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Elizabeth Cady Stanton addresses the Congressional Committee of the District of Columbia in 1869.
Woman Suffrage Sirs. Stanton Be tore the Senate Committee. The Woman's National Suffrage Association, at a meeting held in Washington, January 18, appointed Mrs Elirnboth Cady Stanton to write an appeal to the District committee of Congress ou the question of suffrage. Tho address, which is given below, was presented on Thursday, and the committee heard it very respectfully. Tho ladies who presented it were cross-examined by Mr.VickcrB, of Marj lana.whilo Messrs Patterson and Harlan were apparently satisfied with the address, without asking more than explanatory questions Mr Harlan assured the ladieB that the committco would give the subject due con-Bideration The following is the address To the Congressional Committee of Ihe District of Columbia: Honorable Gentlemen: As the franchise hill in now under consideration. WC would urge your committee so to amend it as to secure mo ngnt oi snnrage to an me women of the District of Colufnoia. and thns estab lish in tho capital of tho nation the first genuine republic the world has ever Known It would he a wort or fiilnfirfirnwatlon Tnr us to warn YOU against the puerile proposition to disfranchise all thfl nfinnlfi nf the T)it.rir hv niacin? their municipal affaire under the direct control of uongreas,iorBucn retrogressive legislation ib oe-nenth the cousideration of your honorable committee, and would never he tolerated by the American people The tide of public opinion is setting to day in the opposite direction, in aii poverumcnts we ace a steadily lcrcaBins: ten dency towards individual rcsponsiollltics, to the election of rulers by a direct voice o, the people. In this general awakening woman, coo has been galvauizcd into a Eense not only of her own rights as a human being, but her duties sb a citizen under frovernmcut it is esDCCiallV ut ting that the grand experiment of eqnality should he first tried in the District of Columbia. where such able debates of freedom have been heard during the last century, where slavery wob first abolished by an act of Congress, and where the black man was first recognized aa a citizen of the United States. But m removing all political disabilities from the male citizens of tho District, you have established, for the nrst time m the history of nations, a government based on an aristocracy 01 sex au aristocracy oi au kinds the most odious and unuatnral. invading as it does our homes, desecrating our fumily altars, dividing those whom God has joined together, exalting the eon above the mother who borebim, and snbjugatiug everywhere moral power to brute force. While everv tvne and shade of manhood ifl re joicing to-day in nil the rights, priv ilegos, and immunities of citizens in the District, its noblest matrons are still living under the statute law of a dark and barbarous age, rnnulng back to the old common law of England centuries ago, baying no parallel In our daj.butin the Blave codes of the Southern StateB Here a married woman has no right to the property she inherits, to the wages she earns, or the children of her love; and from laws like these she has no appeal, no advocates in tnc courtB oi justice, no rcnrcscntatlvcs in the councils of the nation. Such is the result of class legislation, clearly proving tnat man has ever made laws ior nis own mother and sister, wire and daughter, with as little justice and generosity as he haB irom time to time for diflercnt orders of his own sex. Snfleringas woman does under the wrongs of baxon men, yon have added in9UItto iniury by exalting another race abovo her head Slaves' ignorant, degraded, depraved, but yesterday crouching at your feet, outside the pale of politi cal coiisiucratiou. are to-uay, oy 3 our eaicis, made her rulers. 1nd?cg. lurors. and lawgivers Thus, here in the District von have consummated this invidious policy of the nation, which has been enfranchising all classes and races of men jiuiu tue cuetu civuiaui-iuiis ui mi- urn wuuu, auu placing outBide barbarians in their political status above your pilgrim mothers, who hav e stood bv your Bide from the beirinnins:. sharing alike your dangers and triumphs m the great piruie uu mi? comment lur ireu iuuLituuuus Weurire vou. therefore, to renort favorably on Senator Wilson's amendment, because woman not only needs tne ballot for her protection, but the nation needs her voice in legislation ,for the saiety ana staDiiity oi our institutions. We Bimnly ask you to aDDly v our theory of gov ernment, your declaration of rights, the principles enunciated by the great republican party, the far seeing wisdom with which Btcp by step you nave securoa men in tneir mvaiuaDie nirnte. to our case, and you will see that losic.'justlce. common sense and constitutioual law arc all alike on onr Bide of the Question We need not detain you to rehearse the fundamental principles of our government, vour own interpretation oi tne constitution, or thclnirht of Couzress to regulate suffrage in the District, for all this has been ar gued Deiore tne nat.ou, and seaieo d your own acts. We need not stop to provo suffrnge'a natural right, for that has been exhaustively argued In the benate of the United States, and so thoroughly dfBcnsscd for the last thirty years in all the assemblies oftbc people, that but few minds are so clouded to-da' as to claim that it is a mere gift of society a political right to be given or withheld at the pleasure of our self-constituted rulers With the argument all on ouretdc, the only question that remains is, Does woman hcr-Bell demand the right of suffrage at this point If, honorable gentlemen, yon will look abroad and note the genera! uprising of women everywhere, in foreign nations as well as our owu, you will reahc that our demand is the great omvard step of the century, and not, as some claim, the idiosvncrasy of a few unbalanced minds. Futh-ers. husbands, brothers, sons know as litric of the real feeling among the women of their household as did the proud Southrou of the slaves on his plantation Woman fears mans ridicule more than the slave did the master s Ksh Yes ! man's approval to manifest the intense enthusiasm she feels in the not distant fnture when she shall be crowned sovereign of this great republic w here all are of the blood, all heirs apparent to the throne