National Woman Suffrage Association, July 4th, 1876

During the 4th of July celebration of 1876, in Independence Hall – Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Sara Andrews Spencer, Lillie Devereux Blake, and Phoebe W. Couzins marched to Senator Tom Ferry to deliver the Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States.

“…at the very moment when the entire audience rose to greet the Brazilian monarch, five women, headed by the indomitable Miss Anthony, went up on the platform and bore down on the chairman, president pro tempore of the United States Senate, Thomas W. Ferry. The startled Ferry, a supporter of woman suffrage, incidentally, grasped the parchment Miss Anthony handed him and bowed; the women, expecting every moment to be taken into custody, turned and walked off the platform and out of the hall, first drawing from their capacious reticules large handfuls of printed broadsides carrying their Declaration, which they scattered left and right. There was great confusion as men stood on their seats reaching for the handbills and hundreds of arms were stretched for them…”


“While the nation is buoyant with patriotism, and all hearts are attuned to praise, it is with sorrow we come to strike the one discordant note, on this one-hundredth anniversary of our country’s birth. When subjects of kings, emperors, and czars from the old world join in our national jubilee, shall the women of the republic refuse to lay their hands with benedictions on the nation’s head?

Surveying America’s exposition, surpassing in magnificence those of London, Paris, and Vienna, shall we not rejoice at the success of the youngest rival among the nations of the earth ? May not our hearts, in unison with all, swell with pride at her great achievements as a people; our free speech, free press, free schools, free church, and the rapid progress we have made in material wealth, trade, commerce and the inventive arts?

And we do rejoice in the success, thus far, of our experiment of self-government. Our faith is firm and unwavering in the broad principles of human rights proclaimed in 1776, not only as abstract truths, but as the cornerstones of a republic. Yet we cannot forget, even at this glad hour, that while men of every race, and clime, and condition, have been invested with full rights of citizenship under our hospitable flag, all women still suffer the degradation of disenfranchisement.”

-Susan B. Anthony

Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum




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