General Historical  Information Prior to 1900

   The movement in favor of granting suffrage to women is one phase of the
demand for equal political, industrial, and educational opportunities for
women, which was brought into prominence by the economic changes of the
nineteenth century.
   A few early writers discussed the position of women. Plato in the
Republic proposed that they should have the same education as men and do the
same work, being "lesser men." The Christian religion raised woman's
position by recognizing 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); Ruscelli (1552); Anthony Gibson (1599); and later Paul Ribera and
Count Segur. 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 Margaret of Angouleme
attained distinction. The eighteenth century was especially favorable to
women writers, and France developed many talented women. Political
theorists, however, did not advocate power for women. Montesquieu would give
them freedom in a monarchy, since luxury is desirable, but he thought their
freedom dangerous to a republic. Rousseau, inconsistently with his principle
of universal suffrage, does not give the ballot to women. Comte teaches the
natural subordination of women and their inferiority in everything except a
spontaneous expansion of sympathy and sociality. Schopenhauer describes
women as big children, examples of arrested development. An exception to
prevailing views was the philosophy of Condorcet, who urged that women
should be granted the same rights as men . The French Revolution developed
the idea of individual rights, but all petitions from women were ignored. It
was in 1790, however, that Mary Wollstonecraft 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 women should be
recognized in the Constitution, and Hannah Lee Corbin protested against
taxation without representation. Under the first Constitution of New Jersey,
by an inadvertence, women could vote from 1776 to 1807. Various causes led
to the discussion of woman's position: (1) 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 effort
was made to modify property laws. Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell influenced
legislation in Massachusetts from 1845 on. A bill was introduced in New York
in 1836, but was not passed until 1848. Anti-slavery associations were
disturbed by the "the woman question." Attempts were made to silence the
Grimke sisters and Abby Kelley and the American women delegates  were
refused admission to the World's Convention in 1840. William Lloyd Garrison
and Wendell Phillips were always strong supporters of the cause.
   The year 1848 was an important date in the woman's suffrage agitation, as
in all efforts for political rights. The first woman's suffrage convention
was called in Seneca Falls, July 19, 1848. Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
Lucretia Mott, 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 Worcester, 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 allegiance to the cause. Woman suffreagists 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
question with respect.
   The societies of the Civil War developed women's organizing powers. The
Loyal National League got up a mammoth petition to have the Constitution
prohibit slavery. No suffragist conventions met during the war, and interest
in negro suffrage after the war frequently drew attention from the woman's
cause. The Kansas campaign divided the suffragist supporters. In 1869 two
national associations were formed. In May, in New York, the National Woman's
Suffrage Association, with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton as
leaders, was organized. This association met in Washington every winter
until 1890. In November, in Cleveland, the American Woman's Suffrage
Association was organized with Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and such men as
William Dudley Foulke, George F. Hoar, and Henry B. Blackwell as leaders.
The two associations were finally united into the National American Woman"s
Suffrage Association in 1890. In 1892 Mrs. Stone and Mrs. Stanton were made
honorary presidents: Miss Anthony remained as the active president until
1900, when she was succeeded by Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt.
METHODS OF WORK.. The adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment introduced the
word "male" into the Constitution of the United States. In 1869 Francis
Minor argued that women were enfranchised by this amendment. A number of
women accordingly voted in 1872. Miss Anthony was arrested. Mrs. Virginia L.
Minor was refused a vote in Saint Louis. She brought suit and the case was
decided against her on March 29, 1875. Up to this time women had demanded a
declaratory act from Congress. Since then Congress has been petitioned to
submit a six-teenth amendment. The 200 petitions of 1900 represented
millions of individuals. The Forty-eighth Congress had a select committee on
woman's suffrage. There have been eleven favorable Congressional reports
(five from the Senate and six from the House). Committees of women have
regularly appeared before the Congressional committees, and in 1902
representative foreign women, who could vote, added their protest.
   Beginning with the Democratic convention of 1868, an important work of
the association has been to request the indorsement of an amendment by
political conventions. Only once have women been permitted to address a
Republican convention---in Cincinnati in 1876. The Republican resolutions of
1872 and 1876 expressed mild approval of women's progress. In 1896 a plank
favored their entrance into wider spheres. Women delegates from Utah and
Wyoming sat in the conventions of 1892 and 1900. Women have twice spoken at
Democratic conventions: in Saint Louis (1876) and Cincinnati (1880). In 1900
Mrs. Cohen of Utah, as a delegate, seconded Bryan's nomination. Although
women served as delegates and as speakers and were mentioned in the preamble
to the platform, the Populists refused to support their cause. Some State
and county conventions, however, declared for woman's suffrage. Labor
organizations, including the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of
Labor, have generally been favorable to woman's suffrage.
   Within the States efforts are made by legislation, amendments, or in new
Constitutions to secure recognition for women, and also to urge laws needed
for women. Some of the older States have strong woman suffrage associations
and equal rights and political equality clubs. The Southern States have been
organized by woman suffragists only since 1890. Women have secured full
suffrage in Wyoming (1869), Colorado (1893), Utah (1870-1887 as Territory:
1895), and Idaho (1896); municipal suffrage in Kansas (1887); school
suffrage, varying in extent, in 25 States; suffrage on questions of tax
levies in Louisiana (1898); and on bond issues in Iowa (1894). Amendments
have been submitted and campaigns fought in Kansas (1869, 1894), Michigan
(1874), Nebraska (1882), Oregon (1884, 1900), Rhode Island (1886),
Washington (1889, 1898), South Dakota (1890, 1898), and California  (1896).
The only backward steps have been an adverse decision of the Supreme Court
of Washington Territory in 1888, and the taking away of school suffrage from
second class cities in Kentucky.
   During the New York campaign of 1894 an Anti-Suffrage Association was
organized in Brooklyn. Another followed at Albany, and after a convention a
State association was formed. Signatures to negative petitions are secured,
claiming that women already have enough responsibilities. A Massachusetts
State organization of anti-suffragists was formed in 1895; one in Illinois
in 1897; one in Oregon in 1899; and one in Victoria, Australia, in 1900.
Massachusetts also had a "Man's Suffrage Association" in 1895 to protest
against women's voting.
FOREIGN COUNTRIES..In England Jeremy Bentham early recognized the injustice
of the law toward women, but he considered prejudices too strong to be
combated. Bailey, in the Rationale of Political Representation (1835),
advocated equal rights. In 1850 an article in the westminster Review
occasioned much interest. John Stuart Mill's Subjection of Women is the most
powerful essay on the subject. He himself in Parliament in 1857 advocated
the enfranchisement of women;  and during the seventies the subject was
debated every year. During the eighties, English women organized a number of
leagues for cooperation with men: the Primrose League (1883), The Woman's
Liberal Federation (1885), and the Woman's Liberal Unionist Association
(1888), thus demonstrating their interest in politics. Women in England,
Scotland, and Ireland can now vote in all except Parliamentary elections.
Property laws were modified in 1882 and 1893. Women have full suffrage in
New Zealand, the Isle of Man, Pitcairn Island, South Australia, and West
Australia. Under the new Federal Constitution of Australia women may vote.
In Canada, Cape Colony, and Tasmania women have municipal suffrage.
   Woman suffragists are not active on the Continent but women possess
different degrees of voting power. In France, women teachers vote for
members of boards of education, and since 1898 women in commerce vote for
judges of tribunals of commerce. The Code Napoleon is not favorable to
women. In Sweden women enjoy liberal laws and vote in all elections except
those for representatives; indirectly they vote for members of the House of
Lords. In Norway women have school suffrage. Russian women, as householders,
vote for all elective officers and on local matters. They also manage their
own property. In Finland women have voted for election officers. In Siberia
women have municipal suffrage. Women property-owners vote by proxy on
certain questions in Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein, Brunswick, and Saxony,
and also in Bohemia, Moravia (in municipal matters), and Austria-Hungary. In
Croatia and Dalmatia they vote in person at local elections. Widows in Italy
with property vote by proxy for members of Parliament. Women taxpayers of
Belgium, Luxemburg, and Rumania have municipal suffrage by proxy. The
Social-Democrats at the convention of 1890 and 1891 declared for full sex
equality and in 1892 they allowed women to choose delegates, thus
recognizing them as integral factors in the party.
   In 1888, at the suggestion of Mrs. Stanton and Miss Anthony, the
International Council was called to celebrate the twentieth birthday of the
National Woman's Suffrage Association. Delegates came not as individuals,
but as members of associations. National councils were formed in different
countries, and at the meeting in Chicago in 1893, 17 had been organized,
including Persia, Australia, Greece, and Austria. A meeting was held in
London in 1899. In foreign countries the movement is tentative.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:  History of Woman's Suffrage, by Susan B. Anthony et al. (vol.
i. 1881; vol. ii. 1882; vol. iii. 1886; vol. iv. 1902); Files of Woman's
Journal; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eighty Years and More (New York, 1898);
Mary Putnam Jacobi, Common Sense Applied to Woman's Suffrage (New York,
1894); Theodore Stanton, Woman Question in Europe (ib., 1884); Lecky,
Democracy and Liberty, ch.x. (ib., 1896); Stopes, British Free Women (ib.,
1894);  Plons and Bartels, Das Weib (Leipzig, 1887); Buecher, Die
Frauenfrage im Mittelalter (Tubingen, 1882).

Source: The New International Encyclopaedia
Copyright: 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905
Publisher: Dodd, Mead and Company--New York
Total of 21 volumes.

                  Transcribed by Miriam Medina
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