thumbnail of American woman in fact and fiction; Revolution
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The following program is produced and recorded in the studios of KPFA Berkeley California under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. We present the American woman in fact in fiction from Colonial Times to the present day. A series of 13 programs written and directed by Virginia Maynard and produced by Virginia Maynard and Charles Levy Part 5 revolution. The immediate cause of the beginning of the organized women's movement in America was the prejudice against women speaking in public. American women have for some time been restive under the restraints upon them in this respect. The early 19th century was an era of reform of agitation for temperance but the abolition of slavery and of capital punishment and of the property tax as a prerequisite for voting. Women especially Quaker women who are intensely concerned with reform through their religion were eager to take part in these movements. But wherever they attempted to address a mixed audience aside from in the Quaker or Unitarian churches they were hooted off the
platforms insulted sometimes opposed with physical violence. Most denominations held up the word of God ordained that woman should not be permitted to speak in public. Reform groups with the exception of the garrison abolitionists discouraged women's participation in their organizations because of the discredit their activities brought to their causes in the public mind. But women such as Lucretia mocked and Juliana grim Kee and Abbie Kelley worked on as best they could despite the denunciations from the pulpit and the ridicule of the press and society. In 1840 However when the eight women delegates to the world's anti-slavery convention in London were refused a part in the deliberations of that body solely because they were women. It became apparent that women would have to achieve certain rights for their sex before they could effectively engage in other public activities. Seventy five years before men demanded liberty and equality freedom of speech and action. Now the women were decided upon revolution.
Two women who had been present at the London convention with the pain and Jefferson of this new revolutionary movement Lucretia mocked. It was one of the delegates and Elizabeth Cady Stanton the wife of Henry V Stanton another delegate with two friends they drafted the document which was to launch this quote rebellion such as the world had never before seen. Basing it upon the American Declaration of Independence and listing in it their grievances against the male sex much as the founding fathers had enumerated the grievances of the colonists against the rule of King George. On July 18 1848 in the Unitarian Church at Seneca Falls New York the first women's rights convention was called to order Elizabeth Cady Stanton read the new declaration of independence for women. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are Life
Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is to curate these rights Governments are instituted deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these aeons it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it and to insist upon the institution of a new government laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence indeed will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes and accordingly all experience has shown that mankind are disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are custom. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object
evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism it is their duty to throw off such Government and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled. The history of mankind is a history of repeated Injuries and Usurpations on the part of man toward woman having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise. He has compelled her to submit to laws in the formation of which she has had no voice. He has with the elves from her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men both natives and foreigners having deprived her of this first right of a
citizen the elective franchise thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation. He has oppressed her on all sides. He has made or is married in the eyes of the law civilly dead. He is taken from her all right of property even to the wages she or he has made her morally and irresponsible being as she can commit many crimes with impunity provided they be done in the presence of her husband in the covenant of marriage. She is compelled to promise of billions to her husband. He becoming to all intents and purposes her master. The law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty and to administer chastisement. He has so framed the laws of divorce as to what shall be the proper causes. And in case of separation to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given as to be holy regardless of the happiness of woman.
The law in all cases going upon a supposition of the supremacy of man and giving all power into his hands. After depriving her of all rights as a married woman is single and the owner of property he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it years monopolized as nearly all the profitable employments and from those she is permitted to follow she receives but a scanty remuneration. He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction which he considers most honorable to himself as a teacher of theology medicine or law. She is not no. You deny her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education. All colleges being closed against her. He allows her in church as well as in state but a subordinate position claiming apostolic authority for exclusion from the ministry and with some
exceptions from any public participation in the affairs of the church. He has created a public sentiment by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women by which moral delinquencies would exclude women from society are not only tolerated but deemed of little account in man he has usurped a ruggedly of a Jehovah himself claiming it as his right to assign for her sphere of action. When that belongs to her conscience and to her God. He has endeavored in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own power to lessen her self-respect and to make her willing to lead independent and abject life. Now in view of that entire disfranchisement of one half the people of this country their social and religious degradation in view of the unjust laws above mentioned and because women do feel
themselves aggrieved oppressed. And fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States. The woman who was largely responsible for this remarkable document was Elizabeth Cady Stanton as the young bride of a delegate to the world's anti-slavery convention. She had witnessed with indignation the humiliating treatment accorded the women leaders of the abolition movement the daughter of a judge Mrs. Stanton had been brought up with a knowledge of the legal disabilities of women and had long rebelled at the restraints imposed upon them and the actual abuses practiced against them. Freedom. She decided. Had too long been a blessing exclusively male with Lucretia Munt while still in London she resolved upon her return to the United States to initiate a movement for the equality of women. Now eight years later at the little Wesleyan chapel in Seneca Falls New York this resolve
was being acted upon. After the reading and adoption of the Declaration the newly organized committee of women's rightists proceeded to propose a series of resolutions to those assembled at the meeting. They demanded all that the most zealous advocates of women's rights have since claimed the right to vote and to hold political office complete equality in marriage equal rights in property wages and custody of children the right to testify in courts of law to receive an equal opportunity with men for an education and to work in professions of their choosing. All the resolutions were unanimously adopted except the one demanding the elective franchise. The idea that women should vote was considered so radical in 1848 that even Lucretia Mott cautioned against the adoption of this measure holding that the demand for the franchise at this time would only make the movement ridiculous and destroy their chances of success with more pressing measures. Elizabeth Cady Stanton however held that the right to vote was the right by which all others could be secured and
she succeeded in getting the resolution passed by a small majority. The Seneca Falls convention was a small one with only some hundred or so persons attending and many of them local townspeople or farmers and their wives from the vicinity. But the daring demands made by the women caught the imagination of the public press the wireless telegraph had recently been put into use and almost overnight the preposterous demands of the ladies were relayed from one end of the country to the other. The Seneca Falls convention became front page new was published today perhaps needless to say was almost universally unfavorable. The signers of the new declaration found themselves the target of the jeers of the nation. Insurrection among the women headline the worst A Massachusetts Telegraph. A female convention has just been held at Seneca Falls New York at which was adopted a declaration of rights setting forth among other things that all men and women are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. The list of
grievances which the Amazons exhibit concludes by expressing a determination to insist that women shall have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States. It is stated that they design in spite of all misrepresentations and ridicule to employ agents circulate tracts petition the state and national legislatures and endeavor to enlist the poor put and oppressed in their behalf. This is voting with a vengeance and the Lowell Massachusetts courier stated progress is the Grand Babylon which is now blown up to balloon by the windy philosophers of the age. Now women folks have just held a convention at the New York State and passed the sort of bill of rights affirming it their right to vote to become teachers legislators lawyers and divines and all and sundries their lords may and do no good. They should have resolved at the same time that it was obligatory. Also upon the laws aforesaid to wash dishes. Scar up to be put to the tub handle the broom
stockings patched breeches scold the servants dress in the latest fashion wear trinkets look beautiful and be as fascinating as those blasted lawsuits of humanity whom God gave to preserve that raw animal man in something like a reasonable civilization and progress progress for heaven. The Rochester Daily Advertiser editorialized in an article entitled The reign of petticoats the harmony of this great movement in the cause of freedom would not be perfect if women were still to be confined to petticoat and men to breach it. There must be an interchange of these commodities to complete the system. Why should it not be so. Cannot women fill an office or cast a vote or conduct a campaign as judiciously and vigorously as men. And on the other hand cannot men nurse the baby or preside at the wash tub or boil a pot as safely and as well as women can if they cannot. The evil is in the arbitrary organisation of society which is excluded them from the practice of these pursuit. It
is time these false notions and practices which changed or rather removed and for the political millennium foreshadowed by this petticoat movement to be ushered in. Women out of their latitude suggested the mechanics advocate of Albany New York. We are sorry to see that the women of this state are holding what they call women's rights conventions and setting forth a formidable list of those rights in a parody upon the declaration of American independence. The papers of the day contain extended notices of the convention. Some of them fall in with their objects and praise the meeting highly but the majority either deprecate already cueing the women who attend these meetings no doubt at the expense of them or appropriate duties and write resolutions and addresses hoed much correspondents make speeches etc. etc. and they are making an adjective toward the movement with the object in view of revolutionizing public opinion and the laws of the land and changing their relative positions in society in such a way as to divide with the male
sex the labors and responsibilities of active life in every branch of science trades and professions. Now it requires no argument to prove that it is all wrong. Every true hearted female will instantly feel that this is unwomanly and that to be practically carried out the nails must change their position in society to the same extent in an opposite direction. In order to enable them to discharge an equal share of the domestic duties which now appertain to females and which must be neglected to a great extent if women are allowed to exercise all the rights that are claimed by these convention hold that society would have to be radically remodeled in order to accommodate itself to so great a change in the most vital part of the compact of social relations of life and the order of things established at the creation of mankind and continued 6000 years would be completely broken up. The organic laws of our country and of each state would have to be linked into new shapes in order to admit of the introduction of the vast change that is contemplated
in a thousand other ways that might be mentioned. If our readers had patience to hear them would this sweeping reform be attended by fundamental changes in the public and private civil and religious moral and social relations of the sexes of life and of the government. But this change is impracticable uncalled for and unnecessary. In effect it would set the world by the years make confusion worse confounded demoralize and degrade from their high sphere a noble destiny. Women of all respectable and useful classes and prove a monstrous injury to all mankind. It would be productive of no positive good that would not be outweighed ten fold by positive evil and the Philadelphia Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser declared the New York girls aspire to mount the rostrum to do all the voting and we suppose the plantain to our Philadelphia subject of finding and holding office they preferred a baby jumper to study and the ballroom to battle. They
object to having a George sound for a president of the United States a Corrino for governor and a family right for a mayor or all misses part of ground for postmaster. Women have enough influence over human affairs without being politicians. It's not everything managed by a female influence. Mothers grandmothers and sweethearts manage everything. Men have nothing to do but listen and obey. A woman has no body a wife is everything a pretty girl is equal to ten thousand men and a mother is next to God all powerful. Ladies of Philadelphia therefore I resolve to maintain their rights says why those virgins and mothers and not just women but publicity of any sort has its measure of value. As Elizabeth Cady Stanton said in answer to the deluge of criticism there is no
danger of this question dying for want of notice. Every newspaper you take up has something to say about it. And just in proportion to the refinement and intelligence of the editor has this movement been favorably noticed. But one might suppose from the article that you find in some papers that there were editors so ignorant as to believe that the chief object of the recent convention was to cede every Lord at the head of a cradle and to clothe every woman in her lord's attire. Now neither of these points however important they be considered by humble minds were touched upon in the convention. I would state that we did not meet to discuss fashions customs or dress the rights or duties of man nor the propriety of the sexes changing positions but simply our own inalienable rights or duties. Our true sphere. If God is assigned a sphere to man and one to woman we claim the right to judge ourselves of his design in reference to us and we accord two men the same privilege. We think a man
has quite enough in this life to find out his own individual calling without being taxed to decide where every woman belongs. The story of the Seneca Falls convention of 1848 was the sensation of the hour until the news of the gold rush in California in 1849 a few papers such as Horace Greeley's New York Tribune took the movement seriously and this served to draw the subject into controversy and keep it alive. Within the year the remotest Hamlet had heard of the women's notice of rebellion and despite the unfavorable tone of much of the public city sympathy with the movement began to spring up in various parts of the country. Within a short time independent states women's rights organizations had been formed in Ohio Indiana Pennsylvania Massachusetts and Kansas. Lucy Stone began lecturing for the cause. Susan B Anthony joined the movement what she was destined to leave in 1850 the first national women's rights convention was held in Western Massachusetts. The organized woman's movement was on its way. But the cause of women's
rights was still beset with many difficulties. Of all the reforms advocated by the radicals of the mid 19th century the doctrine that women should have equal rights with men was considered the most absurd. To be an advocate of women's rights was to be a creature without morals standards or religion. As the statesman William Seward said custom and Prejudice were against the women and these were stronger than truth and logic. So perhaps it is understandable that at first these women were overzealous in attempting to keep their movement free from the stigma of association with other unpopular causes. Just as the male abolitionists the drive to keep the cause of emancipation separated from the controversy over women's rights. Then at the Akron Ohio convention of 1857 the great Negro abolition orator Sojourner Truth put in an appearance Sojourner Truth had been born a slave in New York State before the slaves were freed there an eight hundred twenty six for the past ten years she had been lecturing against slavery for the garrison abolitionists earning a reputation as a
speaker with their homespun logic her wit her gift of repartee. She was a tall cold black woman with brooding deep set eyes in the bearing of a queen. Harriet Beecher Stowe called her the Libyan civil. Now Sojourner walked into the Akron Woman's Rights Convention unannounced and took a seat near the platform. The feminists have been having more than their share of trouble during that meeting. The hecklers and rowdies who always came to jeer at the spectacle of women behaving like men making speeches conducting meetings observing parliamentary procedure were more unruly than usual. Now here was this great colored woman coming to identify herself with them and to a hopelessly entangled their cause with that other one only slightly less unpopular abolition. All through the session is old so generous that crouched against the wall listening to every word. There was a neverending procession of the more timid sisters making their way to the president's chair to caution her of whatever she did not to let that woman speak. The ministers had been having their
usual say. One had claimed the excessive delicacy and fragility of the feminine sex as the reason women must be excluded from educational and occupational equality with the male. Another would claim superior privileges for man on the grounds of his superior intellect. Still another because of the manhood of Christ. If God had desired the equality of woman he would have given some token of His will to the birth life and death of the Savior. Another gave a theological view of the sin of our first mother. There were very few of the women who dared speak in public at that time and the ministers were getting the best of the argument. The boys in the galleries were hugely enjoying this dressing down of the strong minded as the feminists were called. Then slowly from her seat Rose Sojourner Truth. She moved impressively to the platform and turned expectantly to the chair. Oh please please don't ever speak Mrs. Gage It will ruin us if a newspaper in the country will
have our cars mixed up with abolition the negroes will be utterly lost. What can I do Lady president. If you don't and to speak a few words. Please would you mind keeping silence for a few minutes. Our next speaker is Sojourner Truth. Well Julian. What does so much wreckage research fanatic you are there to extend niggas of the selves women of don't know of all doc about rights the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this you're talking about. That man over there he said. Women it's a strong it to me in that they need to be hipped in decay lifted all but ditches and to have the best place to have bread. Nobody helps me. The carriage is all but about battle to get me any first
place at 8 0 0 0 women. I just look at me. Look at me. See. Look at that muscle. Then lead and get it into bombs and no mad get ahead me. Good work as much indeed as much as a man might I could get it. Ambani lashes Well I hate how all men are bone. Chilling. And see most dollars sold off to slavery. When a mother's grief none but Jesus hear me. They talked about this thing that he went into yet it. Will go out much yet his man say
what that got to do with the women drawn niggers wrong to mock up whole but upon. And your on Holder call when you're not to let me add my little have you said that. Wouldn't that be me. That little man down there get had as much rights as men because drives men. Wow did you guys call a man. Who outed you uprise come form. The dog than da woman. Man I had nothing to do with you. And you go down. Talk about muddy. If God ever made was strong enough to
weld upside down duties women to get to be able to turn it back. And get it up again. And out is that. Demand that you. And I. Got out. Too. Do you hear me. And I got nothing. The young women's right has learned a lesson that day despite their fears Sojourner Truth support of their cause it done them no harm. On the contrary the magnetic personality of the speaker had subdued the mob spirit of the crowd and turned the sneers and tears into words of respect and admiration. Hundreds rushed up to shake hands with Sojourner after the
meeting and many of the feminist eyes were wet as they remember that there were great numbers of their stacks who would have to be admitted as women as members of the human race before they could hope to have any rights as citizens at all. Perhaps the memory of Sojourners speech was with the leaders of the movement a few years later when they agreed to suspend their fight for the franchise for women until after the negro had had his power. That was part five of the American woman in fact and fiction from Colonial Times to the present day. A series of 13 programs written and directed by Virginia Maynard the cast included Charles Levy Maki Pattis and Colleen Edwards Theodore Hoffman Edwin Smith Angela Goldsby and Virginia Maynard engineering was by David L. Tao Kopp the American woman in fact and fiction was produced and recorded in the studios of KPFA Berkeley California under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center and is being distributed by the National Association of
educational broadcasters. This is the NEA Radio Network.
American woman in fact and fiction
Producing Organization
pacifica radio
KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-416t2b77).
Episode Description
The first Women's Rights Convention in New York, 1848; Elizabeth Cady Stanton's Declaration of Independence for Women; Sojourner Truth, the great Negro orator, speaks on women's rights.
Series Description
Thirteen half-hour programs illustrating with dramatization the changing status of women in America from colonial times to the present day, plus a one-hour panel discussion on modern-day problems.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Actor: Edwards, Colin
Actor: Levy, Charles
Actor: Mawson, C.A.
Actor: Hoffman, Theodore
Director: Maynard, Virginia
Producing Organization: pacifica radio
Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
Writer: Maynard, Virginia
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-19-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:09
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “American woman in fact and fiction; Revolution,” 1959-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 26, 2024,
MLA: “American woman in fact and fiction; Revolution.” 1959-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 26, 2024. <>.
APA: American woman in fact and fiction; Revolution. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from