I know that some endeavor to throw the mantle of romance over the subject and treat woman like some ideal existence, not liable to the ills of life. Let those deal in fancy who have nothing better to deal in; we have to do with sober, sad realities, with stubborn facts.
If they are unsuccessful in married life, who suffers more the bitter consequences of poverty than the wife? But if successful, she has not a dollar to call her own.
If you allow one single germ, one single seed of slavery to remain in the soil of America... that germ will spring up, that noxious weed will thrive, and again stifle the growth, wither the leaves, blast the flowers and poison the fair fruits of freedom.
If any difference should be made by law between husband and wife, reason, justice and humanity, if their voices were heard, would dictate that it should be in her favor.
But say some, would you expose woman to the contact of rough, rude, drinking, swearing, fighting men at the ballot box? What a humiliating confession lies in this plea for keeping woman in the background!
I suppose you all grant that woman is a human being. If she has a right to life she has a right to earn a support for that life. If a human being, she has a right to have her powers and faculties as a human being developed. If developed, she has a right to exercise them.
All that I can tell you is, that I used my humble powers to the uttermost, and raised my voice in behalf of Human Rights in general, and the elevation and Rights of Woman in particular, nearly all my life.
Away with that folly that her rights would be detrimental to her character - that if she were recognized as the equal to a man she would cease to be a woman!
Cultivate the frontal portion of her brain as much as that of man is cultivated, and she will stand his equal at least. Even now, where her mind has been called out at all, her intellect is as bright, as capacious, and as powerful as his.
Carry out the republican principle of universal suffrage, or strike it from your banners and substitute 'Freedom and Power to one half of society, and Submission and Slavery to the other.'
Much is said about the burdens and responsibilities of married men. Responsibilities indeed there are, if they but felt them: but as to burdens what are they?
The main cause is a pernicious falsehood propagated against her being, namely that she is inferior by her nature. Inferior in what? What has man ever done that woman, under the same advantages could not do?
It is high time to compel man by the might of right to give woman her political, legal and social rights. She will find her own sphere in accordance with her capacities, powers and tastes; and yet she will be woman still.
Again, I shall be told that the law presumes the husband to be kind, affectionate, and ready to provide for and protect his wife. But what right, I ask, has the law to presume at all on the subject?
In the laws of the land, she has no rights; in government she has no voice. And in spite of another principle recognized in this Republic, namely, that 'taxation without representation is tyranny,' she is taxed without being represented.
Blind submission in women is considered a virtue, while submission to wrong is itself wrong, and resistance to wrong is virtue alike in women as in man.
From the cradle to the grave she is subject to the power and control of man. Father, guardian, or husband, one conveys her like some piece of merchandise over to the other.
In case of separation, why should the children be taken from the protecting care of the mother? Who has a better right to them than she? How much do fathers generally do toward bringing them up?
The mass of the people commence life with no other capital than the union of head, hearts and hands. To the benefit of this best of capital the wife has no right.
She had her reward! - that reward of which no enemie could deprive her, which no slanders could make less precious - the eternal reward of knowing that she had done her duty.