Monday, January 22, 2007

Women without souls

In the course of my reading, I was a little surprised to learn that Amelia Bloomer, the originator of the Bloomer costume so many of us are familiar with, didn't rush to sign the Declaration of Sentiments presented at the first Women's Rights convention in 1848. Although she agreed with most of the sentiments, she apparently felt that asking for women's suffrage went a tad too far. That is until the Spring of 1849, when the legislature of Tennessee declared that women had no right to own their own property because they had no souls. Amelia, a Quaker, became quite angry it seems and printed in her paper The Lily an editorial that said that if women had no souls then "we are not accountable beings, and if not accountable to our Maker, then surely not to man. . . " and that "Some men even act as though women had no souls, but it remained for the legislature of Tennessee to speak it to the world." Also, she said, "Although it may be an easy matter for them to arrive at such a conclusion, it will be quite another thing to make women believe it."

Personally, I think the Virgin Mary would have disputed the fact also. . . .

This information came out of The Bloomer Girls by Charles Neilson Gattey. I have yet to find anything to corroborate the decision by the Tennessee legislature. I would sincerely appreciate a comment posted by anyone who has information that either negates the assertion or can substantiate it.


Susan Macatee said...

Never heard that one before.

The nerve of those men!

Kristin-Marie said...

I'd thought of the Victorian era ideals as being more progressive for women of the time, rather as steps towards emancipation. Now I'll think twice about that assumption. Interesting snapshot of a regional sentiment. Great post.