Civil War:

1863 Stanton & Anthony - National Women’s Loyal League (NY);

Stanton: “woman is vitally interested and responsible with men for the final settlement of this problem of self-government.”

Openly political –  criticized Pres. Lincoln for not acting boldly enough;

Jan 1, 1863 Lincoln - Emancipation Proclamation – freed only slaves in states under Confederate rule – not “border states” like Maryland;

women urged passage of 13th Amendment to Constitution to abolish slavery completely;

NWLL 5,000 members, met weekly.  Speaking tours, collected almost 400,000 names on petition for 13th Amendment.

Anthony called for League to demand women’s suffrage as their “birth right of freedom”  - resolution passed, but scared away many members; 


1866 Anthony spoke about “a human rights platform” linking rights of women & blacks.  “As women, we can no longer claim for ourselves what we do not for others, nor can we work in two separate movements to get the ballot for the two disenfranchised classes, Negroes and women.” 

Stanton: neither “sex nor complexion should be any ground for civil or political degradation.”  


Can’t get both at once – too radical;

Frederick Douglass, “this hour belongs to the Negro [man]” - “the Negro [man] is mobbed, beaten, shot, stabbed, hanged, burnt…. woman is the victim of abuses, to be sure, but it cannot be pretended… that her cause is as urgent as ours.”

Lucy Stone agreed – afraid introducing tricky issue of women's vote might derail vote for blacks.   


Anthony: "cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work for or demand the ballot for the Negro & not the woman." 


pits white women vs. black men;

Stanton, “Shall American statesmen… make their wives and mothers the political inferiors of unlettered and unwashed ditch-diggers and bootblacks… fresh from the slave plantations of the South?  Think of Patrick and Sambo… who do not know the difference between a monarchy and a republic, who cannot read the Declaration of Independence, making laws for Lucretia Mott [and] Ernestine Rose.”

1868 14th amendment - voting rights to “male” citizens twenty-one years old;

Stanton, “If that word ‘male’ be inserted now, it will take us a century at least to get it out again.”

Sojourner Truth, “There is a great stir about coloured men getting their rights, but not a word about coloured women; and if coloured men get their rights and not coloured women theirs, you see, coloured men will be masters over the woman. I wish woman to have her voice.”

Stanton & Anthony suffrage newspaper The Revolution; slogan: “Men, Their Rights and Nothing More; Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less”


May, 1869, Stanton & Anthony organize the National Woman’s Suffrage Association (NWSA) NY City;

118 women join immediately, including Lucretia Mott;

Stanton first president NWSA;

female leadership;

Cause - constitutional amendment giving women right to vote; 

Strategy – wanted all-inclusive nat’l suffrage amendment – didn’t want to work state by state, too slow & hard;

Publicity-hungry - lecture tours & rallies, chapters in cities across East & Midwest; 

Tone – take no prisoners;

Also interest in equal pay & reform of marriage & divorce laws;


November 1869, Lucy Stone started American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) Cleveland;

first president, Henry Ward Beecher; 

Cause - put off women’s suffrage to make sure black men got vote;

Strategy – fight in each state through legislatures & referendum;

Tone – genteel;

the Woman’s Journal;

focus only on suffrage, no controversial “side issues” such as marriage reform;


Women movement split in half, bitterness;

movement in trouble – standstill, out of money;

Mocked by press - refers to “hen conventions”


1870, 15th amendment: "The right of citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

Stanton: “open, deliberate insult to American womanhood”;


Georgia newspaper Colored American: all people should have vote except for three classes - children, foreigners & women, "whose sphere is anywhere but in the arena of politics & government."



Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927);

First woman to run for president,

first woman to address committee of US Congress,

first woman stockbroker,

one of first women to live public life of personal & sexual freedom,

published one of NY’s most provocative newspapers,

nationally famous lecturer;

Victoria Claflin born Ohio;

age 14, married Canning Woodhull;

sister Tennessee (Tennie C.);

clairvoyant & spiritualist healers;

1850s age of spiritualism;

1868 Victoria & Tennie meet 73-year-old rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, richest in US;

1869 Victoria attended first national convention of women’s suffrage movement;

1869 made fortune in Wall Street speculating in gold market;

set up banking office, “Woodhull, Claflin & Company”;


Victoria felt a “female invasion of the masculine precincts of finance” would attract attention, good for women;

Tennie: “I think a woman is just as capable of making a living as a man,” wanted “to know the secrets of money that had heretofore been a male preserve.”

“Queens of Finance,” “Bewitching Brokers”;


1870 letter to New York Herald speaking for “the only unrepresented class in the republic…. While others of my sex… devoted themselves to a crusade against the laws that shackle the women of the country, I asserted my individual independence; while others argued the equality of woman with man, I proved it by successfully engaging in business….. I therefore claim the right to speak for the unenfranchised women of the country, and… announce myself as a candidate for the Presidency.”


1870 publish Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly - supported Woodhull’s self-defined image as leader, advocated “suffrage without distinction of sex!”

serialized novel by George Sand, called for women’s education & fair pay, published first US edition of Communist Manifesto.  Investigative journalism.


1870 Woodhull moved to Washington; self-appointed lobbyist for suffrage.

presented arguments to House Judiciary Committee.

“Women constitute a majority of this country – they hold vast portions of the nation’s wealth and pay a proportionate share of the taxes.  They are entrusted with the most vital responsibilities of society; they bear, rear and educate men… yet they are debarred from uttering any opinion by public vote…. The American nation in its march onward… cannot publicly choke the intellectual and political activity of half of its citizens.” 


Said language of Constitution meant women really had right to vote already - 15th Amendment said, “the right of citizens to vote shall not be denied,” and 14th Amendment said, “All persons born or naturalized in the US are citizens” – just ignored word “male”.

Pledged $10,000 to women’s rights movement;

met President Grant at White House;

Nov 7, 1871, Victoria, Tennie & other women in NY go to polls;


Woodhull created new independent Equal Rights Party against corruption, for women’s suffrage;

“If women today would rise en masse and demand their emancipation, the men would be compelled to grant it. The women of the country have the power in their own hands, in spite of the law and the government being altogether of the male order.  Let women issue a declaration of independence sexually, and absolutely refuse to cohabit with men until they are acknowledged as equals in everything, and the victory would be won in a single week.”

1872 Equal Rights Party nominated Woodhull for president;

New York Times: “The career of Victoria Woodhull cannot but be entertaining as she gains public attention by hook or by crook….  Mrs. Woodhull, with an ambition worthy of a female Napoleon, goes for the presidency and strikes immediately at the White House.”


free love - sex should come from mutual attraction, not forced obligation;

condemned law which gave man ownership of wife’s body, property & children;

Insisted women had right to say no;


Condemned double standard of “sporting gentlemen” - “Who ever heard of even a single instance of a man being thrown out of society because he contributed to… houses of ill fame?… Why should a man be… recognized as undefiled, even when his whole body is corrupted by the damnable virus of the lowest and most hellish debauchery, when at the same time a woman is utterly proscribed on even the wretchedly flimsy evidence of hearsay?”

Believed crime, poverty, alcoholism, & disease direct result of bad marriages;

“I have an inalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please, and with that right neither you nor any law you can frame have any right to interfere.”

cartoonist - “Mrs. Satan”;

financial crisis – market collapse;

critics – Harriet Beecher Stowe, Catharine Beecher, Henry Ward Beecher;

Gossip linking Beecher to congregation member Elizabeth Tilton;

(Victoria affair with Theodore Tilton)

1872 dragged scandal out in public

“I propose… aggressive moral warfare on the social question…. I intend that this article shall burst like a bombshell.”

Victoria & Tennie arrested, sending obscene material through mail (Comstock law);

Victoria & Tennie move to London - married into wealth;

Anthony: “There was never such a foolish muddle… Our movement… is so demoralized.”


Wyoming territory 1868 - legislature gave women voting rights 1869;

cleaned up 1870 election;

allow women to file lawsuits, sign contracts & equal pay;

woman justice of peace, women on juries;


1872 election - 150 women test law (NWSA);

Anthony, Rochester, NY -“gone and done it!”

arrested three weeks later for casting illegal vote;

Anthony: “In your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government.  My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights are all alike ignored.  Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I and all my sex are degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject…. I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to… the old Revolutionary maxim, ‘Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.’”

NWSA officer Virginia Minor suing St Louis voter-registrar Reese Happersett;

1874 Supreme Court Minor v. Happersett: unanimously affirmed that women were citizens, but didn’t automatically get right to vote;

Ended hope of getting suffrage through courts;

Anthony trying to get constitutional amendment through Congress;

Arlen Sargent of California sponsor

vote 1887 - 16 for suffrage, 34 against, 25 abstentions.

Texas senator: "equal suffrage is a repudiation of manhood." 


thousands of women opposed to suffrage -

1871 Godey’s Lady’s Book petition from 19 women (wives of senators, generals & governor; Catharine Beecher) to Congress against suffrage;

“When women ask for a distinct political life, a separate vote, they forget or ignore the higher law [of Christian society in which] marriage is a sacred unit [and] each family is represented through its head…. Holy Scripture inculcates for women a sphere higher than and apart from that of public life.”

“Women find a full measure of duties, cares and responsibilities and are unwilling to bear additional burdens unsuited to their physical organization.”


Stanton eight months a year lecture circuit;

1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition:

“women’s building” displaying artwork, writings & inventions;

July 4th, Stanton & Anthony read “Woman’s Declaration of Independence”:

“We protest against this government of the US as an oligarchy of sex and not a true republic…. Woman has shown equal devotion with man to the cause of freedom and has stood firmly by his side in its defense… We ask… no special privileges… We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all civil and political rights that belong to the citizens of the US be guaranteed to us and to our daughters forever.”


1888 Stanton, Anthony - First International Council of Women in Washington DC - Britain, France, Germany, etc. 


late 1870s many states (Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, Mass., NY) law allowing women to vote in school district elections;


Women’s Christian Temperance Union:

Hillsboro, Ohio 1874;

1879 Frances Willard president;

membership 44,000 in 1880; 150,000 by 1890 - largest women’s organization in country.

marching songs:

(to tune of Battle Hymn of Republic):

They have rallied forth to conquer, and will never beat retreat

While the banner of the rum-fiend is still flaunted on the street,

And his hellish snares are waiting for the all unwary feet,

For God will lead them on.

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slogan, “home protection” – suffrage so that “mothers and daughters of America” could help decide whether “the door of the rum shop is opened or shut beside their homes.”

Willard: “the home going forth into the world.”

1872 new Prohibition Party, women participating in party caucuses.

Liquor industry opposed to suffrage;