And the world listened; Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Property rights
When you talk gentleman of sheltering women from the rough mines and bolting scenes of real life you must be either talking for effect being wholly ignorant. Of what the facts of life. Elizabeth Cady Stanton spoke and the world listened. And the world listen. Program 11 in the series dramatizing Greatorex.
The men and women that created. These programs are produced by radio station the University of Wisconsin. Under a grant from the educational television and radio operation with the National Association of educational broadcasters consulting for the series is Frederick W. Habermann chairman of the department of speech at the University of Wisconsin. Here is Professor Habermann in January of 950 an organization was disbanded its name was the national American Woman Suffrage Association. Its work was done on its roster of members in its founding in 1869 with some of the most remarkable women of our nation. Elizabeth Blackwell the first woman physician and one that helped Brown the first woman minister Anna Howard who had both a medical degree and a theological degree. Harriet Beecher Stowe Julia Ward Howe. Lucy St. Clara Barton
Francis the Willard. Jane Adams Susan B Anthony Carrie Chapman Catt. One of the most charming and brilliant among them was the organization's first president Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Elizabeth Cady entered the struggle for women's rights in 1840 at the age of 25. In that year when she married Mr. Stanton she had the word obey stricken from the marriage ceremony in 1848 she and four other women issued a call for the first woman's rights convention ever held anywhere. When the convention met in July 1844 in Seneca Falls New York Elizabeth Cady Stanton read a declaration of independence which contained demands for every Right which women enjoy today. Here was inaugurated the greatest propaganda movement in American history. The forces against women's rights were enormous. It was argued that women were angels and therefore should be kept on a cloud that they were homemakers and therefore should be kept in the kitchen that they were
ignorant and therefore should be kept out of sight. The trouble was that the men who argued dost also believed in the principles of the American Revolution. Although the declaration of 1848 contained a request for the vote. It was 21 years before the suffrage organization was founded. Mrs. Stanton was busy then and ever after in her lifetime of eighty seven years she bore seven children wrote several books and hundreds of articles and lectured almost daily for months on end. She was a rather pretty woman about five feet three tall plump beige and radiating energy good cheer and on dotted courage. She was as eloquent as any woman of her day. She could make the women enthusiastic. She could make the men smile then squirm then resolve to do something about the thing. She had proof in her speech is something many a man lacked in beginning their campaign. The women concentrated on the right to hold
property after marriage. Mrs. Stanton was their spokesman. She carried their message first to the place where she thought it would do the most good. The legislature of her native state of New York. Let me know if you can think of now Clark. Are you going three to five times going to fancy me just a minute. One of the time your mother is working hard on a very important speech. That's why I come from Seneca Falls to look after you. Why couldn't you I can speak can money can look after. Because your mother writes better speeches than I do and speaks them so well now. And so number two she will come and say good night to you. Look After You can understand then you are you're like you know. Don't be a goose and I fancy he doesn't have any children do you know dare I don't I don't even have a husband. Now about that bedtime story. Which one would you like to hear. I am not only am I am I and then.
Let's try this one once upon a time there was a queen and she. There wasn't one. She was a queen all by herself. She didn't think a king was necessary. She ruled over it. Come in Susan is everything. Everything Nora had washed the dishes by the time I had told the children this story and you're so good to me. It works both ways dear. It isn't right that you should have so little time to compose for the cause. I chose my own mode of life has been in seven children and I haven't regretted it. You know that was my first act of independence. Choosing a husband. Come now not Joe. My first big act. Oh and what a tussle I had with that minister before he would take the word out of the marriage service. How did Henry feel about that. Oh
Henry was wonderful. We were both ready to love and honor each other. But you know nothing is humiliating is that. But poor father what made you think of your father. I guess it was obedience that reminded me. It was so important to him. In fact all traditions was important to him. All traditions were important to him. He never did really understand how I felt about some traditions yet he didn't disinherit you after all. No he threatened to more than once but he changed his mind before he died. Don't you think perhaps she understood you a little then. I don't know. I loved him so much and I hated to hurt him. But everything I believed everything for which I stood and to which I was dedicated made me oppose his wishes in almost everything. And yet yet what you didn't know this it was he who helped me the most when I first made my speech to the legislature. Your father helped you. But he was furious with you.
I know he was. He never dared admit it even to himself. But you know Susan I believe he was proud of me but he tried to stop you. Oh yes. He insisted that I see him on my way to Albany and talk to him. I knew that he was going to try to dissuade me but I was determined. If you considered what a disgrace for me your public appearance in Albany is going to be it would be more of a disgrace to me if I allowed myself to be talked out of it now. I've been thinking Elizabeth and I can understand that there are some things about which you feel keenly and which you want very much. Yes indeed father I feel very keenly about women's rights and I want very much to improve our situation. I meant something closer and more personal than just any woman's rights your own rights for example I cannot expect to have any rights unless all women have them too. You can do this a bit. We are all created equal. Perhaps in one
sense. And yet you must have noticed that in the matter of property property. Yes I am referring to your house. We call it yours. Your house in Seneca Falls. You have always wanted to have that house as your very own Elizabeth but under the law as it stands the house is mine and I can dispose of it as I please. I will give you the deed to that house. Then you believe that a woman I believe nothing of the sort. I offer you the deed of that house on condition that you will give up this ridiculous idea of making yourself an exhibition before the legislature. If I accepted the house under those conditions father would you be very proud of me. I am not going to be proud of you if you deliberately oppose my wishes and make a laughingstock of yourself and me. I want you to be proud of me father but I cannot and will not betray the cause to which I have dedicated myself. You refuse the deed to the house then under those conditions
yes. You forget that I can not only prevent you from owning the house on which you've set your heart but I can disinherit you. I know you can father. You want me to do so. Of course not. But rather than go back on my principles I will endure the bitterest punishment you feel it necessary to mete out to me for Elizabeth. What makes you so obstinate if I told you sir it would not please you if you know answer me at once. It is you serve me. Yes father. Don't you remember when I was a little girl and used to come to your office and sit on your knee while women from farms and villages came to ask your advice women who'd lost their property when they married and whose husbands gambled or drank it away. Women who'd lost every penny of their inheritance because the man made law is on the side of criminals and drunkards. So long as those criminals and drunkards are male and not female Are you heard. Do advise them according to the law and outmoded law.
When I was a girl I thought that if I could only cut the idiotic laws out of law books I could then cure the evil they countenanced. But you father you taught me that the laws would remain until they were changed and that the only way I could change them was to learn to make a speech and go before the legislature and tell them all I had seen and heard in your office. You see how well I took your advice and heard no idea what it would all lead to. I wonder Father sometimes I think you must have realized and secretly wanted me to speak my mind and speak it well. Read me your speech Elizabeth. Gladly father. The thinking minds of all nations call for change. There is a deep lying struggle in the whole fabric of society a boundless grinding collision of the new with the old the tyrant custom has been summoned before the bar of common sense. His Majesty no longer all as the
multitude his scepter is broken his crown is trampled in the dust. The sentence of death is pronounced upon him. All nations ranks and classes have been turned questioned and repudiated his authority. And now that the monster is chained and caged timid woman on tiptoe comes to look him in the face and to demand of her brave sires and sons who have struck stout blows for liberty. If in this change of dynasty she too shall find relief. Yes gentleman in Republican America in the 19th century we the daughters of the revolutionary heroes of 76 demand that your hands the redress of our grievances our revision of your state constitution a new code of laws permit us then as briefly as possible to call your attention to the legal disabilities under which we labor. First look at the position of woman as a woman.
It is not enough for us that by your laws we are permitted to live and breathe to claim the necessaries of life from our legal protectors to pay the penalty of our crimes. We demand the full recognition of all our rights as citizens of the Empire State. We are persons native free born citizens property holders taxpayers. Yet we are denied the exercise of our right to the elective franchise. We support ourselves and in part your schools your colleges churches your poorhouses jails prison the Army the Navy the whole machinery of government and yet we have no voice in your councils. We have every qualification required by the Constitution necessary to the legal vote. But the one of sex. We are moral virtuous and intelligent and in all respects quite equal to the proud white man himself. But we we we have guided great movements of charity a stablished
missions edited journals published works on history economy and statistics who have governed Nations led armies filled the professors chair taught philosophy and mathematics to the servants of our age. Discovered planets piloted ships across the sea are denied the most sacred rights of citizens because forsooth we came not into this republic crowned with the dignity of manhood. Woman is theoretically absolved from all Allegiance to the laws of the state. Section 1 bill of rights to our as 3 or 1 says that no authority can on any pretense whatever be exercised over the citizens of this state. But such as is or shall be derived from and granted by the people of the state. Now gentleman we would fain know by what authority you have disfranchised one half the people of this state you who have so boldly taken possession of
the boardwalks of the republic. Show us your credentials and thus prove your exclusive right to govern not only yourselves but us. Gentleman you take the ground that the sexes are alike and therefore you are the faithful representatives. Then why all these special laws for woman. Would not one code answer for all the likes and needs. Christ's Golden Rule is better than all the legislation that the ingenuity of man can devise. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. This Men and brethren is all we ask at your hands. We ask no better laws than those you have made for yourselves. We need no other protection than that which your present laws secure for you. In conclusion then let us say in behalf of the women of the state we ask for all that
you have asked for yourselves in the progress of your development since the Mayflower cast anchor beside Plymouth Rock and simply on the ground that the rights of every human being are the same and identical. You may say that the mass of women in this state do not make this demand it comes from a few sour disappointed old maids and childless women. You are mistaken. The mass speak through us of a very large majority of women in this state support themselves and their children and many their husbands go into any village you please of three or four thousand inhabitants and you will find as many as 50 men or more whose only business is to discuss religion and politics. As they watched the trains come and go at the depot or the passage of a canal boat through a lock to live or some drunken brother to the caper of a monkey dancing to the music of his master's organ. All these are supported by their mothers wives or sisters. Now do you
candidly think these wives do not wish to control the wages they earn to own the land they buy the houses they build to have a thorough disposal of their own children without being subject to the constant interference and tyranny of an idle worthless prophet. Do you suppose that any woman is such a pattern of devotion and submission that she willingly stitches all day for the small sum of fifty cents that she may enjoy the unspeakable privilege in obedience to your laws of paying for her husband's tobacco and rum. Think you the wife of the confirmed beastly drunkard would consent to share with him her home and bed. If a law and public sentiment would release her from such gross companionship. Verily no. Think you the wife with whom in durance has ceased to be a virtue who through much suffering has lost all faith in the justice of both heaven and earth takes the law
in her own hand severs the unholy bond and turns her back forever upon him. She once called her husband consents to the law that in such an hour tears her child from her all that she has left on earth to love and cherish the drunkards wives speak through us and they number fifty thousand. Think you that the woman who has worked hard all her days in helping her husband to accumulate a large property consents to the law that places this wholly at his disposal would not the mother whose only child is bound out for a term of years against her expressed wish deprive the father of this absolute power if she could. For all the. Then we speak if to this long list you add the laboring women who are loudly demanding remuneration for their an ending toil. Those women who teach in our seminaries academies in public schools for a miserable pittance the widow's who are taxed without mercy.
The unfortunate ones in our work houses are poor houses and prisons. Who are they that we do not know represent but a small class of fashionable butterflies who through the short summer days seek the sunshine and the flowers but the cool breezes of autumn in the hoary frosts of winter will soon chase all these away. Then they too will need and seek protection and through other lips demand in their turn justice and equity at your hands. Well Father which is the more humiliating to speak about it or not to speak about it. You have made your points clear and strong. But I think I can find you even more cruel than those you've quoted. Father. You mean you're going to help me. You seem determined to speak against my wishes. The most I can do
now is to make sure that you are properly prepared for how their father. The sun shone and the flow but the cool breezes of office and the holy frosts of window will soon chase all these away. Then they too will meet and seek protection and through all the lips demand in their time and justice and equity at your hands. Mrs. Dent let me figure. Allow me to congratulate you what a magnificent speech that when I didn't disgrace my disgrace it did to him to tell him that I said you should be very proud of such a daughter.
The sound of that applause Susan was very sweet to my ears as a father must have understood that at least he detested the thought of my standing up before the mall. But I think he was proud that I had the courage to go through with it even though it didn't change a single law in our favor. That was six years ago Elizabeth. Things have changed a second speech before the legislature is going to be a very different story. You think so. Oh I hope you're right. Oh yes. Why six years ago your speech changed nothing in the way of laws but didn't you notice that it changed the way people thought about us but they didn't ridicule us as much. And some of the newspapers actually said some kind things now and then I believe the time has come. Your speech will fire them all and we shall have concrete results. The bill will pass the legislature and governor Morgan will sign it. I'm sure of you know Susan what would I do without you. You come and you take my family off my hands while I write you bring me cocoa after you pack the children off to
bed and you make me believe in myself. Nonsense. You believed in yourself long before you set eyes on me and you have the power to make them believe in you too. I know you have. Gentleman such scenes as what one has witnessed at her own fireside where no hour I save omnipotence could pity no stroller could help her never be realized at the polls never equalled elsewhere this side the bottomless pit. No woman has not yet had to live in the clouds surrounded by an atmosphere of purity and peace. But she has been the companion of man and held in sickness
and in death in his highest and his lowest moment whose She has worshiped him as a sink and orator and pitied him as a madman or a fool in paradise man and woman were placed together and so they must ever be. They must sink or rise together if man is low and wretched and vile woman cannot escape the contagion and any atmosphere that is unfit for woman to breathe is not fit for man. There are only the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the children to the third and fourth generation. You by your own laws legislation have crippled and dwarfed womanhood. By closing two or all on mobile and lucrative means of employment have driven her into the garrets and dens of our cities where she now revenges herself on your innocent son's shopping the very foundations of national
virtue and strength. Alas for these young men just coming on the stage of action who soon shall fill your vacant places. Our future Senators our presidents the expounder of our constitutional law terrible law the penalties we are suffering now for the ages of injustice done to women. Again it is said that the majority of women do not ask for any change in the laws that it is time enough to give them the elective franchise when they as a class demanded wise statesman legislate for the best interest of the nation. The state for the highest good of its citizens. The question for the conversion of the world. We would have been our railroads and telegraphs our ocean steamers our canals and harbors all arts and sciences. If the government had withheld the means from the far seeing minority I stand before you the rightful representative of a woman
claiming a share in the halo of glory that is gathered round her in the ages and by the wisdom of her past words and works her peerless heroism and self-sacrifice. I challenge your admiration and moreover claiming as I do I share in all her of rages and sufferings in the cruel injustice content and ridicule now heaped upon her in her deep degradation hopeless wretchedness. But oh that is helpless in her present condition. That is false in law and public sentiment. I urge your generous consideration. But as my heart swells with pride to behold woman in the highest walks of literature and art it grows big enough to take in those who are bleeding in the downs.
Thank. You have you seen the paper Ned Nowell anything in it. Now the women who want of the vote didn't get it. Oh I didn't think they would ridiculous idea I got something though. The governor signed a bill with some interesting ideas in it all. Rather why doesn't your wife have a good deal of property. Good news what of it. Violence here is nothing more. Can't get your hands on it. Did I want to do. Why did they pass a bill like that though I thought women swore to love honor and obey their husbands in good loving and honoring included putting their persons and their property into their husbands keeping men not any more. I read this and he married a woman possessed of real estate as her separate property may bargain sell and convey such property. Good heavens that's a revolution in a quiet way I guess it is. You know I would be surprised if one day they get the vote to women. Oh no no that would be going too far. That'll never happen. How much do you want to bet.
Here again is Professor Habermann. The new laws did come with each want Elizabeth Cady Stanton remembered her experiences as a little girl in her father's law office. There she had heard women tell their stories of injustice. Her father would take a book from the shelf and read the law which protected the injustice. Elizabeth hit upon a solution she would mark each of those offending passages. Then she would sneak into her father's office armed with a pair of scissors and cut out the Slav. When she became older she realized that the laws could be eliminated only if she convinced the public and legislators to work together. Her eloquence became her scissors and during her lifetime she happily snipped a law after law from the statute books.
- And the world listened
- Producing Organization
- University of Wisconsin
- WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the fight for the right of women to hold property after marriage.
- Other Description
- This series presents dramatizations of famous speeches.
- Broadcast Date
- Media type
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Speaker: Haberman, Frederick W. (Frederick William), 1908-1995
Writer: Stanley, J. Helen
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-5-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “And the world listened; Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Property rights,” 1959-03-15, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 3, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-707wqw8g.
- MLA: “And the world listened; Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Property rights.” 1959-03-15. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 3, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-707wqw8g>.
- APA: And the world listened; Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Property rights. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-707wqw8g