Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reconstruction: Suffrage for Women!

This week I read two speeches by the two most famous women's rights advocates in America: Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Susan B. Anthony spoke before the Senate in 1880, pointing out that women should be granted the vote because they already had a natural right to it, and that the government was acting unconstitutionally in blocking that right. She had quite a lot to say on the subject of citizenship, the granting of the vote to black men, and the payment of taxes. It's a very interesting speech and I'd encourage you to read it.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton gave her final address, The Solitude of Self, before Congress in 1892. Her point was that every human being, finally, is alone. Each one is unique, with a mind not open to anyone else, and no one can truly count upon the support of others. Therefore women ought to be allowed to vote, to get education for themselves, and to become self-sufficient, for who "can take, dare take, on himself the rights, the duties, the responsibilities of another human soul?"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

More Lincoln Speeches

More speeches from President Lincoln:

At the start of the Civil War, Lincoln addressed a special session of Congress and detailed the history of the final time before the outbreak of hostilities. He pointed out all the ways that the US government had bent over backwards to avoid a war, but the Southern states were determined and attacked Fort Sumter without provocation. I never knew how all that happened, so it was interesting. He then offered a legal defense of the reasons that secession was illegal and unconstitutional.

As it became clear that the war was not going to be short, Lincoln issued a proclamation of a day of prayer and fasting.

I actually read these a few weeks ago and then dropped the ball--again!--about posting. So I'll be reading post-Civil War material for the next few weeks.