Tag Archives: “Spirit of 1776″

Suffrage Wagon gathered speed in 2013 for women’s suffrage!

The "Spirit of 1776" suffrage wagonSuffrage Wagon News Channel celebrated a total of 350 posts since its inception in 2009. We have several platforms including the Suffrage Wagon blog and the web site. There’s a newsletter four times a year. I also post suffrage history on New York History, as well as Lets Rock the Cradle. Follow the suffrage wagon directly or touch in occasionally.

Edna Kearns is a 2014 National Women’s History Month nominee, as featured in the “Women’s History 2014 Gazette.”  New York Archives magazine article about the suffrage wagon, the “Spirit of 1776″ highlighted and summarized its history. And the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon was honored by a resolution by both houses of the New York State Legislature designating July 1, 2013 as Wagon Day in the state. During “Hot Tea Month” in January 2014, we featured videos on tea and the suffrage movement (See Video #1, #2), as well as Ken Florey’s articles about the role tea events had in organizing for the larger movement.

Tea for Two at Suffrage Wagon News ChannelWomen’s suffrage history isn’t a top draw, so considering what’s out in the marketplace for folks to consider thinking about, this is terrific. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has come a long way in the past four years as a multi-media platform about what it took for women to win the vote from 1848 to 1920. We also follow our sisters in the UK and around the world who have a passion for their history.

Follow the suffrage wagon and subscribe on YouTube and Vimeo. You can also stay in touch with the wagon through Twitter and Facebook.

A happy 4th birthday to Suffrage Wagon, plus birthday video!

Happy Birthday, Suffrage Wagon News Channel Every year in early December there’s another birthday for Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Now it’s number four!

We’ll be celebrating 350 posts this month, and that’s quite an accomplishment. Back in the early days it wasn’t clear just how long I could keep up with blogging on a subject as focused as my suffragist grandmother Edna Kearns and her “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon. Here I am, four years later and not running out of things to say.

There’s a happy birthday video. Take a minute and smile at the thought of four candles as you send birthday greetings by way of cyberspace. Leave a comment on YouTube so that we know you’re out there cheering on the wagon as much as people took notice 100 years ago. Today the news channel keeps fans abreast of suffrage news and views, events and centennials. The story of Grandmother Edna Kearns is just as fresh as it has ever been. She represents the tens of thousands of women on the community level that it took for women to win the vote. Current affairs suggest that rights granted can also be taken away. Choose the vote and use it!

The "Spirit of 1776" article in "New York Archives"An article about the “Spirit of 1776″ in the current issue of “New York Archives” demonstrates how the suffrage wagon in its centennial year continues to have juice. Suffrage centennials like this one are an opportunity to pause for reflection and honor the hard work and dedication that went into winning the vote. Take a stand and insist that rights fought for this shouldn’t be compromised. And don’t stop at the vote itself. It’s merely a tool in our toolbox as citizens.

Grandmother Edna Kearns’ birthday is on Christmas Day. She’ll be 121 years old in 2013.

Highlights of Suffrage Wagon News Channel in 2013 include the centennial celebration of the first journey of the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon from Manhattan to Long Island in July of 1913. Some links:

Media about “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon resolution in the New York State Legislature during 2013: Ms. Magazine blog: #1. #2. Newsday coverage. #1. #2. Legislative Gazette. #1.#2. Votes for Women 2020. #1.  Feature from Women’s eNews. #1. #2. Albany TV coverage. #1. #2.  State Senator Little’s web page about resolution.#1. #2. Transcript of June 18, 2013 of the New York State Senate introduction of the Wagon Day (July 1, 2013) resolution. #1. #2. New York History blog. #1. 

Suffrage Wagon News Channel publishes twice a week and four times a year with a special quarterly newsletter. Follow us. “Marguerite’s Musings” are a special feature.

“Spirit of 1776″ by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Part III

Independence Hall, PhiladelphiaThe continuing story of the suffragists’ demonstration at the nation’s centennial celebration in Philadelphia in early July 1876.

by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

. . . With this rebuff, Mrs. Mott and I decided that we would not accept the offered seats, but would be ready to open our own convention called for that day, at the First Unitarian church. But some of our younger coadjutors decided that they would occupy the seats and present our Declaration of Rights. They said truly, women will be taxed to pay the expenses of this celebration, and we have as good a right to that platform and to the ears of the people as the men have, and we will be heard. That historic Fourth of July dawned at last, one of the most oppressive days of that heated season. Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Sara Andrews Spencer, Lillie Devereux Blake, and Phcebe W. Couzins made their way through the crowds under the broiling sun of Independence Square, carrying the Woman’s Declaration of Rights.

This Declaration had been handsomely engrossed by one of their number, and signed by the oldest and most prominent advocates of woman’s enfranchisement. Their tickets of admission proved an “open sesame” through the military barriers, and, a few moments before the opening of the ceremonies, these women found themselves within the precincts from which most of their sex were excluded. The Declaration of 1776 was read by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, about whose family clusters so much historic fame. The moment he finished reading was determined upon as the appropriate time for the presentation of the Woman’s Declaration. Not quite sure how their approach might be met, not quite certain if, at this final moment, they would be permitted to reach the presiding officer, those ladies arose and made their way down the aisle.

The bustle of preparation for the Brazilian hymn covered their advance. The foreign guests and the military and civil officers who filled the space directly in front of the speaker’s stand, courteously made way, while Miss Anthony, in fitting words, presented the Declaration to the presiding officer. Senator Ferry’s face paled as, bowing low, with no word he received the Declaration, which thus became part of the day’s proceedings. The ladies turned, scattering printed copies as they deliberately walked down from the platform. On every side eager hands were outstretched, men stood on seats and asked for them, while General Hawley, thus defied and beaten in his audacious denial to women of the right to present their Declaration, shouted, “Order, order!”

For more information, visit the Suffrage Wagon platform at suffragewagon.org This year is the 165th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention. Join us in a special celebration: a video, a book review, and links when planning a visit to Seneca Falls, NY. Part IV, the final installment of this suffrage series, coming soon.

Suffrage Wagon features news and stories, events. One recent suffrage centennial acknowledged the first journey of the “Spirit of 1776″ campaign wagon used in New York City and on Long Island.

The “Spirit of 1776″ by Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Part I

Suffrage activists didn’t let the centennial of the Declaration of Independence pass in 1876 without a demonstration. In this chapter of her memoir, Elizabeth Cady Stanton explains the preparations associated with traveling to Philadelphia to make the point that the American Revolution remained unfinished as long as women were denied the ballot and basic civil rights.

Fireworks. Photo: Tom Walsh.

Chapter XVIII: The Spirit of ’76

THE year 1876 was one of intense excitement and laborious activity throughout the country. The anticipation of the centennial birthday of the Republic, to be celebrated in Philadelphia, stirred the patriotism of the people to the highest point of enthusiasm. As each state was to be represented in the great exhibition, local pride added another element to the public interest. Then, too, everyone who could possibly afford the journey was making busy preparations to spend the Fourth of July, the natal day of the Republic, ‘mid the scenes where the Declaration of Independence was issued in 1776, the government inaugurated, and the first national councils were held.

MAKING JULY 4TH A WOMAN’S DAY

Those interested in women’s political rights decided to make the Fourth a woman’s day, and to celebrate the occasion, in their various localities, by delivering orations and reading their own declaration of rights, with dinners and picnics in the town halls or groves, as most convenient. But many from every state in the Union made their arrangements to spend the historic period in Philadelphia. Owing, also, to the large number of foreigners who came over to join in the festivities, that city was crammed to its utmost capacity. With the crowd and excessive heat, comfort was everywhere sacrificed to curiosity. .  . .

As the lyceum season lasted from October to June, I was late in reaching Philadelphia. Appropriate headquarters for the National Suffrage Association
had been found on the lower floor of No. 143 1 Chestnut Street. As it was the year for nominating candidates for the presidency of the United States, the Repub-
licans and Democrats were about to hold their great conventions. Hence letters were to be written to them recommending a woman suffrage plank in their
platforms, and asking seats for women in the conventions, with the privilege of being heard in their own behalf.

WRITING THE WOMAN’S DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

Then it was thought pre-eminently proper that a Woman’s Declaration of Rights should be issued. Days and nights were spent over that document. After many twists from analytical tweezers, with a critical consideration of every word and sentence, it was at last, by a consensus of the competent, pronounced very good. Thousands were ordered to be printed, and were folded, put in envelopes, stamped, directed, and scattered. Miss Anthony, Mrs. Gage, and I worked sixteen hours a day, pressing everyone who came in, into the service, and late at night carrying immense bundles to be mailed. With meetings, receptions, and a succession of visitors, all of whom we plied with woman suffrage literature, we felt we had accomplished a great educational work.

Coming soon: Part II. The “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon carried on the theme of the national suffrage movement, which was the unfinished American Revolution. Photo: Tom Walsh. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote. Visit our main news channel platform.

What was Edna Kearns doing on June 27, 1913?

What was Grandmother Edna Kearns doing in June 100 years ago? Grassroots organizing at every opportunity. There were meetings –outdoors, indoors, up on soapboxes, standing on automobiles, out with the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon on the beach, and anywhere a crowd gathered. Such is the nature of grassroots organizing. You get out the message however you can, where ever you can. The South Side Observer was a Long Island paper. Edna knocked on editors’ doors with her columns and special suffrage reports. For information about Edna Kearns, her life and work –video and bio.

And now the answer as to what Edna Kearns was doing on June 27th one hundred years ago. She was clipping the newspaper to preserve a record of her grassroots organizing:
South Side Observer, June 27, 1913

What did Edna Kearns do on the 4th of July, 1913?

Grandmother Edna Kearns hitched a horse to her “Spirit of 1776″ wagon and headed to the shore at Long Beach on Long Island. She took two outfits with her: a bathing suit and a white dress with a “Votes for Women” sash. What a crowd on the beach that day, and the group of women made a splash. Edna even got out in the surf to make a “voiceless speech,” a tactic of the suffrage movement which fell under the category of the visual rhetoric associated with sophisticated public relations. Take a look at this link. The suffrage campaign wagon again made the NY Times.

“Appeal to Liberty” on behalf of the foremothers. . .

Read at the feet of the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 1915

To the Men of New York,

We therefore appeal to you, in the name of justice and fair play, for relief from the intolerable position in which we have been placed.

We protest that no Government is just which taxes and governs half its people without their consent.

We protest that no Government is efficient which is guilty of so absurd a discrimination as that of putting a vote in the hand of male paupers and denying that privilege to at least a third of its taxpayers; of counting the opinion of illiterate males, and denying that count to the 41,000 women teachers of the State.

We protest that no Government is sound which pretends to secure the highest welfare to its people, yet pays no heed to what half its people want.

We protest that no Government is logical which elevates half its people regardless of qualifications to sovereignty and condemns the other half to political subjection.

Justice gave you the vote, in the name of that same great virtue, we ask you to give it to us!

For news clips about the entire story about the “Appeal to Liberty” and Edna Kearns carrying on the work on Long Island, follow this link.

Splits in suffrage movement didn’t deter working relationships

Mrs. Raymond Brown took over after Harriett May Mills as president of New York’s state suffrage organization. A rare recording of Mrs. Brown speaking is a valuable look at the period, as well as a reference in one of Grandmother Edna Kearns’ newspaper columns that she wasn’t all that pleased with Mrs. Brown being selected as state president. Despite her personal opinion, Kearns and Brown worked closely together on suffrage organizing of Long Island. Photo: Library of Congress.

Long and Short Suffrage Hikes

A rare and precious film clip of 1913 showing Rosalie Jones and Elisabeth Freeman leaving on a hike to Washington, DC for suffrage gives a sense of, not only their courage, but the intense interest in women voting and the need to accelerate the pressure. The story in my family was that my grandmother, Edna Buckman Kearns, planned to take the wagon, the “Spirit of 1776,” on the long trip with Rosalie and Elisabeth, but she backed out at the last minute for health reasons. Edna went to the big march in Washington, but couldn’t commit to the long ordeal of the hikers underwent.

Edna, her husband Wilmer Kearns and their daughter Serena Kearns accompanied Rosalie Jones and Elisabeth Freeman on the 1914 hike to Albany in January, no small accomplishment. Hiking as a media event in the suffrage movement received considerable publicity.