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Beecher, Isabella.

Memorial of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association to the Constitutional Convention


Beecher, Isabella . Memorial of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association to the Constitutional Convention Assembled in Hartford, Connecticut, January 1, 1902, and An Argument Thereon. (Hartford, CT: Printed by Plimpton Mfg. Co. 1902.)
8vo.; new printed wrappers; string-tied.      
A milestone recapitulation of the germination, goals, struggles, and successes of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association, founded in 1869. In her preamble to "Argument on United States Citizenship: Its Origin and Growth," Isabella Beecher Hooker, the Association's president of thirty years, declares,
The time has now come when we feel that we may properly claim the serious attention of the body now assembled to carefully examine the present constitution and prepare for the vote of the people a revised constitution which shall better meet the needs of the times. And since women citizens constitute half the adult population of our state and are the mothers of all the other half, they should in justice have been consulted in regard to the composition of the convention and should have been allowed to vote for delegates….
Beecher's history goes back to the founding of Connecticut in 1635 by the Reverend Thomas Hooker-an ancestor six generations removed from her husband-a firm believer in representative government whose sermons suggested the bill of rights of the Connecticut state constitution, which was the first in the country, the model for other state constitutions, and ultimately for that of the United States. She quotes at some length notes on one of his best-known related sermons and, while acknowledging that Hooker likely did not include women among those who needed representation at that time, she feels that "the principle remains the same." She quotes from memory the substance of a speech she herself gave at the Colombian Exposition on behalf of the Board of Lady Managers along those lines, and then proceeds to discuss the evolution of the United States Constitution and the development of the woman's rights movement from the earliest understanding of woman's "silent partnership"-an idea she also sees in a Tennyson poem she excerpts-through attempts through legitimate channels (such as the amendment process); and revolutionary (such as the illegal voter registration of Susan B. Anthony, whose trial transcript Hooker quotes); to current petitions underway.

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