The Waggin’ Finger of Justice

“The Solitude of Self” by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1851)

  • Individuality of the human soul
    • Protestant idea – right of individual conscience & judgment
    • Republican idea – individual citizenship
      • Whatever belongs to an individual woman is hers alone, as if on an island
      • To use all faculties for her safety & hapiness
  • As a citizen, a woman must have the same rights as all other members, according to our government’s principles
  • Woman is an equal factor in our civilization, with rights & duties still the same –  individual happiness & development
  • Only incidental relations (sister, mother, wife, daughter) define a female’s special duties & training
    • Many try to subordinate a woman’s rights & duties as an individual, citizen & women merely because she’s a woman
      • This isn’t automatically decided for boys or men if roles merit rights to be given or taken away
  • We must give each individual out of individual rights & self-dependence the right to choose one’s surroundings
  • One of the best reasons to educate a woman & to allow her to develop her faculties, mind & body, freedom of thought & action & emancipation from cultural bondage such as dependence & superstition is the solitude & personal responsibility of her own individual life
    • Based on birthright of self-sovereignty & self-reliance
    • Each person is alone in life & must be able to do his own navigation on the journey
      • Without developing the skill, a woman is dependent
  • An individual’s alone in solitude of self, unique & distinct, & to doom people of a certain category to ignorance, dependence & lack of representation is horrible
    • Developing the individual helps him for his own benefit & happiness, with individual mental & spiritual equipment
  • Individual development also has a good effect on society as a whole because we all share the burden of its maintenance
    • The worst moments of life are usually spent alone & dealt with alone
    • Our ability to shoulder burdens of loneliness & defeat depends on mental & spiritual development
    • Blocking a person from education is akin to crippling him
    • Blocking a person from political equality is robbing him of self-respect
      • Blocking the fruits of one’s labor, the voice to make & administer law
      • Woman is robbed of natural rights, handicapped by law & custom, forced to fight her own battles in an emergency when she is alone & without the necessary tools to do so
      • A lot of women are thrown into the world “unprotected” by fathers, husbands & brothers, & they aren’t equipped to fend for themselves
      • To do so would require cardinal virtues, wisdom, common sense & understanding of human nature without which they don’t stand a chance
  • When people get old & their family die off or move away, people are alone & must be able to cope with loneliness
    • This requires education to read, to be allowed to participate in politics, commerce, etc.
  • A Russian prince was jailed without books for many years but having read so many of them, he was able to make prison more tolerable by recounting the stories in his mind
    • If women are given this ability, they can tolerate hardships more easily than if they are not given it
    • Allowing men & women to earn their place in society based on merit gives them a tremendous amount of dignity & self-sovereignty but also requires personal rights & responsibilities
  • Furthermore, men can’t bear all of women’s burdens & they must be able to fend for themselves should the men not be able to provide for them
    • Christianity asks us to help bear others’ burdens but not to the point of self-sacrifice
      • Jesus did this but he himself wen through solitude on the cross – even from God
      • We have companies in life but ultimately we have to be able to deal with things alone
  • When women are allowed to be individuals & responsible for themselves, with education to confront all of life’s hardships, they can guide their own consciences & judgments to defend themselves, & they’ll be able to fact the solitude that comes to us all
    • This isn’t really complex or insane
      • What good arguments are there against educating girls & women in languages, science, law, medicine, etc?
        • We’re usually relegated to the role of housekeepers & cooks
          • But even the best & most famous of those are men
  • In times of disaster, nature is the greatest teacher
    • It teaches something no school can do
    • Women can be the equals of men in science, music & art, proving that old attitudes were wrong
    • Machinery has taken away the old occupations of women but they must be allowed to pick up new ones
      • This requires individual freedoms & development of the soul, mind & body
      • It conditions the soul to be able to be alone in any situation in life or in the afterlife
        • Who can take on the responsibilities of another person’s soul?

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