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Gender and Equality

Selected and introduced by Sarah A. Morgan Smith

Overview & List of Documents

This collection of documents continues the Ashbrook Center’s extended series of document collections covering major periods, themes, and institutions in American history and government. It is the second volume in the series to focus specifically on the history of women in the United States. Gender and Equality is focused on the contested meaning of gender equality, examining that question in the realms of home, education, work, and participation in civic and political affairs. Then too, the collection considers the additional complication of race, both before and after emancipation. Indeed, one of the most powerful themes of the collection is the intersection of race and gender in the lives of women, and the sometimes conflicting demands each placed on the practical application of the principle of equality. 

  • Phyllis Wheatley, “On Virtue,” 1766
  • Edenton Ladies’ Agreement, October 27, 1774
  • Esther Reed, The Sentiments of an American Woman, January 1780
  • Judith Sargent Murray, “On the Equality of the Sexes,” March and April 1790
  • New Jersey State Legislature, Voter Qualification Law, November 16, 1807
  • [Catharine Beecher], CIRCULAR: Addressed to Benevolent Ladies of the United States, December 1829
  • Maria W. Miller Stewart, Lecture Delivered at Franklin Hall, September 21, 1832
  • Lowell Factory Girls Association, Constitution, September 26, 1836
  • Sarah Grimké, Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women, 1837
  • John Quincy Adams, “The Right of the People, Men and Women, to Petition,” June 16–July 7, 1838
  • Sarah G. Bagley, “The Ten Hour System,” November 1845
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments, July 19, 1848
  • Sojourner Truth, Remarks at the Women’s Rights Convention, June 21, 1851
  • Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell, Marriage Protest, May 2, 1855
  • H. B. Anthony, Henry Ward Beecher, Wm. H. Channing, et al., Consistent Democracy, 1858
  • Elizabeth Packard, Marital Power Exemplified ... , 1870
  • Catharine E. Beecher, “An Address on Female Suffrage,” 1870
  • Victoria C. Woodhull, “Memorial” and “Constitutional Equality,” December 19, 1870, and January 2, 1871
  • Morrison Waite, Minor v. Happerset, March 29, 1875
  • Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States, July 4, 1876
  • National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, Some Reasons Why We Oppose Votes for Women, 1894
  • Clara Foltz, “Should Women Be Executed?,” November 14, 1896
  • Ida B. Wells-Barnett, “Lynch Law in America,” January 1900
  • Jane Addams, “Filial Relations,” 1902
  • Jane Addams, The Modern City and the Municipal Franchise for Women,
  • David J. Brewer, Muller v. Oregon, 1908
  • Margaret Sanger, “Voluntary Motherhood,” March 1917
  • Crystal Eastman, “Now We Can Begin,” December 1, 1920
  • Mary Church Terrell, “The Black Mammy Monument,” 1923
  • Alice Paul and Benjamin Loring Young, “Equal Rights Amendment to the Federal Constitution,” February 1924
  • Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, 1963
  • Robin Morgan, Press Release and Open Letter Inviting Women to Attend the Miss America Protest, August 22, 1968
  • Shirley Chisholm, “For the Equal Rights Amendment,” May 21, 1969, and August 10, 1970
  • Harry Blackmun, et al., Roe v. Wade, 1973
  • Sonia Sotomayor, “A Latina Judge’s Voice,” October 26, 2001
  • Phyllis Schlafly, “‘Equal Rights’ for Women: Wrong Then, Wrong Now,” April 8, 2007
  • Joseph Biden and Barack Obama, Remarks at the Signing of the Violence against Women Act, March 7, 2013