Popular History

Elizabeth Cady Stanton with two of her seven children in 1848, the year she became the lead author of the Declaration of Sentiments. Pay inequality was a major focus of this extraordinary document, which stated:

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 monopolized 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.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton with two of her seven children in 1848, the year she became the lead author of the Declaration of Sentiments. Pay inequality was a major focus of this extraordinary document, which stated:

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 monopolized 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.

The End of Men, 1891 Edition

Anna Julia Cooper, in A Voice from the South:

The question is not now with the woman “How shall I so cramp, stunt, simplify and nullify myself as to make me eligible to the honor of being swallowed up into some little man?” but the problem, I trow, now rests with the man as to how he can so develop his God-given powers as to reach the ideal of a generation of women who demand the noblest, grandest and best achievements of which he is capable.

2012 edition.

More Data on Ladies’ Brains Plz

Inaugural address of incoming Harvard president Charles William Eliot, 1869:

The world knows next to nothing about the natural mental capacities of the female sex. Only after generations of civil freedom and social equality will it be possible to obtain the data necessary for an adequate discussion of woman’s natural tendencies, tastes, and capabilities. Again, the Corporation do not find it necessary to entertain a confident opinion upon the fitness or unfitness of women for professional pursuits. It is not the business of the University to decide this mooted point. 

Lawrence Summers, 2005:

So my best guess, to provoke you, of what’s behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon, by far, is the general clash between people’s legitimate family desires and employers’ current desire for high power and high intensity, that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination. I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong, because I would like nothing better than for these problems to be addressable simply by everybody understanding what they are, and working very hard to address them.

Data.

Feminism and Civil Rights, Version 1.0

Susan B. Anthony visited the American south for the first time in 1854, when she was in her early thirties. Acquaintances told her she would hate slavery less when she saw it in person, but she found the opposite was true, noting the institution’s “ruinous effect… upon the white man” — including herself. On March 26 in Mt. Vernon, Virginia, she wrote the following in her diary:

This noon, I ate my dinner without once asking myself, are these human beings who minister to my wants Slaves to be bought and sold and hired out at the will of a master? And when the thought first entered my mind, I said, even I am getting accustomed to Slavery, so much so that I ceased continually to be made to feel its blighting, cursing influence, so much so that I can sit down and eat from the hand of the bondman, without being once mindful of the fact that he is such.

In Baltimore, Anthony interviewed a chambermaid named Sarah, whose master “rented” her to other families for the fee of $8/month, none on which Sarah got to keep. Anthony longed to “probe” Sarah’s “soul in search of that Divine spark that scorns to be a slave,” but she held off asking Sarah more personal questions, fearing that to do so would be “to add to the burden of her wretched life.”

Presumably My Father

I was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. My mother was a slave and the finest woman I have ever known. Tho untutored she could read her Bible and write a little. It is one of my happiest childhood memories explaining for her the subtle differences between q’s and g’s or between b’s and l’s. Presumably my father was her master; if so I owe him not a sou and she was always too modest and shamefaced ever to mention him.

Anna Julia Cooper, undated autobiographical fragment

The talk about women being so much above men, celestial, ethereal, and all that, is sentimental nonsense. … The real woman is not up in the clouds nor among the stars, but down here upon earth by the side of man. She is on the same material plane with man, striving and working to support herself.

—Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1874

The argument against federal authority in education is based on the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which reserves powers not specifically given to the federal government to the states and the people.

Andrew Coulson, a senior fellow with the libertarian Cato Institute, argues that there is no federal authority for education programs and testified to Congress that the programs in place don’t do much good.

He said he wouldn’t oppose an amendment granting the power. “Our founding documents do not empower the federal government to do any of the things it is doing in funding schools,” he said.

But the courts have never agreed with that argument, said Carl Kaestle, professor of history and education at Brown University. He has written extensively on the history of education in the United States.

Supreme Court cases from the 1930s and 1940s, upholding federal power in a number of areas, used the Constitution’s preamble, which proclaims that the government is to “promote the general welfare,” to overcome 10th Amendment objections, Kaestle said.

"It’s not unconstitutional until the court says so, and legal experts say you don’t have a chance of winning that argument," he said.

via Rudi Keller, The Columbia Tribune

Feminist Love Letters

Mary Wollstonecraft to her husband William Godwin in 1797, during her pregnancy:

I begin to love this little creature, and to anticipate his birth as a fresh twist to a knot which I do not wish to untie. Men are spoilt by frankness, I believe, yet I must tell you that I love you better than I supposed I did, when I promised to love you forever. …

I am not fatigued with solitude, yet I have not relished my solitary dinner. A husband is a convenient part of the furniture of a house, unless he be a clumsy fixture. I wish you, from my soul, to be riveted in my heart; but I do not desire to have you always at my elbow, although at this moment I should not care if you were. 

She died in childbirth a few months later, at age 38. And she was wrong about the baby’s gender; their daughter was Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein.