May 25, 1872
The call for a "People’s Convention," issued by Mrs. E. Cady Stanton, Isabella B. Hooker, Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage, as the Executive Committee of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association , and by Victoria C. Woodhull, Horace H. Day, Anna M. Middlebrook and others, in behalf of the "party of the people, to secure and maintain Human Rights, to be inaugurated in the United States in May, 1872" met, according to call, in Steinway Hall, on Thursday morning, May 9.
CONVENTION OF THE WOMAN’S SUFFRAGE ASSOCIATION, STEINWAY HALL, MAY 9, 1872
Mrs. Stanton called the meeting to order. A choir sang an anthem, the sweetness of which was greatly augment by the pleasant voices of Mrs. Abby Hutchinson Paten and her brother, Henry, who sat in the front gallery. After a prayer by Mrs. I. B. Hooker, Mrs. Stanton announced that this meeting was not called to make a nomination for the Presidency, but to
TAKE THE INITIATIVE STEPS THERETO.
The reformers had been invited to consider a new platform. Some women had got together and had made a platform. They had enough of platforms made by men; they now had one of their own; it would be in print, and the friends present could read it and vote on it in the evening. She requested that this day should be regarded as a woman’s day, and that the brethren present would hold their peace. Men had such loud voices, and some so dogmatical that they were apt to overslaugh women. As she returned to her seat, Mrs. Hooker suggested something to her, and Mrs. Stanton announce that some difficulty had occurred on account of an unexpected charge of twenty-five cents admission to all the sessions. This charge had been decided on in order to secure quiet and order. It is but fair to state that the impression of the public was that the morning and afternoon sessions were to be free, and a charge of twenty-five cents should be charged for the evening session—a large number of persons who came to the city to attend the Convention, retired from the doors on finding a charge, was to be made.
Mrs. Hooker then read the following platform and was followed by Miss Anthony, who read resolutions which were hostile to the election of Horace Greeley, and admonishing the Conventions to be held in Philadelphia and Baltimore, that unless a proper recognition is given to the women of the land a Convention by the National Woman’s Association will be held, and a Presidential ticket placed in the field.
Mrs. Isabella Beecher Hooker read
We, women citizens of the United States, in national convention assembled at New York, proclaim the following principles as essential to just government.
1. We recognize the equality of all before the law, and hold that it is the duty of government in its dealings with the people to mete out equal and exact justice to all, of whatever nativity, race, color, sex or persuasion, religious or political.
2. We pledge ourselves to maintain the union of the States, and to oppose and re-opening of the questions settled by the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments of the Constitution, which have emancipated and enfranchised the slaves and the women of the nation.
3. We demand the immediate and absolute removal of all disabilities now imposed on rebels and women, believing that universal suffrage and universal amnesty will result in complete purification in the family, and in all sections of the country.
4. We demand for the individual the largest liberty consistent with the public order, for the state self-government and for the national administration the methods of peace, and the constitutional limitations of power.
5. We demand a thorough civil service reform as one of the pressing necessities of the hour. Honesty, capacity, and fidelity, without distinction of sex, should constitute the only valid claim to public employment. The first step in this reform is the one term principle, and the election of President, Vice President and United States Senators by the whole people.
6. We affirm that no form of taxation is just or wise which puts burdens upon the people by means of duties intended to increase the price of domestic products, and which are unnecessary for purposes of revenue. Taxes should not be laid upon the necessaries; but upon the luxuries of life, that the rich and not the poor may bear the burdens.
7. The highest consideration of commercial morality and honest government requires a thorough reform of the present financial system. The interests of the people demand a cheap, sound, uniform, abundant, and elastic currency, to be a permanent measure of value, based on the wealth of the nation. This will be found in the issue of currency, or certificates of value by the government for all duties, taxes, and imposts whatever, which shall be legal tender for all debts, public and private; such currency to be the lawful money of the United States, and convertible at the option of the holder into government bonds, bearing a rate of interest not exceeding 3 per cent, and to be reconvertible into currency at the will of the holder.
8. We remember with gratitude the heroism and sacrifices of the wives, sisters and mothers throughout this republic in the late war; the grand sanitary work they did in the hospital, on the battle-field, and in gathering in the harvest at home, have justly earned for the women of the country the generous recognition of all their political rights by every true American statesman.
9. We are opposed to all grants of lands to railroads or other corporations. The public domain should be held sacred to actual settlers, an inviolable homestead secured to every man and woman.
10. We believe in the principles of the referendum, minority representation, and a just system of graduation taxation.
11. It is the duty of government to regard children and criminals as wards of the State; to secure to the one the best advantages of education, and for the other more humane legislation and better methods of reform.
12. We hold it is the duty of the government in its intercourse with foreign countries to cultivate the friendships of peace, by treating will all on just and equal terms, and by insisting on the settlement of all differences by a congress of nations.
13. For the promotion of these vital principles and the establishment of a party based on them, we invite the co-operation of all "citizens," without distinction of race, color, sex, nationality or previous political affiliations.
At the close of the reading it was determined that the platform and resolutions should be open to discussion. Considerable confusion now arose by inquiries from the audience as to the authority by which these subjects were thrown out, and who were entitled as delegates to speak to the resolution.
Mrs. Hooker now came forward, and with decided, repeated and most resonant stamps of her little foot upon the floor, declared that the proceedings of this Convention must and should be done with decency and in order. After some further controversy, it was concluded that for peace sake the meeting should proceed for only a part, and not the whole of the interests represented.
Mrs. Middlebrook said that she had attended these meetings for two years, and the question of suffrage had been considered at these meetings; that we had come here under a general call to consider the questions of a new party and nominating candidates. We had bowed and begged of the present parties for twenty years in vain, and the time had come for decided action; and if this Convention refused to meet the responsibility, the Convention on Saturday would meet it. Mrs. M. retired amid loud and protracted applause, clearly indicating that she had struck the key note of the Convention.
Mrs. Stanton followed with a manuscript, historical of political parties in the past, how they originated and were destroyed, and was in the usual style of her able and finished productions, the audience listening with great respect.
Judge Carter followed, eulogizing free speech, and closed his exordium by extolling Victoria C. Woodhull.
Mrs. Hooker explained that they were hampered by the regulations of Mr. Steinway prohibiting political discussion, and made an eloquent defense of Mrs. Woodhull’s unselfish and earnest work for the cause.
Mrs. Hoadley, Mrs. Laura De Force Gordon, and Mr. Banks and others followed, and at a late hour Jenny Collins put in an appearance and said a few words. . . .
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