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1867: Equal Rights for Women

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"Equal Rights for Women"

by George William Curtis

Curio 324.623 C978e            Read the full text online.


This tract, published by The American Woman Suffrage Association in 1869, contains an address delivered in 1867 by George William Curtis (1824–1892), the political editor of Harper’s Weekly. An author, literary critic, and orator, Curtis chaired the U.S. commission on civil service reform at the invitation of President Ulysses S. Grant. He later served as Chancellor of New York University.

 At the 1867 convention that assembled to re-write New York’s state constitution, Curtis proposed this simple amendment to the section concerning suffrage rights and qualifications to hold office: “Strike out the word ‘male;’ and wherever in that section the word ‘he’ occurs, add ‘or she;’ and wherever the word ‘his’ occurs, add ‘or her.’” What seemed to Curtiss like a simple and logical language change was not an easy sell. After his lengthy speech, the vote of the convention was 19 for and 125 against.