ADDRESS TO THE WOMAN'S RIGHTS CONVENTION, OCTOBER 1850
In our account of the work of Creation, when it was so gloriously finished in the garden of Eden, by placing there in equal companionship, man and woman, made in the image of God, alike gifted with intellect, alike endowed with immortality, it is said the Creator looked upon his work, and pronounced it good-that "the morning stars stand together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." Since that time, through the slow rolling of darkened ages, man has ruled by physical power, and wherever he could gain the ascendancy, there he has felt the right to dictate-even though it degraded his equal companion-the mother who bore him-the playmate of his childhood-the daughter of his love. Thus, in many countries we see women reduced to the condition of a slave, and compelled to do all the drudgery necessary to her lord's subsistence. In others she is dressed up as a mere plaything, for his amusement; but everywhere he has assumed to be her head and lawgiver, and only where Christianity has dawned, and right not might been the rule, has woman had anything like her true position. In this country even, republican, so called, and Christian, her rights are but imperfectly recognized, and she suffers under the disability of caste. These are facts that, in the light of the nineteenth century, demand our attention. "Are we always to remain in this position" is a question we have come here to discuss.
The natural rights of woman are co-equal with those of man. So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. There is not one particle of difference intimated as existing between them. They were both made in the image of god. Dominion was given to both over every other creature, but not over each other. They were expected to exercise the vicegerency given to them by their Maker in harmony and love.
In contending for this co-equality of woman's with man's rights, it is not necessary to argue, either that the sexes are by nature equally and indiscriminately adapted to the same positions and duties, or that they are absolutely equal in physical and intellectual ability; but only that they are absolutely equal in their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness-in their rights to do, and to be, individually and socially all they are capable of, and to attain the highest usefulness and happiness, obediently to the divine, moral law.
This was the first of a fourteen page address given by Abby Hills Price, member of the Hopedale Community, to the Woman's Rights Convention held in Worcester, Massachusetts in October of 1850. It was printed in The Practical Christian on February 15 and March 1, 1851 which is available at the Bancroft Memorial Library, Hopedale, Massachusetts.
By 1917, the effects of World War I had caused Drapers to hire women. Read about it here.
Hopedale Community Menu HOME