Let the identity and interest of the husband be merged in the wife.

Title

Let the identity and interest of the husband be merged in the wife.

Description

For a marvelous recent assessment of Ernestine Rose, stop here and read @JudithShulevitz in @nybooks 

Then come back and we’ll talk a little bit about when women were property.

As far as I know white men didn’t mortgage their wives, using them as human collateral the way enslaved people were used. But in every other way a married woman was her husband’s property - she herself ceased to exist.

Ernestine Rose had been in America not six months when...

...she began lobbying for change. Rose went door to door gathering signatures in support of a state law to let married women own their own property. Passing the law in NY took 12 years; working women’s wages weren’t protected until an amendment in 1860.

When the initial bill passed in 1848, it generated some of the interest that led to the Seneca Falls convening. By that time, Rose had met other activist women, inc Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and together they led national women’s rights conventions every year until the Civil War.

At the 1851 Woman’s Rights Convention, Ernestine Rose gave one of her greatest speeches.

“At marriage she loses her entire identity, and her being is said to have become merged in her husband. Has nature thus merged it? Has she ceased to exist and feel pleasure and pain?

“And if the merger of the interest of one being into the other is a necessary consequence on marriage, why should woman always remain on the losing side? Turn the tables. Let the identity and interest of the husband be merged in the wife.”

For 🙌 context, see @BonnieA100’s book👇

Creator

Daily Suffragist

Date

12/12/2019

Files

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Citation

Daily Suffragist, “Let the identity and interest of the husband be merged in the wife.,” Daily Suffragist, accessed October 16, 2021, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/185.

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