The History of Woman Suffrage Volume II Part 1

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History of Woman Suffrage.

Volume II.

Edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage.


In presenting to our readers the second volume of the "History of Woman Suffrage," we gladly return our thanks to the press for the many favorable notices we have received from leading journals, both in the old world and the new. The words of cordial approval from a large circle of friends, and especially from women well known in periodical literature, have been to us a constant stimulus during the toilsome months we have spent in gathering material for these pages. It was our purpose to have condensed the records of the last twenty years in a second volume, but so many new questions in regard to Citizens.h.i.+p, State rights, and National power, indirectly bearing on the political rights of women, grew out of the civil war, that the arguments and decisions in Congress and the Supreme Courts have combined to swell these pages beyond our most liberal calculations, with much valuable material that can not be condensed nor ignored, making a third volume inevitable.

By their active labors all through the great conflict, women learned that they had many interests outside the home. In the camp and hospital, and the vacant places at their firesides, they saw how intimately the interests of the State and the home were intertwined; that as war and all its concomitants were subjects of legislation, it was only through a voice in the laws that their efforts for peace could command consideration.

The political significance of the war, and the prolonged discussions on the vital principles of government involved in the reconstruction, threw new light on the status of woman in a republic. Under a liberal interpretation of the XIV. Amendment, women, believing their rights of citizens.h.i.+p secured, made several attempts to vote in different States. Those who succeeded were arrested, tried, and convicted. Those who were denied the right to register their names and deposit their votes, sued the Inspectors of Election. Others attempting to practice law, being denied that right in the States, took their cases up to the Supreme Court of the United States for adjudication. Others invaded the pulpit, asking to be ordained, which brought the question of woman's right to preach before ecclesiastical a.s.semblies. These various attempts to secure her political and civil rights have called forth endless discussions on woman's true position in the State, the church, and the world of work.

While gratefully accepting the generous praises of our friends, we must briefly reply to some strictures by our critics. Some object to the t.i.tle of our work; they say you can not write the "History of Woman Suffrage" until the fact is accomplished. We feel that already enough has been achieved to make the final victory certain. Women vote in England, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and even India, on certain interests and qualifications; in Wyoming and Utah on all questions, and on the same basis as male citizens; and in a dozen States of the Union on school affairs. Moreover, women are filling many offices, such as Clerks of Courts, Notaries Public, Masters in Chancery, State Librarians, School Superintendents, Commissioners of Charity, Post Mistresses, Pension Agents, Engrossing and Enrolling Clerks in Legislative a.s.semblies.

After years of persistent effort a resolution was pa.s.sed in both Houses, during the present session of Congress (1882), securing "a select committee on the political Rights and Disabilities of Woman"--the first time in the history of our Government that a special committee to look after the interests of woman was ever appointed. A proposition for a XVI. Amendment to the National Const.i.tution, to secure to women the right of suffrage, is now pending in Congress.

Some phase of this question is being debated every year in State Legislatures. Propositions for so amending their const.i.tutions as to extend the elective franchise to women will be voted upon by the people in four of the Western States within the coming two years.

These successive steps of progress during forty years are as surely a part of the History of Woman Suffrage as will be the events of the closing period in which victory shall at last crown the hard fought battles of half a century.



The first gun on Sumter, April 12, 1861--Woman's military genius--Anna Ella Carroll--The Sanitary Movement--Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell--The Hospitals--Dorothea Dix--Services on the battle-field--Clara Barton--The Freedman's Bureau--Josephine Griffing--Ladies' National Covenant--Political campaigns--Anna d.i.c.kinson--The Woman's Loyal National League--The Mammoth Pet.i.tion--Anniversaries--The Thirteenth Amendment.

Our first volume closed with the period when the American people stood waiting with apprehension the signal of the coming conflict between the Northern and Southern States. On April 12, 1861, the first gun was fired on Sumter, and on the 14th it was surrendered. On the 15th, the President called out 75,000 militia, and summoned Congress to meet July 4th, when 400,000 men and $400,000,000 were voted to carry on the war.

These startling events roused the entire people, and turned the current of their thoughts in new directions. While the nation's life hung in the balance, and the dread artillery of war drowned alike the voices of commerce, politics, religion and reform, all hearts were filled with anxious forebodings, all hands were busy in solemn preparations for the awful tragedies to come.

At this eventful hour the patriotism of woman shone forth as fervently and spontaneously as did that of man; and her self-sacrifice and devotion were displayed in as many varied fields of action. While he buckled on his knapsack and marched forth to conquer the enemy, she planned the campaigns which brought the nation victory; fought in the ranks when she could do so without detection; inspired the sanitary commission; gathered needed supplies for the grand army; provided nurses for the hospitals; comforted the sick; smoothed the pillows of the dying; inscribed the last messages of love to those far away; and marked the resting-places where the brave men fell. The labor women accomplished, the hards.h.i.+ps they endured, the time and strength they sacrificed in the war that summoned three million men to arms, can never be fully appreciated.

Think of the busy hands from the Atlantic to the Pacific, making garments, canning fruits and vegetables, packing boxes, preparing lint and bandages[1] for soldiers at the front; think of the mothers, wives and daughters on the far-off prairies, gathering in the harvests, that their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons might fight the battles of freedom; of those month after month walking the wards of the hospital; and those on the battle-field at the midnight hour, ministering to the wounded and dying, with none but the cold stars to keep them company.

Think of the mult.i.tude of delicate, refined women, unused to care and toil, thrown suddenly on their own resources, to struggle evermore with poverty and solitude; their hopes and ambitions all freighted in the brave young men that marched forth from their native hills, with flying flags and marshal music, to return no more forever. The untiring labors, the trembling apprehensions, the wrecked hopes, the dreary solitude of the fatherless, the widowed, the childless in that great national upheaval, have never been measured or recorded; their brave deeds never told in story or in song, no monuments built to their memories, no immortal wreaths to mark their last resting-places.

How much easier it is to march forth with gay companions and marshal music; with the excitement of the battle, the camp, the ever-s.h.i.+fting scenes of war, sustained by the hope of victory; the promise of reward; the ambition for distinction; the fire of patriotism kindling every thought, and stimulating every nerve and muscle to action! How much easier is all this, than to wait and watch alone with nothing to stimulate hope or ambition.

The evils of bad government fall ever most heavily on the mothers of the race, who, however wise and far-seeing, have no voice in its administration, no power to protect themselves and their children against a male dynasty of violence and force.

While the ma.s.s of women never philosophize on the principles that underlie national existence, there were those in our late war who understood the political significance of the struggle: the "irrepressible conflict" between freedom and slavery; between national and State rights. They saw that to provide lint, bandages, and supplies for the army, while the war was not conducted on a wise policy, was labor in vain; and while many organizations, active, vigilant, self-sacrificing, were multiplied to look after the material wants of the army, these few formed themselves into a National Loyal League to teach sound principles of government, and to press on the nation's conscience, that "freedom to the slaves was the only way to victory." Accustomed as most women had been to works of charity, to the relief of outward suffering, it was difficult to rouse their enthusiasm for an idea, to persuade them to labor for a principle. They clamored for practical work, something for their hands to do; for fairs, sewing societies to raise money for soldier's families, for tableaux, readings, theatricals, anything but conventions to discuss principles and to circulate pet.i.tions for emanc.i.p.ation. They could not see that the best service they could render the army was to suppress the rebellion, and that the most effective way to accomplish that was to transform the slaves into soldiers. This Woman's Loyal League voiced the solemn lessons of the war: liberty to all; national protection for every citizen under our flag; universal suffrage, and universal amnesty.

As no national recognition has been accorded the grand women who did faithful service in the late war; no national honors nor profitable offices bestowed on them, the n.o.ble deeds of a few representative women should be recorded. The military services of Anna Ella Carroll in planning the campaign on the Tennessee; the labors of Clara Barton on the battle-field; of Dorothea Dix in the hospital; of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell in the Sanitary; of Josephine S. Griffing in the Freedman's Bureau; and the political triumphs of Anna d.i.c.kinson in the Presidential campaign, reflecting as they do all honor on their s.e.x in general, should ever be proudly remembered by their countrywomen.



Anna Ella Carroll, the daughter of Thomas King Carroll formerly Governor of Maryland, belongs to one of the oldest and most patriotic families of that State. Her ancestors founded the city of Baltimore; Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was of the same family.

At the breaking out of the civil war, Maryland was claimed by the rebellious States, and for a long time her position seemed uncertain.

Miss Carroll, an intimate friend of Gov. Hicks, and at that time a member of his family, favored the national cause, and by her powerful arguments induced the Governor to remain firm in his opposition to the scheme of secession. Thus, despite the siren wooing of the South, in its plaint of

"Maryland, my Maryland."

Miss Carroll was the means of preserving her native State to the Union. Although a slave-owner, and a member of that cla.s.s which so largely proved disloyal, Miss Carroll freed her slaves, and devoted herself throughout the war to the cause of liberty. She replied to the secession speech of Senator Breckenridge, made during the July session of Congress 1861, with such lucid and convincing arguments, that the War Department not only circulated a large edition, but the Government requested her to prepare other papers upon unsettled points. In response she wrote a pamphlet ent.i.tled "The War Powers of the Government," published in December, 1861. By the especial request of President Lincoln she also prepared a paper ent.i.tled "The Relation of Revolted Citizens to the National Government," which was approved by him, and formed the basis of his subsequent action. In September, 1861, she also prepared a paper on the Const.i.tutional power of the President to make arrests, and to suspend the writ of _habeas corpus_; a subject upon which a great conflict of opinion then existed, even among persons of unquestioned loyalty.

Early in the fall of 1861, Miss Carroll took a trip to St. Louis to inspect the progress of the war in the West. A gun-boat fleet, under the special authorization of the President, was then in preparation for a descent of the Mississippi. An examination of this plan by Miss Carroll showed its weakness, and the inevitable disaster it would bring to the National arms. Her astute military genius led her to the subst.i.tution of another plan, upon which she based great hopes of success, and its results show it to have been one of the profoundest strategic movements of the ages. Strategy and generals.h.i.+p are two entirely distinct forms of the art of war. Many a general, good at following out a plan, is entirely incapable of forming a successful one. Napoleon stands in the foremost ranks as a strategist, and is held as the greatest warrior of modern times, yet he led no forces into battle. So entirely was he convinced that strategy was the whole art of war, that he was accustomed to speak of himself as the only general of his army, thus subordinating the mere command and movement of forces to the art of strategy. Judged by this standard, which is acknowledged by all military men, Anna Ella Carroll, of Maryland, holds foremost rank as a military genius. On the 12th of November, 1861, while still in St. Louis, Miss Carroll wrote to Hon. Edward Bates at Was.h.i.+ngton (the member of the Cabinet who first suggested the expedition down the Mississippi), that from information gained by her she believed this plan would fail, and urged him, instead, to have the expedition directed up the Tennessee River, as the true line of attack. She also dispatched a similar letter to Hon. Thomas A. Scott, at that time a.s.sistant Secretary of War. On the 30th of this month (November, 1861), Miss Carroll laid the following plan, accompanied by explanatory maps, before the War Department:

The civil and military authorities seem to me to be laboring under a great mistake in regard to the true key of the war in the South-west. It is not the Mississippi, but the Tennessee River.

Now, all the military preparations made in the West indicate that the Mississippi River is the point to which the authorities are directing their attention. On that river many battles must be fought and heavy risks incurred, before any impression can be made on the enemy, all of which could be avoided by using the Tennessee River. This river is navigable for medium-cla.s.s boats to the foot of Muscle Shoals in Alabama, and is open to navigation all the year, while the distance is but two hundred and fifty miles by the river from Paducah on the Ohio. The Tennessee offers many advantages over the Mississippi. We should avoid the almost impregnable batteries of the enemy, which can not be taken without great danger and great risk of life to our forces, from the fact that our forces, if crippled, would fall a prey to the enemy by being swept by the current to him, and away from the relief of our friends. But even should we succeed, still we have only begun the war, for we shall then have to fight the country from whence the enemy derives his supplies.

Now an advance up the Tennessee River would avoid this danger; for, if our boats were crippled, they would drop back with the current and escape capture. But a still greater advantage would be its tendency to _cut the enemy's lines in two_, by reaching the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, threatening Memphis, which lies one hundred miles due west, and no defensible point between; also Nashville, only ninety miles north-east, and Florence and Tusc.u.mbia in North Alabama, forty miles east. A movement in this direction would do more to relieve our friends in Kentucky, and inspire the loyal hearts in East Tennessee, than the possession of the whole of the Mississippi River. If well executed, it would cause the evacuation of all those formidable fortifications on which the rebels ground their hopes for success; and in the event of our fleet attacking Mobile, the presence of our troops in the northern part of Alabama, would be material aid to the fleet.

Again, the aid our forces would receive from the loyal men in Tennessee would enable them soon to crush the last traitor in that region, and the _separation of the two extremes_ would do more than one hundred battles for the Union cause. The Tennessee River is crossed by the Memphis and Louisville Railroad, and the Memphis and Nashville Railroad. At Hamburg the river makes the big bend on the east, touching the north-east corner of Mississippi, entering the north-west corner of Alabama, forming an arc to the south, entering the State of Tennessee at the north-east corner of Alabama, and if it does not touch the north-west corner of Georgia, comes very near it. It is but eight miles from Hamburg to the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, which goes through Tusc.u.mbia, only two miles from the river, which it crosses at Decatur thirty miles above, intersecting with the Nashville and Chattanooga road at Stephenson. The Tennessee never has less than three feet to Hamburg on the "shoalest" bar, and during the fall, winter, and spring months, there is always water for the largest boats that are used on the Mississippi River. It follows, from the above facts, that in making the Mississippi the key to the war in the West, or rather in overlooking the Tennessee River, the subject is not understood by the superiors in command.

The War Department looked over these papers, and Col. Scott, the a.s.sistant Secretary, possessing a knowledge of the railroad facilities and connections of the South, unequaled perhaps by any other man in the country at that time, at once saw the vital importance of Miss Carroll's plan. He declared it to be the first clear solution of the difficult problem, and was soon sent West to a.s.sist in carrying it out in detail. The Mississippi expedition was abandoned, and the Tennessee made the point of attack. Both land and naval forces were ordered to ma.s.s themselves at this point, and the country soon began to feel the wisdom of this movement. The capture of Fort Henry, an important Confederate post on the Tennessee River serving to defend the railroad communication between Memphis and Bowling Green, was the first result of Miss Carroll's plan. It fell Feb. 6, 1862, and was rapidly followed by the capture of Fort Donelson, which, after a gallant defense, surrendered to the Union forces Feb. 16th, and the name of Ulysses S.

Grant, as the general commanding these forces, for the first time became known to the American people. By these victories the line of Confederate fortifications was broken, and the enemy's means of communication between the East and the West were destroyed.

All the historians of our civil war concede that the strategy which made the Tennessee River the base of military operations in the South-west, thus cutting the Confederacy in two by its control of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, also made its final destruction inevitable. At an early day the Government had neither a just conception of the rebellion, nor of the steps necessary for its suppression. It was looked upon from a political rather than a military point of view, and much valuable time was wasted in suggestions and plans worse than futile. But while the national Government had been blind to the real situation, the Confederacy had every hour strengthened its position both at home and abroad, having so far secured the recognition of France and England as to have been acknowledged belligerents, while threats of raising the blockade were also made by the same powers.

In order to a more full understanding of our national affairs at that time, we will glance at the proceedings of Congress. When this body met in December, 1861, a "Committee on the Conduct of the War" was at once created, and spirited debates upon the situation took place in both the Senate and the House. It was acknowledged that the salvation of the country depended upon military success. It was declared that the rebellion must be speedily put down or it would destroy the resources of the country, as $2,000,000 a day were then required to maintain the army in the field. Hon. Mr. Dawes compared the country to a man under an exhausted receiver gasping for breath, and said that sixty days of the present state of things must bring about an ignominious peace. Hon. Geo. W. Julian declared that the country was in imminent danger of a foreign war, and that in the opinion of many the great model Republic of the world was in the throes of death. The credit of the nation was then so poor as to render it unable to make loans of money from foreign countries. The treasury notes issued by the Government were falling in the market, selling at five and six per cent. discount. Mr. Morrill, in the Senate, gave it as his opinion that in six months the nation would be beyond hope of relief.

England was anxiously hoping for our downfall. _The London Post_, Lord Palmerston's paper, the organ of the English Government, prophesied our national bankruptcy within a short time. _The London Times_ denounced us in language deemed too offensive to be read before the Senate. It urged England's direct interference; counseled the pouring of a fleet of gun-boats through the St. Lawrence into the lakes with the opening of spring, "to secure, with the mastery of these waters, the mastery of all," and declared that three months hence the field would be all England's own. At that time the British Government had already sent some thirty thousand men into its colonies in North America, preparatory to an a.s.sault upon our north-western frontier.

The nation seemed upon the point of being lost, and the hopes of millions of oppressed men in other lands destroyed by the disintegration of the Union. The war had been waged six months, but with the exception of West Virginia, the battle had been against the Union. The fact that military success alone could turn the scale, though now acknowledged, seemed to Congress as far as ever from consummation. Our military commanders, quite ignorant of both the geographical and topographical outlines of our vast country, were unable to formulate the plan necessary for a decisive blow.

Such was the situation at the time Miss Carroll sent her plan of the Tennessee campaign to the War Department. Fortunately for civilization this plan was adopted, and with the fall of Fort Henry, the enemy's center was pierced, the decisive point gained. From that hour the nation's final success was a.s.sured. Its fall opened the Tennessee River, and its capture was soon followed by the evacuation of Columbus and Bowling Green. Fort Donelson was given up, its rebel garrison of 14,000 troops marched out as prisoners of war, and hope sprang up in the hearts of the people. Pittsburg Landing and Corinth soon followed the fate of the preceding forts. The President declared the victory at Fort Henry to be of the utmost importance. North and South its influence was alike felt. Gen. Beauregard was himself conscious that this campaign sealed the fate of the "Southern Confederacy." The success of the Tennessee campaign rendered intervention impossible, and taught those foreign enemies who were anxiously watching for our country's downfall, the power and stability of a Republic. Missouri was kept in the Union by its means, Tennessee and Kentucky were restored, the National armies were enabled to push to the Gulf States and secure possession of all the great rivers and routes of internal communication through the heart of the Confederate territory.

On the 10th of April, 1862, the President issued the following proclamation:

It has pleased Almighty G.o.d to vouchsafe signal victories to the land and naval forces engaged in suppressing an internal rebellion; and at the same time to avert from our country the damages of foreign intervention and invasion.

During all this time the author of this plan remained unknown, except to the President and his Cabinet, who feared to reveal the fact that the Government was proceeding under the advice and plan of a civilian, and that civilian _a woman_. Shortly after the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson a debate as to the author of this campaign took place in the House of Representatives.[2] The Senate discussed its origin March 13. It was variously ascribed to the President, to the Secretary of War, and to different naval and land commanders, Halleck, Grant, Foote, Smith, and Fremont. The historians of the war have also given adverse opinions as to its authors.h.i.+p. Draper's "History of the Civil War" ascribes it to Gen. Halleck; Boynton's "History of the Navy" to Commodore Foote; Lossing's "Civil War" to the combined wisdom of Grant, Halleck, and Foote; Badeau's "History of the Civil War"

credits it to Gen. C. F. Smith; and Abbott's "Civil War," to Gen.


But abundant testimony exists proving Miss Carroll's authors.h.i.+p of the plan, in letters from Hon. B. F. Wade,[3] Chairman of the Committee on the Conduct of the War; from Hon. Thos. A. Scott, a.s.sistant Secretary of War; from Hon. L. D. Evans, former Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas (entrusted by the Government with an important secret mission during the war); from Hon. Orestes A. Bronson, and many other well-known public men; from conversations of President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton; and from reports of the Military Committee of the XLI., XLII., and XLVI. Congresses.[4] So anxious was the Government to keep the origin of the Tennessee campaign a secret, that Col. Scott, in conversation with Judge Evans, a personal friend of Miss Carroll, pressed upon him the absolute necessity of Miss Carroll's making no claim to the authors.h.i.+p while the struggle lasted. In the plenitude of her self-sacrificing patriotism she remained silent, and saw the honors rightfully belonging to her heaped upon others, although she knew the country was indebted to her for its salvation.

Previous to 1862 historians reckoned but fifteen decisive battles[5]

in the world's history, battles in which, says Hallam, a contrary result would have essentially varied the drama of the world in all its subsequent scenes. Professor Cressy, of the chair of Ancient and Modern History, University of London, has made these battles the subject of two grand volumes. The battle of Fort Henry was the sixteenth, and in its effects may well be deemed the most important of all.[6] It opened the doors of liberty to the downtrodden and oppressed among all nations, setting a seal of permanence on the a.s.sertion that self-government is the natural right of every person.

But it was not alone through her plan of the Tennessee campaign that Miss Carroll exhibited her military genius; throughout the conflict she continued to send plans and suggestions to the War Department. The events of history prove the wisdom of those plans, and that had they been strictly followed, the war would have been brought to a speedy close,[7] and millions of men and money saved to the country.

The History of Woman Suffrage Volume II Part 1

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