On this date in 1860, Elizabeth Cady Stanton appeared before the New York House Judiciary Committee to stump for women’s suffrage, the activists’ life-long mission. Here, via Washington DC’s Evening Star, is the contemporary New York Times‘ dubious report on Stanton’s appearance:
“Last evening, or yesterday afternoon, Mrs. Stanton spoke for two hours in advocacy of [women’s suffrage] before the House Judiciary Committee, and an audience that filled the Assembly Chamber as I never saw it filled, except when Seward was elected Senator in ’55. Then it was jammed — yesterday it was simply full.
Mrs. Stanton talked forcibly — it is needless for me to say that she talked earnestly of woman’s sufferings, sweetly of her endurance, eloquently of her rights. When she talked of her property, of her rights to be released from the bondage of an ill-assorted marriage, she was listened to with marked favor. She pleaded these demands with the feelings of a true woman, and she carried the conviction that she was no asking more than policy as well as justice demanded should be conceded.
When she claimed that her voice should be heard on the hustings, and her vote be received at the ballot-box, she was earnest, and eloquent, and plausible, but she must have felt that she was not convincing her audience — and she did not.”
Indeed: New York didn’t give women the right to vote until 1917 a mere three years before suffrage passed nationwide. Wyoming, by the way, was the first U.S. place to give women the vote: in 1869, when the future state was still a territory and when the measure was originally proposed as a joke. Women got the last laugh with that one!