“It is with diffidence that I speak…” Remarks by Rebecca M. Sandford


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“It is with diffidence that I speak…” Remarks by Rebecca M. Sandford


“It is with diffidence that I speak…” Remarks by Rebecca M. Sandford

Excerpt from Proceedings of the Woman’s Rights Convention, Held at the Unitarian Church, Rochester, N.Y., August 2, 1848

Rebecca M. Sandford speech is read by Megan Mack:

"It is with diffidence that I speak upon the deliberations before us, not a diffidence resulting from any doubt of the worthiness of the cause, but from the fear that its depth and power can be but meagerly portrayed by me.
Woman’s rights—her civil rights—equal with man’s—not an equality of moral and religious influence, for who dare to deny her that? but an equality of exertion, and a right to use all the sources of erudition within the reach of man, to build unto herself a name for her talents, energy and integrity. We do not positively say that our intellect is as capable as man’s to assume, and at once to hold, these rights, or that our hearts are as willing to enter into his actions; for if we did not believe it, we would not contend for them, and if men did not believe it, they would not withhold them with a smothered silence. From Semiramis to Victoria we have found the Women of History equal to the emergencies before them! and more than equal—their perceptions accurately measuring the consequences of the future by the influences of the present; their judgment, their elevation and their will, using their prerogatives to change and improve their epoch! The world has seen woman in power; and the after history of that age tells of the abuse of power.
But I do not intend to speak of oppressive and tyrannical power as woman’s right, but that if you will galvanize her into civil liberty, you will find her capable of being in it, and of sustaining it. Place her in equal power, and you will find her capable of not abusing it! Give her the elective franchise, and there will be an unseen, yet a deep and universal movement of the people to elect into office only those who are pure in intention and honest in sentiment! Give her the privilege to co-operate in making the laws she submits to, and there will be harmony without severity, and justice without oppression. Make her, if married, a living being in the eye of the law—she will not assume beyond duty; give her right of property, and you may justly tax her patrimony as the result of her wages. Open to her your colleges—your legislative, your municipal, your domestic laws may be purified and ennobled. Forbid her not, and she will use moderation…
If all this is accomplished, man need not fear pomposity, fickleness, or an unhealthy enthusiasm at his dear fireside; we can be as dutiful, submissive, endearing as daughters, wives and mothers, even if we hang the wreath of domestic harmony upon the eagle’s talons."

Source: (New York: Robert J. Johnston, 1870), 6-8.




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(New York: Robert J. Johnston, 1870), 6-8.


““It is with diffidence that I speak…” Remarks by Rebecca M. Sandford,” accessed May 20, 2022, https://rocheritage.org/items/show/155.