American Women Resisters to Authority:
Heroic Women in the Struggle for Liberty
I. Background: Some definitions
II. A Few 17th & 18th century forerunners
Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643)
First female “heretic” speaking for religious freedom for the individual
Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814)
Historian, Author of History of the Rise,
Progress and Termination of the American Revolution
Abigail Adams (1744-1818)
Feminist writer, Full partner of husband John Adams
"Remember the Ladies" letter. Condemned slavery.
III. 19th Century Resistance
19th century America was a hotbed of political, cultural and social turmoil and change:
A. Abolitionism (and feminism)
Anti-slavery movement, 1830s-1860s
Most of the volunteers in the anti-slavery movement were women. Mixed women’s rights with slaves’ rights. Saw the parallels: Both slaves and women “manacled” and suppressed.
Harriet Tubman (1820-1913)
Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)
Speaker and activist
"Ain't I a woman?" speech
Sarah Grimke (1792-1873)
and Angela Grimke (1805-1875)
Writers and Activists.
Angela - first woman to speak before legislative body in 1838
Sarah "Letter on the Equality of the Sexes & Conditions of Women"
Abbey Kelly (1810-1887) Speaker.
B. Freethought (and feminism)
Advocating the use of reason, rather than faith, to think about religion.
Includes deists, agnostics, atheists, Early 1800s to present.
Saw the 19th c. mainstream churches as antithetical to women’s rights and freedoms. Most churches extremely traditional in views of women. Clergy attacked idea of women’s rights.
Frances Wright (1795-1852)
First women to speak publicly from podium to both men and women
First American woman to publicly advocate women's rights
First to question utility of religion
Margaret Fuller (1810-1850)
Speaker, Editor of The Dial (Transcendentalist journal)
First book on American feminism, Women in the 19th Century
Lucy N. Colman (1818-1906)
Contributer to the Truth Seeker
Left her church because of its complicity with slavery
Ernestine Rose ((1810-1892)
First canvasser for women's rights
Wrote "In Defense of Atheism" 1861
C. Women’s Rights/Suffrage
Challenging laws that restricted women’s freedom, fight for vote for women. Early phase from 1880s to 1920 and 19th Amendment.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)
Abolitionist, suffragist, women's right, National Woman Suffrage Assn.
Author of The Woman's Bible condemning religious oppression of women
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
Suffragist, feminist, agnostic, National Woman Suffrage Assn.
Lucretia Mott (1793-1880)
Quaker abolitionist, feminist, suffragist
Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898)
Author of Women, Church & the State, a condemnation of religion's role in oppressing women
Lucy Stone (1818-1893)
Lucy Stone League slogan = “Keep Your Own Name”
D. Free Love
Free choice in sexual relationships for both men and women unencumbered by Church or State. Freedom to love whomever one chose, without interference from or permission of Church and State. Mid 1800s.
Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927)
and Tennessee Claflin (1845-1923)
Founded Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly
Victoria - first woman to run for US President
Anarchist feminist, co-editor The Word,
Helped write Cupid's Yoke and Uncivil Liberty with her husband Ezra
Lillian Harman (1860?-?)
Anarchist feminist, writer for Lucifer
Jailed for non-state non-church wedding
Did not change her name when she married
Co-editor Fair Play
Daughter of Moses Harman, founder of Lucifer
The belief sthat no one has a right to rule another without their consent; that coercion is always wrong, whether individual or institutional; primacy of individual rights. First wave: Early 1800s-1917. Continues to present.
Anti-state, anti-authority, decentralist. Feminists promoted economic independence of women, freedom from sex roles, sexual freedom of women.
Voltairine de Cleyre (1866-1912)
Feminist, Freethinker, Writer and Speaker
Selected Works of Voltairine de Cleyre 1914
Most prominent woman individualist anarchist
Florence Finch Kelly (1858-1939)
Journalist for Boston Globe and Writer for Liberty
Dr. Gertrude Kelly
Surgeon,Contributer to Liberty
Anarchist feminist, Printer, Contributer to Liberty
Published "Three Dreams in a Desert" by Olive Schreiner
Lois Waisbrooker (1826-1909)
Contributer to and sometime Editor of Lucifer, Novelist
Emma Goldman (1866-1940)
Feminist, Atheist, Writer and Speaker
Most prominent communist anarchist in the U.S.
Editor of Mother Earth
Advocate of birth control, colleague of Margaret Sanger
Lucy Parsons (1853-1942)
Speaker, Writer, Labor organizer
Anarchist and socialist activities, including the IWW
Wife of Haymarket martyr Albert Parsons
F. People of Color Rights
Ida Wells (1862-1931)
Campaign against lynching, Orator
Sarah Winnemucca (1844-1891)
Peace and Native American Rights Activist
Author of Life Among the Piutes
COMING IN THE SECOND VOLUME:
IV. Early 20th Century (very briefly)
A. Socialist Feminism
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)
Influential book Women and Economics
Feminist utopian novel Herland
Mother Jones (1830-1930)
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964)
Labor organizer for IWW
Founding member ACLU.
B. Reproductive Rights
Legalize birth control, availability of contraceptives. Mid 1800s to present.
Margaret Sanger (1879-1966)
Advocate of modern contraceptives
Founder of Planned Parenthood,
Publisher of The Woman Rebel
Jailed for her birth control activities
C. Only a few of the many other women who have contributed to liberty in the 20th century.
Alice Paul (1885-1977)
National Women's Party, 19th Amendment, ERA
Mollie Steimer (1897-1980)
Communist anarchist activist
Suzanne La Follette (1893-1982)
First libertarian feminist book, Concerning Women
Editor of The New Freeman
Dorothy Day (1897-1980)
Catholic anarchist pacifist, founder Catholic Worker movement
Vashti Cromwell McCollum (1912-)
Won Supreme Court suit against release-time for religious education in public schools as a violation of the separation of church and state
D. Three Women Who Launched a Movement: Modern Libertarianism (anti-state, pro-civil liberties)
Isabel Paterson (1886-1981)
God of the Machine (1943)
Discusses the historical emergence of property rights, civil liberties and representative government
Rose Wilder Lane (1886-1968)
Discovery of Freedom (1943)
The preconditions for liberty.
Ayn Rand (1905-1982)
The Fountainhead (1943)
Individualism and liberty
Part II of 20th century yet to come (1950+)
This project will continue...
For more information about women resisters, see www.alf.org and www.zetetics.com/indfem/
© Copyright 2005 and 2007 by Sharon Presley