Discussion 4 Question – During the 1860s and 70s what were women’s options for influence or political voice and, according to the literature, what were they asking for specifically? Give examples and cite details and quotes from the readings.
Women in the 1860s and 70s did not have much wiggle room when it came to the political aspect of life. Yes they were free from bondage but very much still enslaved without the freedom of having choices of representation or to vote. In Child’s writing she states how voting was limited to those that could read and write, advancing her argument that some people did not know how to read or write based of the education they had been deprived of. She state and I agree that if everyone was not required to hold a higher degree of education to vote then it should not be a standard at all. She mentions that, “the theory of the government is for the people to govern” (Trodd, Zoe, 2008). Which she as I do myself, find this cliché being that women were not allowed this right and they are a part of the people population. “The literature of all nations abounds with jibes, and jeers, and degrading comparisons concerning women” (Trodd, Zoe, 2008). To most people this went unnoticed but for women it was considered an offense. Child argued that giving women rights to vote would instill independence, teach responsibility, give them opportunity to gain autonomy in researching which would contribute to them becoming more educated, and they would become great companions within the household. “But admitting that, when a woman marries, she becomes dead at law; she chooses and elector to vote for her” (Trodd, Zoe, 2008). If not chosen as husband one was provided by nature such as a pastor. This alienated the woman to have her own ideas and express own feelings with voting hence hindering independence more.
The National Woman Suffrage Association put together a movement to protest the rights of women and impeach current articles that were established that excluded women. They submitted articles of impeachment for Bills of Attainder, the writ of habeas corpus, the right of trial by jury by one’s peers, taxation without representation, unequal codes for men and women, the advanced legislation for women, representation for women, universal manhood suffrage, and the judiciary of the nation. “…we declare our faith in the principles of self-government; our full equality with man in natural rights” (Trodd, Zoe, 2008).
Trodd, Zoe. American Protest Literature. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008.
Peer 2 :
The 1860s and 70s, women’s “freedom” and rights were abysmal. Although the women’s rights activists had joined causes with abolitionists, and leaders were active in both movements, the passing of the 14th amendment had failed to protect women as well. In Section 2 of said amendment, it includes “male inhabitants” and “male citizens” in its wording in regards to voters thus leaving women in slavery-like existence. Much of the literature of the time pushing had more a conservative tone to it. Instead a demanding for anything, it suggests that women’s right to vote would be beneficial for everyone! Lydia Marie Child argued that by women exhibiting their voting rights, “the education they would gradually acquire by taking a part in public affairs would make them…more interesting as household companions” (Child 143). At the time, appearing as non-threatning as possible to traditional roles would be the appeal to satisfy the folks of that era. Women were coaxed by explaining how being involved in public affairs would essentially maximize her ability to complete her household duties. And men were enticed by reassuring them that women “do not wish to do the work of men nor to take over men’s affairs” (Addams 179). Seeing the fact that everyone with power was male, it would seem in the women’s best interest to approach this subject with outmost delicacy.
The Declaration and Protest of the Women of the United States by the National Woman Suffrage Association definitely had a sharper bite. Written in 1876, this text argued for women’s rights from a logical standpoint. It follows a similar rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence and it cites multiple laws and rights that have been violated from a women’s standpoint.
Adams, Jane. “From Why Women Should Vote.” American Protest Literature. By Zoe Trodd. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2008. 175-80.
Child, Lydia Maria. “From Women and Suffrage. American Protest Literature. By Zoe Trodd. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2008. 139-143.
U. S. Constitution. Art./Amend. XIV, Sec. 2