Votes for Women: The Struggle for Suffrage Revisited

By Jean H. Baker | Go to book overview

2
VOICES OF SUFFRAGE
Sojourner Truth, Frances Watkins Harper, and
the Struggle for Woman Suffrage
Nell Irvin Painter

After the Civil War, in the midst of debates over black and woman suffrage, Sojourner Truth, a former slave and committed abolitionist, addressed the American Equal Rights Association: “If colored men get their rights, and not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before.” It was a typically courageous stand for this important supporter of woman suffrage. Before the Civil War, black and white men and women, including Truth, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and other reformers, had worked together against slavery and for woman's rights without seeing these causes as conflicting. In fact, Douglass had been a staunch supporter of woman's rights, demanding the vote as one of woman's essential rights as early as 1848, while Anthony had been a paid agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society as well as a suffragist. 1

During the Civil War, the woman's rights–abolitionist community held together seamlessly. In 1863, Stanton and Anthony formed the Women's Loyal National League, the first organization to petition Congress to make emancipation permanent and universal in a Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 2 But Reconstruction tore abolitionists apart. Republican politics demanded black male suffrage, abandoning any lobbying for universal voting for all adults—at a time when feminists glimpsed a victory of their own in the wings. As an African American activist, Truth's position was a significant one.

-42-

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Votes for Women: The Struggle for Suffrage Revisited
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents ix
  • Contributors xi
  • Votes for Women *
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 20
  • 1 - The Case for Reform Antecedents for the Woman's Rights Movement 21
  • Notes 40
  • 2 - Sojourner Truth, Frances Watkins Harper, and the Struggle for Woman Suffrage 42
  • Notes *
  • 3 - The New York Woman's Movement and the Civil War 56
  • Notes 72
  • 4 - American Expansion and the Politics of Federalism, 1870–1890 77
  • Notes 87
  • 5 - Woman Suffrage in the West 90
  • Note 101
  • 6 - Southern Suffragists, the Nawsa, and the “Southern Strategy” in Context 102
  • Notes 114
  • 7 - The Anti-Suffrage Campaign 118
  • Notes 129
  • 8 - The Winning Plan 130
  • 9 - America and the Pankhursts 143
  • Notes 156
  • 10 - Harriot Stanton Blatch and Grassroots Politics 159
  • Note 173
  • 11 - Alice Paul and the Politics of Nonviolent Protest 174
  • Notes 186
  • Epilogue 189
  • Notes 194
  • Bibliography 197
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