Thursday, December 30, 2010

male feminists of the 1840s: Friederich Engels and Frederick Douglass

When Engels was in his early twenties, he wrote in The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844,
"If the rule of the wife over her husband—a natural consequence of the factory system—is unnatural, then the former rule of the husband over the wife must also have been unnatural."
From Wikipedia's entry on Frederick Douglass:
In 1848, Douglass attended the first women's rights convention, the Seneca Falls Convention, as the only African American.[12] Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution asking for women's suffrage.[13] Many of those present opposed the idea, including influential Quakers James and Lucretia Mott.[14] Douglass stood and spoke eloquently in favor; he said that he could not accept the right to vote himself as a black man if woman could not also claim that right. Douglass projected that the world would be a better place if women were involved in the political sphere. "In this denial of the right to participate in government, not merely the degradation of woman and the perpetuation of a great injustice happens, but the maiming and repudiation of one-half of the moral and intellectual power of the government of the world."[14] Douglass's powerful words rang true with enough attendees that the resolution passed.[15]