Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
The Suffering of Women

By Herbert Spencer

(English philosopher, 1820–1903)
IN the history of humanity as written, the saddest part concerns the treatment of women; and had we before us its unwritten history we should find this part still sadder. I say the saddest part because there have been many things more conspicuously dreadful—cannibalism, the torturing of prisoners, the sacrifice of victims to ghosts and gods—these have been but occasionally; whereas the brutal treatment of woman has been universal and constant. If looking first at their state of subjection among the semi-civilized we pass to the uncivilized, and observe the lives of hardship borne by nearly all of them; if we then think what must have gone on among those still ruder peoples who, for so many thousands of years roamed over the uncultivated earth; we shall infer that the amount of suffering which has been and is borne by women is utterly beyond imagination.  1

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