Grimke Sisters Essay

Throughout the series of documents in Kathryn Kisk Sklar’s Women’s Rights Emerges within the Antislavery Movement 1830- 1870, the Grimke sisters argued for the natural rights of women and slaves. They believed that all humans are moral beings, and are entitled to moral nature and rights. Throughout the documents Sarah and Angelina Grimke were not radical, but looked to better humanity in America. Their humanistic values urged the sisters to challenge the domestic roles and values that women in the 1800’s were faced with in their homes, marriages, and society.

They used the abolition movement to encourage women to act and speak their opinions in order to obtain equality from men. The sisters used the abolition movement to argue their opposition to slavery, by pleading for equal rights in America. In document 32, Sarah compares women to slaves. She believes that all human beings have natural rights, therefore it is wrong for both minority parties to be discriminated against, and have their rights taken away from them.

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She compared women to their husbands as slaves are to their masters. This powerful connection explains that women have no more rights than slaves. Neither is not allowed to have property, both are forced to follow laws they did not vote for, and neither can not act upon their master or husband no matter what the case is. l The sisters are not radical, because they intend to challenge the rights women have in society by using the same Lockean philosophy men used to Justify their rights a century earlier.

The concept focused on their humanist ideas for America, in which she asserts the injustices against slavery nd women, and looks to change the position both groups serve in society. Additionally, their stance for abolition is not only derived from the lack of their own rights, but also the church. Following the Quaker religion, the sisters believed that people needed to stand up for not only their own salvation, but also others.

Angelina proclaims that if something in society is morally unjust she will voice her opinion, because she is trying to do God’s work on earth, “If a law commands me to sin I will break it”. 2 At her lectures on abolition, Angelina intended to inspire women to nterfere with politics. She encouraged women to voice their opinions, because they have natural rights, and if they believed slavery is a crime against humanity they should express their feelings because of natural law made by God, “On the popular objection Slavery is a political subject, therefore women should not intermeddle”. Politically, she believed that if one disagrees with something in their society and is passionate about it, their gender does not weaken or lessen the stance on issue, “l found that the men were no more to me then, than the women”. The sisters throughout the movement focused on breaking women’s objections to getting involved with politics, because they have been subjective to men for centuries. As the abolition movement progressed the sisters were encouraged to venture away from abolition and focus solely on women’s rights.

Men that worked with the sisters in the abolition movement such as Amos Phelps and Theodore Weld, encouraged the sisters to stop discussing women’s rights in their lectures on abolition, because they believed it hurt the abolition cause. However, this is false, because the sisters used explained that the domesticity trait women should have encouraged other women to join the abolition movement and agree that slavery is wrong; because women slaves are “torn from their husbands, and forcibly plundered of their virtue and their offspring”. Being domestic creatures founded on virtues of morals and piety, women should feel remorse for women in slavery because they are stripped of the one thing women have in their society: a husband and children. The sisters clearly did not eject domestic values of women, because they encouraged women to Join the abolition movement because of those traits. Therefore, all women should Join the abolition movement because they should be against messing with the domestic virtues that women have.

In respect to the abolition movement, they began to focus solely on women’s rights by suggesting women’s place in society and marriage should be different, “Our fundamental principle that man & woman are created equal”. 6 This statement creates that women should have a different place in marriage. At the time hey were subjected to whatever their husband said or told them to do, but the sisters both agree that women are capable of all the same things as a men.

This is the time when some historians say the sisters were too radical and they made unrealistic suggestions on the rights of women for the time period, but I completely disagree. Angelina argues, “Our ignorance and inexperience often leads to our mistakes and failures”7 meaning that, the reason women are held back in society is because they have been subjected to men, and if they are giving their rights they can rove that they are Just as qualified as men to get an education, Jobs, and partake in politics.

Therefore, the sisters are not being radical they are insisting if women were given their inalienable rights they could succeed Just as if they were men. To conclude, the sisters stood for equality in America, because they believed all human beings are entitled to rights because of natural law. The sisters were not radical or unrealistic when Justifying equal rights, because they used the same tactics used by American men a century earlier.

As the Grimke sisters do not exactly agree with the idea of the separate spear they do agree women are pure and domestic. Therefore, the sisters encouraged other women to Join the abolition movement because of their natural domesticity. The women’s rights movement then flourished out of the abolition movement, because as women started to speak their minds and take control over their own lives they saw different opportunities for themselves that had never been discovered, because they had been subjected to men their entire lives.


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