“We are House keepers, Pay our Taxes, carry on Trade, and most of us are she Merchants, and as we in some measure contribute to the Support of Government, we ought to be Intituled to some of the Sweets of it; but we find ourselves entirely neglected, while the Husbands that live 10 in our Neighborhood are daily invited to Dine at Court; we have the Vanity to think we can be full as Entertaining, and make as brave a Defence in Case of an Invasion and perhaps not turn Taile so soon as some of them.” [January 21, 1733]
Women have been fighting for equality in the United States since before the nation was founded. This is an excerpt, from a letter that widows from a city penned to the editor of the New York Weekly Journal. Widows were important in colonial America because they are often the only women that are able to hold property and maintain a business. In the letter the widows express their grievances with the colonial government in how despite being merchants in the local economy and taxpayers to the government they receive none of the benefits of being a citizen. These women are also upset by how they are not invited to “Dine at Court” with the men of the community which is where they discuss politics and other important issues. The letter even makes a sly remark that the women are just as entertaining as men and that some of them can make a better argument for their case then a man can. This shows how women at this time believed that at least in the governments eyes they should be treated equal to men. This idea is important because 100 years later women would still not treated as equals to men and in fact their status had been reduced. During the 1730’s much of what held women back were cultural or societal norms that bared women from engaging in politics. By the mid 19th century the country had laws prohibiting women’s participation in government yet women still had to pay taxes. The belief that women are not inferior to men would not die out and would grow as time went on. Slowly but surely progress was made, however, Women had to change tactics and instead of focusing on changing the way the government views them they switched to tackling one pressing issue at a time until change was achieved. Even when setbacks did occur women’s rights activist did not give up and began preparations to continue the fight.
Source Letters to the editor, New York Weekly Journal, 1733-4.