Washington, D.C. Judd & Detweiler, Printers, 1871. 16pp. Original self-wrappers, sewn. Minor foxing and mild staining to outer leaves, two old horizontal folds. Internally clean. Presentation inscription on titlepage reading. Very good. Item #WRCAM55361
A presentation copy, inscribed on the titlepage, "Regards of Josephine S. Griffing." Griffing was a lifelong activist, and an early, vocal, and visible advocate for women's suffrage. She served as Secretary of the inaugural National Woman Suffrage and Educational Committee, and the National Woman Suffrage Association, established just after the January 11, 1871 convention. Prior to this, Griffing was a noted abolitionist; after the Civil War, she moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Freedmen's Bureau. Sadly, she died of consumption the year after this convention was held, and was sorely missed by the early women's suffrage movement. This is the revised edition, published the same year as the first and probably just afterwards, of A.G. Riddle's speech before the landmark January 11, 1871 National Women's Suffrage Convention in Washington, D.C. In early January 1871, Isabella Beecher Hooker and several other notable suffragettes, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Julia Ward Howe, and Susan B. Anthony organized a national convention in Washington "for the purpose of pressing upon Congress the immediate passage of a Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution..." which would guarantee voting rights for women. They organized the convention at their own expense. The present work prints Riddle's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in support of Elizabeth Woodhull's "Memorial" to the same committee in favor of woman suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton entreated Riddle to speak broadly on behalf of women's suffrage, and make the argument that "the women of these United States are full and complete citizens - citizens as fully as it is possible for men to become, though not permitted to exercise the elective franchise." While supporting women's efforts in requesting the passage of a Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Riddle effectively presents women's suffrage as a natural right of self- government and puts forth the argument that the Fourteenth Amendment already guarantees women the right to vote. Riddle builds his argument around the assertion that women are citizens of the United States, and the language of the Constitution does not limit its protections to "all male persons, nor all white persons, but 'all persons born or naturalized in the United States, subject to the jurisdiction thereof...'." Riddle lays blame for lack of extension of the franchise right to women guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment at the feet of Congress, who never recognized the right. Towards the close of his speech, Riddle states: "We men have made all institutions for men, and for men alone; we never consulted woman. We have said she was nobody, and nowhere; or, if she was found anywhere, she was out of her sphere, and must go back to nowhere immediately, and to nobody. We have gravely assumed that we understood her nature and character better than she did herself....Let woman speak for herself. Give her a chance to speak as man speaks, by precisely the same language, and in the same manner, and then reverently incline your heads, and listen to what she says." The text of Riddle's speech is followed by an appendix printing the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. A cursory examination of this revised edition with the first printing of Riddle's speech yields numerous minor textual differences, mostly in phrasing. Albert Gallatin Riddle was an Ohio-trained Free-Soiler, abolitionist, and lawyer, who defended the Oberlin slave rescuers in 1859. Shortly thereafter, he served as a Ohio Representative to Congress during the early years of the Civil War, during which time he made the first speech on the House floor in favor of arming slaves. He then served as U.S. consul to Cuba until 1864. After the war, Riddle helped prosecute presidential assassin John Surratt, and continued as an active member of the legal community in Washington, D.C., including his time as head of the legal department at Howard University. Not in Krichmar. An early and scarce entry into the Constitution- based argument for women's suffrage - a movement that would come to be known as the New Departure - with a presentation inscription from an early and important suffragist. SABIN 71265 (note).