Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vols. VIVIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 18351860
The Negro but not Woman
By Susan Brownell Anthony (18201906)
[Born in South Adams, Mass., 1820. Died in Rochester, N. Y., 1906. Argument before the Judiciary Committee of the U. S. Senate.Memorial to Congress. 1872.]
IT is not argument nor Constitution that you need; you have already had these. I shall therefore refer to existing facts. Prior to the war the plan of extending suffrage was by State action, and it was our pride and our boast that the Federal Constitution had not a word or a line that could be construed into a barrier against woman so soon as we could remove the State barriers; but at the close of the war Congress lifted the question of suffrage for men above State power, and by its amendments prohibited the deprivation of suffrage to any man by any State. When the fourteenth amendment was first enacted in Congress we rushed to you with petitions, praying you not to insert the word male in the second clause. Our best women-suffrage men, on the floor of Congress and in the country, said to us The insertion of the word there puts up no barrier against women; therefore do not embarrass us, but wait until the negro question is settled. The fourteenth amendment with the word male was adopted. Then when the fifteenth amendment came up without the word sex, we again protested, and again our friends declared to us that the absence of that word was no hindrance to us, and again begged us to wait until they had finished the work of the war. After we have freed the negro, and given him a vote, said they, we will take up your case. But have they done as they promised? No, they have refused us our rights, although they have given the negro his, and now, when we come before you, asking protection under the guarantees of the Constitution, the same men say to us our only plan is to wait the action of Congress and State Legislatures in the adoption of a sixteenth amendment that shall make null and void the insertion of the word male in the fourteenth amendment, and supply the want of the word sex in the fifteenth amendment.
Such tantalization endured by yourselves, or by any class of men, would have wrought rebellion, and in the end a bloody revolution. It is only the friendly relations that subsist between the sexes, the affection that women bear to men, that has prevented any such result here. Gentlemen, I should be sure of what your decision would be, if you could only realize the fact that we, who have been battling for our rights, now more than twenty years, have felt, and now feel, precisely as you would under the same circumstances. Men never do realize this. One of the most ardent lovers of freedom, and firmest defenders of it, said to me, two winters ago, after our hearing before the committee of the District, Miss Anthony, I never knew, at least, I never realized before, in my life, that you feel disfranchisement just as I should myselfthe disgrace of it, the humiliation of soul.
We have petitioned for our rights year after year. Although I am a Quaker and take no oath, yet I have made a most solemn affirmation that I would never beg for my rights again, but that I would come up before you each year, and demand the recognition of those rights.