Rights for women

Daily Reading for July 20 • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1902; Amelia Bloomer, 1894; Sojourner Truth, 1883; and Harriet Ross Tubman, 1913, Liberators and Prophets

When a child of fifteen years, my feelings were deeply stirred by learning that an old lady, a dear friend of mine, was to be turned from her home and the bulk of her property taken from her. Her husband died suddenly, leaving no will. The law would allow her but a life interest in one-third of the estate, which had been accumulated by the joint earnings and savings of herself and husband through many years. They had no children and the nearest relative of the husband was a second or third cousin, and to him the law gave two-thirds of her property, though he had never contributed a dollar towards its accumulation, and was to them a stranger. Later, other similar cases coming to my knowledge made me familiar with the cruelty of the law towards women; and when the Woman’s Rights Convention put forth its declaration of sentiments, I was ready to join with that party in demanding for women such change in the laws as would give her a right to her earnings, and her children a right to wider fields of employment and a better education, and also a right to protect her interests at the ballot-box.

In the spring of 1849, my husband was appointed postmaster of Seneca Falls, N.Y. He proposed that I should act as his deputy. I accepted the position, as I had determined to have a practical demonstration of woman’s right to fill any place for which she had capacity. I was sworn in as his deputy, and filled the position for four years, during the administration of Taylor and Fillmore. It was a novel step for me to take in those days, and no doubt many thought I was out of woman’s sphere; but the venture was very successful and proved to me conclusively that woman might, even then, engage in any respectable business and deal with all sorts of men, and yet be treated with the utmost respect and consideration.

From Life and Writings of Amelia Bloomer by D. C. Bloomer (BiblioLife, 2009).

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