Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 352 pages of information about Half a Century.

That old Bible, in spite of pro-slavery interpreters, proved to be the great bulwark of human liberty.

In 1852, Slavery and Democracy formed that alliance to which we owe the Great Rebellion.  The South became solid, and Whigs had no longer any motive for catching slaves.



The appearance of The Visiter was the signal for an outbreak, for which I was wholly unprepared, and one which proved the existence of an eating cancer of discontent in the body politic.  Under the smooth surface of society lay a mass of moral disease, which suddenly broke out into an eruption of complaints, from those who felt themselves oppressed by the old Saxon and ecclesiastical laws under which one-half the people of the republic still lived.

In the laws governing the interests peculiar to men, and those affecting their interests in common with woman, great advance had been made during the past six centuries, but those regarding the exclusive interests of women, had remained in statu quo, since King Alfred the Great and the knights of his Round Table fell asleep.  The anti-negro slavery object of my paper seemed to be lost sight of, both by friends and foes of human progress, in the surprise at the innovation of a woman entering the political arena, to argue publicly on great questions of national policy, and while men were defending their pantaloons, they created and spread the idea, that masculine supremacy lay in the form of their garments, and that a woman dressed like a man would be as potent as he.

Strange as it may now seem, they succeeded in giving such efficacy to the idea, that no less a person than Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was led astray by it, so that she set her cool, wise head to work and invented a costume, which she believed would emancipate woman from thraldom.  Her invention was adopted by her friend Mrs. Bloomer, editor and proprietor of the Lily, a small paper then in infancy in Syracuse, N.Y., and from her, the dress took its name—­“the bloomer.”  Both women believed in their dress, and staunchly advocated it as the sovereignest remedy for all the ills that woman’s flesh is heir to.

I made a suit and wore it at home parts of two days, long enough to feel assured that it must be a failure; and so opposed it earnestly, but nothing I could say or do could make it apparent that pantaloons were not the real objective point, at which all discontented woman aimed.  I had once been tried on a charge of purloining pantaloons, and been acquitted for lack of evidence; but now, here was the proof!  The women themselves, leaders of the malcontents, promulgated and pressed their claim to bifurcated garments, and the whole tide of popular discussion was turned into that ridiculous channel.

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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