Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cady Stanton - before Parting Ways

FREDERICK DOUGLASS

Publication Date: 1867
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Title: Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cady ...

Publication Date: 1867

Binding: No binding

Book Condition: Fine

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Autograph Quotation Signed. [n.p.], 1867. 1 p. With Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Autograph Note Signed [n.d.], in initials, "E.C.S.", on same sheet. Eloquent autograph quotations signed on the same sheet of paper by two of the most prominent American abolitionist leaders. Douglass's pride of citizenship, achieved with congressional passage of civil rights legislation and the 14th Amendment in 1866, pulses through each word. Douglass wrote in 1867, just two years after the Civil War; Stanton's lines are undated. Within a year, Douglass and Stanton would split over the competing priorities of black male suffrage and women's suffrage. Stanton's query, "when shall we three meet again," may refer as much to their divergent political aspirations as to geography. Complete TranscriptTwenty two years a slave- / Twenty eight years a freeman- / and now a citizen of the / United States-. Frederick Douglass 1867[in a different hand:] Travelling over the prairies day & night / from October till May when shall / we three meet again[?] E.C.S.Historical BackgroundAfter the Civil War, Douglass dedicated all of his energy to winning suffrage for African-American males. His slogan-pronounced in a speech at the opening of the Douglass Institute in Baltimore in September 1865, was: "They [Republicans] gave us the bullet to save themselves; they will yet give the ballot to save themselves." In April 1866, Radical Republicans in Congress passed the Civil Rights Bill, extending full citizenship rights to anyone born in the United States (except Native Americans), overriding President Andrew Johnson's veto.On June 13, 1866, Congress went further, passing the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed citizenship to anyone born in the United States, made each American citizen automatically a citizen of the state in which he resided, and outlined an expansive view of citizenship rights. It also provided for a reduction in a state's representation in Congress if the state denied the vote to any group of male citizens, a huge step toward black male suffrage. Technically, the 14th Amendment would not be ratified until July 1868. However, as is clear from this quote, Douglass believed that, with this amendment, he was "now a citizen of the United States." It is likely that Douglass was particularly moved when his home state of New York ratified the 14th Amendment on September 11, 1867. Perhaps that is when he penned this quotation.The debate over ratification presaged a split within the old abolitionist camp. For the first time, the 14th Amendment introduced the phrase "male citizens" into the constitution. In December 1866, according to historian William McFeely, Susan B. Anthony "called a convention in Albany, New York, to prepare for the lobbying necessary to persuade the New York legislature to amend the state constitution in a way that would not only end the prejudicial property qualification for black voters-which Douglass detested-but also enable women to vote." Though Douglass continued to cooperate with his longtime allies from the women's movement-Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others-the campaign in New York helped precipitate "one of the saddest divorces in American history."When the subject of Negro suffrage was raised in the District of Columbia franchise bill, Senator Edgar Cowan of Pennsylvania provocatively called for the removal of the word "male" from the legislation. As historian Ann Gordon notes, this was intended to embarrass black suffrage advocates, but suffragettes flirted with the idea of calling his bluff. Cowan had challenged his fellow Senators to "give any better reason for the exclusion of females from the right of suffrage than there is for the exclusion of negroes." More importantly, however, this opened up a schism in the Republican Party, with most arguing against universal suffrage and for black male suffrage. Republican spokesmen claimed that black male suffrage, in and of itself, would be dif. (See website for full description). Bookseller Inventory #


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