Woman, Church and State:
A Historical Account of the Status of Woman Through the Christian Ages with Reminiscences of the Matriarchate
Matilda Joslyn Gage
1893, reprinted by Arno Press Inc, 1972
- The church's teaching that woman is the source of sin and that this sin is transmitted to all generations through the act of sex (which happens to be required for procreation) has done untold damage to women.
- The double standard of morality degrades both sexes. See note page 109 for explanation.
- The earliest religions worshipped a mother Goddess. All early religions had a female component of the divine. The loss of the female component of divinity enabled the church to loose the divine component of the female.
- Women's position in the church became so degraded that no act of torture or mutilation was deemed excessive when applied to wise women. See chapter on witchcraft.
- In all countries and at all times, women have worked as hard as men, in spite of God's curse upon Adam that all work should fall on him.
- Gage ends Woman, Church, and State on a very positive note. Women will engage the church and win to the benefit of all.
The dedication tells us a lot about the tone of the book to come: (the words in bold are her emphasis, not mine)
"This Book is Inscribed to the Memory of my Mother, who was at once mother, sister, friend:Dedicated to all Christian women and men, of whatever creed or name who, bound by Church or State, have not dared to Think for Themselves: Addressed to all Persons, who, breaking away from custom and the usage of ages, dare seek Truth for the sake of Truth. To all such it will be welcome; to all others, aggressive and educational."
Table of Contents
Chapter I: The Matriarchate
Chapter II: Celibacy
Chapter III: Canon Law
Chapter IV: Marquette
Chapter V: Witchcraft
Chapter VI: Wives
Chapter VII: Polygamy
Chapter VIII: Woman and Work
Chapter IX: The Church of Today
Chapter X: Past, Present, and Future
Chapter 1:The Matriarchate
Chapter II: Celibacy
- "... the most grievous wrong ever inflicted upon woman has been in the Christian teaching that she was not created equal with man, and the consequent denial of her rightful place in Church and State." page 12
- "The whole ancient world recognized a female priesthood..." page 42
- Since earliest society was composed of mothers and their children banding together and men were on the periphery, females dominated every aspect of society: family, government, religion.
- The earliest "Supreme Beings" were Goddesses, not Gods; later, male gods were inferior to female goddesses while the most widely worshipped god/goddess in antiquity (Egypt & classical Rome) was Isis. The following were attributed to Isis: (pages 30 and 31)
decreed the earliest laws, through whose teaching the people had risen from barbarism to civilization
taught the art of making bread which had previously grown wild and unused
taught the science of medicine
established their literature
founded their religion
responsible for creating Egyptian civilization
- References in the original Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) to the female component of God were removed by later Christian writers.
Old Testament example: El Shaddai, usually translated as The Almighty, should be translated "The Breasted God" (page 45)
New Testament example: Holy Spirit is strongly feminine in Greek
- Woman's degradation is attributed to the Christian/patriarchal position that God is strictly male. (God is made like man but not like woman.)
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Chapter III: Canon Law
- "As long as the church maintains the doctrine that woman was created inferior to man and brought sin into the world, rendering the sacrifice of the Son of God necessary, just so long will the foundation of vice and crime of every character remain. Not until the exact and permanent equality of woman with man is recognized by the church -- aye, even more, together with the accountability of man to woman in everything relating to the birth of a new being, is fully accepted as a law of nature -- will vice and crime disappear from the world. Until that time has fully come, prostitution in its varied forms will continue to exist, together with alms-houses, reformatories, jails, prisons, hospitals and asylums for the punishment, reformation or care of the wretched beings who have come into existence with an inheritance of disease and crime because of church theory and church teaching." p. 47
- "While the inferior and secondary position of woman early became an integral portion of Christianity, its fullest efforts are seen in Church teaching regarding marriage. Inasmuch as it was a cardinal doctrine that the fall of Adam took place through his temptation into marriage by Eve, this relation was regarded with holy horror as a continuance of the evil which first brought sin into the world, depriving man of his immortality. . . . [H]ad it not been for the fall, God would have found some way outside of this relation for populating the world, consequently marriage was regarded as a condition of peculiar temptation and trial; celibacy as one of especial holiness." page 49- 50
- "The androgynous theory of primal man found many supporters, the separation into two beings having been brought about by sensual desire. Jacob Boehme and earlier mystics of that class recognized the double sexuality of God in whose image man was made. One of the most revered ancient Scriptures, "The Gospel according to the Hebrews", which was in use as late as the second century of the Christian era, taught the equality of the feminine in the Godhead; also that daughters should inherit with sons. . . . The fact remains undeniable that at the advent of Christ, a recognition of the feminine element in the divinity had not entirely died out from general belief . . .It was however but a short period before the church through Cannons and Decrees, as well as apostolic and private teachings, denied the femininity of the Divine equally with the divinity of the feminine. There is abundant proof that even under but partial recognition of the feminine principle as entering in the divinity, woman was officially recognized in the early services of the church, being ordained to the ministry, officiating as deacons, administering the act of baptism, dispensing the sacraments, interpreting doctrines and founding sects which received their names." pages 50-51
- "...the church decided to compel a belief that its control of this contract lessened the evil, to this end declaring marriage illegal without priestly sanction..." page 52
- "... while the possibility of salvation to the married, at first recognized, was denied at later date even to persons otherwise living holy lives. The Emperor Jovinian banished a man who asserted the possibility of salvation to married persons provided they obeyed all the ordinances of the church and lived good lives. As part of this doctrine, the church taught that woman was under an especial curse and man a divinely appointed agent for the enforcement of that curse. It inculcated the belief that all restrictions placed upon her were but parts of her just punishment for having caused the fall of man." page 53
- "... woman was not part of the original creative idea but a secondary thought, an inferior being brought into existence as an appendage to man." page 54
- "That Paul was unmarried has been assumed because of his bitterness against this relation, yet abundant proof of his having a wife exists. For the membership of the Great Sanhedrim, marriage was a requisite. St. Clement of Alexandra positively declared that St. Paul had a wife. Until the time of Cromwell, when it was burned, a MS. letter of St. Ignatius in Greek was preserved in the old Oxford Library; this letter spoke "of St. Peter and Paul and the apostles who were married." Another letter of St. Ignatius is still extant in the Vatican Library. Tussian and others who have seen it declare that it also speaks of St. Paul as a married man. But tenderness toward woman does not appear in his teaching, man is represented as the master, "the head" of woman. In consonance with his teaching, responsibility has been denied her through the ages; although the Church has practically held her amenable for the ruins of the world, prescribing penance and hurling anathemas against her whom it has characterized as the "door of Hell." " pages 54-55
- "The old christian [sic small c-Christian is often not capitalized in this work] theologians found the nature of woman a prolific subject of discussion, a large party classing her among brutes without soul or reason. As early as the sixth century a council at Macon (585) fifty-nine bishops taking part, devoted its time to a discussion of this question, "Does woman possess a soul?" .... Christian women were therefore allowed to remain human beings in the eyes of the clergy, even though considered very weak and bad ones.
... As late as the end of the sixteenth century an anonymous work appeared, arguing that woman were no part of mankind, but a species of intermediate animal between the human and brute creation. (Mulieres non est homines, etc.) Mediaeval [sic] christian [sic] writings show many discussions upon this point, the influence of these old assertions still manifesting themselves." page 56
- "Until the time of Peter the Great, women were not recognized as human beings in that great division of Christendom known as the Greek church, the census of that empire counting only males, or so many "souls" - no woman named. Traces of this old belief have not been found wanting in our own country within the century. As late as the Woman's Rights Convention in Philadelphia, 1854, an objector in the audience cried out: "Let women first prove they have souls; both the Church and the State deny it." " page 57
- "Everything connected with woman was held to be unclean." page 57
- "To such an extent was this opposition carried, that the church of the middle ages did not hesitate to provide itself with eunuchs in order to supply cathedral choirs with the soprano tones inhering by nature in woman alone. One of the charges against the Huguenots was that they permitted women to sing in church,..." page 57
- "The Christianity of the ages teaches the existence of a superior and inferior sex, possessing different rights under the law in the church, it has been easy to bring man and woman under accountability to a different code of morals. " page 58
- "A knowledge of facts like these is necessary in order for a just understanding of our present civilization, especially as to the origin of restrictive legislation concerning woman. The civilization of to-day is built upon the religious theories of the middle ages supplemented by advancing freedom of thought." pages 62 - 63
- "Without predetermined intention of wrong doing, man has been so molded by the Church doctrine of ages and the coordinate laws of State as to have become blind to the justices of woman's demand for freedom such as he possesses." page 63
- Regarding the dark ages: "The most pronounced doctrine of the church at this period was that through woman sin entered the world; that woman's whole tendency was toward evil, and had it not been for the unfortunate oversight of her creation, man would be dwelling in the paradisal innocence and happiness of Eden, with death entirely unknown. When the feminine was thus wholly proscribed, the night of moral and spiritual degradation reached its greatest depth..." page 66
- "To the theory of "God the Father", shorn of the divine attribute of motherhood, is the world beholden for its most degrading beliefs, it most infamous practices." page 69
- "It was declared that Peter possessed a wife before his conversion, but that he forsook her and all worldly things after he became Christ's, who established chastity; priests were termed holy in proportion as they opposed marriage." page 71 i.e., Peter abandoned his wife (and children? and young children?) to win converts for Christ. That certainly is holy.
- " "The Fathers of the Church of the most part, vie with each other in their depreciation of woman and denouncing her with every vile epithet, held it a degradation for a saint to touch even his aged mother with his hand in order to sustain her feeble steps. " " footnote number 48, page 74, quotation from Anna Kingsford in _The Perfect Way_ ( Gage does not give the edition), page 286
- "Aristotle whose philosophy was accepted by the church and all teaching of a contrary character declared heretical, maintained that nature did not form woman except when by reason of imperfection of matter she could not obtain the sex which is perfect." page 75
- "Although the laws against the marriage of priests were enacted on pretense of the greater inherent wickedness of woman, history proves their chief object to have been the keeping of all priestly possessions under church control." p. 80
- Many notable consequences followed the final establishment of celibacy as a dogma of the church.
First. the doctrine of woman's inherent wickedness and close fellowship with Satan took on new strength.
Second. Canon Law gained full control of civil law.
Third. An organized system of debauchery arose under mask of priestly infallibility.
Fourth. Auricular confession was confirmed as a dogma of the church.
Fifth. Prohibition of the Scriptures to the laity was enforced.
Sixth. Crime was more openly protected, the system of indulgences gained new strength, becoming the means of great revenue to the church.
Seventh. Heresy was more broadly defined and more severely punished.
Eight. The Inquisition was established.
When Innocent III completed the final destruction of sacerdotal marriage, it was not upon disobedient priests the most severe punishment fell, but upon innocent women and children. Effort was made to force wives to desert their husbands. Those who proved contumacious were denied christian burial in an age when such denial was looked upon as equivalent to eternal damnation; property left such wives was confiscated to the church; they were forbidden the eucharist; churching after childbirth was denied them; they were termed harlots and their children bastards, while to their sons all office in the church was forbidden. If still contumacious they were handed over to the secular power for condign punishment, or sold as slaves for the benefit of the church. They were regarded as under the direct control of Satan himself, as beings who iniquitously stood between their husbands and heaven." pages 81 -82
- "The duty of woman to obey, not alone her male relatives, but all men by virtue of their sex, was sedulously inculcated." page 84
- Regarding the church's drive to enforce priestly celibacy:
a) Priest's wives, who were previously considered part of the highest reaches of local society, became shunned. The church refused to provide for widow's of priests. Priests were not required to support their children. Children of priests became known as bastards.
b) Priests were not expected to abstain from sex. The church encouraged that priests take a mistress.
"The priest regarded himself as the direct representative of divinity; the theory of infallibility was not confined to the pope, but all dignitaries of the church made the same claim. Asserting themselves incapable of wrong doing, maintaining an especial sanctification by reason of their celibacy, priests nevertheless made their holy office a cover for the most degrading sensuality. Methods were taken to debauch the souls as well as the bodies of women. Having first taught their special impurity, it was now maintained that immorality with a priest was not sin, but on the contrary hallowed the woman, giving her particular claim upon heaven. It was taught that sin could only be killed through sin. The very incarnation was used as a means of weakening woman's virtue. That Christ did not enter the world through the marriage relation, stamped christian honor a system of concubinage in the church, for whose warrant woman was pointed to the Virgin Mary. .... The chastity of concubinage and the unchastity of marriage was constantly asserted by the church, and thus the mysteries upon its foundation were laid for the degradation of woman, who was at all times depicted as being of no self-individuality, but one who had been created solely for man's pleasure." pages 90-91
c) Laity imitates priesthood, and Europe became a "continent of moral corruption" page 92
d) Church wanted to protect its wealth.
- "As long as the church maintains the doctrine that woman was created inferior to man, and brought sin into the world, rendering the sacrifice of the Son of God a necessity, just so long will the foundation of vice and crime of every character remain." page 93
- "When a priest failed to take a concubine his parishioners compelled him to do so in order to preserve the chastity of their own wives and daughter's." page 94
- Gage presents numerous examples establishing that the current (1890) church is guilty of the same misdeeds as the earlier church.
Pope John XII seduced and violated 300 nuns.
Henry III, bishop of Leige, was deposed in 1274 for having 65 illegitimate children.
- "No greater crime against humanity has ever been known than the division of morality into two codes, the strict for woman, the lax for man. Nor has woman been the sole sufferer from this creation of Two Moral Codes within the Christian Church. Through it man has lost fine discrimination between good and evil, and the Church itself as the originator of this distinction in sin upon the trend of sex, has become the creator and sustainer of injustice, falsehood, and the crimes into which its priests have most deeply sunk." page 109
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Chapter IV: Marquette
- Much mention of the religious restrictions on woman's inheritance. Because the men wanted the money for themselves and because men controlled all power, they forbid women from inheriting. Further, upon entering the priesthood, the future priest must turn over all worldly goods to the church. Since only men could be members of the priesthood, the church stood to gain more wealth if inherited wealth (later all money) belonged only to men.
- "Canon Law gave to the husband the power of compelling the wife's return if, for any cause, she left him. She was then at once in the position of an outlaw, branded as a runaway who had left her master's service, a wife who had left "bed and board" without consent, and whom all persons were forbidden "to harbor" or shelter "under penalty of law." the absconding wife was in the position of an excommunicate from the Catholic Church, or of a woman condemned as a witch. Any person befriending her was held accessory to the wife's theft of herself from her husband, and rendered liable to find and other punishment for having helped to rob the husband (master) of his wife (slave). The present formula of advertising a wife, which so frequently disgraces the press, is due to this belief in wife-ownership." p 140-141
- "In losing control, upon marriage, of her person and her property, woman's condition became that of an infant. No act of hers was of legal value. If she made a bargain her husband could repudiate it and the person with whom she had contracted was held to have taken part in a fraud. The denial under Common Law of her right to make a contract grew out of the denial of her right of ownership. Not possessing control of her inheritance or of her future actions, she was consequently held unable to make a binding contract. Forbidden the right of acting for herself; deprived of the ownership and control of her own property or earnings woman had little opportunity to prove her business capacity. " pages 141-142
- From Lea, _Studies in Church History_ : "In the remodeling of European Institutions, so necessary to the interests of Christianity and civilization, one of the most efficient agencies was the collection of Canon known as the False Decretals. Forgery was by no means a novel expedient to the church. From the earliest times orthodox and heretic had rivaled each other in the manufacturer of whatever documents were necessary to substantiate their respective positions whether in faith or discipline. An examination of these Decretals tends to the conclusion that they were not the result of one effort or the work of one man. Their constant repetitions and their frequent contradiction would seem to prove this, and to show that they were manufactured from time to time to meet the exigencies of the moment or to gratify the feelings of the writers. Interpolated into codes of law, adopted and amplified in the canons of councils and the decretals of popes, they steadily became policy of Europe, leaving traces on the constitutions which they afflicted for centuries."
- "The wife under Canon Law belonged to her husband, and as a sequence [sic] to not owning herself she could not own property, and in her condition of servitude could possess no control over either her present or her future actions. Such is Common Law warped and changed by Canon Law." page 143
- Regarding life under the Protestant Reformation:
"The home under the reformation was governed by the laws in force before that period.
First She was to be under obedience to the masculine head of the household.
Second She was top be constantly employed for his benefit.
Third Her society was strictly chosen for her by her master and responsible head.
Fourth This masculine family head was regarded as a general father - confessor to whom she was held as responsible in word and deed.
Fifth Neither genius nor talent could free women from such control without his consent." page 146
- Throughout the chapter mention is made of the fact that the clergy were immune from prosecution under civil law and the church protected its own.
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marquette (also marchetta,
jus primae noctis [the right of the first night],
The feudal lord, who was often an ecclesiastical authority such as bishop, cardinal, or pope, had the right of the first night (up to 3 days and nights in some areas) with the wife of a newly married serf. Common in France, Germany, England, Scotland, and all christian countries. If the upper clergy did not assert their rights, the lower clergy often asserted this right for them. Marquette was so common that the oldest son in a peasant family was considered the son of the local lord. pages 153-155, 178
droit de seigneur [the lord's right],
droit de jambage [the leg right--the right to place a naked leg in the bed with the bride],
droit de cuissage,
croit d'affortage [the right to prey upon the bride],
droit de marquette [Scottish name for the redemption piece of money -the demi-mark or little mark- which could be substituted for the lord's enforcement of his right], and many others.
"She was taught that sensual submission to man, and the bearing of children, were the two reasons for her having been created, and that the woman who failed in either had no excuse for longer encumbering the earth." page 155
"The church had ever been the bulwark of this base claim [marquette]. Holding the powers of penance and of excommunication, such custom could neither have originated not been sustained without the sanction of the church." page 174
"To persons not conversant with the history of feudalism and the church it will seem impossible that such foulness could ever have been part of the christian civilization." page 175
"We can not measure the serf's power of resistance by the same standards as out own. The degradation of man with but a few exceptions was as great as that of woman. ... No more than she had he a voice in making the laws; the serf was virtually a slave under the absolute dominion of the lord. ... Free action, free speech, free thought was impossible." page 177
"It is in accord with man's repeated assertion that only through means of a class of women pursuing immorality as a business, is any woman safe from violence." page 180
There follows a long discussion of the licensing of prostitutes, trafficking of women to serve as prostitutes.
"Moralists have long striven for the suppression of immorality by efforts directed to the reformation of corrupt women alone; for two reasons they have been unsuccessful.
First: the majority of women entering this life are found to have done so under the pressure of abject poverty, and as long as the conditions of society continue to foster poverty for woman it was impossible to create a marked change in morals.
Second: all efforts were directed towards the smallest and least culpable class, aas it has been proven that ten men of immoral character are required for the support of one woman of like character." pages 211 - 212
Noted book by Count Segur: Woman's Condition and Influence in Sodiety
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Chapter V: Witchcraft
Chapter VI: Wives
- " "The church forfeited the wizard's property to the judge and prosecutor. Wherever the church law was enforced, the trials for witchcraft waxed numerous and brought much wealth to the clergy. Where the lay tribunals claimed the management of those trials, they grew scarce and disappeared. " " pages 227-227 footnote 20 quote taken from Blackstone's _Commentaries 4_ page 106
- "The Witch Hammer declared the very word femina meant one wanting in faith. p. 224
- "One of the peculiarities of witchcraft accusations, was that protestations of innocence, and a submission to ordeals such as had always vindicated those taking part i them if passing through unharmed, did not clear a woman charged with witchcraft, who was then accused with having received direct help from Satan. p. 225
- "A body of men known as "Traveling Witch Inquisitors," of whom Sprenger was chief, journeyed from country to country throughout christendom, in search of victims for torture and death. Their entrance into a country or city was regarded with more fear than famine or pestilence, especially by women, against whom their malignity was chiefly directed, Sprenger, the great authority, declaring that her name signifies evil; "the very word femina, (woman), meaning one wanting in faith, for fe means faith, and minus less." " p. 227
- "The Parliament of Toulouse burned 400 witches at one time. Four hundred women at one hour on the public square, dying the horrid death of fire for a crime which never existed save in the imagination of those persecutors and which grew in their imagination from a false belief in woman's extraordinary wickedness, based upon a false theory as to original sin." page 228 ("At Toulouse, the seat of the Inquisition, four hundred persons perished for sorcery at a single execution, and fifty at Douay in a single year." Chapter 1, paragraph 2 of History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe W. E. H. Lecky, 1878)
- "A most diabolical custom of the church made these burnings a holiday spectacle." page 229
- "An accusation of witchcraft struck all relatives of the accused with terror, destroying the ordinary virtues of humanity in the hearts of nearest friends. As it was maintained that devils possessed more than one in a family, each member sought safety by aiding the church in accumulating proof against the accused, in hopes thereby to escape similar charge. It is impossible for us at the present day to conceive the awful horror falling upon a family into which an accusation of witchcraft had come. Not alone the shame and disgrace of such a charge; the terrors of a violent death under the most painful form; the sudden hurling of the family from ease and affluence to the most abject poverty; but above all the belief that unending torture by fire pursued the lost soul throughout eternity, made a combination of terrors appalling to the stouthearted." page 230
- Witches were wise women (witch means wise woman) who were skilled in the use of herbal remedies. Specifically, witches knew herbal preparations that could be administered which alleviated pain. pages 236-246
- "The earliest doctors among the common people of christian Europe were women who had learned the virtues and uses of herbs. The famous works of Paracelsus were but compilations of the knowledge of these "wise women" as he himself stated. . . . In the fourteenth century the church decreed that any woman who healed others without having duly studied, was a witch and should suffer death; yet in that same century, 1527, at Basle, Paraclesus threw all his medical works, including those of Hippocrates and Galen into the fire, saying that he knew nothing except what he had learned from witches." pages 240- 241
- "Its teachings [the church's] that she had therefore been especially cursed by her Maker with suffering and sorrow at this period [during child birth], rendered the use of mitigating remedies during childbirth, dangerous to the "wise woman" and the mother for whose relief they were employed." In other words, use of remedies to mitigate the pains of child birth was proof of collusion with the devil. page 242
- "Death by torture was the method of the church for the repression of woman's intellect, knowledge being held as evil and dangerous in her hands." page 243
- "The superior learning of witches was recognized in the widely extended belief of their ability to work miracles." page 243
- "As knowledge has ever been power, the church feared its use in woman's hands, and leveled its deadliest blows at her." page 244
- "Every kind of self-interest was brought into play in these accusations of witchcraft against women physicians: greed, malice, envy, hatred, fear, the desire of clearing one's self from suspicion, all became motives. Male physicians not skilled enough to cure disease would deliberately swear that there could be but one reason for their failure-the use of witchcraft against them. As the charge of witchcraft not only brought disrepute but death upon the "wise woman" at the hands of the church, she was soon compelled to abandon both the practice of medicine and surgery, and for many hundred years but few women doctors were to be found in christian [sic] countries. " page 244
- "...those condemned as sorcerers and witches, as "heretics", were in reality the most advance thinkers of the christian [sic] ages."
- Gage speculation that the witches "Sabbat" was a mock religious ceremony performed in the woods by peasants who had no other outlet for their frustrations, no other way to demonstrate their disdain of the system. Only in the depths of the woods, far from the city, were people in the least bit free to speak of their anger against the religious and secular authorities.
- Regarding the use of torture to extract the required confession: "No means were considered too severe in order to secure conviction. The Jesuit, Del Rio, said torture could scarcely be properly administered without more or less dislocation of the joints, and persons escaping conviction were frequently crippled for life." page 249
- "Trials for witchcraft filled the coffers of the church, as whenever conviction took place, the property of the witch and her family was confiscated to that body." p. 249
- "What was termed magic, among men, was called witchcraft in woman. The one was rarely, the other invariably, punished." page 251
- "The three most distinguishing features of the history of witchcraft were its use for the enrichment of the church; for the advancement of political schemes; and for the gratification of private malice." page 254
- "...the church always claimed one-half, it divided the remainder of the accused possessions between the judge and the prosecutor. Under these circumstances accusation and conviction become convertible terms." page 254
- Blackstone said: "To deny the possibility, nay the actual existence of witchcraft and sorcery is at once to contradict the revealed word of God, in various passages of the Old and New Testament; and the thing itself is a truth to which every nation in the world hath in its turn borne testimony, either by example seemingly well attested, or by prohibiting laws." her quote, page 263
- Price list for various forms of torture, taken from the official records of Paris: (prices in francs) (page 268)
| For boiling a living man in oil|| 48|
| For tearing a living man in four quarters with horses||30|
| Execution with the sword||20|
| Breaking on the wheel||10|
| Mounting the head on a pole||10|
| Quartering a man||36|
| Hanging a man||29|
| Burying a man|| 2|
| Impaling a man alive||14|
| Burning a witch alive||28|
| Flaying a man alive||28|
| Drowning an infantcide in a sack||24|
| Throwing a suicide's body among the offal||20|
| Putting to the torture || 4|
| For applying the thumb-screw || 2|
| For applying the boot || 4|
| Torture by fire ||10|
| Putting a man in the pillory || 2|
| Whipping a man|| 4|
| Branding with a red-hot iron|| 10|
| Cutting off the tongue, the ears, and the nose || 10|
- "The battle of gladiators with wild beasts in the Coliseum at Rome in reign of Nero, had in it an element of hope. " page 268
- "The character and life of Mrs. Nurse [one of the women hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Mass. in July, 1692] were unimpeachable. She was a woman seventy years of age, the mother of eight children, a church member of unsullied reputation and devout habit; but all these considerations did not prevent her accusation, trial, conviction, and death, although she solemnly asserted her innocence to the last. .... Forty persons at the hazard of their own lives testified to the goodness and piety of Mrs. Nurse." She was conspicuous for her prudence, her charity, and her domestic virtues. A reprieve granted by the governor was withdrawn through the influence of the church, and she was hung by the neck till she was dead. Her sons stole her body so that it could be given a proper, but secret, burial. page 284
- Other victims of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692
Miles Corey pressed to death in the same witchcraze was 81 years of age.
additional women died while imprisoned or women committed suicide to avoid trial pages 284-285
hanged June, 1692 for witchcraft: Bridget Bishop
hanged July, 1692 for witchcraft: Sarah Good, Sarah Wilder, Elizabeth Howe, Susanna Martin and Rebecca Nurse
hanged Aug.,1692 for witchcraft: George Burroughs, John Proctor, George Jacobs, John Willard, and Martha Carrier
hanged Sept, 1692: Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Margaret Scott, Wilmit Reed, Samuel Wordwell, and Mary Baker
- In Boston, Mass (and other places), women were whipped because of independent religious belief. page 285
- Husbands accused unwanted wives of witchcraft. The bonds of marriage were broken by her death at the stake. page 293
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Chapter VII: Polygamy
- "From Moses to Paul, the Bible everywhere speaks of her as being made for man, and under his authority by direct command of the Almighty; the state, as coadjucator and servant of the church, basing her code of laws upon its teachings. Under these codes woman has not only been looked upon as naturally unchaste, but also regarded as a liar, the state demanding the testimony of two or three, and in some instances of seven women to invalidate that of one man; the man even then in extreme cases clearing himself by his single oath. Condemned as having brought evil into the world, woman's every step was looked upon with suspicion, and the most brutal treatment as far short of her just deserts." page 305
- Lots of examples/documentation that women are considered the property of men
- "Woman is not regarded as a person but as a field, cultivable or not, as the possessor desires. As a field can neither have faith, nor intellect, nor a will of its own, it would be absurd for a man to occupy himself about what a woman believes, thinks, or wishes. She is absolutely nothing but her husband's domain. He cultivates it and reaps the harvest, for the harvest belongs to the proprietor." page 321
- "Thus less than fifteen years since, the legal decision was rendered in the United States, that a wife is a husband's property; that the husband has a pecuniary interest in the wife, the law protecting his right of property in her, while the wife possesses no reciprocal right of property in her husband." page 322
- Lots of examples of cases from all over the Christian world into the 19th century documenting wife beating and murder
- Noted book by August Bebel, Woman in the Past, Present, and Future (p. 374) and one by Swede August Strindberg Giftas (To Marry) (p. 377)
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Chapter VIII: Woman and Work
- "It is of indisputed historic record that both the Christian Church and the Christian State in different centuries and under a number of differing circumstances gave their influence in favor of polygamy. The Roman emperor, Valentinian I., in the fourth century, authorized christians to take two wives; in the eighth century the great Charlemagne holding power over both church and state, in his own person practiced polygamy, having six, or according to some authorities, nine wives. With the Reformation this system entered Protestantism. As the first synod in North America was called for the purpose of trying a woman for heresy, so the first synod of the reformation was assembled for the purpose of sustaining polygamy, thus debasing women in the marital relation. The great German reformer, Luther, although perhaps himself free from the lasciviousness of the old priesthood was not strictly monogamic in principle. When applied to by Philip, Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, for permission to marry a second wife while his first wife, Margaret of Savoy, was still living, he called together a synod of six of the principal reformers - Melancthon and Bucer among them - who in joint consultation decided "that the bible nowhere condemns polygamy, and as it has been invariably practiced by the highest dignitaries of the church," such marriage was legitimate, and the required permission was given." pp. 398-399
- "The famous Puritan Poet of England, John Milton, known in the University as "The Lady of Christ College," writing ypon "The Special Governmnent of Man," says:
nbsp; I have not said the marriage of one man with one woman lest I should by iimplication charge the holy patriarchy and pillars of our faith, Abraham and others who had more than one wife, at the same time, with habitual sin; and lest I should be forced to exclude from the sanctuary of God as spurious, the whole offspring from them, yea, the whole of the sons of Israel for whom the sanctuary itself was made. For it is said in Deuteronomy (xxii. 2,) "A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of Jehovah even to the tenth generation." Either, therefore polygamy is a true marriage, or all children born in that state are spurious, which would include the whole race of Jacob, the twelve tribes chose by God. But as such an assertion would be absurd in the extreme, not to say impious, and as it is the height of injustice as well as an example of the most dangerous tendency in religion, to account as sins what is not such in reality it appears to me that so far from the question respecting the lawfulness of polygamy being trivial, it is of the highest importance that it should be decided. Not a trace appears of the interdiciton of polygamy throughout the whol law, not even in any of the prophets." pp. 400 - 401
- Lots of examples of theologians, writers throughout history who claim (rightly) that the Bible condones, even encourages, polygamy. Examples from 19th century where christian churches condoned polygamy include converts (from Africa, Asia) who already had more than one wife were allowed to join the church and the lack of condemnation by many of polygamous Mormons.
Jacob had 4 wives, Leah, Rachael, Billah, and Zilpah
Solomon had 300 wives and 700 concubines
Moses, Gideon, Hoshua, David and others had more than one wife
- "...the orthodox woman is taught that her salvation depends upon her belief that woman brought sin into the world, in punishment whereof God placed her in subjection to man; and during the ages her promise of obedience to man has been held as an integral part of the marriage ceremony." page 420
- "When woman interprets the Bible for herself, it will be in the interest of a higher morality, a purer home. Monogamy is woman's doctrine, as polygamy is man's. Backofen, the Swiss jurist, says that the regulation of marriage by which, in primitive times, it became possible for a woman to belong only to one man, came about by a religious reformation, wherein the women in armed conflict, obtained a victory over men." p. 424
- "Its anathemas, its excommunications, its denial of church rites in marriage, in burial, its control of both temporal and spiritual power, have ever made its weapons of the most formidable character. Fear of what may be met in a future life over which the church assumes such knowledge and control, subjugation of the reason, the fostering of ignorance, the denial of education and the constant teaching that thought outside of the line formulated by the church is deepest sin, has held the christian world in bondage during its centuries. Inasmuch as it is impossible for the candid thinker not to perceive that all forms of christianity are based upon the statement that woman having brought sin into the world rendered the sacrifice of a Saviour [sic] necessary, the reason of such persistent effort upon the part of the church for woman's entire subjugation becomes apparent." p. 426
- "While the Mormons affirm in reference to polygamy that their church laws concern Mormons alone, no less do other theocracies inculcate doctrines contrary to civil law; the catholic church, its spirit to-day the same as during past ages, making civil marriage and the public school system its present objective points of opposition to the state; while the general body of protestant churches more openly than the catholic churches proclaim their intention not alone to control secular education, marriage and divorce, but to unite church and state through a change in the fundamental law of the United States." pages 427-428
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Genesis 3:17-19:Chapter IX: The Church of Today
"And to the man he said, 'Because you have listened to your wife, and have
eaten of the tree about which I commanded you. "You shall not eat of it," cursed
is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your
life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants
of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the
ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
- "Upon man was pronounced the curse of the world's work. The bible declares it was because of his sinfulness that the earth was to be cursed; for his punishment that he was to eat of it in sorrow all the days of his life; because of his wickedness that it was to bear thorns and thistles; and in consequence of his disobedience that he was to eat the herb of the field in the sweat of his face until he returned unto the ground from whence he came. No curse of work was pronounced upon woman; her "curse" was of an entirely different character. It was a positive command of the Lord God Almighty, that upon man alone the work of the world should fall and this work he was to perform in sorrow and the sweat of his brow.
Thus far this book has been devoted to a consideration of the doctrines taught by christian men in regard to "woman's curse," and so earnestly has the doctrine been proclaimed that man seems to have entirely forgotten the "curse," also pronounced upon himself or if he has not forgotten, he has neglected to see its full import, and in his anxiety to keep woman in subordination he has placed his "curse" also upon her thus thwarting the express command of God. It is therefore but just to now devote a few pages to the consideration of man's "curse" and an investigation of the spirit in which he has accepted the penalty imposed upon him for his share in the transgression which cost him Paradise. At the commencement of this investigation, it will be well to remember that Eve was not banished from the Garden of Eden. Adam alone was cast out and to prohibit he re-entrance, not hers, the angel with the flaming sword was set as guardian at its gates.
We must also recall the opposition of the church through the ages to all attempts made towards the amelioration of woman's suffering at time of her bringing forth children, upon the plea that such mitigation was a direct interference with the mandate of the Almighty and an inexcusable sin. It will be recalled that in the chapter upon witchcraft, the bitter hostility of the church to the use of anaesthetics [sic] by the women physicians of that period was shown, and it opposing sermons, its charges of heresy, its burnings at the stake as methods of enforcing that opposition. Man, ever unjust to woman, has been no less so in the entire field of work. He has not taken upon himself the entire work of the world, as commanded, but has ever imposed a large portion of it upon woman. Neither do all men labor; but thousands in idleness evade the "curse" of work pronounced upon all men alike. The church in its teachings and through its non-preaching the duty of man in this respect, is guilty of that defiance of the Lord God it has ever been so ready to attribute to woman. the pulpit does not proclaim that this curse of work rests upon any man; does not preach this command to the idle, the profligate, the rich, or the honored but on the contrary shows less sympathy and less respect for the laborer, than for the idle man. The influence of this neglect of its duty by the church has permeated the christian world, we everywhere find contempt for the man who amid thorns and thistles tills the ground, obeying his primal "curse" of earning his bread by the sweat of his brow; and everywhere see respect accorded to the man, who by whatever means of honest or of dishonest capacity evades his curse, taking no share in the labors of the field, nor earning his bread in the sweat of his brow.
Anaesthetics [sic] have justly been called the greatest boon ever conferred by science upon mankind. But after the persecution of the witchcraft period a knowledge of their use was lost to the world for many hundred years, but when rediscovered during the present century, their employment in mitigating the sufferings of the expectant mother, again met with the same opposition as during the middle ages upon the same ground of its interference with "the curse" pronounced by God upon woman. The question of their use at such time was violently discussed at ministerial gatherings, and when Sir James Simpson, physician to Queen Victoria, employed them at the birth of the later princes and princesses he was assailed by pulpit and press as having thwarted "the curse." When the practice was introduced into the United States, prominent New England clergymen preached against their use upon the same ground, of its being an impious frustration of the curse of the Almighty upon woman. But history of christendom does not show an instance in which the church or the pulpit ever opposed labor by woman, upon the ground of its being an interference wit the "curse" pronounced upon man, but on the contrary her duty to labor has been taught by church and state alike, having met no opposition, unless, perchance she has entered upon some remunerative employment theretofore monopolized by man, with the purpose of applying its proceeds to her own individual use. Nor has objection then arisen because of the work, but solely because of its money-earning qualities. An investigation of the laws concerning woman, their origin, growth, and by whom chiefly sustained, will enable us to judge how far they are founded upon the eternal principles of justice and how far emanating from ignorance, superstition and love of power which is the basis of all despotism. Viewing her through the Christian Ages, we find woman has chiefly been regarded as an element of wealth; the labor of wife and daughters, the sale of the latter in the prostitution of a loveless marriage, having been an universally extended form of domestic slavery, one which the latest court decisions recognize as still extant. " page 432-435
- "We must also recall the opposition of the church through the ages to all attempts made towards the amelioration of woman's suffering at time of her bringing forth children, upon the plea that such mitigation was a direct interference with the mandate of the Almighty and an inexcusable sin." page 433 (see chapter on witchcraft)
- "He has not taken upon himself the entire work of the world, as commanded, but has ever imposed a large portion of it upon women. Neither do all men labor; but thousands in idleness evade the "curse" of work pronounced upon all men alike. The church in its teachings and through its non-preaching the duty of man in this respect, is guilty of that defiance of the Lord God it has ever been so ready to attribute to woman." page 433
- Much mention that since God "cursed" Eve by requiring pain during childbirth and by opposing pain relieving medication for women in childbirth and since God "cursed" Adam with doing all the work by the sweat of his brow, how come Adam doesn't have to do all the work including dairy, kitchen gardening, cooking food, cleaning house, washing clothes, washing dishes, ironing clothes, etc., etc., etc.
- "Man in thrusting the enforcement of his "curse" upon woman in Christian lands has made her the greatest unpaid laborer of the world." p. 441
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Chapter X: Past, Present, and Future
- Noted Lucretia Mott and Ester Moore as founding members of the American Anti-Slavery Society, 1833 p. 471
- Regarding the Grimke sisters
"Thus priestly intolerance and the timidity of anti-slavery men, had the effect of silencing the philanthropic and eloquent Grimke sisters, in their efforts for the freedom of the slave. After ten month's work, their voices were heard no more." p. 473-474
- "For seven long years the voice of but one woman, that of Abby Kelly, was heard upon the anti-slavery platform, and the persecutions of the church made her life one long martyrdom; her appeals for the slave were met by mob violence, furious howls, cries, and the vilest language being supplemented by more material efforts for silencing her voice. Were these proceedings not so thoroughly substantiated, the time so shortly past, credence could not be given as to the means used against this noble woman to prevent her pleading for those so greatly wronged." p. 474
- Quoting a speech by Rev. Know-little, a high church clergyman from England, reported in the "Times" during his stay in Philadelphia in the fall of 1880: "God made himself to be born of a woman to sanctify the virtue of endurance; loving submission is an attribute of woman; men are logical, but women lacking this quality, have an intricacy of thought. There are those who think woman can be taught logic; this is a mistake, they can never by any power of education arrive at the same mental status as that enjoyed by man, but they have a quickness of apprehension, which is usually called leaping at conclusions, that is astonishing. There, then, we have distinctive traits of a woman, namely; endurance, loving submission and quickness of apprehension. Wifehood is the crowning glory of woman. In it she is bound for all time. To her husband she owes the duty of unqualified obedience. There is no crime which a man can commit which justifies his wife in leaving him or applying for this monstrous thing, divorce. It is her duty to subject herself to him always, and no crime that he can commit can justify her lack of obedience. If he be a bad man, she may gently remonstrate with him, but refuse him, never. Let divorce be anathema; curse it; curse this accursed thing, divorce; curse it; curse it!..." pages 492-493
- Quoting a tract (1881) by the Rev. Alexander Crummel, a colored clergyman of Washington, rector of St. Lukes (Episcopal) church: "Marriage is a divine institution. It came from God. It is not, therefore, the creation of legislative action. It is not merely a civil contract. It is not the invention of man. The estate of matrimony is a sacred one; originated by the will of God, and governed by his law. Marriage is indissoluble. Adultery on part of the wife is grounds for divorce. ..." He goes on to note that woman does not have the right to divorce her husband on any grounds, including adultery. Only can men apply for divorce. pages 496-497
- "This "hidden mystery of generation, this wondrous secret of propagated life, committed to the trust of woman," most forcibly demonstrates that she should be the one in whose power is placed the opportunity for escape from an adulterous husband, thus enabling her to keep her body a holy temple for its divine-human uses, over which as priestess she alone should possess control." p. 497-498
- "The individual and not the family is the social unit; the rights of individuals are foremost. Immorality of man everywhere presents a more serious and destructive aspect than that of woman. Aside from the unmarried mother whom society does not recognize as longer a part of it, is the irreparable wrong done to those innocent human beings whom Rev. Mr. Crummel designates as "spurious children; "whom the Catholics call "sacrilegious" when the father is shown to be a priest, and upon whom society at large terms "illegitimate." Closely connected with injury to the innocent child itself, thrust into being without provision for its future needs, is the detriment to society which thus finds itself compelled to assume the duties belonging to the bastard's father. Such children, for whom neither home nor fatherly care awaits, are allowed by him to grow up neglected street waifs, uneducated, untrained, uncared for, filling alms-houses, reformatories, and prisons of the land, perhaps to die upon the gallows. The responsibility of such fathers is not a subject of the church teaching; it is simply passed carelessly by, regardless of the unspeakable wrongs connected with it. If, as the Rev. Mr. Turnstall asserts, the Bible is not for woman, if his position is true, or if that of the Jews who claim that the Ten Commandments were given to man alone, is true, it is to man alone that adultery is forbidden. Luther asserted that the Ten Commandments applied to neither Gentiles nor Christians, but only to the Jews. It was to man alone that Christ spoke against adultery, saying: "Whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her, in his heart." To man, Christ also said: "Owing to the hardness of their hearts, Moses permitted a man to put away his wife, but it was not so from the beginning." Man, and not woman, is commanded to leave father and mother; man is to cleave unto his wife, not woman unto her husband. It was the men of Corinth whom Paul addressed concerning lewdness, "Such fornication was never known among the heathens as that a man should take his father's wife." pp 498-499
- "It must be noted that the chief reason given by the church for assuming woman's greater guilt in committing adultery is not based upon the greater immorality of the act, per se, but the injury to property rights, succession, etc." p. 500
- Reference to Frances Wright as "clear-seeing, liberty-loving Scotch free-thought woman" page 515
- Gage referred to the National Reform Association with its adjunct the American Sabbath Union and kindred bodies as " a perpetual menace to the civil and religious liberties of the United States. Its effort for an amendment to the Federal Constitution which shall recognize the United States as a Christian nation, is a determined endeavor toward the union of church and state; and its success in such attempt will be the immediate destruction of both civil and religious liberty. That such a party now openly exists, its intentions no secret, is evidence that the warnings of Italian patriot [ Mazzini] and the Scotch free thinker [Wright] were not without assured foundation."pages 515-516
- "It is dogma that has wrecked true religion; it is dogma that has crushed humanity; it is dogma that has created two codes of morals; that has inculcated the doctrine of original sin; that has degraded womanhood; that has represented divinity as possessing every evil attribute." page 521
- " A book printed in Amsterdam, 1700, in a series of eleven reasons, threw the greater culpability upon Adam, saying:
First: The serpent tempted her before she thought of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and suffered herself to be persuaded that not well understood his meaning.
Second: That believing that God had not given such prohibition she ate the fruit.
Third: Sinning through ignorance she committed a less heinous crime than Adam.
Fourth: That Eve did not necessarily mean the penalty of eternal death, for God's decree only imported that man should die if he sinned against his conscience.
Fifth: That God might have inflicted death on Eve without injustice, yet he resolved, so great is his mercy toward his works, to let her live, in (that) she had not sinned maliciously.
Sixth: That being exempted from the punishment contained in God's decree, she might retain all the prerogatives of her sex except those that were not incidental with the infirmities to which God condemned her.
Seventh: That she retained in particulars the prerogative of bringing forth children who had a right to eternal happiness on condition of obeying the new Adam.
Eighth: That as mankind was to proceed from Adam and Eve, Adam was preserved alive only because his preservation was necessary for the procreation of children.
Ninth: That it was by accident therefore, that the sentence of death was not executed on him, but that otherwise he was more (justly) punished than his wife.
Tenth: That she was not driven out from Paradise as he was, but was only obliged to leave it to find out Adam in the earth; and that it was full privilege of returning thither again.
Eleventh: That the children of Adam and Eve were subject to eternal damnation, not a proceeding from Eve, but as proceeding from Adam." pages 522-523
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- "The most important struggle in the history of the church is that of woman for liberty of thought and the right to give that thought to the world." page 525
- "The most stupendous system of organized robbery known has been that of the church towards woman, a robbery that has not only taken her self-respect but all rights of person; the fruits of her own industry; her opportunities of education; the exercise of her own judgment, her own conscience, her own will." page 527
- "The defense of such authority has ever been the chief business of church and state, and thus religions and governments have neither found time nor inclination to uphold the rights of humanity. Under the christian system, woman as the most rebellious against God in having eaten a forbidden fruit, has found herself condemned through the centuries to untold oppression in order that the rights of God might be maintained. Yet while constantly teaching that woman brought sin into the world, the church forgets its own corollary; that if she brought sin she also brought a God into the world, thus throwing ineffable splendor over mankind. The whole theory regarding woman, under christianity, has been based upon the conception that she had no right to live for herself alone. Her duty to others has continuously been placed before her and her training has ever been that of self-sacrifice. Taught from the pulpit and legislative halls that she was created for another, that her position must always be secondary even to her children, her right to life, has been admitted only in so far as its reacting effect upon another could be predicated. That she was first created for herself, as an independent being to whom all the opportunities of the world should e open because of herself, has not entered the thought of the church; has not yet become one of the conceptions of law; is not yet the foundation of the family.
But woman is learning for herself that not self-sacrifice, but self-development, is her first duty in life; and this, not primarily for the sake of others but that she may become fully herself; a perfectly rounded being from every point of view; her duty to others being a secondary consideration arising from those relations in life where she finds herself placed at birth, or those which later she voluntarily assumes." page 530-531
- "The church and civilization are antipodal; one means authority, the other freedom; one means conservatism, the other progress; one means the rights of god as interpreted by the priesthood, the other the rights of humanity as interpreted by humanity. Civilization advances by free-thought, free speech, free men." page 540
- "Woman will gain nothing by a compromising attitude toward the church, by attempt to excuse its great wrong toward her sex, or by palliation of its motives. On the contrary, a stern reference to facts, keeping the face of the world turned toward its past teachings, its present attitude, is her duty. Wrongs of omission equal in magnitude those of commission.
Advance for woman is too well established, has borne too much ridicule, misrepresentation and abuse to now hesitate in an attack upon the stronghold of her oppression-the church. She possesses too full knowledge of its subtle touch upon civil law to dare leave it alone; it has become one of woman's first duties, one of her greatest responsibilities, to call public attention to its false doctrines and false teachings in regard to the origin, condition and subjection of woman. She has engaged too many battles, weathered too many storms to longer hesitate in exposure of its stupendous crimes toward one-half of humanity. Let those who fear, hide themselves, if they will, until the storm is past. Let those who dare, defiantly rejoice that they are called upon to bear still more, in order that woman may be free. A brighter day is to come for the world, a day when the intuitions of woman's soul shall be accepted as part of humanity's spiritual wealth; when force shall step backward, and love, in reality, rule the teachings of religion; and may woman be strong in the ability and courage necessary to bring about this millennial time." pages 542-543
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"Looking forward, I see evidence of a conflict more severe than any yet fought by reformation or science; a conflict that will shake the foundations of religious belief, tear into fragments and scatter to the winds the old dogmas upon which all forms of christianity are based. It will not be the conflict of man with man upon rites and systems; it will not be the conflict of science upon church theories regarding creation and eternity; it will not be the light of biology illuminating the hypothesis of the resurrection of the body; but it will be the rebellion of one half of the church against those theological dogmas upon which the very existence of the church is based. In no other country has the conflict between natural and revealed rights been as pronounced as in the United States; and in this country where the conflict first began, we shall see its full and final development. During the ages, no rebellion has bee of like importance with that of Woman against the tyranny of Church and State; none has had its far reaching effects. We note its beginning, its progress will overthrow every existing form of these institutions; its end will be a regenerated world. The End." pages 544 and 545.
So ends Woman, Church, and State
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