Author: Jone Lewis

Ain’t I a Woman? Sojourner Truth via Frances Gage, 1881

This version, written down about 30 years after the event, has likely been influenced by literary trends including reproducing speech as dialect. Recent scholarship disputes whether this is an accurate representation of Truth’s 1851 speech. 1881 Account by Frances Gage: “Wall, chilern, whar dar is so much racket dar must be somethin’ out o’ kilter. I tink dat ‘twixt de niggers of de Souf and de womin at de Nork, all talkin’ ’bout rights, de white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all dis here talkin”bout? “Dat man ober dar say dat womin needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted ober ditches, and to hab de best place everywhar. Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober mud-puddles, or gibs me any best place!” And raising herself to her full height, and her voice to a pitch like rolling thunders, she asked “And a’n’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at me! Look at my arm! (and she bared her right arm to the shoulder, showing her tremendous muscular power). I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And a’n’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear de lash a well! And a’n’t I a woman? I have borne...

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Address to the Equal Rights Association

Address To The First Anniversary of the American Equal Rights Association Frances Dana Gage, May 9, 1867 The following is the text of an address delivered on May 9, 1867, to the second meeting of the American Equal Rights Association, by Frances Dana Gage. Mrs. President: It seems to be my fate to come in at the eleventh hour. We have been talking about the right to the ballot. Why do we want it? What does it confer? What will it give us? We closed our argument at three o’clock to-day by a discussion whether the women of this country and the colored men of this country wanted the ballot. I said that it was a libel on the womanhood of this country, to say they do not want it; and I repeat that assertion. Woman may say in public that she does not want it, because it is unpopular and unfashionable for her to want it; but when you tell her what the ballot can do, she will always answer you that she wants it. Why do we want it? Because it is right, and because there are wrongs in the community that can be righted in no other way. After the discussions we have had to-night, I want to turn to a fresh subject. Last evening I attended the meeting of the National Temperance Association at Cooper...

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Woman Suffrage Is Inevitable

The following is the text of a speech given by Carrie Chapman Catt before Congress in 1917, as part of the last years of the woman suffrage campaign. Woman suffrage is inevitable. Suffragists knew it before November 4, 1917; opponents afterward. Three distinct causes made it inevitable. History of Democracy First, the history of our country. Ours is a nation born of revolution, of rebellion against a system of government so securely entrenched in the customs and traditions of human society that in 1776 it seemed impregnable. From the beginning of things, nations had been ruled by kings and for kings, while the people served and paid the cost. The American Revolutionists boldly proclaimed the heresies: “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The colonists won, and the nation which was established as a result of their victory has held unfailingly that these two fundamental principles of democratic government are not only the spiritual source of our national existence but have been our chief historic pride and at all times the sheet anchor of our liberties. Eighty years after the Revolution, Abraham Lincoln welded those two maxims into a new one: “Ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Fifty years more passed and the president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, in a...

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The Picket or, All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight

A copy of the words to Beers’ best-known poem, written during the American Civil War. The Picket or, All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight written in 1861 by Ethel Lynn Beers “All quiet along the Potomac,” they say, “Except now and then a stray picket Is shot, as he walks on his beat to and fro, By a rifleman hid in the thicket. ‘T is nothing-a private or two now and then Will not count in the news of the battle; Not an officer lost-only one of the men, Moaning out, all alone, the death-rattle.” All quiet along the Potomac to-night, Where the soldiers lie peacefully dreaming; Their tents in the rays of the clear autumn moon, Or the light of the watch-fire, are gleaming. A tremulous sigh of the gentle night-wind Through the forest leaves softly is creeping; While stars up above, with their glittering eyes, Keep guard, for the army is sleeping. There ‘s only the sound of the lone sentry’s tread, As he tramps from the rock to the fountain, And thinks of the two in the low trundle-bed Far away in the cot on the mountain. His musket falls slack; his face, dark and grim, Grows gentle with memories tender, As he mutters a prayer for the children asleep, For their mother; may Heaven defend her! The moon seems to shine just as brightly as...

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Clara Barton Honors “The Women Who Went to the Fields”

This poem, written by Clara Barton, was written in honor of the many women who went to the battlefields of the Civil War. The women who went to the field, you say, The women who went to the field; and pray What did they go for? Just to be in the way!– They’d not know the difference betwixt work and play, What did they know about war anyway? What could they do? of what use could they be? They would scream at the sight of a gun, don’t you see? Just fancy them round where the bugle notes play, And the long roll is bidding us on to the fray. Imagine their skirts ‘mong artillery wheels, And watch for their flutter as they flee ‘cross the fields When the charge is rammed home and the fire belches hot; They never will wait for the answering shot. They would faint at the first drop of blood, in their sight. What fun for us boys, — (ere we enter the fight;) They might pick some lint, and tear up some sheets, And make us some jellies, and send on their sweets, And knit some soft socks for Uncle Sam’s shoes, And write us some letters, and tell us the news. And thus it was settled by common consent, That husbands, or brothers, or whoever went, That the place for the women...

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Marozia

Known for: figure in papal politics, ancestor of Popes Dates: ~892 – ~937 Background, Family: Father: Theophylact Mother: Theodora Husbands: Alberic I of Spoleto Guido of Tuscany Hugh of Provence Rumored lover: Pope Sergius III Children: Alberic II by Alberic I John XI, rumored to be the illegitimate son of Pope Sergius III Marozia was the daughter of Theodora and Theophylact, who had been influences in the papacies of Sergius III and Anastasius III. Persistent stories associate Sergius with Marozia as lovers, and allege that when Marozia was 15 she had a son by Sergius. Marozia was married three times, to Alberic I of Spoleto, Guido of Tuscany, and Hugh of Provence. Marozia herself wielded power and influence during the papacy of John X. He gave her titles of “Senatrix” and “Patricia.” But Marozia became angry when John X allied himself with Hugh of Provence, who had become king of Italy, and imprisoned John. Then Marozia had her son elected pope as John XI — the same son who was reputedly the illegitimate son of Sergius III. Marozia’s son Alberic II by her first husband, making him a half-brother to John XI, was the “prince” of Rome. He became angered when Marozia married Hugh of Italy, and Alberic imprisoned his mother and John XI. From Historians: An example of one historian’s judgment of Theodora and Marozia: Towards the beginning...

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Jane Addams: A Modern Lear

This is a version of an 1896 speech by Jane Addams, published in 1912 as a magazine article, on the Pullman strike and its ethical lessons. ¬†Addams compares George Pullman, the owner of the Pullman Company, to Shakespeare‘s King Lear. —————– Those of us who lived in Chicago during the summer of 1894 were confronted by a drama which epitomized and, at the same time, challenged the code of social ethics under which we live, for a quick series of unusual events had dispelled the good nature which in happier times envelopes the ugliness of the industrial situation. It sometimes seems as if the shocking experiences of that summer, the barbaric instinct to kill, roused on both sides, the sharp division into class lines, with the resultant distrust and bitterness, can only be endured if we learn from it all a great ethical lesson. To endure is all we can hope for. It is impossible to justify such a course of rage and riot in a civilized community to whom the methods of conciliation and control were open. Every public-spirited citizen in Chicago during that summer felt the stress and perplexity of the situation and asked himself, “How far am I responsible for this social disorder? What can be done to prevent such outrageous manifestations of ill-will?” If the responsibility of tolerance lies with those of the widest vision,...

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Meeting the Herschels – Maria Mitchell

Source: Maria Mitchell, The Century vol. 38, 1889. About this text: Maria Mitchell reflects on an 1857 visit to Sir John Herschel, British astronomer, and his family. Mitchell, an astronomer who later taught at Vassar, reflects in this 1889 article on the work of William Herschel, John’s father, and of Caroline Herschel, William’s co-worker and sister and John’s aunt. Of special interest to women’s history are Mitchell’s reflections on Caroline Herschel and her astronomical work, her unmarried state and her complete dedication to her brother. From The Century, volume 38, 1889, the year of Mitchell’s death. In visiting Europe some years since with the definite purpose of traveling for study, I accepted whatever letters were offered me to aid me in my efforts. Among others, one of my scientific friends sent me half a dozen letters of introduction, and then in a private note said, “I dare not give you a letter to the ‘Bear of Blackheath.'” Many times while crossing the Atlantic 1 found myself wondering who the “Bear of Blackheath” might be. One of the first friends I made in London was Mr. Airy, the astronomer royal at Greenwich. I was adopted at once as one of the household, and upon the care of that family my comfort in the whole of my tour largely depended. But sitting one day in the drawing-room with the astronomer royal,...

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