and draft animals. He concluded that white women surely consented to civilized "equality" over Indian women's more bestial circumstances. 13
The other side of the consent coin was that most founders could not imagine that American women had any real objections to men's political monopoly. Americans inherited an English tradition that depicted women as childish creatures who had little of consequence to say. Therefore, any views expressed by women on important matters could be treated with little regard or simply ignored. Consider Mary Fish Noyes' experience. When she refused a suitor's marriage proposal, the rejected man wrote to her father, "Sir, I do not, I cannot, I will not take your daughter's complaisant letter as a real, much less a decisive negative to my proposal. I view it only in the light of female play, and have taken the liberty to treat it accordingly."14 Prolific writer Judith Sargent Murray understood that being a women meant having one's words discounted. That was why she published her major works under a male pseudonym.
Men's disrespect for women's voices was especially strong in public matters. For example, male judges and juries in early American rape trials sometimes acquitted sexual predators despite positive proof that the female victim said "no" and explicitly denied her consent to sex. Indeed, male jurors and juries often showed little interest in victims' testimony, especially when they were low-status women such as servant girls or slaves. Ultimately, men who refused to listen to women's voices or heed them could assume women's consent to patriarchy and ignore any protests to the contrary.
The American founders did not invent patriarchal politics but they perpetuated it by forgetting about women's contributions and potential in public life and by showing little respect for women's capacities as public persons. Their major justifications for excluding women from politics were as follows: