Aug. 5, 1871
Sincerely believing that the best interests of the country demand an immediate settlement of this great [suffrage] question . . . and believing the women citizens of the Eighth Congressional District of the State of New York to be as highly patriotic and as fully inclined to perform their duties which the rights of citizenship require of them as are those of any other Congressional district; and that the male citizens thereof, from their gallantry and courtesy, will as heartily and earnestly join with women to permit this settlement as would those of any other Congressional district, I offer myself to them as a candidate for the office of Representative in the Congress of the United States for the next regular term.
I believe that all men and women are born free and have an equal, inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I believe that every avenue to happiness is open to me as well as to all other citizens. I believe that every right inalienable in any other citizen is equally inalienable in me.
I believe that every exercise of liberty extended to any other citizen is also extended to me.
And I believe that the true men and women citizens of this district will accord every right, liberty and means of happiness to me equally with others, and will thereby acknowledge and practice the great fact that I, as a citizen, have as clear a right to represent my fellow-citizens in Congress as any other citizen has, provided that in other matters outside of right, liberty, happiness and law I may suit their tastes or opinions, and be deemed to possess the proper personal characteristics, independent of sex.
Upon the broad platform of equal rights to all citizens do I stand and solicit the votes of all citizens, women as well as men, urging as a special reason therefore that, by my election or by my receiving more votes at such election than any other candidate, the Congress of the United States, through my application for a seat therein, may be compelled to acknowledge the right of women citizens to vote, and thus by your action will the question be determined for every other Congressional district in the country and for all women citizens.
In matter of general political policy, I believe in an enlightened application of the principles of freedom, equality and justice, as far as the limitations of the Constitution will permit, and in modifying the Constitution whenever it is necessary so to do, that perfect political and social equality may be secured to every individual. Respectfully,
Tennie C. Claflin, New York, July 1871.
Passing an evening lately with my friend and fellow reformer, Mrs. Loomis, she proposed, after an appetizing conversation on progressive subjects, that we should adjourn to a neighboring restaurant, our mental banquet promoting the desire for the more material pabulum.
But in these days of male domination, women are not allowed to sup at a public eating-house after a certain hour (nine oclock) unless under the aegis of male attire; and any belated female, tired and hungry, and with no means of satisfying her wants at home, can find no welcome in any of our first-class, pretentious restaurants unless accompanied by a voucher of the male sex. The waiters informed us that wetwo women without male accompanimentcould have nothing; and no insistency of ours availed against the iron despotism of this masculine institution. I have been an habitue of this restaurant for several years; but an appeal to the head clerk was met by the response that such was the rule, and his duty was solely to enforce it. The waiters grinned and leered as if in enjoyment of our discomfiture. My friend, Mrs. Loomis, discoursed eloquently at the counter on the equal rights of women and men; but she might as well have preached charity to churchmen, or the golden rule to the Board of Brokers. . . .
I sought to appeal to a higher tribunal, and called for the proprietor with whom I am acquainted, but he was absent. Finding that there was no possibility of satisfying our demand, without the appendage of a puppet in pants, we concluded that only the expedient of calling upon the first mannikin [sic] we should meet, to serve as a male duenna, would answer our purpose, since it seemed that a little man flesh by the side of a woman invested her with respectability which fitted her to pay her way in an eating saloon. We had already observed near us, as we awaited our expulsion from the premises, a lady of no uncertain notoriety in a profession more sinned against than sinning, who flaunted proudly her gorgeous array, under the redeeming protection of that uniform of virtue, male attire.
Quitting the saloon in disgust, in crossing the street, the Providence that presides over the destinies of womans rights brought us in contact with the landlord, who, at my request, gallantly offered us his guarantee, and we returned triumphantly, one on each side of the proprietor to the dismay of the waiters, and the surprise of the rest of the immaculate assemblage. Thus, at the very nick of time came to us the best male friend we could have desired, sent doubtless by our guardian spirits, to relieve us from the pain of going supperless, and solving the annoyance to which we had been subjected as champions of the rights of women, adding also to his opportune intervention by defraying the expense of our refreshment, and then accompanying us to the door of my friends residence, where I remained until the small hours of the night in philosophical disquisition on our evenings adventure, interesting, as it did to us, the diabolical injustice and cruel inhumanity of man to woman. . . .
Why should it be presumed that when women are accompanied by men they are reputable, and when alone otherwise? What a comment upon the utter falsity of the social conditions under which we live! . . .
It is said that women of the class against whom these regulations are directed might become riotous if admitted at a late hour of night into a public restaurant. That these women have become masculinized, as it were, and have lost much of their femininity by their contact with men, is too true. But are they any more likely to breed disturbance than men themselves? When well treated, they are uniformly well behaved, and many have an exceeding beauty and grace of mannerand, indeed, a largeness of soulrarely to be met with among their prudish sisters. . . .
Yours for freedom,
Frances Rose McKinley
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