April 14, 2013
Women have suffered throughout history. Angelina Grimke, Sarah Grimke, Catherine Beecher and Margaret Fuller wrote letters to express the importance of women’s rights. Often comparing women’s rights to slavery, each letter stressed the importance of equal rights for all. I never knew women were oppressed that badly. The letters these women wrote were based on moral rights, observation of injustice, and suppression in society. Each letter written expanded my knowledge on women’s rights. Although each wrote letters, the effectiveness of the writer’s point of view made some essays more effective at proving their point than others. Throughout this paper I will summarize, compare and contrast, and analyze each letter written to determine which paper effectively persuaded their reader. Angelina Grimke wrote “Human Rights Not Founded on Sex, Letter to Catharine Beecher” in 1837 to express the need for recognition for women’s rights. Grimke’s essay talks about human rights, which she relates to slavery. She related women’s rights and slavery by their moral rights, or moral nature she also described it, and how all men have moral nature so therefore all men have rights, “When I look at human beings as moral beings, all distinction in sex sinks to insignificance and nothingness; for I believe it regulates rights and responsibilities no more than the color of the skin or the eye.” (Grimke 143) Grimke effectively expressed her view on the rights of women. Although her wording was broad, her essay still specifies and stresses the importance of moral rights. Grimke gave a new perspective on the issue of women’s rights. For example, she discussed the widely known story of how women were created. Women were created from the rib of man. God took man’s rib to create his companion, or so we believe. The perspective Grimke gave was that women were created as lower than man, as man’s property. “…Woman was never given to man. She was created like him, in the image of God…” (Grimke 143) Since it was from the man’s rib she expressed that God made woman less than man, which is not true. However, Grimke fell short on really reaching her audience. Throughout her essay Grimke seems to give a broad context of the injustice women and slaves face. Her essay doesn’t give personal examples or stories of women and slaves who have experienced the struggle of discrimination based on sex and race. Although, the essay was a response to Catharine Beecher’s essay on slavery and abolitionism I still contend that the shortness of the essay was its downfall. Another response letter done by Angelina Grimke’s sister, Sarah Grimke does a more effective job of comparing women and slaves. Angelina’s essay discussed the moral rights and how all should be treated equal. Sarah’s however, compared women and slaves struggles for equality against men. For example, “This last that “a wife can bring no action,” &c. is similar to the law respecting slaves,” (Grimke 147) Sarah talked about how women could not bring justice to herself if criminal charges are against her husband. Also how the wife has no control over her own responsibility, the husband “Possess unlimited control over her…” (Grimke 147) Grimke does an excellent job of bridging similarities of injustice towards women and slaves together in her essay “”Legal Disabilities of Women”: Letter to Mary Parker.” For example, the husband can instill “moderate correction…as an answer to misbehavior,” (Grimke 148) or in today’s terms abuse. When comparing to slavery it is allowed by law for slaveholders to kill slaves based on moderate correction. Another essay Sarah Grimke wrote was “”Relation of Husband and Wife”: Letter to Mary Parker”. Grimke discusses the relationship between woman and husband and the struggle women face just for equality, no matter what economic status. She refers to economic classes and how woman who are lower class often...
Cited: Angelina Grimke. Human Rights Not Founded on Sex: Letter to . : The
Liberator, Aug 2, 1837.
Catherine Beecher. A Treatise of Domestic Economy (1841). : A Treatise of Domestic Economy, 1841.
Margaret Fuller. Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845). : Woman in the Nineteenth Century , 1845.
Sarah Grimke. Legal Disabilities of Women: Letter to Mary Parker. : The Liberator, Sept. 6, 1838.
Sarah Grimke. Relation of Husband and Wife: Letter to Mary Parker. : The Liberator, Sept. 1837.
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