Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Acco19a ECSHWS1rding to the subheadline in today’s “The Record,” former NJ governor Thomas Kean “says he may not vote.” Not voting is an unthinkable act for me, regardless of the choices. In 1883 Elizabeth Cady Stanton was on board a ship bound for America, “sitting on the deck hour after hour” pondering women’s pursuit of suffrage. “In seeking political power,” she wondered, do women really need the vote, or can they assert influence in other ways. Her answer: “No! no! the right of suffrage is no shadow, but a substantial entity that the citizen can seize and hold for his own protection and his country’s welfare . . .Through influence, like the pure white light, is all-pervading, yet it is oft-times obscured with passing clouds and nights of darkness; like the sun’s rays, it may be healthy, genial, inspiring, though sometimes too direct for comfort, too oblique for warmth, too scattered for any given purpose. But as the prism by dividing the rays of light reveals to us the brilliant coloring of the atmosphere, and as the burning-glass by concentrating them in a focus intensifies their heat, so does the right of suffrage reveal the beauty and power of individual sovereignty in the great drama of nation life, while on a vital measure of public interest it combines the many voices of the people in a grand chorus of protest or applause.”  (“Reminiscences by E.C.S., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. III, p. 953.

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