used?
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #28 of 63: Diane Eickhoff (diane-eickhoff) Sun 9 Apr 06 19:18
    
>I see that the official first National Women's Rights Convention was
held in our backyard in Worcester, MA.

Yes, it was, but very few people know about it. Worcester,
Massachusetts played an important part in that history. The First and
the Second *National* Woman's Rights Conventions were held there in
1850 and 1851.

It was a mind-blowing time for the women -- and the men -- who
attended. The Seneca Falls Convention two years earlier had been called
hastily and included mostly women from the area around Seneca Falls
with a couple notable exceptions. 

The conventions in Worcester, Mass., were the first, large-scale,
organized-in-advance conventions that brought in people from around the
country -- the Northern part of the country, that is -- to join the
conversation and get the ball rolling. One woman came all the way from
California. 

The conversations, dialogues, speeches included, but were not limited
to discussions of voting rights. The women who attended these
conventions knew women were being short-changed in every area of life
-- under the law, within organized religion, in the workplace, and at
home. They loved to point out the hypocritical attitudes of a society
that allowed women like songbird Jenny Lind sing in public halls but
denounced any woman who dared *speak* her mind before a mixed audience
of men and women.

Clarina Nichols was at both the 1850 and 1851 conventions. Here's a
quotation from her in 1851 that gives you an idea where her head
was:"Woman has been waiting for centuries, expecting man to go before
her and lift her up. But he has not done it. Now comes the call that
she should first grasp hold of heaven, and strive to drag man after
her!"


>If women didn't have the right to vote, how did it happen that men
voted to give it to them? What motivation was used?

It wasn't easy. It took 72 years!  There's a popular historical drama
that aired on HBO a few years agp called _Iron-Jawed Angels_ that tells
that story. Some historians think it takes too many liberties with the
suffragists, tries too hard to make them modern and hip, but  I think
it does a  a pretty good job at bringing that particular era to life.

I've heard so many women say -- I had no idea it was like that -- that
women were dragged off to jail and went on hunger strikes to win their
political rights. If you want to try History Lite before diving into
more hearty fare, I'd recommend checking out this movie.

My expertise is on a much earlier period, the era preceding the Civil
War (1861-65). The end of the suffrage part of the women's rights story
comes two years after World War I ended, in 1920. 
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #29 of 63: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (peoples) Mon 10 Apr 06 19:23
    

Reading about the struggles of the early women's rights movement reminded me
of that French aphorism, "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose." The
more things change, the more they stay the same.

Women who advocate for women's rights have always had to fight against the
stereotype of being man-haters, and quite likely *lesbians* (!!!! ooooo
wooooo). During Nichols' day, the term "unsexed women" was bandied about
when upstart feminists were discussed. I assume that was the Victorian way
of suggesting they were homosexual? 
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #30 of 63: Diane Eickhoff (diane-eickhoff) Mon 10 Apr 06 22:54
    
>I assume that was the Victorian way of suggesting they were
homosexual?


That and more! Newspapers tried every which way to discredit the early
women's rights advocates. Suggesting they were sexually "deviant" in
some way was at the top of the list. They preferred making fun of the
women to taking on their arguments. 

There's not a very good argument to be made against basic civil and
political rights. They couldn't exactly argue that these women weren't
citizens. There was a sense that the phrase "all men are created equal"
was a universal statement.

So if your argument is flimsy, or if you don't want to bother making
an argument, what do you do? Shift ground. Make a personal attack.
That's what happened. 

A favorite tactic was accusing a woman's rights activist of not being
a *real* woman. Newspapers had a heyday with women who were speaking up
for women's rights at their "hen conventions." 

They printed cartoons of ugly, fat or skinny women  with five o'clock
shadows on their faces, long, beaked noses or even beards and
mustaches. They took away every feminine curve or feature and made them
look as unappealing as Cinderella's step-sisters. What woman, just
learning about the new women's rights movement, would want to be
identified with *those* women?

One historian (Barbara Welter) came up with something she called the
"cult of true womanhood." After studying the covert and overt messages
in a popular women's magazine of the day, she boiled down the four
characteristics that a true woman needed to possess -- religious piety,
sexual purity, domesticity, and submissiveness.

 Most of these early feminists had pretty strong doses of piety,
purity, and domesticity. But submissiveness? Uh uh! They had to break
the mold on that one, or they would never have spoken out, but it made
them very vulnerable to attacks on their womanliness.

Clarina Nichols herself loathed speaking up in public or sitting on a
platform in front of a bunch of people staring at her. She worried
about not being attractive enough "to dissolve the prejudices it was my
mission to dispel." At the same time, she castigated herself for
worrying about how she looked. It's that kind of no-win situation that
I think a lot of women today still struggle with.

In the antebellum period, the question was seriously raised: Are these
women really women? Maybe they're asexual or men masquerading as
women, newspapers said. If they were real women, they wouldn't be
acting like this. They wouldn't be demanding their rights, questioning
traditional values, and their place in society.

 If the women were attractive and single, they were branded whores,
harlots, promiscuous. If they were married, their husbands were accused
of not being *real* men but "she-men." (My personal favorite was the
newspaper editor in Kansas who called Lucy Stone's husband a
"seed-wart.")  

I think it's really later in the century that outright accusations are
made about homosexualty, but it's certainly hinted at strongly in some
of the diatribes that were printed in the papers and shown in the
cartoons. It's definitely part of the sub-text.

The purpose, of course, was to discredit the women and discredit their
cause. I'm sure it scared off a good many women. 

And that attitude still carries over today, doesn't it? As a culture
(and especially in the entertainment industry) we still have this 
preference for women who are sexy bimbos and a fear of strong women. We
are obsessed with how women look, how attractive or unattractive they
are. 

I wish I had a quarter for every woman who has told me she is not a
feminist -- with the implication that a feminist is some kind of
humorless, unsexed, man-hating woman who couldn't possibly be warm,
attractive, and funny. 

One thing you gotta say about this attitude on the part of both men
and women. It has a long history.
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #31 of 63: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (peoples) Tue 11 Apr 06 07:23
    

> husbands were accused
> of not being *real* men but "she-men."

Yup, and that kind of mindset lives on in the use of terms like 
"pussy-whipped," doesn't it? As if a husband deferring to his wife is 
somehow deficient as a man.

> I wish I had a quarter for every woman who has told me she is not a
> feminist -- with the implication that a feminist is some kind of
> humorless, unsexed, man-hating woman who couldn't possibly be warm,
> attractive, and funny.

In a description of Nichols' childhood, you write that she and her siblings
would gather by the fireplace at night to listen to their grandfather's
tales about fighting in the American Revolutionary War. He told them, "Oh,
my children, you can't know what your liberty cost."

The same words apply to women's rights. Today we take so much of it for
granted. Of course women can vote! Of course women have custody rights! Of
course women can run for office, can be a police officer, can join the
Marines. That none of these options were available to women a century ago is
often forgotten.

I have a 1927 San Francisco Chronicle that reminds me. The front page has an
article quoting a judge explaining that women cannot and should not serve on
juries because "their brains are different."

How quaint! How amusing that a judge said something so ridiculous. Yet just
last year, Lawrence Summers -- who was president of Harvard at the time --
suggested that fewer women succeed in science and math careers because of
innate differences between men and women. However, women in China and Japan
are equally successful with men in those fields, so what "innate"
differences was Summers referring to?

I wonder, are women who shy away from identifying as "feminist" for fear it
will make them unfeminine unaware of how hard women worked to gain the
rights we now have? I wonder, do they realize how much they've benefited
from the women's rights movement? I wonder, do they understand that we must
fight to maintain our rights, that we must speak out against efforts to chip
away at the gains of the women's rights movement?
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #32 of 63: With catlike tread (sumac) Tue 11 Apr 06 09:55
    
I've recently been reading about Stanton and her Woman's Bible and the
flap around that.  So, was Nichols pious?
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #33 of 63: Allegro ma non tofu (pamela) Tue 11 Apr 06 11:19
    
I'd never heard of this woman, and I thank you for bringing her to our
attention.
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #34 of 63: Diane Eickhoff (diane-eickhoff) Tue 11 Apr 06 15:05
    
>I've recently been reading about Stanton and her Woman's Bible and
the flap around that.  So, was Nichols pious?

Yup! At least she started out that way. She was raised in a very
pious, Baptist home (Northern, not Southern Baptist -- course that
split didn't happen until the slavery issue divided the denomination,
but there were differences among Baptists then, as there are now. Her
parents were progressive Baptists.) Anyhow, as time went on, she had
more and more problems with organized religion. The biggest thing, of
course, was its implacable stand regarding women's place in the home,
in church, and in society.

Early on, Nichols began debating ministers in public lyceums -- sort
of adult education cum entertainment forums. She knew her Bible
backwards and forwards and could predict exactly what passages these
ministers would zero in on.

 Like today, conservative ministers "cherry-picked" those verses in
the Bible that supported their retro agendas and skipped over all broad
injunctions to love your neighbor as yourself and not be judgmental
about other people. They loved pointing out the "fact" that Eve brought
sin into the world and preached many sermons on the theme of wives
obeying their husbands.

After a while Nichols found all this tiresome. I would imagine that if
she came to church, some minister would take it upon himself to preach
a good sermon about womanly submission. 

But in the West I think it was relatively easy for her to just kind of
drop out of the church scene. In later years she talked a good deal
about communing with nature, about getting inspiration and perspective
by being outdoors, walking through the woods, collecting wild flowers
and such.

In her later years she was reading "Light of Asia," which is a long
poem about Buddha, I believe. Susan B. Anthony sent it to her.

In _Revolutionary Heart_ I created an imaginary dialogue/debate
between Nichols and a minister. I had a lot of fun writing it, but in
the end decided I needed to put it in as an appendix item since I put
words into both Nichols's mouth and the minister's!
 
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #35 of 63: With catlike tread (sumac) Tue 11 Apr 06 15:07
    
Very interesting---do you know if she had any views on the Woman's
Bible?
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #36 of 63: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 11 Apr 06 15:14
    
(Just wanted to slip in here to note that i found The Light of Asia 
free online at http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext05/lasia10.txt )
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #37 of 63: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 11 Apr 06 21:54
    
At this point, would it be possible for women to lose the vote?
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #38 of 63: Diane Eickhoff (diane-eickhoff) Wed 12 Apr 06 06:14
    
>Very interesting---do you know if she had any views on the Woman's
Bible?

The Woman's Bible was published in the mid to late 1890s, about a
decade after Nichols died in 1885. She did, however, write a biblical
exegesis of her own, called the _The Bible Position and Woman, or
Woman's Rights From a Bible Stand-Point_. It was published as a
six-part series in the + Vermont Phoenix_ in 1869, though she'd been
working on it for a decade.

It is not light reading, nor is it a satirical piece. Nichols goes
through the Bible inch by inch, putting verses in context (she owned
several Biblical commentaries of the time), examining every reference
that concerns women, re-interpreting these passages, doing some very
careful reasoning.

She believed orthodox religion (along with law) was the biggest
obstacle to women's rights. 

She wrote _The Bible Position of Woman_  while she was living in
Kansas. God knows how she found time for this kind of writing, among
all her other responsibilities.  (She was, at the time, a farmer, 
occasionally taught school or served as the area's doctor and midwife,
wrote for various newspapers in Kansas and out east, and -- of course
-- lobbied for women's rights when she felt she could have some impact.


She talked about trying to get her _Bible Position of Woman_ published
as a book but that never happened. It's heavy reading, but if you're
pretty familiar with the Bible and know the usual arguments, it's a
fascinating piece.
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #39 of 63: Diane Eickhoff (diane-eickhoff) Wed 12 Apr 06 06:29
    
Thanks for posting the link above to Light of Asia, Gail. I have only
a vague memory from reading it a few years ago. I thought it was
interesting that these early women's rights leaders were reading this
kind of thing but not surprising if you think about it.

Transcendentalism was being explored by many educated people at this
point in history, and that's sort of a cousin to Eastern religious
thought.

And, of course, some of these early feminists were feeling constrained
by orthodox Christianity -- not by the teachings of Jesus but by the
injunctions of dear old St. Paul -- and by  how the clergy used the
Bible to keep women in their place. That's still going on -- and not
just in Christianity. Conservative wings of all the major religions use
religion to  reinforce traditional views of women.
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #40 of 63: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (peoples) Wed 12 Apr 06 07:03
    

Diane, we've touched on the fact that the early women's rights movement 
hitched its wagon to two other movements of the era: abolition and 
temperance. 

Do you think this helped or hindered the women's rights movement?
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #41 of 63: With catlike tread (sumac) Wed 12 Apr 06 08:30
    
Diane, that information about The Bible Position of Women is
fascinating to me.  How did you get to look at it, if it was never
publsihed as a book---did you visit a Vermont library with old
bound volumes?
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #42 of 63: Diane Eickhoff (diane-eickhoff) Wed 12 Apr 06 10:28
    
&#8805;At this point, would it be possible for women to lose the vote?

No! I don't think that will happen unless they do something to the
water. _The Stepford Wives_ or _The Handmaid's Tale_ are cautionary
tales, I guess, but I can't imagine any scenario where they'd become a
reality.

In current discussions, the debate revolves more around this question:
Are men and women different or the same? Given the same amount of
power, money, and influence, would women allocate resources in the same
way? make the same priorities? run the world pretty much the way it is
being run today?

 If women woul act in basically the same way as men in power do,  then
it won't matter how many women break the glass ceiling. It will just
be business as usual, and the only thing that will change is that
you'll see a lot more red suits when the cameras scans Congress during
the President's State of the Union address, and the biggest change will
be in the numbere of toilets set aside for females in executive
suites.

Of course, that still doesn't mean women shouldn't win parity with men
in all aspects of life. Justice is justice.

But if women's history and biology (no one's arguing we aren't
different in this way!) and upbringing have made women different in the
essential way they veiw the world, handle conflict, resolve
differences, allocate resources, etc. then there might be some
interesting changes.

Maybe there's some kind of tipping point that would come into play.
It's said that the first women to enter every profession or wield power
in any institution identify with the men who are already there and to
act accordintly, but when lots of women enter that profession or
organization, the culture begins to change.

If that's true, then we have a long way to go before we see if that's
true. The U.S. Congress is only 14 percent female, despite our  demands
that Afghanistan have 25 percent female legislators.

At the very least we know that educating women is the best way to get
them to reduce family size and improve the family's economic state.

Back in 1853, the antebellum women's movement held a big convention in
New York City. The two or three-thousand women and men attendees
resolved that women's rights were not just for the United States "but
for the whole world."
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #43 of 63: Diane Eickhoff (diane-eickhoff) Wed 12 Apr 06 10:40
    
>that information about The Bible Position of Women...How did you get
to look at it, if it was never publsihed as a book?

I wish I had a great sleuthing story to relate on this one, but I
don't. In the 1970s a Kansas historian gathered up as many of Nichols's
writings as he could find and published them as an 8-part series in
the _Kansas Historical Quarterly_ in 1973-74.

There it sat for 30 years. 

 The original series was published in a Vermont newspaper, the
_Vermont Phoenix_ in 1869. That was the year Lucy Stone, another early
women's rights advocate and a friend of Clarina Nichols, was
campaigning in Vermont for suffrage.

Nichols kept hammering away at this because she believed that besides
laws, the church was the biggest obstacle to women's rights.
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #44 of 63: Diane Eickhoff (diane-eickhoff) Wed 12 Apr 06 11:30
    
>We've touched on the fact that the early women's rights movement
hitched its wagon to two other movements of the era: abolition and
temperance. Do you think this helped or hindered the women's rights
movement?

The early women's rights movement was not so much "hitched" to
temperance and abolition as it was an organic outgrowth of them. Those
two movements came first. Women were involved in both in large numbers.
But even in movements ostensibly dedicated to reform, women were told
to take the back seat -- to support the movements with their labors but
to keep their mouths shut. 

William Lloyd Garrison, an exception to this rule, almost got kicked
out of an organization he founded, the American Anti-slavery Society,
because he started letting women speak publicly on behalf of the cause.

This was shocking. Unacceptable. Men in his organization were so
outraged by this violation of propriety and God's laws that they quit.
Formed their own anti-slavery organization. Like those old clubhouse
signs in cartoons -- "No Girls Allowed."

At an anti-slavery meeting in London in 1840, the men in this
off-shoot organization took it a step further. This was supposed to be
a *world* anti-slavery meeting. People representing different
anti-slavery organizations were invited. But the American women who
showed up were told they couldn't be part of it  -- couldn't speak.
Couldn't vote. Had to sit behind a black curtain in the galleries.
(Garrison, in protest, sat with them.)

It took a while but after this and other similar experiences, the
women decided maybe it was time to start their own reform movement. One
that would address strictly women's issues.

 In some ways the anti-slavery and temperance movements helped the
early women's rights advocates. These movements brought women together
in large numbers, gave them experience in organizing and (with
Garrison's wing) in public speaking.

 They were already pretty sophisticated in the art of organizing and
reform by the time they formed separated and formed their own
organization (while continuing their work in both temperance and
anti-slavery). Without those experiences, I think it would have taken
the women much longer to speak up on their own behalf.
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #45 of 63: virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Wed 12 Apr 06 14:51
    

  (a reminder: readers on the Web who are not members of the Well
   may submit thoughts, comments, questions, or so on, by sending
   e-mail to the Inkwell hosts at the address inkwell@well.com . )
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #46 of 63: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (peoples) Thu 13 Apr 06 06:08
    

>  Nichols kept hammering away at this because she believed that besides
>  laws, the church was the biggest obstacle to women's rights.

Plus ca change, once again!

We've talked about how Nichols' contributions have been forgotten for
nearly a century, and how she's now starting to get recognition again.
From "Revolutionary Heart":

"...Nichols's home town and state are beginning to pay tribute to her life
and achievements. Roadside markers were commissioned by the Vermont
Division of Historic Preservation for Nichols and her cousin Alphonso
Taft, the father of William Howard Taft. Originally the placards were to
be placed on the grounds of the church that Nichols and Taft attended ...
Church officials agreed to place Taft's placard on their property -- but
declined to accept Nichols's."

I'm flabbergasted by the small-mindedness of the stance of those church
officials. What a slap in the face to women!




If Clarina Nichols were able to comment from the grave on women's position
in the United States today, what do you think she'd say about the progress
that's been made? And what do you think she'd be stumping for in this
modern world?
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #47 of 63: Diane Eickhoff (diane-eickhoff) Thu 13 Apr 06 08:26
    
>I'm flabbergasted by the small-mindedness of the stance of those
church officials.

Yes, so was I. You'd think they'd be proud to have their church
associated with Nichols, but apparently not.

Plus ca change indeed. On one of our research trips, we visited
Worcester, Mass., home of the American Antiquarian Society. (They have
the largest original collection of Nichols's newspaper, the _Windham
County Democrat_ -- a dozen or so copies.) Worcester was also the
location for the First and Second National Woman's Rights conventions
in 1850 and 1851 and has a very active group of women dedicated to
gaining as much recognition for historic significance as Seneca Falls,
New York, has gained.

While in the area, we decided to visit the ruins of the home of Lucy
Stone, another pioneer in the early women's rights movement. The home
she grew up in is in ruins, but the outer walls are partially standing.
You can see where the windows used to be and the outlines of the
rooms. No roof but the sky and everything overgrown in vines and weeds,
a tree or two growing right in the middle of what used to be kitchen
perhaps.The "house" is set back from the road, surrounded by thick
woods. I poked my way through the ruins for a long time. 

On the edge of the property there's a sign that says the ruins are in
a trust and will be restored in some form or another some day. There's
a picture of Lucy Stone on the placard, and on her picture someone has
drawn both a mustache and a beard.

 
Of course, you could say this is just kids having fun, but it was
interesting to me that whoever was having "fun" was historically
accurate. The early feminists were often pictured with mustaches and
beards. The underlying message, then and now, is that these were not
*real* women and that their issues were not real issues either, that
they and their movement were kind of a joke.

Even the word that is often used to describe the women's rights
advocates is designed to evoke smallness -- suffragettes. It's not a
word they themselves used. They called themselves suffragists. May not
seem like a big deal, but the words definitely evoke different images.
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #48 of 63: Diane Eickhoff (diane-eickhoff) Thu 13 Apr 06 09:38
    
>If Clarina Nichols were able to comment from the grave on women's
position in the United States today, what do you think she'd say about
the progress that's been made? And what do you think she'd be stumping
for in this modern world?

Wow, that's a great question. I think she'd be very pleased to see how
many women have taken advantage of educational opportunities -- to go
to college, get post-graduate and professional educations -- all of
which were closed to females when she was coming up in the world.

 She'd be pleased to see how many women have become doctors, lawyers,
and ministers. She'd be hoping that their presence would change those
institutions from the inside out.

In her newspaper she often reported on the progress of women. She'd
say something like, "three women have become telegraph operators this
month," or "Fanny S. has become clerk at the such-and-such bank." That
should give you some sense of how far we've come in that regard.

She'd be pleased that nobody thinks a thing of a woman buying a house,
and that it's taken for granted that a woman has a right to control
her own wages, property, and investments.  

I think she would be shocked and horrified by the amount of violence
directed toward women -- by domestic abuse, in particular. I would love
to make her the patron saint of abused women because I think that's
one area she'd definitely be involved in.

I think she'd be disappointed by the still relatively small number of
women in government at all levels, especially the federal level -- only
14 percent of Congress is female. That would surprise her. I think
she'd be surprised that we haven't had a female president or vice
president yet. And I think she'd find some way to involve herself with
women on the international level. She would be promoting education for
girls in Bangladesh and economic opportunities for women in Chad.  

And I think she'd be surprised and disappointed that women are still
judged by their looks instead of the content of their character. Just
the other day I heard a popular TV and radio personality have great fun
comparing the butts of Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush.  

Nichols would be telling women who are consumed with losing weight,
getting face-lifts, tummy tucks, boob jobs, and fussing over their
looks, to give it a rest. She'd tell them to use all that energy to go
out into the world and make a difference, make a contribution.

I think she'd wonder why so many female performers sing in those
little-girl voices. 
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #49 of 63: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (peoples) Sat 15 Apr 06 08:54
    

> wonder why so many female performers sing in those little-girl voices

I wonder the same thing. I also wonder why women are willing to wear those
painfully pointy-toed high heels, and push-up bras, and and and ... but I
digress.



I want to back up a second to look a bit more at the way the abolitionist,
temperance, and women's rights movements were tied together and where
the ties unraveled.

Men welcomed the support of women in the abolition and temperance movements,
and those same men offered their support to the women's rights movement. But
only up to a point

As you've noted, Diane, women weren't supposed to actually *speak up* about
any of these issues at public meetings. They were relegated to the
proverbial "making coffee" role.

This obviously rankled Nichols throughout the many years she struggled for
women's rights. To borrow a quote you already posted:

"Woman has been waiting for centuries, expecting man to go before her and
lift her up. But he has not done it. Now comes the call that she should
first grasp hold of heaven, and strive to drag man after her!" Nichols said
that the year of the Second Women's Rights Convention in 1851.

Yet Nichols and her cohort continued to be hopeful that their support of
these other two issues would convince their male compatriots to reciprocate,
despite repeated evidence to the contrary. It reminds me of that old riff
from "Peanuts": Every autumn, Lucy pulls the football away just as Charlie
Brown tries to kick it, every year he vows he won't get fooled again, yet
the following year, there he goes again.

Sixteen years after Nichols called for women to stop expecting men to
address the inequality of women, she was still kicking at that same
football. In 1867, when twin suffrage amendments -- one for black men and
one for women -- were about to go before the Kansas voters, she wrote "Those
who have fought the oppressor, and freed the slave and demanded suffrage for
him, will not forget the women who prayed and wept and wrought for them in
the battlefield, in hospital and rebel prison."

Diane, can you tell us a bit about how these two proposed amendments got
onto the ballot and what happened regarding the support Nichols expected
from men?
  
inkwell.vue.269 : Diane Eickhoff: Revolutionary Heart
permalink #50 of 63: Diane Eickhoff (diane-eickhoff) Sun 16 Apr 06 14:01
    
Diane, can you tell us a bit about how these two proposed amendments
got onto the ballot and what happened regarding the support Nichols
expected from men?



That’s an interesting comparison. Charlie Brown being duped by Lucy
and early feminists being duped by their male allies. 

But in terms of suffrage, women couldn’t just walk away, even if they
wanted to.  I think it was not so much like coming back every year to
try and kick the pumplin as it was throwing pebbles at a large fortress
day after day, year after year and expecting it to crumble. 

The same women who worked in the anti-slavery movement were involved
in the early women’s rights movement, and they weren’t just holding
bake sales. Sure, they didn’t have the same power as their male
counterparts, but in some of the more liberal anti-slavery societies,
women became frequent, sought-after public speakers. 

Women like Nichols wrote articles and editorials against slavery,
harbored fugitive slaves, supported the war effort in many ways, and
after it ended, worked to house and educate former slaves. I’m not
trying to paint a saintly picture. Racist stereotypes were the rule,
not the exception, but the point is that the women who worked for
women’s equal rights worked hard in the anti-slavery movement.


Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation in Jan. 1863. People
often think this freed all the slaves in the country, but it didn’t. It
only freed the slaves who were living in Confederate lands over which
Lincoln had no control. Slaves in the border states (like Missouri)
that stayed with the Union were not freed.

A few months after the E.P., Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.
Anthony formed the Woman’s Loyal League. Their goal was to collect one
signature for every slave in the country. They didn’t meet that goal,
but they did   collect 400,000 signatures to a petition demanding an
amendment that would free *all* slaves everywhere in the United States.
(This happened in 1865.) 

The women’s rights advocates had worked hard in the anti-slavery cause
because they believed slavery was evil. But they also believed that
working in the anti-slavery movement would help further their own
cause. That the male leaders of the reform movement would remember the
women’s hard work and reward them with suffrage as soon as the war
ended. 

It was the “Negro’s hour,” they were told, a time to gain voting
rights for blacks. (Course that didn’t mean all blacks -- only males.)

The new Republican Party had its eye on all those freshly emancipated
black males and wanted to swell the ranks of the party with new voters.
It’s a complicated story as to why they didn’t want to bring in female
voters at the same time -- which is what the women wanted -- but it
didn’t happen that way, logical as it might seem today.

In the end female suffrage and black male suffrage were pitted against
one another in Kansas in 1867, the first state to pass two amendments
granting suffrage to both groups. The liberal male reformers ended up
supporting black male suffrage and abandoning the woman suffrage
campaign. The women felt betrayed, and the campaign turned nasty.

It was a turning point for woman suffrage. (It's a chapter in
Revolutionary Heart.)
 
  

More...



Members: Enter the conference to participate

Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic RSS feed of new responses

 
   Join Us
 
Home | Learn About | Conferences | Member Pages | Mail | Store | Services & Help | Password | Join Us