========================================================================= Date: Sat, 13 Apr 1996 15:57:38 CDT Sender: H-Net/H-Urban Seminar on History of Community Organizing & <COMM-ORG@UICVM.UIC.EDU> Subject: WWW: National American Women's Suffrage Association (American Memory) Posted by Wendy Plotkin <u13972@uicvm.uic.edu>

In the previous note, Tony Budak included as part of his "sig" a statement by Susan Anthony, the well-known U.S. women's rights and suffrage advocate. This leads me to take the opportunity to inform all of the availability of the National American Women's Suffrage Association's (NAWSA) papers on-line, thanks to the Library of Congress's American Memory project. The American Memory project is one of the earliest projects to make available important historical primary documents on the Internet, including political pamphlets of African-Americans from the Reconstruction through the Progressive era, photographs from the Farm Security Administration, and the NAWSA collection, among others.

The American Memory project is at http://rs6.loc.gov/ammem -- and I'll be adding it to the "Other history..." section of the COMM-ORG WWW.

Of special interest to those interested in social movements as a whole, and not just the community organizing that is the special subject of this seminar, is the women rights' collection, available at http://rs6.loc.gov/ammem/rbnawsahtml.

Below is a portion of an interesting 1851 abstract of a New York Tribune article that reveals some amazement at women organizing a movement on their own, and not through the graces of males.


Reprinted from the "Westminster and Foreign Quarterly Review," for July, 1851.


Most of our readers will probably learn from these pages, for the first time, that there has arisen in the United States, and in the most civilized and enlightened portion of them, an organized agitation on a new question-new, not to thinkers, nor to any one by whom the principles of free, and popular government are felt as well as acknowledged, but new, and even unheard of, as a subject for public meetings and practical political action. This question is, the enfranchisement of women; their admission, in law and in fact, to equality in all rights, political, civil and social, with thee male citizens of the community.

It will add to the surprise with which many will receive this intelligence, that the agitation which has commenced is not a pleading by male writers and orators for women, those who are professedly to be benefitted remaining either indifferent or ostensibly hostile; it is a political movement, practical in its objects, carried on in a form which denotes an intention to persevere. And it is a movement not merely for women, but by them. Its first public manifestation appears to have been a Convention of Women, held in the State of Ohio, in the Spring of 1850. Of this meeting we have seen no report. On the 23d and 24th of October last, a succession of public meetings was held at Worcester, in Massachusetts, under the name of a "Women's Rights Convention," of which the President was a woman, and nearly all the chief speakers women; numerously reinforced, however, by men, among whom were some of the most distinguished leaders in the kindred cause of negro emancipation. A general, and four special committees were nominated, for the purpose of carrying on the undertaking until the next annual meeting.

According to the report in the New York Tribune, above a thousand persons were present throughout, and "if a larger place could have been had, many thousands more powerful have attended." The place was described as "crowded, from the beginning, with attentive and interested listeners." In regard to the quality of the speaking, the proceedings bear an advantages comparison with those of any popular movement with which we are acquainted, either in this country or in America. Very rarely, in the oratory of public meetings, is the part of verbiage and declamation so small, that of calm good sense and reason so considerable. The result of the Convention was, in every respect, encouraging to those by whom it was summoned; and it is probably destined to inaugurate one of the most important of the movements towards political and social reform, which are the best characteristic of the present age.

That the promoters of this new agitation take their stand on principles, and do not fear to declare these in their widest extent, without time-serving or compromise, will be seen from the resolution adopted by the Convention, part of which we transcribe:-

Resolved -That every human being, of full age, and resident for a length of time of the soil of the nation, who is required to obey the law, is entitled to a voice in its enactment; that every such person, whose property or labor is taxed for thee support of the convention, is entitled to a direct share in such government. Therefore,

Resolved -That women are entitled to the right of suffrage, and to be considered eligible to office,-and that every party claims to present the humanity, the civilization, and the progress of the age, is bound to inscribe on its banners, equality before the law, without distinction of sex or color.

Resolved -That civil and political rights acknowledge no sex, and therefore the word "male" should be stricken from every State Constitution.

Resolved -That, since the prospect of honorable and useful employment in after life is the best stimulus to the use of educational advantages, and since the best education is that we give ourselves, in the struggles, employment, and discipline of life; therefore it is impossible that women should make full use of the instruction already accorded to them, or that their career should do justice to their faculties, until the avenues to the various civil and professional employment are thrown to them.

Resolved -That every effort to educate women, without according to them their rights, and arousing their conscience by the weight of their responsibilities, is futile, and a waste of labor.

Resolved -That the laws of property, as affecting married persons, demand a thorough revisal, so that all rights be equal between them; that the wife have, during life, an equal control over the property gained by their toil and sacrifices, and be heir to her husband precisely to that extent that he is heir to her, and entitled at her death to dispose by will of the same share of the joint property as he is.

For the full text of the article, aim your WWW browser at the NAWSA collection and search the collection using the words "Westminster" and "Foreign".

Wendy Plotkin COMM-ORG .