Woman in the Nineteenth Century, and Kindred Papers Relating to the Sphere, Condition, and Duties of Woman

Woman in the Nineteenth Century, and Kindred Papers Relating to the Sphere, Condition, and Duties of Woman

Read FREE!

Woman in the Nineteenth Century, and Kindred Papers Relating to the Sphere, Condition, and Duties of Woman

Woman in the Nineteenth Century, and Kindred Papers Relating to the Sphere, Condition, and Duties of Woman

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The problem of Woman's position, or "sphere," -- of her duties, responsibilities, rights and immunities as Woman, -- fitly attracts a large and still-increasing measure of attention from the thinkers and agitators of our time. The legislators, so called, -- those who ultimately enact into statutes what the really governing class (to wit, the thinkers) have originated, matured and gradually commended to the popular comprehension and acceptance, -- are not as yet much occupied with this problem, only fitfully worried and more or less consciously puzzled by it. More commonly they merely echo the mob's shallow retort to the petition of any strong-minded daughter or sister, who demands that she be allowed a voice in disposing of the money wrenched from her hard earnings by inexorable taxation, or in shaping the laws by which she is ruled, judged, and is liable to be sentenced to prison or to death, "It is a woman's business to obey her husband, keep his home tidy, and nourish and train his children." But when she rejoins to this, "Very true; but suppose I choose not to have a husband, or am not chosen for a wife -- what then? I am still subject to your laws. Why am I not entitled, as a rational human being, to a voice in shaping them? I have physical needs, and must somehow earn a living. Why should I not be at liberty to earn it in any honest and useful calling?" -- the mob's flout is hushed, and the legislator is struck dumb also. They were already at the end of their scanty resources of logic, and it would be cruel for woman to ask further: "Suppose me a wife, and my husband a drunken prodigal -- what am I to do then? May I not earn food for my babes without being exposed to have it snatched from their months to replenish the rumseller's till, and . . .

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