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[Detail] Let me kiss him for his mother

Women's Rights

William Lloyd Garrison was extremely invested in the abolition movement but he also spent time campaigning for equal rights for women. His lyrics to "Human Equality" announce that women are equal to men in "all that makes a living soul."

Criticism of the women's rights movement, however, is represented in a variety of styles. "Eliza Jane" features puns on abolition and suffrage.

This is emancipation year, the woman movement's on;
Eliza plans to be a man, 'tis sad to think upon.
She thinks she needs the ballot now her freedom to enhance,
She wants to pose in papa's clothes; it is for this she pants.

Other pieces opposed to equal rights for women include an excerpt from Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew," which is identified as "The Wife's Duty to Her Husband" and "The Husband's Commandments," which features the declaration, "Thou shalt not go to Women's-Right meetings, neither to speak thyself or to hear others speak."

  • What types of arguments does William Lloyd Garrison present in support of equal rights for women?
  • Do you think that Garrison makes an effective argument? Why or why not?
  • How do Garrison's arguments compare to calls for abolishing slavery?
  • What techniques does "Eliza Jane" use to critique the women's movement?
  • What is the double-meaning of the song's phrase, "it is for this she pants"?
  • What does the song imply will happen to women if they receive the right to vote?
  • Do you think that these results are a valid reason to oppose women's rights?
  • Who do you think are the intended audiences of these pieces?
  • Why do you think that opponents to equal rights invoked works such as the Ten Commandments and Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew"?