Important Speech of Mrs. M.C. Walling on Reconstruction and Universal Suffrage, Delivered in the U.S. Senate, May 10, 1866

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Author: Walling, M. [Mary] C. [Cole] Mrs.     

Title:  Important Speech of Mrs. M.C. Walling on Reconstruction and Universal Suffrage, Delivered in the U.S. Senate, May 10, 1866

Publisher: [Washington? D.C.] : [publisher not identified]

Date of Publication: [1866?]

Annotation: This specially printed speech by the famous abolitionist Mrs. Mary Cole Walling is part of the collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society who graciously allowed us to publish it here as part of the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project's Annotated Bibliography.  According to Mary Baumann, U.S. Senate Historical Office, this speech was not a part of an official Senate session. However it is remarkable in that it was the first time a woman was allowed to speak from the U.S. Senate floor. Walling's speech is an important primary source for scholars of the U.S. woman suffrage movement. Women activists choosing to work on behalf of universal suffrage during a pivotal time in constitutional history did this within the larger context of the strategy to include women in the word "universal." Her speech is a public manifestation of the work organized and described by the short-lived American Equal Rights Association. See for example the statements made later by Lucretia Mott and Susan Anthony in the Proceedings of the First Anniversary of the AERA (1867) available from the NAWSA Collection in the Library of Congress. This strategy though had a major setback a decade later with the Virginia Minor v. Reese Happersett case before the Supreme Court in 1875. The Supreme Court ruled that U.S. women, while included as citizens of the U.S., were expressly not included in the constitutional right to vote. This steered the suffrage activists to work on constitutional amendments for equal rights both at the state and federal levels. Though originally a native of Illinois, Walling came to Kentucky later in life to be with her sons in Louisville where she died on June 12, 1925.