As we approach the milestone of women winning the vote in 2020, Dr. Wagner offers these lectures. The format of these talks is an informal, story-telling presentation followed by interaction with the audience designed to draw out their interpretation, insights, and contemporary connections.
If you are a New York State non-profit, you may be eligible for a grant to bring Dr. Wagner.
Disgruntled feminists formed the Equal Rights Party in 1884 when both the Republicans and Democrats continually ignored women's concerns. Presidential candidate Belva Lockwood declared that “It is quite time that we had our own party; our own platform, and our own nominees," even if they couldn't vote for them. With the exception of the territory of Wyoming, it was against the law for women to vote in every state and territory in the union.
Woman suffrage, of course, was a central feature of the new party's platform, along with "equal and exact justice for all citizens, regardless of color, sex or nationality."
Polls showing that women are more likely than men to favor a reduction in military spending wouldn't surprise Lockwood, who called for mandatory, binding arbitration of all disputes between nations. "War is a relic of barbarism belonging to the past", she insisted.
Economic security and financial justice lead the concerns of women voters today, who might enjoy casting their ballot for the Equal Rights party's platform of increased wages, government control of transportation and communication, and an end to monopoly, "the tendency of which is to make the rich richer, and the poor poorer."
Lockwood never made it to the White House. "Reforms are slow, but they never go backwards," she reflected. "Their originators may die, but the reform will live to bless millions yet unborn."
As we approach the New York centennial of woman suffrage in 2017 with the possibility of the first woman presidential candidate of a major party, Lockwood provides a lens through which to explore the ongoing creation of democracy in our country.
CAN’T ATTEND THE LECTURE? READ HER BOOK: A Time of Protest: Suffragists Challenge The Republic
Imagine that women have the right to choose all political representatives, removing from office anyone who doesn’t make wise decisions for the future. Living in a world free from violence against them, women will not allow a man to hold office if he has violated a woman. Economically independent, they have the final say in matters of war and peace and the absolute right to their own bodies.
This is not a dream. Haudenosaunee (traditional Iroquois) women have had this authority – and more -- since long before Christopher Columbus.
While white women were the property of their husbands and considered dead in the law, Haudenosaunee women had more authority and status before Columbus than United States women have today.
Women of the Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy (the Haudenosaunee) had the responsibility for putting in place the male leaders. They had control of their own bodies and were economically independent. Rape and wife beating were rare and dealt with harshly; committing violence against a woman kept a man from becoming Chief in this egalitarian, gender-balanced society.
When women in New York State began to organize for their rights in 1848, they took their cue from the nearby Haudenosaunee communities, where women lived in the world that non-native women dreamed.
Amazingly, despite the assimilation policy of the United States, Haudenosaunee women still maintain much of this authority today.
CAN’T ATTEND THE LECTURE? READ HER BOOK: Sisters in Spirit: The Haudenosaunee Influence on Women’s Rights.
TO WATCH SALLY’S LECTURE AT THE ONONDAGA HISTORICAL SOCIETY:
“I am sick of the song of suffrage”, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote to Matilda Joslyn Gage in the 1880’s. Gage concurred. These two women had begun to think differently than Susan B. Anthony, their co-leader of the National Woman Suffrage Association, who believed the movement should concentrate on getting women the vote. We already have that right, Gage contended.
In a system based on the consent of the governed, the government just needs to protect our right to exercise citizenship, not “give” it to us.
We need to look at the larger issues, Stanton and Gage agreed. Those issues were: creating a system of cooperation, not competition; ensuring that every child born was wanted and women were the “absolute sovereigns” of their bodies; rebalancing economic disparity while gaining equal pay for women and demanding a “true” religion, one that fostered freedom and equality for all.
CAN’T ATTEND THE LECTURE, BUY THIS CHAPBOOK SERIES: Elizabeth Cady Stanton chapbook series OR READ: http://thewritersloop.me/2015/03/15/susanne-presents-womens-history-guest-author-dr-sally-roesch-wagner-on-elizabeth-cady-stanton/