A Short History of Women's Rights
Eugene A. Hecker

Part 3 out of 5

Under the older common law the husband was very much lord of all he
surveyed and even more. An old enactment thus describes a husband's
duty[395]: "He shall treat and _govern_ the aforesaid A well and
decently, and shall not inflict nor cause to be inflicted any injury
upon the aforesaid A except in so far as he may lawfully and reasonably
do so in accordance with _the right of a husband to correct and chastise
his wife_." Blackstone, who wrote in 1763, has this to say on the
husband's power to chastise his wife: "The husband also, by the old law,
might give his wife moderate correction. For, as he is to answer for her
misbehaviour, the law thought it reasonable to intrust him with this
power of restraining her, by domestic chastisement, in the same
moderation that a man is allowed to correct his apprentices or children,
for whom the master or parent is also liable in some cases to answer.
But this power of correction was confined within reasonable bounds, and
the husband was prohibited from using any violence to his wife _aliter
quam ad, virum, ex causa regiminis et castigationis uxoris suae, licite
et rationabiliter pertinet_.[396] The civil law gave the husband the
same, or a larger, authority over his wife; allowing him for some
misdemeanours _flagellis et fustibus acriter verberare uxorem_ [to give
his wife a severe beating with whips and clubs]; for others, only
_modicam castigationem adhibere_ [to apply moderate correction]. But
with us in the politer reign of Charles the Second, this power of
correction began to be doubted; and a wife may now have security of the
peace against her husband, or, in return, a husband against his wife.
Yet the lower rank of people, who were always fond of the old common
law, still claim and exert their ancient privilege; and the courts of
law will still permit a husband to restrain a wife of her liberty, in
case of any gross misbehaviour." Doubtless what Mr. Weller, Sr.,
describes as the "amiable weakness" of wife-beating was not necessarily
confined to the "lower rank." For instance, some of the courtly
gentlemen of the reign of Queen Anne were probably not averse to
exercising their old-time prerogative. Says Sir Richard Steele
(_Spectator_, 479): "I can not deny but there are Perverse Jades that
fall to Men's Lots, with whom it requires more than common Proficiency
in Philosophy to be able to live. When these are joined to men of warm
Spirits, without Temper or Learning, they are frequently corrected with
Stripes; but one of our famous Lawyers is of opinion, That this ought to
be used sparingly." The law was, indeed, even worse than might appear
from the words of Blackstone. The wife who feared unreasonable violence
could, to be sure, bind her husband to keep the peace; but she had no
action against him. A husband who killed his wife was guilty of murder,
but the wife who slew her husband was adjudged guilty of petty treason;
and whereas the man would be merely drawn and hanged, the woman, until
the reign of George III, was drawn and burnt alive.[397]

The right of a husband to restrain a wife's liberty may not be said to
have become completely obsolete until the case of _Reg. v. Jackson in
1891_.[398] Wife-beating is still a flagrantly common offence in

[Sidenote: Wife's property in marriage.]

Turning now to the question of the wife's property in marriage, we shall
be forced to believe that Blackstone was an optimist of unusual
magnitude when he wrote that the female sex was "so great a favourite of
the laws of England." Not to weary the reader by minute details, I
cannot do better than give Messrs. Pollock and Maitland's excellent
summary of the final shape taken by the common law--a glaring piece of
injustice, worthy of careful reading, and in complete accord with
Apostolic injunctions: "I. In the lands of which the wife is tenant in
fee, whether they belonged to her at the date of the marriage or came to
her during the marriage, the husband has an estate which will endure
during the marriage, and this he can alienate without her concurrence.
If a child is born of the marriage, thenceforth the husband as 'tenant
by courtesy' has an estate which will endure for the whole of his life,
and this he can alienate without the wife's concurrence. The husband by
himself has no greater power of alienation than is here stated; he
cannot confer an estate which will endure after the end of the marriage
or (as the case may be) after his own death. The wife has during the
marriage no power to alienate her land without her husband's
concurrence. The only process by which the fee can be alienated is a
_fine_ to which both husband and wife are parties and to which she gives
her assent after a separate examination.

"II. A widow is entitled to enjoy for her life under the name of dower
one third of any land of which the husband was seised in fee at any time
during the marriage. The result of this is that during the marriage the
husband cannot alienate his own land so as to bar his wife's right of
dower, unless this is done with her concurrence, and her concurrence is
ineffectual unless the conveyance is made by _fine_." [This
inconvenience for an unscrupulous husband was evaded in modern
conveyancy by a device of extreme ingenuity finally perfected only in
the eighteenth century. Professor James Bryce remarks (p. 820): "As this
right (i.e., the right of dower) interfered with the husband's power of
freely disposing of his own land, the lawyers at once set about to find
means of evading it, and found these partly in legal processes by which
the wife, her consent being ascertained by the courts, parted with her
right, partly by an ingenious device whereby lands could be conveyed to
a husband without the right of dower attaching to them, partly by giving
the wife a so-called jointure which barred her claim."]

"III. Our law institutes no community, even of movables, between husband
and wife. Whatever movables the wife has at the date of the marriage
become the husband's, and the husband is entitled to take possession of
and thereby to make his own whatever movables she becomes entitled to
during the marriage, and without her concurrence he can sue for all
debts that are due her. On his death, however, she becomes entitled to
all movables and debts that are outstanding, or (as the phrase goes)
have not been 'reduced into possession.' What the husband gets
possession of is simply his; he can freely dispose of it _inter vivos_
or by will. In the main, for this purpose as for other purposes, a 'term
of years' is treated as a chattel, but under an exceptional rule the
husband, though he can alienate his wife's 'chattel real' _inter vivos_,
cannot dispose of it by his will. If he has not alienated it _inter
vivos_, it will be hers if she survives him. If he survives her, he is
entitled to her 'chattels real' and is also entitled to be made the
administrator of her estate. In that capacity he has a right to whatever
movables or debts have not yet been 'reduced into possession' and, when
the debts have been paid, he keeps these goods as his own. If she dies
in his lifetime, she can have no other intestate successor. Without his
consent she can make no will, and any consent that he may have given is
revocable at any time before the will is proved.

"IV. Our common law--but we have seen that this rule is not very
old--assured no share of the husband's personality to the widow. He can,
even by his will, give all of it away from her except her necessary
clothes, and with that exception his creditors can take all of it. A
further exception, of which there is not much to be read, is made of
jewels, trinkets, and ornaments of the person, under the name of
paraphernalia. The husband may sell or give these away in his lifetime,
and even after his death they may be taken for his debts; but he cannot
give them away by will. If the husband dies during the wife's life and
dies intestate she is entitled to a third, or, if there be no living
descendant of the husband, to one half of his personality [but see the
note of Bryce, above]. But this is a case of pure intestate succession;
she only has a share of what is left after payment of her husband's

"V. During the marriage the husband is in effect liable to the whole
extent of his property for debts incurred or wrongs committed by his
wife before the marriage, also for wrongs committed during the marriage.
The action is against him and her as co-defendants. If the marriage is
dissolved by his death, she is liable, his estate is not. If the
marriage is dissolved by her death, he is liable as her administrator,
but only to the extent of the property which he takes in that
character." [Mr. Ashton, in his very interesting book, p. 31, quotes a
peculiar note from a Parish Register in the reign of Queen Anne to this
effect: "John Bridmore and Anne Sellwood, both of Chiltern all Saints,
were married October 17, 1714. The aforesaid Anne Sellwood was married
in her Smock, without any clothes or headgier on." "This is not
uncommon," remarks Mr. Ashton, "the object being, according to a vulgar
error, to exempt the husband from the payment of any debts his wife may
have contracted in her ante-nuptial condition. This error seems to have
been founded on a misconception of the law, as it is laid down 'the
husband is liable for the wife's debts, because he acquires an absolute
interest in the personal estate of his wife.' An unlearned person from
this might conclude, and not unreasonably, that if his wife had no
estate whatever he could not incur any liability."]

"VI. During the marriage the wife cannot contract on her own behalf. She
can contract as her husband's agent and has a certain power of pledging
his credit in the purchase of necessaries. At the end of the Middle Ages
it is very doubtful how far this power is to be explained by an 'implied
agency.' The tendency of more recent times has been to allow her no
power that cannot be thus explained, except in the exceptional case of

A perusal of these laws shows that they are immensely inferior to the
Roman law, which not only gave the wife full control of her property,
but protected her from coercion and bullying on the part of the husband.
The amendment of these injustices has been very recent indeed.
Successive statutes in 1870, 1874, and 1882[399] finally abrogated the
law which gave the husband full ownership of his wife's property by the
mere act of marriage. Beginning with the year 1857, too, enlightenment
in England had progressed to such a remarkable degree that certain acts
were passed forbidding a husband to seize his wife's earnings and
neglect her[400]; and she was actually allowed to keep her own wages
after the desertion of her lord. Before that time he might desert his
wife repeatedly, and return from time to time to take away her earnings
and sell everything she had acquired. An act in 1886 (_49 and 50 Vict.,
c. 52_) gave magistrates the power to order a husband to pay his wife a
weekly sum, not exceeding two pounds, for her support and that of the
children if it appeared to the magistrates that the deserting husband
had the means of maintaining her, but was unwilling to do so. Still,
the husband can at any time terminate his desertion and force his wife
to take him back on penalty of losing all rights to such maintenance.
There was frantic opposition to all of these revolutionary enactments
and many prophets arose crying woe; but the acts finally passed and
England still lives.

[Sidenote: Divorce. Authorities as above; and Howard, ii, 3-117.]

Until the Reformation divorce was regulated by the canon law in
accordance with the principles which I have explained. After the
Reformation the matter at once assumed a different aspect because all
Protestants agreed in denying that marriage is a sacrament. Scotland in
this as in other respects has been more liberal than England; as early
as 1573 desertion as well as adultery had become grounds for divorce.
But in England the force of the canon law continued. In Blackstone's day
there were still, as under the canon law, only two kinds of separation.
Complete dissolution of the marriage tie (_a vinculo matrimonii_) took
place only on a declaration of the Ecclesiastical Court that on account
of some canonical impediment, like consanguinity, the marriage was null
and void from the beginning. Separation "from bed and board" (_a mensa
et thoro_) simply gave the parties permission no longer to live together
and was allowed for adultery or some other grave offences, like
intolerable cruelty or a chronic disease. However, some time before
Blackstone's day it had become the habit to get a dissolution of
marriage _a vinculo matrimonii_ for adultery by Act of Parliament; but
the legal process was so tedious, minute, and expensive that only the
very rich could afford the luxury.[401] In the case of a separation _a
mensa et thoro_ alimony was allowed the wife for her support out of her
husband's estate at the discretion of the ecclesiastical judges.

The initiative in divorce by Act of Parliament was usually taken by the
husband; not until 1801 did a woman have the temerity so to assert her
rights. The fact is, ever since the dawn of history society has, with
its usual double standard of morality for men and women, insisted that
while the husband must never tolerate infidelity on the part of the
wife, the wife should bear with meekness the adulteries of her husband.
Plutarch in his _Conjugal Precepts_ so advises a wife; and this pious
frame of mind has continued down the centuries to the present day.
Devout old Jeremy Taylor in his _Holy Living_--a book which is read by
few, but praised by many--thus counsels the suffering wife[402]: "But
if, after all the fair deportments and innocent chaste compliances, the
husband be morose and ungentle, let the wife discourse thus: 'If, while
I do my duty, my husband neglects me, what will he do if I neglect him?'
And if she thinks to be separated by reason of her husband's unchaste
life, let her consider that the man will be incurably ruined, and her
rivals could wish nothing more than that they might possess him alone."
Dr. Samuel Johnson ably seconded the holy Jeremy's advice by declaring
that there is a boundless difference between the infidelity of the man
and that of the woman. In the husband's case "the man imposes no
bastards upon his wife." Therefore, "wise married women don't trouble
themselves about infidelity in their husbands."[403] Until very recent
times not only men but also women have been unanimous in counselling
abject submission to and humble adoration of the husband. A single
example out of hundreds will serve excellently as a pattern. In 1821 a
"Lady of Distinction" writes to a "Relation Shortly after Her Marriage"
as follows[404]: "The most perfect and implicit faith in the superiority
of a husband's judgment, and the most absolute obedience to his desires,
is not only the conduct that will insure the greatest success, but will
give the most entire satisfaction. It will take from you a thousand
cares, which would have answered to no purpose; it will relieve you from
a weight of thought that would be very painful, and in no way
profitable.... It has its origin in reason, in justice, in nature, and
in the law of God.... I have told you how you may, and how people who
are married do, get a likeness of countenance; and in that I have done
it. You will understand me, that by often looking at your husband's
face, by smiling on the occasions on which he does, by frowning on those
things which make him frown, and by viewing all things in the light in
which you perceive he does, you will acquire that likeness of
countenance which it is an honour to possess, because it is a testimony
of love.... When your temper and your thoughts are formed upon those of
your husband, according to the plan which I have laid down, you will
perceive that you have no will, no pleasure, but what is also his. This
is the character the wife of prudence would be apt to assume; she would
make herself the mirror, to show, unaltered, and without aggravation,
diminution, or distortion, the thoughts, the sentiments, and the
resolutions of her husband. She would have no particular design, no
opinion, no thought, no passion, no approbation, no dislike, but what
should be conformable to his own judgment ... I would have her judgment
seem the reflecting mirror to his determination; and her form the shadow
of his body, conforming itself to his several positions, and following
it in all its movements ... I would not have you silent; nay, when
trifles are the subject, talk as much as any of them; but distinguish
when the discourse turns upon things of importance."

It is not strange, therefore, that no woman protested publicly against
a husband's infidelity until 1801. Up to 1840 there were but three cases
of a woman's taking the initiative in divorce, namely, in 1801, 1831,
and 1840; and in each case the man's adultery was aggravated by other
offences. In two other suits the Lords rejected the petition of the
wife, although the misconduct of the husband was clearly proved. But
redress was still by the elaborate machinery of Act of Parliament and
hence a luxury only for the wealthy until 1857, when a special Court for
Divorce and Matrimonial Causes was established.[405] Nevertheless, the
law as it stands to-day is not of a character to excite admiration or to
prove the existence of the proverbial "British Fair Play." A husband can
obtain a divorce upon proof of his wife's infidelity; but the wife can
get it only by proving, in addition to the husband's adultery, either
that it was aggravated by bigamy or incest or that it was accompanied by
cruelty or by two years' desertion. Misconduct by the husband bars him
from obtaining a divorce. The court is empowered to regulate at its
discretion the property rights of divorced people and the custody of the
children.[406] All attempts have failed to make the law recognise that
the misconduct of the husband shall be regarded equally as culpable as
the wife's.

[Sidenote: Rape and the age of legal consent.]

We may pause a moment to glance at the provisions made by the criminal
law for protecting women. The offence that most closely touches women is
rape. The punishment of this in Blackstone's day was death[407]; but in
the next century the death penalty was repealed and transportation for
life substituted.[408] The saddest blot on a presumably Christian
civilisation connected with this matter is the so-called "age of legal
consent." Under the older Common Law this was _ten_ or _twelve;_ in 1885
it was _thirteen_, at which period a girl was supposed to be at an age
to know what she was doing. But in the year 1885 Mr. Stead told the
London public very plainly those hideous truths about crimes against
young girls which everybody knew very well had been going on for
centuries, but which no one ever before had dared to assert. The result
was that Parliament raised the "age of legal consent" to sixteen, where
it now stands.[409] The idea that any girl of this age is sufficiently
mature to know what she is doing by consenting to the lust of scoundrels
is a fine commentary on the acuteness of the legal intellect and the
high moral convictions of legislators.

[Sidenote: Women's rights to an education.]

The rights of women to a higher education is distinctly a movement of
the last half of the nineteenth century. It is true that throughout
history there are many examples of remarkably well-educated women--Lady
Jane Grey, for example, or Queen Elizabeth, or Olympia Morata, in Italy,
she who in the golden period of the Renaissance became a professor at
sixteen and wrote dialogues in Greek after the manner of Plato. But on
looking closely into these instances we shall find first that these
ladies were of noble rank and only thanks to their lofty position had
access to knowledge; and secondly that they stand out as isolated
cases--the great masses of women never dreamed beyond the traditional
Kleider, Kueche, Kinder, and Kirche. That an elementary education,
consisting of reading, writing, and simple arithmetic, was offered them
freely by hospital, monastery, and the like schools even as early as
Chaucer--this we know; nevertheless, beyond that they were not supposed
to aspire. So very recently, indeed, have women secured the rights to a
higher education that many thousands to-day can easily recall the
intensely bitter attacks which were directed against colleges like
Wellesley and Bryn Mawr in their inception. Until the middle of the
nineteenth century the whole education--what there was of it--of a girl
was arranged primarily with a view to capture a husband and, once having
him secure, to be his loving slave, to dwell with adoring rapture on his
superior learning, and to be humbly grateful if her liege deigned from
time to time to throw his spouse some scraps of knowledge which might be
safely administered without danger of making her think for herself.
These facts no one can well deny; but a few instances of prevalent
opinion, in addition to those which I have already quoted, will afford
the amusement of concrete examples.

Mrs. Chapone, in the eighteenth century, advised her niece to avoid the
study of classics and science lest she "excite envy in one sex and
jealousy in the other." Lady Mary Wortley Montagu laments thus: "There
is hardly a creature in the world more despicable and more liable to
universal ridicule than a learned woman," and "folly is reckoned so much
our proper sphere, we are sooner pardoned any excesses of that than the
least pretensions to reading and good sense." Pursuant to the prevailing
sentiment on the education of women, the subjects which they studied and
the books which they were allowed to read were carefully regulated. As
to their reading, it was confined to romantic tales whereof the
exceeding insipidity could not awaken any symptom of intelligence. Lyly
dedicated his _Euphues_ to the "Ladies and Gentlewomen of England" and
Sidney's _Arcadia_ owed its vast success to its female readers.

The subjects studied followed the orthodox views. Beginning with the
reign of Queen Anne boarding-schools for girls became very numerous. At
these schools "young Gentlewomen" were "soberly educated" and "taught
all sorts of learning fit for young Gentlewomen." The "learning fit for
young Gentlewomen" comprised "the Needle, Dancing, and the French
tongue; a little Music on the Harpsichord or Spinet, to read, write, and
cast accounts in a small way." Dancing was the all-important study,
since this was the surest route to their Promised Land, matrimony. The
study of French consisted in learning parrot-like a modicum of that
language pronounced according to the fancy of the speaker. As, however,
the young beau probably did not know any more himself, the end justified
the means. Studies like history, when pursued, were taken in
homoeopathic doses from small compendiums; and it was adequate to know
that Charlemagne lived somewhere in Europe about a thousand or so years
ago. Yet even this was rather advanced work and exposed the woman to be
damned by the report that she was educated. Ability to cook was not
despised and pastry schools were not uncommon. Thus in the time of
Queen Anne appears this: "To all Young Ladies: at Edw. Kidder's Pastry
School in little Lincoln's Inn Fields are taught all Sorts of Pastry and
Cookery, Dutch hollow works, and Butter Works," etc.

At last in the first decades of the nineteenth century the civilised
world began slowly to take some thought of women's higher education and
to wake up to the fact that because a certain system has been in vogue
since created man does not necessarily mean that it is the right one; a
very heretical and revolutionary idea, which has always been and still
is ably opposed by that great host of people who have steadily
maintained that when men and women once begin to think for themselves
society must inevitably run to ruin. In 1843 there was established a
certain Governesses' Benevolent Institution. This was in its inception a
society to afford relief to governesses, i.e., women engaged in
tutoring, who might be temporarily in straits, and to raise annuities
for those who were past doing work. Obviously this would suggest the
question of what a competent governess was; and this in turn led to the
demand for a diploma as a warrant of efficiency. That called attention
to the extreme ignorance of the members of the profession; and it was
soon felt that classes of instruction were needed. A sum of money was
accordingly collected in 1846 and given the Institution for that
purpose. Some eminent professors of King's College volunteered to
lecture; and so, on a small scale to be sure, began what is now Queen's
College, the first college for women in England, incorporated by Royal
Charter in 1853. In 1849 Bedford College for women had been founded in
London through the unselfish labours of Mrs. Reid; but it did not
receive its charter until 1869. Within a decade Cheltenham, Girton,
Newnham, and other colleges for women had arisen. Eight of the ten men's
universities of Great Britain now allow examinations and degrees to
women also; Oxford and Cambridge do not.

[Sidenote: Women in the professions.]

Since then women's right to any higher education which they may wish to
embrace has been permanently assured. As early as 1868 Edinburgh opened
its courses in pharmacy to women. In 1895 there were already 264 duly
qualified female physicians in Great Britain. In many schools they are
allowed to study with men, as at the College of Physicians and Surgeons
at Edinburgh; there are four medical schools for women only. We find
women now actively engaged in agriculture, apiculture, poultry-keeping,
horticulture; in library work and indexing; in stenography; in all
trades and professions. The year 1893 witnessed the first appointment of
women as factory inspectors, two being chosen that year in London and in
Glasgow. Nottingham had chosen women as sanitary inspectors in 1892.
Thus in about two decades woman has advanced farther than in the
combined ages which preceded. Before these very modern movements we may
say that the stage was the only profession which had offered them any
opportunity of earning their living in a dignified way. It seems that a
Mrs. Coleman, in 1656, was the first female to act on the stage in
England; before that, all female parts had been taken by boys or young
men. A Mrs. Sanderson played Desdemona in 1660 at the Clare Market
Theatre. In 1661, as we may see from Pepys' _Diary_ (Feb. 12, 1661), an
actress was still a novelty; but within a few decades there were already
many famous ones.

[Sidenote: Woman suffrage in England]

We have seen that now woman has obtained practically all rights on a par
with men. There are still grave injustices, as in divorce; but the
battle is substantially won. One right still remains for her to win, the
right, namely, to vote, not merely on issues such as education--this
privilege she has had for some time--but on all political questions; and
connected with this is the right to hold political office. We may
fittingly close this chapter by a review of the history of the agitation
for woman suffrage.

In the year 1797 Charles Fox remarked: "It has never been suggested in
all the theories and projects of the most absurd speculation, that it
would be advisable to extend the elective suffrage to the female sex."
Yet five years before Mary Wollstonecraft had published her _Vindication
of the Rights of Women_. Presently the writings of Harriet Martineau
upon political economy proved that women could really think on politics.

We may say that the general public first began to think seriously on the
matter after the epoch-making Reform Act of 1832. This celebrated
measure admitted L10 householders to the right to vote and carefully
excluded females; yet it marked a new era in the awakening of civic
consciousness: women had taken active part in the attendant campaigns;
and the very fact that "male persons" needed now to be so specifically
designated in the bill, whereas hitherto "persons" and "freeholders" had
been deemed sufficient, attests the recognition of a new factor in
political life.

In 1865 John Stuart Mill was elected to Parliament. That able thinker
had written on _The Subjection of Women_ and was ready to champion their
rights. A petition was prepared under the direction of women like Mrs.
Bodichon and Miss Davies; and in 1867 Mill proposed in Parliament that
the word _man_ be omitted from the People's Bill and _person_
substituted. The amendment was rejected, 196 to 83.

Nevertheless, the agitation was continued. The next year constitutional
lawyers like Mr. Chisholm Anstey decided that women might be legally
entitled to vote; and 5000 of them applied to be registered. In a test
case brought before the Court of Common Pleas the verdict was adverse,
on the ground that it was contrary to usage for women to vote. The
fight went on. Mr. Jacob Bright in 1870 introduced a "Bill to Remove the
Electoral Disabilities of Women" and lost. In 1884 Mr. William Woodall
tried again; he lost also, largely through the efforts of Gladstone; and
the same statesman was instrumental in killing another bill in 1892,
when Mr. A.J. Balfour urged its passage.

At the present day women in England cannot vote on great questions of
universal state policy nor can they hold great offices of state. Yet
their gains have been enormous, as I shall next demonstrate; and in this
connection I shall also glance briefly at their vast strides in the

In 1850 Ontario gave all women school suffrage. In 1867 New South Wales
gave them municipal suffrage. In 1869 England granted municipal suffrage
to single women and widows; Victoria gave it to all women, married or
single. In England in 1870 the Education Act, by which school boards
were created, gave women the same rights as men, both as regards
electing and being elected. In 1871 West Australia gave them municipal
suffrage; in 1878 New Zealand gave school suffrage. In 1880 South
Australia gave municipal suffrage. In 1881 widows and single women
obtained municipal suffrage in Scotland and Parliamentary suffrage on
the Isle of Man. Municipal suffrage was given by Ontario and Tasmania in
1884 and by New Zealand and New Brunswick in 1886; by Nova Scotia and
Manitoba in 1887. In 1888 England gave women county suffrage and British
Columbia and the North-West Territory gave them municipal suffrage. In
1889 county suffrage was given the women of Scotland and municipal
suffrage to single women and widows in the Province of Quebec. In 1893
New Zealand gave full suffrage. In 1894 parish and district suffrage was
given in England to women married and single, with power to elect and to
be elected to parish and district councils. In 1895 South Australia gave
full state suffrage to all women. In 1898 the women of Ireland were
given the right to vote for all officers except members of Parliament.
In 1900 West Australia granted full state suffrage to all. In 1902 full
national suffrage was given all the women in federated Australia and
full state suffrage to those of New South Wales. In 1903 Tasmania gave
full state suffrage; in 1905 Queensland did the same; in 1908 Victoria
followed. In 1907 England made women eligible as mayors, aldermen, and
county and town councillors. In London, for example, at the present time
women can vote for the 28 borough councils and 31 boards of guardians of
the London City Council; they can also be themselves elected to these;
be members of the central unemployed body or of the 23 district
committees, and can be co-opted to all other bodies, like the local
pension committees. Women can be aldermen of the Council; and there is
nothing to prevent one from holding even the office of chairman.

At the present moment the cause of woman suffrage in England is being
furthered chiefly by two organizations which differ in methods. The
National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies has adopted the
"constitutional" or peaceful policy; but the National Women's Social and
Political Union is "militant" and coercive.


I. The English Statutes. Published by Authority during the Various

II. Studies in History and Jurisprudence: by James Bryce. Oxford
University Press, 1901. Pages 782-859 on "Marriage and Divorce."

III. History of English Law: by Frederick Pollock and Frederic Maitland.
2 vols. Cambridge University Press, 1898--second edition.

IV. Commentaries on the Laws of England: by Sir William Blackstone. With
notes selected from the editions of Archbold, Christian, Coleridge,
etc., and additional notes by George Sharswood, of the University of
Pennsylvania. 2 vols. Philadelphia, 1860--Childs and Peterson, 602 Arch

V. A History of Matrimonial Institutions, chiefly in England and the
United States: by George Elliott Howard. 4 vols. The University of
Chicago Press, 1904.

VI. Social England: edited by H.D. Traill. 6 vols. G.P. Putnam's Sons,

VII. Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, taken from original
sources: by John Ashton. London, Chatto and Windus, 1897.

VIII. The Renaissance of Girls' Education in England: by Alice Zimmern.
London, A.D. Innes and Co., 1898.

IX. Progress in Women's Education in the British Empire: edited by the
Countess of Warwick. Being the Report of the Education Section,
Victorian Era Exhibition, 1897. Longmans, Green, & Co., 1898.

X. Current Literature from the Earliest Times to the Present Day,
references to which are noted as they occur.


[393] If a woman sentenced to execution declared she was pregnant, a
jury of twelve matrons could be appointed on a writ _de venire
inspiciendo_ to determine the truth of the matter; for she could not be
executed if the infant was alive in the womb. The same jury determined
the case of a widow who feigned herself with child in order to exclude
the next heir and when she was suspected of trying to palm off a
supposititious birth. But from all other jury duties women have always
been excluded "on account of the weakness of the sex"--_propter defectum

[394] Blackstone, i, ch. 16.

[395] Reg. Brev. Orig., f. 89: quod ipse praefatam A bene et honeste
tractabit et gubernabit, ac damnum vel malum aliquod eidem A de corpore
suo, aliter quam ad virum suum ex causa regiminis et castigationis
uxoris suae licite et rationabiliter pertinet, non faciet nec fieri

[396] "Except in so far as he may lawfully and reasonably do so in order
to correct and chastise his wife."

[397] The learned commentator Christian adds a few more cases where
formerly the criminal law was harshly prejudiced against women. Thus:
"By the Common Law, all women were denied the benefit of clergy; and
till the 3 and 4 _W. and M_., c. 9 [William and Mary] they received
sentence of death and might have been executed for the first offence in
simple larceny, bigamy, manslaughter, etc., however learned they were,
merely because their sex precluded the possibility of their taking holy
orders; though a man who could read was for the same crime subject only
to burning in the hand and a few months' imprisonment."

[398] I Q.B. p. 671--in the Court of Appeal.

[399] _Married Women's Property Act_, 45 and 46 V., c. 75--Aug. 18,

[400] Note this incident, from the _Westminister Review_, October, 1856:
"A lady whose husband had been unsuccessful in business established
herself as a milliner in Manchester. After some years of toil she
realised sufficient for the family to live upon comfortably, the husband
having done nothing meanwhile. They lived for a time in easy
circumstances after she gave up business and then the husband died,
_bequeathing all his wife's earnings to his own illegitimate children_.
At the age of 62 she was compelled, in order to gain her bread, to
return to business."

[401] For a full account of the elaborate machinery see Chitty's note to
Blackstone, vol. i, p. 441, of Sharswood's edition.

[402] _Holy Living, ch. 3, section I: Rules for Married Persons._

[403] Boswell, vii, 288. Perhaps if the venerable Samuel had had the
statistics of venereal disease given by adulterous husbands to wives and
children he might not have been so sure of his contention.

[404] Quoted by Professor Thomas in the _American Magazine_, July, 1909.

[405] See 20 and 21 V., c. 85--Aug. 28. 1857.

[406] See 7 Edw., c. 12--Aug. 9, 1907--Matrimonial Causes Act, which
also gives the court discretion in alimony.

[407] Blackstone, iv, ch. 15.

[408] 4 _and_ 5 _V., c._ 56, _s._ 3.

[409] The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885, 48 _and_ 49 _V. c._ 69,
section 5: "Any person who (1) unlawfully and carnally knows or attempts
to have unlawful carnal knowledge of any girl being of or above the age
of thirteen years and under the age of sixteen, or (2) unlawfully and
carnally knows or attempts to have carnal knowledge of any female idiot
or imbecile woman or girl under circumstances which do not amount to
rape, but which prove that the offender knew at the time of the
commission of the offence that the woman or girl was an idiot or
imbecile, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof
shall be liable at the discretion of the Court to be imprisoned for any
term not exceeding two years, with or without hard labour." Section 4:
"Any one who unlawfully and carnally knows any girl under the age of
thirteen shall be guilty of felony, and being convicted thereof shall be
liable to be kept in penal servitude for life." Any one who merely
attempts it can be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years, with
or without hard labour.



It has been my aim, in this short history of the growth of women's
rights, to depict for the most part the strictly legal aspect of the
matter; but from time to time I have interposed some typical
illustration of public opinion, in order to bring into greater
prominence the ferment that was going on or the misery which existed
behind the scenes. A history of legal processes might otherwise, from
the coldness of the laws, give few hints of the conflicts of human
passion which combined to set those processes in motion. Before I
present the history of the progress of women's rights in the United
States, I shall place before the reader some extracts which are typical
and truly representative of the opposition which from the beginning of
the agitation to the present day has voiced itself in all ranks of life.
Let the reader bear carefully in mind that from 1837 to the beginning of
the twentieth century such abuse as that which I shall quote as typical
was hurled from ten thousand throats of men and women unceasingly; that
Mrs. Stanton, Miss Anthony, and Mrs. Gage were hissed, insulted, and
offered physical violence by mobs in New York[410] and Boston to an
extent inconceivable in this age; and that the marvellously unselfish
labour of such women as these whom I have mentioned and of men like
Wendell Phillips is alone responsible for the improvement in the legal
status of women, which I propose to trace in detail. Some expressions of
the popular attitude follow:

[Sidenote: Examples of opposition to women's rights.]

From a speech of the Rev. Knox-Little at the Church of St. Clements in
Philadelphia in 1880: "God made himself to be born of a woman to
sanctify the virtue of endurance; loving submission is an attribute of a
woman; men are logical, but women, lacking this quality, have an
intricacy of thought. There are those who think women can be taught
logic; this is a mistake. They can never by any power of education
arrive at the same mental status as that enjoyed by men, but they have a
quickness of apprehension, which is usually called leaping at
conclusions, that is astonishing. There, then, we have distinctive
traits of a woman, namely, endurance, loving submission, and quickness
of apprehension. Wifehood is the crowning glory of a woman. In it she is
bound for all time. To her husband she owes the duty of unqualified
obedience. There is no crime which a man can commit which justifies his
wife in leaving him or applying for that monstrous thing, divorce. It
is her duty to subject herself to him always, and no crime that he can
commit can justify her lack of obedience. If he be a bad or wicked man,
she may gently remonstrate with him, but refuse him never. Let divorce
be anathema; curse it; curse this accursed thing, divorce; curse it,
curse it! Think of the blessedness of having children. I am the father
of many children and there have been those who have ventured to pity me.
'Keep your pity for yourself,' I have replied, 'they never cost me a
single pang.' In this matter let woman exercise that endurance and
loving submission which, with intricacy of thought, are their only

From the Philadelphia _Public Ledger and Daily Transcript_, July 20,
1848: "Our Philadelphia ladies not only possess beauty, but they are
celebrated for discretion, modesty, and unfeigned diffidence, as well as
wit, vivacity, and good nature. Who ever heard of a Philadelphia lady
setting up for a reformer or standing out for woman's rights, or
assisting to _man_ the election grounds [_sic_], raise a regiment,
command a legion, or address a jury? Our ladies glow with a higher
ambition. They soar to rule the hearts of their worshippers, and secure
obedience by the sceptre of affection.... But all women are not as
reasonable as ours of Philadelphia. The Boston ladies contend for the
rights of women. The New York girls aspire to mount the rostrum, to do
all the voting, and, we suppose, all the fighting, too.... Our
Philadelphia girls object to fighting and holding office. They prefer
the baby-jumper to the study of Coke and Lyttleton, and the ball-room to
the Palo Alto battle. They object to having a George Sand for President
of the United States; a Corinna for Governor; a Fanny Wright for Mayor;
or a Mrs. Partington for Postmaster.... Women have enough influence over
human affairs without being politicians.... A woman is nobody. A wife is
everything. A pretty girl is equal to ten thousand men, and a mother is,
next to God, all powerful.... The ladies of Philadelphia, therefore,
under the influence of the most 'sober second thoughts' are resolved to
maintain their rights as Wives, Belles, Virgins, and Mothers, and not as

From the "Editor's Table" of _Harper's New Monthly Magazine_, November,
1853: "Woman's Rights, or the movement that goes under that name, may
seem to some too trifling in itself and too much connected with
ludicrous associations to be made the subject of serious arguments. If
nothing else, however, should give it consequence, it would demand our
earnest attention from its intimate connection with all the radical and
infidel movements of the day. A strange affinity seems to bind them all
together.... But not to dwell on this remarkable connection--the claim
of 'woman's rights' presents not only the common radical notion which
underlies the whole class, but also a peculiar enormity of its own; in
some respects more boldly infidel, or defiant both of nature and
revelation, than that which characterises any kindred measure. It is
avowedly opposed to the most time-honoured proprieties of social life;
it is opposed to nature; it is opposed to revelation.... This unblushing
female Socialism defies alike apostles and prophets. In this respect no
kindred movement is so decidedly infidel, so rancorously and avowedly

"It is equally opposed to nature and the established order of society
founded upon it. We do not intend to go into any physiological argument.
There is one broad striking fact in the constitution of the human
species which ought to set the question at rest for ever. This is the
fact of maternity.... From this there arise, in the first place,
physical impediments which, during the best part of the female life, are
absolutely insurmountable, except at a sacrifice of almost everything
that distinguishes the civilized human from the animal, or beastly, and
savage state. As a secondary, yet inevitably resulting consequence,
there come domestic and social hindrances which still more completely
draw the line between the male and female duties.... Every attempt to
break through them, therefore, must be pronounced as unnatural as it is
irreligious and profane.... The most serious importance of this modern
'woman's rights' doctrine is derived from its direct bearing upon the
marriage institution. The blindest must see that such a change as is
proposed in the relations and life of the sexes cannot leave either
marriage or the family in their present state. It must vitally affect,
and in time wholly sever, that oneness which has ever been at the
foundation of the marriage idea, from the primitive declaration in
Genesis to the latest decision of the common law. This idea gone--and it
is totally at war with the modern theory of 'woman's rights'--marriage
is reduced to the nature of a contract simply.... That which has no
higher sanction than the will of the contracting parties, must, of
course, be at any time revocable by the same authority that first
created it. That which makes no change in the personal relations, the
personal rights, the personal duties, is not the holy marriage _union_,
but the unholy _alliance_ of concubinage."

In a speech of Senator George G. Vest, of Missouri, in the United States
Senate, January 25, 1887, these: "I now propose to read from a pamphlet
sent to me by a lady.... She says to her own sex: 'After all, men work
for women; or, if they think they do not, it would leave them but sorry
satisfaction to abandon them to such existence as they could arrange
without us.'

"Oh, how true that is, how true!"

In 1890 a bill was introduced in the New York Senate to lower the "age
of consent"--the age at which a girl may legally consent to sexual
intercourse--from 16 to 14. It failed. In 1892 the brothel keepers tried
again in the Assembly. The bill was about to be carried by universal
consent when the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, feeling the
importance of the measure, called for the individual yeas and nays, in
order that the constituents of the representatives might know how their
legislators voted. The bill thereupon collapsed. In 1889 a motion was
made in the Kansas Senate to lower the age of consent from 18 to _12_.
But the public heard of it; protests flowed in; and under the pressure
of these the law was allowed to remain as it was.

Such are some typical examples of the warfare of the opposition to all
that pertains to advancing the status of women. As I review the progress
of their rights, let the reader recollect that this opposition was
always present, violent, loud, and often scurrilous.

In tracing the history of women's rights in the United States my plan
will be this: I shall first give a general review of the various
movements connected with the subject; and I shall then lay before the
reader a series of tables, wherein may be seen at a glance the status of
women to-day in the various States.

[Sidenote: Single women.]

[Sidenote: History of agitation for women's rights.]

In our country, as in England, single women have at all times had
practically the same legal rights as men; but by no means the same
political, social, educational, or professional privileges; as will
appear more conclusively later on.

We may say that the history of the agitation for women's rights began
with the visit of Frances Wright to the United States in 1820. Frances
Wright was a Scotchwoman, born at Dundee in 1797, and early exhibited a
keen intellect on all the subjects which concern political and social
reform. For several years after 1820 she resided here and strove to make
men and women think anew on old traditional beliefs--more particularly
on theology, slavery, and the social degradation of women. The venomous
denunciations of press and pulpit attested the success of her efforts.
In 1832 Lydia Maria Child published her _History of Woman_, a resume of
the status of women; and this was followed by numerous works and
articles, such as Margaret Fuller's, _The Great Lawsuit, or Man vs.
Woman: Woman vs. Man_, and Eliza Farnham's _Woman and her Era_. Various
women lectured; such as Ernestine L. Rose--a Polish woman, banished for
asserting her liberty. The question of women's rights received a
powerful impetus at this period from the vast number of women who were
engaged in the anti-slavery agitation. Any research into the validity of
slavery perforce led the investigators to inquire into the justice of
the enforced status of women; and the two causes were early united.
Women like Angelina and Sarah Grimke and Lucretia Mott were pioneers in
numerous anti-slavery conventions. But as soon as they dared to address
meetings in which men were present, a tempest was precipitated; and in
1840, at the annual meeting of the Anti-Slavery Association, the men
refused to serve on any committee in which any woman had a part;
although it had been largely the contributions of women which were
sustaining the cause. Affairs reached a climax in London, in 1840, at
the World's Anti-Slavery Convention. Delegates from all anti-slavery
organisations were invited to take part; and several American societies
sent women to represent them. These ladies were promptly denied any
share in the proceedings by the English members, thanks mainly to the
opposition of the clergy, who recollected with pious satisfaction that
St. Paul permitted not a woman to teach. Thereupon Lucretia Mott and
Elizabeth Cady Stanton determined to hold a women's rights convention as
soon as they returned to America; and thus a World's Anti-Slavery
Convention begat an issue equally large.

Accordingly, the first Women's Rights Convention was held at Seneca
Falls, New York, July 19-20, 1848. It was organised by _divorced wives,
childless women, and sour old maids_, the gallant newspapers declared;
that is, by Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mrs. Lucretia Mott, Mrs.
McClintock, and other fearless women, who not only lived the purest and
most unselfish of domestic lives, but brought up many children besides.
Great crowds attended. A _Declaration of Sentiments_ was moved and
adopted; and as this exhibits the temper of the convention and
illustrates the then prevailing status of women very clearly, I shall
quote it:


"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one
portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a
position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one
to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent
respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the
causes which impel them to such a course.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are
created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever
any form of government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the
right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to
insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation
on such principles, and organising its powers in such form, as to them
shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence,
indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be
changed for light or transient causes; and accordingly all experience
hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are
sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which
they were accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations,
pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them
under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government,
and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the
patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now
the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which
they are entitled.

"The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and
usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the
establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts
be submitted to a candid world.

"He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the
elective franchise.

"He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she
had no voice.

"He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant
and degraded men--both natives and foreigners.

"Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective
franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of
legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.

"He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.

"He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she

"He has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit
many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her
husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise
obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her
master--the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to
administer chastisement.

"He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper
causes, and, in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the
children shall be given, as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of
women--the law in all cases going upon a false supposition of the
supremacy of man, and giving all power into his hands.

"After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single, and
the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which
recognises her only when her property can be made profitable to it.

"He has monopolised nearly all the profitable employments, and from
those she is permitted to follow she receives but a scanty remuneration.
He closes against her all the avenues of wealth and distinction which he
considers most honourable to himself. As a teacher of theology,
medicine, or law, she is not known.

"He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education,
all colleges being closed against her.

"He allows her in church, as well as state, but a subordinate position,
claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and,
with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of
the church.

"He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a
different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies
which exclude women from society are not only tolerated, but deemed of
little account in man.

"He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his
right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her
conscience and to her God.

"He has endeavoured, in every way that he could, to destroy her
confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make
her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.

"Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one half the people of
this country, their social and religious degradation; in view of the
unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves
aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred
rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights
and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States.

"In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small
amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall
use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We
shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and National
legislatures, and endeavour to enlist the pulpit and press in our
behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of
Conventions embracing every part of the country."

Such was the defiance of the Women's Rights Convention in 1848; other
conventions were held, as at Rochester, in 1853, and at Albany in 1854;
the movement extended quickly to other States and touched the quick of
public opinion. It bore its first good fruits in New York in 1848, when
the Property Bill was passed. This law, amended in 1860, and entitled
"An Act Concerning the Rights and Liabilities of Husband and Wife"
(March 20, 1860), emancipated completely the wife, gave her full control
of her own property, allowed her to engage in all civil contracts or
business on her own responsibility, rendered her joint guardian of her
children with her husband, and granted both husband and wife a one-third
share of one another's property in case of the decease of either

Thus New York became the pioneer. The movement spread, as I have
mentioned, with amazing rapidity; but it was not so uniformly
successful. Conventions were held, for example, in Ohio, at Salem,
April 19-20, 1850; at Akron, May 28-29, 1851; at Massillon on May 27,
1852. Nevertheless, in 1857, the Legislature of Ohio passed a bill
enacting that no married man should dispose of any personal property
without having first obtained the consent of his wife; the wife was
empowered, in case of a violation of this law, to commence a civil suit
in her own name for the recovery of the property; and any married woman
whose husband deserted her or neglected to provide for his family was to
be entitled to his wages and to those of her minor children. A bill to
extend suffrage to women was defeated, by a vote of 44 to 44; the
petition praying for its enactment had received 10,000 signatures.

The course of events as it has been described in New York and Ohio, is
practically the same in the case of the other States. The Civil War
relegated these issues to a secondary place; but during that momentous
conflict the heroism of Clara Barton on the battlefield and of thousands
of women like her paved the way for a reassertion of the rights of woman
in the light of her unquestioned exertions and unselfish labours for her
country in its crisis. After the war, attention began to be concentrated
more on the right to _vote_. By the Fourteenth Amendment the franchise
was at once given to negroes; but the insertion of the word _male_
effectually barred any national recognition of woman's right to vote. A
vigorous effort was made by the suffrage leaders to have _male_
stricken from the amendment; but the effort was futile. Legislators
thought that the black man's vote ought to be secured first; as the _New
York Tribune_ (Dec. 12, 1866) puts it snugly: "We want to see the ballot
put in the hands of the black without one day's delay added to the long
postponement of his just claim. When that is done, we shall be ready to
take up the next question" (i.e., woman's rights).

The first Women's Rights Convention after the Civil War had been held in
New York City, May 10, 1866, and had presented an address to Congress.
Such was the dauntless courage of the leaders, that Mrs. Stanton offered
herself as a candidate for Congress at the November elections, in order
to test the constitutional rights of a woman to run for office. She
received twenty-four votes.

Six years later, on November I, 1872, Miss Susan B. Anthony did a far
more Audacious thing. She went to the polls and asked to be registered.
The two Republican members of the board were won over by her exposition
of the Fourteenth Amendment and agreed to receive her name, against the
advice of their Democratic colleague and a United States supervisor.
Following Miss Anthony's example, some fifty other women of Rochester
registered. Fourteen voted and were at once arrested under the
enforcement act of Congress of May 31, 1870 (_section_ 19). The case of
Miss Anthony was argued, ably by her attorney; but she was adjudged
guilty. A _nolle prosequi_ was entered for the women who voted with her.

Immediately after the decision in her case, the inspectors who had
registered the women were put on trial because they "did knowingly and
willfully register as a voter of said District one Susan B. Anthony,
she, said Susan B. Anthony, then and there not being entitled to be
registered as a voter of said District in that she, said Susan B.
Anthony, was then and there a person of the female sex, contrary to the
form of the statute of the United States of America in such case made
and provided, and against the peace of the United States of America and
their dignity." The defendants were ordered to pay each a fine of
twenty-five dollars and the costs of the prosecution; but the sentence
was revoked and an unconditional pardon given them by President Grant,
in an order dated March 3, 1874. Miss Anthony was forced to pay her
fine, in spite of an appeal to Congress.

Such were the stirring times when the agitation for women's rights was
first brought to the fore as a national issue. Within a few years,
various States, like New York and Kansas, put the question of equal
suffrage for women before its voters; they in general rejected the
measure. At present there are four States which give women complete
suffrage and right to vote on all questions with the same privileges as
men, viz., Wyoming (1869), Colorado (1893), Utah (1896), and Idaho
(1896). In 1838 Kentucky gave school suffrage to widows with children
of school age; in 1861 Kansas gave it to all women. School suffrage was
granted all women in 1875 by Michigan and Minnesota, in 1876 by
Colorado, in 1878 by New Hampshire and Oregon, in 1879 by Massachusetts,
in 1880 by New York and Vermont, in 1883 by Nebraska, in 1887 by North
and South Dakota, Montana, Arizona, and New Jersey. Kansas gave
municipal suffrage in 1887; and Montana gave tax-paying women the right
to vote upon all questions submitted to the tax-payers. In 1891 Illinois
granted school suffrage, as did Connecticut in 1893. Iowa gave bond
suffrage in 1894. In 1898 Minnesota gave women the right to vote for
library trustees, Delaware gave school suffrage to tax-paying women, and
Louisiana gave tax-paying women the right to vote upon all questions
submitted to the tax-payers. Wisconsin gave school suffrage in 1900. In
1901 New York gave tax-paying women in all towns and villages of the
State the right to vote on questions of local taxation; and the Kansas
Legislature voted down almost unanimously a proposal to repeal municipal
suffrage. In 1903 Kansas gave bond suffrage; and in 1907 the new State
of Oklahoma continued school suffrage. In 1908 Michigan gave all women
who pay taxes the right to vote upon questions of local taxation and the
granting of franchises.

The history of the "age of legal consent" has an importance which
through prudery and a wilful ignorance of facts the public has never
fully realised. I shall have considerable to say of it later. It will
suffice for the moment to remark that until the decade preceding 1898
the old Common Law period of ten, sometimes twelve, years was the basis
of "age of consent" legislation in most States and in the Territories
under the jurisdiction of the national government. In 1885 the age in
Delaware was _seven_.

[Sidenote: Age of Legal consent.]

[Sidenote: The beginnings of higher education for women.]

The Puritans, burning with an unquenchable zeal for liberty, fled to
America in order to build a land of freedom and strike off the
shackles of despotism. After they were comfortably settled, they
forthwith proceeded, with fine humour, to expel mistress Anne Hutchinson
for venturing to speak in public, to hang superfluous old women for
being witches, and to refuse women the right to an education. In 1684,
when a question arose about admitting girls to the Hopkins School of New
Haven, it was decided that "all girls be excluded as improper and
inconsistent with such a grammar school as ye law enjoins and as in the
Designs of this settlement." "But," remarks Professor Thomas, "certain
small girls whose manners seem to have been neglected and who had the
natural curiosity of their sex, sat on the schoolhouse steps and heard
the boys recite, or learned to read and construe sentences from their
brothers at home, and were occasionally admitted to school."

In the course of the next century the world moved a little; and in
1789, when the public school system was established in Boston, girls
were admitted from April to October; but until 1825 they were allowed to
attend primary schools only. In 1790 Gloucester voted that "two hours,
or a proportional part of that time, be devoted to the instruction of
females." In 1793 Plymouth accorded girls one hour of instruction daily.

The first female seminary in the United States was opened by the
Moravians in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1749. It was unique. In 1803,
of 48 academies or higher schools fitting for college in Massachusetts,
only three were for girls, although a few others admitted both boys and

The first instance of government aid for the systematic education of
women occurred in New York, in 1819. This was due to the influence of a
remarkable woman. Mrs. Emma Willard had begun teaching in Connecticut
and by extraordinary diligence mastered not only the usual subjects of
the curriculum, but in addition botany, chemistry, mineralogy,
astronomy, and the higher mathematics. She had, moreover, striven always
to introduce new subjects and new methods into her school, and with such
success that Governor Clinton, of New York, invited her to that State
and procured her a government subsidy. Her school was established first
at Watervliet, but soon moved to Troy. This seminary was the first
girls' school in which the higher mathematics formed a part of the
course; and the first public examination of a girl in geometry, in 1829,
raised a storm of ridicule and indignation--the clergy, as usual,
prophesying the speedy dissolution of all family bonds and therefore, as
they continued with remorseless logic, of the state itself. But Mrs.
Willard continued her ways in spite of clerical disapproval and
by-and-by projected a system of normal schools for the higher education
of teachers, and even suggested women as superintendents of public
schools. New York survived and does not even remember the names of the
patriots who fought a lonely woman so valiantly.

The first female seminary to approach college rank was Mt. Holyoke,
which was opened by Mary Lyon at South Hadley, Mass., in 1836. Vassar,
the next, dates from 1865; and Radcliffe, the much-abused "Harvard
Annex," was instituted in 1879. These were the first colleges
exclusively for women. Oberlin College had from its foundation, in 1833,
admitted men and women on equal terms; although it took pains to express
its hearty disapproval of those women who, after graduation, had the
temerity to advocate political rights for women--rights which that same
Oberlin insisted should be given the negro at once. In 1858, when Sarah
Burger and other women applied for admission to the University of
Michigan, their request was refused.

[Sidenote: First women in medicine.]

It was hard enough for women to assert their rights to a higher
education; to enter a profession was almost impossible. Nevertheless,
it was done. The pioneer in medicine was Harriet K. Hunt who practised
in Boston from 1822 to 1872 without a diploma; but in 1853 the Woman's
Medical College of Pennsylvania conferred upon her the degree of Doctor
of Medicine. The first woman to receive a diploma from a college after
completing the regular course was Elizabeth Blackwell, who attained that
distinction at Geneva, New York, in 1848. The first adequate woman's
medical institution was Miss Blackwell's New York Infirmary, chartered
in 1854. In 1863, Dr. Zakrzewska, in co-operation with Lucy Goddard and
Ednah D. Cheney, established the New England Hospital for Women and
Children, which aimed to provide women the medical aid of competent
physicians of their own sex, to assist educated women in the practical
study of medicine, and to train nurses for the care of the sick.[411]

[Sidenote: In law.]

In law, it would seem that Mistress Brut practised in Baltimore as early
as 1647; but after her the first woman lawyer in the United States was
Arabella A. Mansfield, of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. She was admitted to the
bar in 1864. By 1879 women were allowed to plead before the Supreme
Court of the United States.[412]

[Sidenote: In the ministry.]

Coming now to the consideration of the ministry, the first woman to
attempt to assert a right to that profession was Anne Hutchinson, of
Boston, in 1634. She was promptly banished. Among the Friends and the
Shakers women like Lucretia Mott and Anne Lee preached; and among the
primitive Methodists and similar bodies women were always permitted to
exhort; but the first regularly ordained woman in the United States
appears to have been Rev. Antoinette Brown Blackwell, of the
Congregational Church who was ordained in 1852. In 1864 Rev. Olympia
Brown settled as pastor of the parish at Weymouth Landing, in
Massachusetts; and the Legislature acknowledged marriages solemnised by
women as legal. Phebe Hanaford, Mary H. Graves, and Lorenza Haynes were
the first Massachusetts women to be ordained preachers of the Gospel;
the latter was at one time chaplain of the Maine House of
Representatives. The best known woman in the ministry at the present day
is Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, a Methodist minister, president of the
National American Woman's Suffrage Association.[413]

[Sidenote: As newspaper editors.]

Women have from very early times been exceedingly active in newspaper
work. Anna Franklin printed the first newspaper in Rhode Island, in
1732; she was made official printer to the colony. When the founder of
the _Mercury_, of Philadelphia, died in 1742, his widow, Mrs. Cornelia
Bradford, carried it on for many years with great success, just as Mrs.
Zenger continued the _New York Weekly Journal_--the second newspaper
started in New York--for years after the death of her husband. Anna K.
Greene established the _Maryland Gazette_, the first paper in that
colony, in 1767. Penelope Russell printed _The Censor_ in Boston, in
1771. In fact, there was hardly a colony in which women were not
actively engaged in printing. After the Revolution they were still more
active. Mrs. Anne Royal edited _The Huntress_ for a quarter of a
century. Margaret Fuller ran _The Dial_, in Boston, in 1840 and numbered
Emerson and William Channing among her contributors. From 1840 to 1849
the mill girls of Lowell edited the _Lowell Offering_. These are but a
few examples of what women have done in newspaper work. How very
influential they are to-day every one knows who is familiar with the
articles and editorial work appearing in newspapers and magazines; and
that women are very zealous reporters many people can attest with
considerable vigour.[414]

[Sidenote: Women in industry.]

The enormous part which women now play in industry and in all economic
production is a concomitant of the factory system, specialised industry,
and all that makes a highly elaborated and complex society. Before the
introduction of machine industry, and in the simple society of the
colonial days, women were no less a highly important factor in economic
production; but not as wage earners. Their importance lay in the fact
that spinning, weaving, brewing, cheese and butter making, and the like
were matters attended to by each household to supply its own wants; and
this was considered the peculiar sphere of the housewife. In 1840
Harriet Martineau found only seven employments open to women in the
United States, viz., teaching, needlework, keeping boarders, working in
cotton mills and in book binderies, type-setting, and household service.

I shall now present a series of fifty tables, by means of which the
reader may see at a glance the status of women in all the States to-day.
For convenience, I shall arrange the views alphabetically.


The right of "dower," as used in these tables, refers to the widow's
right, under the Common Law, to the possession, for her life-time, of
one third of the real estate of which her husband was possessed in
fee-simple during the marriage.

"Curtesy" is the right of the husband after his wife's death to the life
use of his wife's real estate, sometimes dependent on the birth of
children, sometimes not; and usually the absolute right to her whole
personal estate.

It must be remembered that the enforcement Of certain laws,
particularly in regard to child labour, is extremely lax in many States.
It will be noted also that an unscrupulous employer could find loopholes
in some of the statutes. The reader can observe these things for himself
in his particular State.



POPULATION: Male 916,764; female 911,933.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and has full control of own
property; but she cannot mortgage her real and personal property or
alienate it without husband's consent. Married women may execute will
without concurrence of husband and may bar latter's right of curtesy.
Husband may appoint guardian for children by will; but wife has custody
of them until they are fourteen. If a wife commits a crime in
partnership with her husband she cannot be punished (except for murder
and treason). Husband is not required by law to support the family.

DIVORCE: Absolute divorce is granted for incurable impotence, adultery,
desertion for two years, imprisonment for two years or more, crimes
against nature, habitual drunkenness after marriage; in favour of
husband if wife was pregnant at time of marriage without his knowledge
or agency, in favour of wife for physical violence on part of husband
endangering life or health, or when there is reasonable apprehension of
such violence.

Limited divorce is granted for cruelty in either of the parties or any
other cause which would justify absolute divorce, if the party desires
only a divorce from bed and board.

LABOUR LAWS: Women not allowed to work in mines. Children under 12 not
permitted to work in any factory. All employers of women must provide
seats and must allow women to rest when not actively engaged.

is no suffrage. Women not eligible for any elective office; they may be
notaries public. There are 18 women in the ministry, 12 journalists, 1
dentist, 3 lawyers, 16 doctors, 3 professors, 2 bankers, 5 saloon
keepers, 4 commercial travellers, 11 carpenters, etc.



POPULATION: Male 71,795; female 51,136.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Husband controls wife's earnings. Wife has control of
property which she had before marriage. Wife may contract debts for
necessaries for herself and children upon credit of husband. She may sue
and be sued and make contracts in her own name as regards her separate
property, but must sue jointly with husband for personal injuries, and
damages recovered are community property and in his control. Father is
legal guardian of minor children; at his death mother becomes guardian
as long as she remains unmarried.

DIVORCE: Absolute divorce for excesses, cruelty, or outrage, adultery,
impotence, conviction for a felony, desertion for one year, neglect of
husband to provide for one year, habitual intemperance; in favour of
husband if wife was pregnant at time of marriage without his knowledge
or agency.

There is no limited divorce; but when the husband wilfully abandons his
wife, she can maintain an action against him for permanent maintenance
and support.

LABOUR LAWS: No woman or minor may work or give any exhibition in a

21 years old or more who are mothers or guardians of a child of school
age are eligible to the office of school trustee and may vote for such
officers. There are 12 women in the ministry, 1 dentist, 2 journalists,
4 lawyers, 4 doctors, 628 saloon keepers, 2 bankers, etc.



POPULATION: Male 675,312; female 636,252.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Dower exists, but not
curtesy. Wife may sell or transfer her separate real estate without
husband's consent. Father is legal guardian of children, but cannot
apprentice them or create testamentary guardianship for them without
wife's consent. At husband's death wife may be guardian of persons of
children, but not of their property, unless derived from her.

DIVORCE: Absolute or limited divorce for impotence, wilful desertion for
a year, when husband or wife had a former wife or husband living at the
time of the marriage sought to be set aside, conviction for felony or
other infamous crime, habitual drunkenness for one year, intolerable
indignities, and adultery subsequent to marriage.

LABOUR LAWS: Labour contracts of married women, approved by their
husbands, are legal and binding. No woman may work in a mine.

suffrage. 13 women are ministers, 6 journalists, 9 lawyers, 39 doctors,
3 professors, 3 saloon keepers, 9 commercial travellers, etc.



POPULATION: Male 820,531; female 664,522.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Wife may dispose of
separate property without husband's consent. In torts of a personal
nature she must sue jointly with her husband. Husband is guardian of
minor children; wife becomes so at his death. Husband must provide for
family. If husband has no property or is disabled, wife must support him
and the family out of her property or earnings.

DIVORCE: Absolute divorce for adultery, extreme cruelty, wilful
desertion for one year, wilful neglect for one year, habitual
intemperance for one year, conviction for felony.

There are no statutory provisions for limited divorce. But when the wife
has any cause for action as provided in the code, she may, without
applying for a divorce, maintain an action against her husband for
permanent support and maintenance of herself or of herself and children.

LABOUR LAWS: Sex shall be no disqualification for entering any business,
vocation, or profession. Children under 16 may not be let out for
acrobatic performances or any exhibition endangering life or morals. Any
one who sends a minor under the age of 18 to a saloon, gambling house,
or brothel, is guilty of a misdemeanour. One day of rest each week must
be given all employees.

suffrage. May be elected school trustees. May be notaries public. There
are 201 women in the ministry, 52 dentists, 116 journalists, 60 lawyers,
522 doctors, 8 professors, 129 saloon keepers, 9 bankers, 23 commercial
travellers, etc.



POPULATION: Male 295,332; female 244,368.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. No assignment of wages by
a married man is valid without the consent of his wife. Neither dower
nor curtesy obtains. Husband and wife have same rights in making wills.
Wife can sue and be sued as if unmarried. She is joint guardian of
children with husband and has equal powers. Husband must support family.

DIVORCE: Absolute divorce for impotence, when husband or wife had a wife
or husband living at time of marriage, adultery subsequent to marriage,
wilful desertion for one year, cruelty (including the infliction of
mental suffering as well as physical violence), neglect to provide for
one year, habitual drunkenness for one year, conviction for felony.

There is no limited divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: Eight hours the usual day's work. Children under 12 may not
work in mines; none under 14 may exhibit in saloons, variety theatres,
or any place endangering morals. No female help may be sent to any place
of bad repute. Children under 14 may not be employed in mills or
factories. No woman may work underground in a mine. All employers of
women must provide seats.

suffrage. Women are eligible to all offices; 10 have served in the
Legislature. There are 39 women in the ministry, 23 dentists, 28
journalists, 17 lawyers, 172 doctors, 4 professors, 17 saloon keepers,
12 bankers, 8 commercial travellers, etc.



POPULATION: Male 454,294; female 454,126.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. No dower or curtesy.
Survivor gets one third of property. Wife controls own property. Wife
and husband joint guardians of children with equal powers. Husband must
support family.

DIVORCE: Absolute divorce for adultery, fraudulent contract, wilful
desertion for three years with total neglect of duty, seven years'
absence when absent party is not heard from during that period, habitual
intemperance, intolerable cruelty, sentence to imprisonment for life,
any infamous crime involving a violation of conjugal duty and punishable
by imprisonment.

There is no limited divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: No child under 12 may give exhibition endangering limbs or
morals. Employers of females may not send them to any place of bad
repute. Eight hours is a day's work. Women employees must have seats to
rest. No woman shall be forced to labour more than ten hours a day.

Women have school suffrage and may be elected school trustees. There are
45 women in the ministry, 6 dentists, 122 doctors, 1 professor, 28
saloon keepers, 4 bankers, 13 commercial travellers, 14 carpenters, etc.



POPULATION: Male 94,158; female 90,577.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. If there is a child or
lawful issue of a child living, widow has a life interest in one third
of the real estate and one third absolutely of the personal property. If
there is no child nor the descendant of a child living, widow has a life
interest in one half of the real estate and one half absolutely of the
personal estate. If there are neither descendants nor kin of husband,
she gets the entire real estate for her life, and all the personal
estate absolutely. Father is legal guardian of children and he alone may
appoint a guardian at his death. Husband must support family.

DIVORCE: Absolute divorce for adultery, desertion for three years,
habitual drunkenness, impotence, extreme cruelty, conviction for felony,
procurement of marriage by fraud for want of age, wilful neglect to
provide for three years.

Limited divorce may be decreed, in the discretion of the court, for the
last two causes mentioned.

LABOUR LAWS: All female employees must be provided with seats. Sunday
labour forbidden. No minor under 15 may be let out for any gymnastic or
other exhibition endangering body or morals. Separate lunch, wash-rooms,
etc., for all women employees; the rooms must be kept reasonably heated.
Using indecent or profane language towards a female employee is a
misdemeanour. The governor must appoint a _female_ factory inspector who
shall see that these laws are enforced. Children under 14 may not work
in mills and factories; and no child under 16 shall be forced to labour
more than nine hours daily.

in Milford, Townsend, Wyoming, and Newark who pay a property tax may
vote for Town Commissioners. All such women in the State may vote for
school trustees. There are 4 women in the ministry, 3 dentists, 1
journalist, 1 lawyer, 7 doctors, 8 saloon keepers, 1 commercial
traveller, 2 carpenters, etc.

_District of Columbia_


POPULATION: Male 132,004; female 146,714.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and property, may be sued
and sue, carry on business, etc., as if unmarried. Husband and wife are
equal guardians of children. Husband must furnish reasonable support if
he have property. Both dower and curtesy obtain.

DIVORCE: Absolute divorce for bigamy, insanity at time of marriage,
impotence, adultery habitual drunkenness for three years, cruel
treatment endangering life or health.

Limited divorce for drunkenness, cruelty, and desertion.

In case of absolute divorce, only the innocent party may remarry; but
the divorced parties may marry each other again.

LABOUR LAWS: No child under 14 may be let out for any public exhibition
endangering body or morals. Seats must be provided for women employees.
Employment agencies must not send applicants to places of bad repute.
Children under 14 may not be employed in any factory, hotel, etc.; but
judge of juvenile court may give dispensation to child between 12 and
14. No girl under 16 may be bootblack or sell papers or any other wares

suffrage. Women may be notaries public and members of Board of
Education. 17 women in the ministry, 7 dentists, 38 journalists, 23
lawyers, 56 doctors, 18 saloon keepers, 1 banker, 7 commercial
travellers, 2 carpenters, etc.


AGE OF LEGAL CONSENT: 16 (but 10 practically, as penalty above 10 is

POPULATION: Male 275,246; female 253,296.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and owns separate estate;
but cannot transfer her real or personal property without husband's
consent. Dower prevails, but not curtesy. Wife may make a will as if
unmarried. Husband is legal guardian of children. Husband must support

DIVORCE: Absolute divorce for impotence, where the parties are within
the degrees prohibited by the law, adultery, bigamy, extreme cruelty,
habitual indulgence in violent and ungovernable temper, habitual
intemperance, desertion for one year, if husband or wife has obtained a
divorce elsewhere and if the applicant has been a citizen of Florida for
two years.

There is no limited divorce. But the wife may claim alimony, without
applying for a divorce, for any of these causes except bigamy.

LABOUR LAWS: Ten hours legal day's work. Employers of women must provide
seats. No child under 14 may be let out for any public exhibition
endangering body or morals. Sunday labour forbidden. No child under 12
may be employed in any factory, or any place where intoxicating liquor
is sold; and no child under 12 may labour more than nine hours a day.

suffrage. Women may be notaries public. 19 women in the ministry, 1
dentist, 9 journalists, 4 lawyers, 21 doctors, 1 banker, 3 commercial
travellers, 6 carpenters, etc.



POPULATION: Male 1,103,201; female 1,113,130.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and own property. Dower
prevails, but not curtesy. Husband is legal guardian of children and at
his death may appoint a guardian to the exclusion of his wife. Husband
must support family.

DIVORCE: Absolute divorce for intermarriage within the prohibited
degrees of consanguinity and affinity, mental incapacity at time of
marriage, impotence at time of marriage, force, menace, duress, or fraud
in obtaining marriage, pregnancy of wife at time of marriage unknown to
husband, adultery, wilful desertion for three years, conviction for an
offence involving imprisonment for two years or longer.

Absolute or limited divorce for cruelty or habitual intoxication.
Limited divorce for any ground held sufficient in English courts prior
to May 4, 1784.

LABOUR LAWS: No boss or other superior in any factory shall inflict
corporal punishment on minor labourers. Seats must be provided for
female employees. Sunday labour forbidden. No minors may be employed in
barrooms. To let out children for gymnastic exhibition or any indecent
exhibition is a misdemeanour. Children under 12 may not work in
factories. No child under 14 may work between 7 P.M. and 6 A.M.

suffrage. 33 women in the ministry, 2 dentists, 37 journalists, 6
lawyers, 43 doctors, 4 professors, 2 saloon keepers, 4 bankers, 9
commercial travellers, 10 carpenters, etc.



POPULATION: Male 93,367; female 68,405.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Husband controls wife's earnings. Wife can secure
control of own property only by going into court and showing that her
husband is mismanaging it. Husband is legal guardian of the children.

DIVORCE: Absolute divorce for adultery, extreme cruelty, wilful
desertion for one year, wilful neglect for one year, habitual
intemperance for one year, conviction of felony, permanent insanity.

There is no limited divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: No Sunday labour. Children under 14 may not work in mine,
factory, hotel, or be messenger; no child under 16 shall work more than
nine hours per day; nor be let out for any exhibition or vocation which
endangers health or morals; nor ever be sent to any immoral resort or
serve or handle intoxicating liquors.

suffrage. Women are eligible to all offices. 7 women are in the
ministry, 4 journalists, 2 lawyers, 15 doctors, 1 saloon keeper, 1
commercial traveller, 1 carpenter, etc.



POPULATION: Male 2,472,782; female 2,348,768.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Dower prevails. Wife has
full disposal of property, can sue, etc., as if unmarried. Wife and
husband are equal guardians of children. Wife is entitled to support
suited to her condition in life; husband is entitled to same support out
of her individual property. They are jointly liable for family expenses.

DIVORCE: Absolute divorce for impotence, bigamy, adultery, wilful
desertion for two years, habitual drunkenness for two years, attempt to
murder, extreme and repeated cruelty, conviction for felony or other
infamous crime.

No limited divorce; but married women living separate through no fault
of their own have an action in equity for reasonable maintenance, if
they so desire.

LABOUR LAWS: No Sunday labour. No minor shall be allowed to sell
indecent literature, etc., nor be let out as acrobat or mendicant or for
any immoral occupation. Eight hours a legal day's work. No person shall
be debarred from any occupation or profession on account of sex; but
females shall not be required to work on streets or roads or serve on
juries. No child under 14 to be employed in any place where intoxicating
liquors are sold or in factory or bowling alley; and shall not labour
more than eight hours. No child under 16 shall engage in occupations
dangerous to life or morals; and no female under 16 shall engage in any
employment which requires her to stand constantly. Seats must be
provided for all female employees. No woman shall work more than ten
hours a day in stores and factories.

have school suffrage and are eligible to all school offices and can be
notaries public. There are 292 women in the ministry, 117 dentists, 240
journalists, 113 lawyers, 820 doctors, 31 professors, 196 saloon
keepers, 8 bankers, 101 commercial travellers, 24 carpenters, etc.



POPULATION: Males 1,285,404; females 1,231,058.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. No dower or curtesy. Wife
may sue in her own name for injuries, etc. Neither husband nor wife can
alienate their separate real estate without each other's consent. A wife
can act as executor or administrator of an estate only with her
husband's consent. No married woman can become a surety for any person.
Husband is guardian of children.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, impotency, desertion for two years,
cruel and inhuman treatment, habitual drunkenness, neglect of husband to
provide for two years, conviction of an infamous crime.

Limited divorce for adultery, desertion or neglect for six months,
habitual cruelty or constant strife, gross and wanton neglect of
conjugal duty for six months.

LABOUR LAWS: No child under 12 may work in a mine. Children under 15 may
not be let out for acrobatic or any immoral exhibition or to work in any
place where liquor is sold. Seats must be provided for female employees.
Eight hours a legal day's work. No female under 18 may work more than
ten hours a day in any factory, laundry, renovating works, bakery, or
printing office; no woman shall be employed in any factory between 10
P.M. and 6 A.M. Suitable dressing rooms must be provided and not less
than sixty minutes given for the noonday meal. Sweatshops under strict
supervision of a State inspector. No woman may work in a mine. No Sunday

suffrage. Women may be notaries public. 130 women in the ministry, 34
dentists, 79 journalists, 40 lawyers, 195 doctors, 6 professors, 27
saloon keepers, 2 bankers, 44 commercial travellers, 7 carpenters, etc.

_Indian Territory_


POPULATION: Male 208,952; female 183,108.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Husband controls wife's earnings. Dower is in force
and curtesy. Woman controls separate estate absolutely in practice; for
though at common law any money or property given her husband for
investment becomes his, by statute it does not. Husband and wife are
equal guardians of children.

DIVORCE: Absolute or limited for impotence, wilful desertion for one
year, bigamy, conviction for felony or other infamous crime, habitual
drunkenness for one year, cruel treatment endangering life, intolerable
indignities, adultery, incurable insanity subsequent to marriage.

LABOUR LAWS: No Sunday labour.

suffrage. 6 women in ministry, 1 dentist, 4 journalists, 13 doctors, 4
professors, 1 banker, etc.



POPULATION: Male 1,156,849; female 1,075,004.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Any assignment of wages
must have written consent of both husband and wife. No dower or curtesy;
surviving husband or wife is entitled to one third in fee simple of both
real and personal estate of other at his or her death. Wife controls own
property, can sue, etc., as if single. Husband and wife are equal
guardians of children. Support and education of family is chargeable
equally on husband's and wife's property.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, wilful desertion for two years,
conviction of felony after marriage, habitual drunkenness, inhuman
treatment endangering life, pregnancy of wife at time of marriage by
another man, unless the husband have an illegitimate child living
unknown to wife.

No limited divorce.

Annulment for prohibited degrees, impotence, bigamy, insanity or idiocy
at time of marriage.

LABOUR LAWS: No female may be employed in any place where intoxicating
liquors are sold; Seats must be provided for female employees. Children
under 16 not to assist in operating dangerous machinery. No Sunday
labour. No person under 14 may work in a factory, mine, laundry,
slaughter-house, store where more than eight persons are employed; no
child under 16 shall be employed in any vocation endangering life or
morals, nor shall work more than ten hours a day.

have bond suffrage and can vote on increase of taxes. They may serve as
school trustees and superintendents. 117 women in ministry, 52 dentists,
74 journalists, 53 lawyers, 260 doctors, 27 professors, 8 saloon
keepers, 11 bankers, 34 commercial travellers, 7 carpenters, etc.



POPULATION: Male 768,716; female 701,779.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. Husband and wife are equal
guardians of children. Wife controls her separate property, can sue,
etc., as if unmarried. Neither husband nor wife can convey or encumber
real estate without consent of other; nor dispose by will of more than
one half of the separate property without other's consent. If there are
no children, the surviving husband or wife takes all the property, real
and personal; if there are children, one half. Husband must support

DIVORCE: Absolute for bigamy, desertion for one year, adultery,
impotency, when wife at time of marriage was pregnant by another than
her husband, extreme cruelty, fraudulent contract, habitual
drunkenness, gross neglect of duty, conviction and imprisonment for
felony subsequent to marriage.

No limited divorce; but wife may obtain alimony without divorce for any
causes above mentioned.

LABOUR LAWS: People employing children under 14 in acrobatic or
mendicant occupations are guilty of a misdemeanour. No Sunday labour.
Seats must be provided for female employees. No child under 14 may work
in coal mine, nor in any factory or packing house. No child under 16 may
work at any occupation endangering body or morals.

have municipal, school, and bond suffrage. 63 women in ministry, 21
dentists, 39 journalists, 43 lawyers, 190 doctors, 21 professors, 9
saloon keepers, 7 bankers, 20 commercial travellers, 19 carpenters, etc.



POPULATION: Male 1,090,227; female 1,056,947.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Husband controls wife's earnings. Curtesy and dower
are equalised. After the death of either husband or wife, the survivor
is given a life interest in one third of the realty of the deceased and
an absolute estate in one half of the personalty. Wife controls her
personal property, but cannot dispose of real estate without husband's
consent; the husband can convey real estate without his wife's
signature, but it is subject to her dower. Husband is legal guardian of
children. He must furnish support according to his condition, but if he
has only his wages there is no law to punish him for non-support.

DIVORCE: Absolute to both husband and wife for impotence or inability to
copulate and for living apart for five consecutive years without any
cohabitation. Also to the party not in fault for desertion for one year,
adultery, condemnation for felony, concealment of any loathsome disease
at time of marriage or contracting it afterwards, force, duress, or
fraud in obtaining marriage, uniting with any creed or religious society
requiring a renunciation of the marriage covenant or forbidding husband
and wife to cohabit. To the wife, when not in like fault, for confirmed
drunkenness of husband leading to neglect to provide, habitual behaviour
by husband for six months indicating aversion to wife and causing her
unhappiness, physical injury or attempt at it. To the husband for wife's
pregnancy at time of marriage unknown to him, adultery of wife, or such
conduct as proves her to be unchaste without proof of adultery, and
habitual drunkenness of wife.

Limited divorce for any of these causes or any other cause as the court
may deem sufficient.

LABOUR LAWS: Forbidden to let or employ any children under 16 in any
acrobatic or mendicant or immoral occupations. No Sunday labour. No
child under 14 shall work in factory, mill, or mine unless said child
shall have no other means of support. No child under 16 shall work more
than ten hours per day. Seats and suitable dressing-rooms must be
provided for female employees.

the country districts any widow having a child of school age and any
widow or spinster having a ward of school age may vote for school
trustees and school taxes. In Louisville, five third-class, and twenty
or more fourth-class cities no woman has any vote. Women may be notaries
public. 39 women in ministry, 4 dentists, 21 journalists, 16 lawyers, 98
doctors, 5 professors, 35 saloon keepers, 3 bankers, 20 commercial
travellers, 9 carpenters, etc.



POPULATION: Male 694,733; female 686,892.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Husband controls wife's earnings. Wife cannot appear
in court without her husband's consent, and needs this consent in all
matters connected with her separate estate. She may make her will
without the authority of her husband. No woman can be a witness to a
testament. No married woman can be executor without husband's consent.
The dowry is given to the husband, for him to enjoy as long as the
marriage shall last. Husband is legal guardian of children.

DIVORCE: Absolute or limited for adultery, condemnation to an infamous
punishment, habitual and intolerable intemperance, insupportable excess
or outrages, public defamation on the part of one of the married persons
toward the other, desertion, attempted murder, proof of guilt of husband
or wife who has fled from justice when charged with an infamous offence.

LABOUR LAWS: No female to be employed in any place where liquor is sold.
No Sunday labour. No child under 15 to engage in any acrobatic or
theatrical public exhibition. Seats must be provided for female
employees, who are also to have at least thirty minutes for lunch. No
girl under 14 may be employed in any mill or factory; and no woman shall
be worked more than ten hours a day. Seats, suitable dressing-rooms, and
stairs must be provided. An inspector, male or female, is appointed.

Tax-paying women can vote on all questions of taxation. 14 women in
ministry, 4 dentists, 21 journalists, 8 lawyers, 25 doctors, 16
professors, 31 saloon keepers, 2 bankers, 18 commercial travellers, 9
carpenters, etc.



POPULATION: Male 350,995; female 343,471.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and has full control of
separate property. Wife and husband are equal guardians of children. If
there is no will, the interest of the husband or wife in the real estate
of the other is the same--one third absolutely, if there is issue
living, one half if there is no issue, the whole if there is neither
issue nor kindred.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, impotence, extreme cruelty, desertion
for three years, gross and confirmed habits of Intoxication whether from
liquors or drugs, cruel and abusive treatment, wilful neglect to

No limited divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: Ten hours a day the legal limit for female employees. No
child under 14 may work in a factory. No Sunday labour. No child under
16 may be employed in any acrobatic, mendicant, immoral, or dangerous

suffrage. Women can be justices of the peace, town clerks, and registers
of probate. They cannot be notaries public. 39 women in ministry, 4
dentists, 33 journalists, 4 lawyers, 67 doctors, 1 professor, 3 bankers,
5 carpenters, etc.



POPULATION: Male 589,275; female 598,769.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings. No assignment of wages to
be made without consent of both husband and wife. Wife controls separate
property absolutely. Inheritance of property is the same for widow and
widower. Husband is legal guardian of children and must support family.

DIVORCE: Absolute for impotence, any cause which by the laws of the
State renders a marriage null and void _ab initio_, adultery, desertion
for three years, illicit sexual intercourse _of the woman before_
marriage unknown to husband (_but the wife cannot obtain a divorce from
her husband if he has been guilty of such an offence_). Limited divorce
for cruelty, excessively vicious conduct, or desertion. In all cases
where an absolute divorce is granted for adultery or abandonment, the
court may decree that the guilty party shall not contract marriage with
any other person during the lifetime of the other party. Annulment is
given for bigamy or marriage within the prohibited degrees of
consanguinity and affinity.

LABOUR LAWS: Seats must be provided for female employees. No Sunday
labour. No child under 14 may be employed in any mendicant or acrobatic
occupation. No child under 8 may be employed in peddling. Women may not
be waitresses in any place where liquor is sold. Children under 12 may
not be employed in any business except in the counties, from June 1 to
Oct. 15, Ten hours a legal day's work.

suffrage. Women serve as notaries public. 35 women in ministry, 6
dentists, 23 journalists, 6 lawyers, 87 doctors, 4 professors, 2
bankers, 13 commercial travellers, 10 carpenters, etc.



POPULATION: Male 1,367,474; female 1,437,872.

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Wife controls own earnings and has control of her
separate property subject only to the husband's interests. She can be
executor, make contracts, etc., as if unmarried. The husband is legal
guardian of minor children; he may dispose of them and may appoint a
guardian at his death. Husband must support family. In distributing the
estate, no distinction is made between real and personal property. The
surviving husband or wife takes one third, if deceased leaves children
or their descendants; 5000 dollars and one half of the remaining estate
if the deceased leaves no issue; and the whole, if deceased leaves no
kin. This is taken absolutely and not for life. Curtesy and dower exist;
but the old-time curtesy is cut down to a life-interest in one third,
the same as dower; and in order to be entitled to dower or curtesy, the
surviving husband or wife must elect to take it in preference to the
above provisions.

DIVORCE: Absolute for adultery, impotency, utter desertion for three
years, gross and confirmed habits of intoxication, cruel and abusive
treatment, wilful neglect to provide, sentence to imprisonment for five

No limited divorce.

LABOUR LAWS: No Sunday labour. Ten hours a legal day's work. No woman to
labour between 10 P.M. and 6 A.M. in any manufacturing establishment,
nor between 6 P.M. and 6 A.M. in any textile works. No child under 14
and no illiterate under 16 and over 14 may be employed in any factory or
mercantile establishment. No child under 14 may be employed between 7
P.M. and 6 A.M., or during the time when the public schools are in
session. Seats must be provided for females. No woman or young person
shall be required to work more than six hours without thirty minutes for
lunch. No child under 15 may engage in any gymnastic or theatrical

have school suffrage. They may be justices of the peace. 188 women in
ministry, 38 dentists, 180 journalists, 47 lawyers, 729 doctors, 38
professors, 8 saloon keepers, 3 bankers, 73 commercial travellers, 31
carpenters, etc.



Back to Full Books