JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 1158
"Can a woman be said to have a right to life, if all means of self-protection are denied her….Can she be said to have a right to liberty, when another citizen may have the legal custody of her person ….Can any citizen be said to have the right to the pursuit of happiness, whose inalienable rights are denied; who is disenfranchised from all the privileges of citizenship…?" --Elizabeth Cady Stanton, speaking to the Tenth National Woman's Rights Convention, The Cooper Union, New York, N.Y., May 10 and 11, 1860
A Good Woman is "not an equal of man" or so we are told in this peon to the status quo of 1863. This semi-sugary attack upon the "Womans Rights Conventions" found the appeal of equal rights to be almost mostly unappealing--no
t that women should not have "rights", just not "equal" rights. Jut rights enough--some of which for 1863, as it turns out, were pretty liberal. [The song was probably addressed in general to the series of ten conventions for women's rights that had been held in this country beginning with the first--at Seneca Falls, New York--in 1848. Between then and 1860 there were ten conventions, plus one in 1863 that was called the First Woman's National Loyal League Convention.]
The song--Woman's Rights, a "Right" Good Ballad, Right of Illustrating Woman's Rights, Rightly Written for the Womans Rights Convention... --and published in Boston in 1863 was written by composer Kate Horn (emphatically self-stating to be "NOT of the woman's rights convention"). She was annoyed with the prospect of overall equality impinging upon traditional womanhood, or at least the current tradition of the feminine, and convinced the publisher Geo. P. Reed to publish her complaint in song.
She had many supporters, evidently--the equal rights part not really coming partially true, until, well, not even now. I guess that this is certainly a debate platform, and I could probably argue a good but wrong response from the republican point of view, but I won't--differences in pay scales, access to corporate power, under- and mis-representation in government and so on is not evidently enough of a scare to entice the necessary number of state to endorse the ERA. In any event, women didn't get a big push towards equal rights until they got the vote in the USA in 1920 (the legislation which became the 19th Amendment was introduced in 1878; a majority of women didn't exercise that right until, I think, after WWII), and really didn't enjoy much power until the 1960's.
As it turns out, Ms. Horn was lyrically resolved to demand some equality--but definitely not the brand of people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The greatest surprise from Horn (at least to me) makes the demand for equal pay for equal work, though women should not be allowed to operate machinery and such. There are a number of calls to decency and modesty which sound like basic ethics, but they're also peppered with subservient overtone rejoinders. Its hard for her to recover from the call to household "pretty trouble(s) brave", but there are elements of forward thinking in the song. Horn doesn't absolutely reject the ideas of "equality" of the rights conventions, but by taking her stance against universal equality she makes her's less so and those of Stanton more.