tv Lectures in History CSPAN July 21, 2016 11:38pm-12:45am EDT
should have a say in american society, and they're really trying to expand that with the 14th amendment which theoretically includes everybody except indians not taxed, that's an important caveat, important exception. but out west, unlike where seneca falls took place in new york, out west in the organization of those territories that i talked about during the war, those territories that come in the west so quickly, the idea of women's suffrage takes off. in 1869 in wyoming territory, wyoming territory gives women a vote when they put together their constitution. there are very few women in wyoming territory, i promise you. but it gives women the vote with the idea that in these new western territories, women should have the right to have a say in the construction of that society. it takes off. the next year, in 1870, utah gives women the vote. so about 1,000 women in wyoming. there's about 17,000 in utah. and they give women the vote in utah in 1870 because there is a referendum coming up on whether
or not polygamy should be included in the state laws. and the expectation of the legislators who include the women is that women will vote against polygamy. that by opening up the vote, you're going to move society forward and of course women will vote against polygamy. and women go to the polls in utah, and they vote in favor of polygamy. that stops the spread of women's suffrage across the west dead for years and years and years. the idea that somehow expanding the vote is going to create a better society hits real trouble when it hits utah and women vote in a way that most of the people who gave them the vote thought that they would not. so this is going to change the idea of women's suffrage spreading state by state, especially through the west, in the early 1870s. still, if you look at that date, women have hope because in 1870, congress is going to be debating a new constitutional amendment
to protect african-american voting in the south and that's the 15th amendment. and you know about the 15th amendment. it's the one that protects voting. women lobby hard to be included in the 15th amendment. when congress passes and then the states ratify that amendment in 1870, women are not included. when they are not included, suffragists are furious. and they do something very smart. they decide they're not going to try and lobby any longer for women's suffrage specifically. what they're going to do is they're going to argue that they are citizens under the 14th amendment because of, of course, they've either been born in america or naturalized in america. so women decide in the presidential election, the tight presidential election of 1872, women decide that they are going
to test their right to vote under the 14th amendment. and across the country in 1872, suffragists try to vote. they try to register to vote. what that means is they will go up to a registrar and have their names enrolled, it's called, and be able to cast a ballot or not. in 1872 across the country, they try and do that, and some of them succeed. others do not. there's a really important course case i want you to remember. and that is -- starts in missouri. as you remember, missouri is kind of a mess of a state because it was so evenly divided between confederates and unionists and they've got that 1865 constitution that prohibits democrats from voting, being lawyers, being doctors, being ministers, all those things. so who gets to vote and how the government is going to work in missouri is really a crucial spot in the country. in 1872, a woman named virginia miner tries to register to vote
under this idea that she should be able to vote under the 14th amendment. and she goes to the registrar and the guy who is at the registrar is a guy named happerset. she goes and tries to register to vote. he refuses to let her register. she sues him. and the case miner v. happerset is going to work its way through the courts and it's going to be decided by the supreme court in 1875. and i'll tell you about that in a minute. but the one you've heard about in this year, in the year of 1872 without probably putting in context, is that susan b. anthony does register to vote. she registers to vote in new york. and she actually casts a ballot in that election. but after she casts a ballot, she is arrested for the crime of
voting. that's kind of an interesting concept to get your head around, the crime of voting. and the argument about it being a crime to vote, interestingly enough, they get her under the enforcement acts that were put in place to protect african-american voting in the south. but the crime of voting, the argument behind that is that if people who should not have a right to have a say in american society vote, they're diluting the votes of those people who do have a right to vote. so, by the time she is arrested in 1872 for voting, susan b. anthony is a very well-known figure. this is very public case and she is very public about it. after she's arrested and then let out on bail, there's a story behind that.
but after that happens, she actually goes around her region of new york giving a number of speeches about the fact she's been arrested for the crime of voting. and in the trial, the trial just adds fuel to the fire. because in the trial, what happens is susan b. anthony is the only woman in the courtroom. she is not allowed to testify on her own behalf because she's a woman. and after her lawyer and the prosecuting attorney present their cases, the judge simply reads the decision he had already written before the trial. and in a -- in a wonderful moment, her -- she watches this happen and she gets up and answers him and she won't shut up. and he says, you need to sit down now, that's enough, you need to stop. she's like, no i'm not going to and she tells him exactly what
she thinks of him. but it's become such a powerful cause as she's giving these speeches about what happened that it becomes sort of a flashpoint where people look at the question of who really should have a say in american society. and one of the things that anthony says as she's speaking across new york is this. she's so mad at what happened, she says, this government is not a republic. it is an odious aristocracy. pay attention to how this is actually punctuated. the right way. she says an olagarchy of wealth where the rich govern the poor, an olgarchy of learning where the rich govern the ignorant, or even an olagarky of race. she's okay with rich people governing the poor, educated people governing the uneducated, but this carries dissension, discord, and rebellion into every home of the nation. this is 1872 when many people especially in the north are turning against the idea of laborers having a say in american society. what you're seeing here is once again the switch from the idea that everybody should have a say in american society to the idea that's developing in the 1870s,
talked about some in the 1880s that in fact maybe not everybody should have a say in american society. and the question after the 1870s is where do you draw the boundaries and how do you draw the boundaries. and women's roles in this is going to be crucial to drawing the boundaries. oligarchy. oligarchy.
they say of course, women are citizens. but citizenship does not necessarily convey the right to vote. this is a really big deal. because with this decision the supreme court unhinges citizenship and voters. the idea of women voting is intimately connected to the question of who should have a say in american society. who is a good member of society and who should have a right to participate in the construction of that new nation and the
government that rules that nation. meanwhile, if this is the philosophical argument about who should have a say in american society, women are not sitting home eating bon-bons waiting for this to play out. because of the loss of so many men during the civil war and the dramatic change in the economy -- we talked about the rise of industry, women in factories, the changing agriculture, the push west, the rise of cities, women's roles changed dramatically in the 1860s. you have men dying in huge numbers as well as coming back to their homes from the war crippled, either in body or in mind. and those things open up entire
new realms of opportunity for women, both in the north and the south. and african-american women and white women as well as immigrant women. i've talked to you before about edmonia lewis. she's a great example of somebody for whom the post war years opens up a lot of doors. she shows up in the chicago ex-position of 1893. she is obviously one of our most famous american sculpters. she is african-american and indian. and she especially after the civil war became for many americans a symbol of human rights. the idea that this extraordinarily talented woman happened to come in an african-american and indian skin to many people seemed unimportant compared to her talent. not to everybody, i have to say. but because she is so visible,
because she is so popular, she becomes a symbol of what women can do, what all women can do. she gets a lot of her training actually in rome because there the prejudices are not as strong as they are in america. so she gets a lot more opportunity there and a lot more training there, becomes very famous in rome. by 1873, when i say she's a well-known sculptor, an average farmer let's say made $1 a day, ballpark. not a lot of money. a good living, $300 to $500 a year in that money. in 1873, she had two commissions. those two commissions were worth $50,000 each. uh-huh. in 1877, she was the sculptor
grant chose to make his bust. he was very pleased with what she had done. and opening up the door to women in the arts. one of the things she does is she sculpts -- she puts almost a neoclassical look on americans, especially american women, especially american women of color. so this is very famous, perhaps even more famous is this statute of 1867 called "forever free." she's doing a lot with this here. the chains are broken, but they are not off, which is interesting. for our purposes today, one of
the things that is more interesting is that the man in this sculpture is unclothed, but the woman is clothed. which is a real reversal of the idea of african-american women as being somehow objects that are not -- that are not bounded. she's dressed. she is, if you will, taking part in society in a way that he, without clothes, is doing less of. it's sort of the protected woman and the idea that she can carry -- she can carry herself forward into modern american society, even though he's bigger and more powerful and even though she's at his feet, there's a lot going on in that particular statue. you're looking at this and thinking, never heard of her, my
life was complete without hearing about her. it actually wasn't. she is only one of the women in the late 19th century who dramatically change american culture after the civil war. here's a woman i would lay money none of you have ever heard of. she is a novelist after the civil war. first female american author to earn more than $100,000. she proceeds edith wharton of course. the reason i bring her up is because i've talked a lot about the north so far today. southern women are in an especially pinched spot, if you will. they're from a region of the country that has just lost the civil war and as i've talked
about is devastated. economically and psychologically as well. and the man, especially the white man returning home are often really unable to assume positions in society again. so you've got a bunch of women who are financially dependent. they've got to find some way to make money, and they know they're living through a dramatic time in america. and they're talented and they're educated. so coming out of the civil war, you have a huge number of female writers. north and south, by primarily in the south. what they write are things that now don't make it across our radar screen very often, but she is famous as a romance novelist. the southern women worked out a lot of the tensions between the north and the south through romance novels and through the explorations you could do with romance novels of boundaries, of gender, of economics, of race. a whole lot of these things and they're really, really interesting. you can see some of the ideas of that picked up when we read the virginian. it's about the west mostly, but he is definitely tieing into the incredible popularity of post civil war romance novels.
but this lady may be more familiar to you. this is louisa may alcott. sold 35,000 copies in its first year. she really pioneers the way for northern female writers. she actually didn't like writing these books, but they become enormously popular. one of the reasons they become enormously popular is because her "little women" of 1868 explores a whole bunch of new roles for women. how many of you have read that book? if you think about it, and there's four girls in "little women." only one of them is a traditional stay-at-home precivil war girl and that's beth. beth finally dies of some
unspecified illness. i'm making a little bit of fun. but beth is kind of a home body, she doesn't like to leave the house. the other sisters are all modern women, if you will. meg works for a living. doesn't like it all the time, by she works for a living. jo is a writer and wants to -- wants to go out and write the great american novel. and amy is a sculptor. all three of them are successful in those professions. all three of them end up settling down, getting married, and having children. that's going to be important for the way women reintegrate into this new reconstructed society. so you've got southern writers, northern writers. by the way, we found out, oh probably 20 years ago now, that she also wrote real pot boiler stories which she denigrates in "little women" because they paid
better and she preferred them. she wrote a short story called "mask" about women had to hide themselves that people only discovered recently. interesting stuff. people aren't just reading about women. they're watching them. this is anna dickinson. she is the first american woman to address congress, 1864. very, very well-known, very highly paid. eloquent speaker. she speaks across the country at lectures where she introduces topics. now women are not only taking part in the arts, showing their work, they are actually physically in public informing people. they're taking up public roles after the civil war in a way
that really they didn't do before the civil war. so they're very visible. and they're also using that visibility to influence american life. here's julia ward howell again. i told you she'd come back to haunt is today. she increasingly focused on her position as a mother, which is of course what's driving her support for suffrage. her position as a mother to say that women are different than men. that women really can do society better than men have done. and what really sets her off is not only does she live through the civil war and watch the incredible carnage of the war, remember, she's in washington in the end of '61, seeing the circling fires around washington, seeing one of her friend one of the first people killed in the war. after the franco prugsen war, she decided enough was enough and that women really had to take over world society.
she said, after the war, i was visited by a sudden feeling of cruel and unnecessary character of the contest. seemed a return to barbarism. the question forced itself upon me. why don't the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone know and bear the cost. so what she does is she issues an appeal to womanhood throughout the world. and she writes to women. she says throughout the world, but it's women with whom she has contact in other countries. and she says, we need to stop war. and she makes this declaration that says, we will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. our husbands shall not come to us wreaking with carnage for ka rests and applause. our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. we, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. so this is the idea that women