The National Equal Rights Party and 2008 Election

Posted: March 26, 2009 by krystieyandoli in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the spirit of women’s history month I’m going to discuss one more throwback issue: The National Equal Rights Party of 1884. Ever heard of it? Yeah, me neither. That is, until my history of women’s suffrage class this semester. Apparently Geraldine Ferraro, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin weren’t the first females to be taken seriously in a U.S. Presidential election.

This was the first woman to run for U.S. president...

This was the first woman to run for U.S. president...

M.J. Gage, Lizzy Stanton, and Suzie Anthony all supported this party, as did the rest of the suffragists. Presidential candidate Belva A. Lockwood and Vice Presidential candidate Marietta Stow were involved in the first serious national campaign that included women.

It bothers me that I was 19-years-old when I learned this crucial part of American history. It bothers me that it’s not public knowledge and universally known. I wish I was wrong, and I wish more people were aware of this historical moment, but they’re not. I’d like to know why this is something conveniently left out of mainstream curriculum?

I am especially perturbed that this valuable piece of information was not brought to my attention, or anyone else’s for that matter, during the Presidential election of 2008. There was a truckload of buzz about Clinton and Palin being the first serious potential female candidates to be elected into the White House. This lack of news credibility thanks to the media only furthered this political myth. Yet again, the media played a role in shaping our thoughts and ideas on a critical issue.

Really not surprised she doesn't know...dinosaurs were man's best friend once right?

Really not surprised she doesn't know...dinosaurs were man's best friend once right?

I have to say, I’m also a little surprised that Hill-dog never mentioned this piece of history throughout her campaign. Biases aside, I completely respect Ms. Palin based on her gender. I do think, however, very little of her politics and personal qualities, therefore I wasn’t shocked to find out she knew just as much about the National Equal Rights Party as I did.

I didn’t even hear about Belva A. Lockwood in extreme or radical news sources. Considering all you were able to read online during the Primary elections was the fact that it was “so historic,” you would think that people would do their homework and discover some of the truths behind our American history.

This leads to the same questions I asked myself after learning about Matilda Joslyn Gage’s presence in the women’s suffrage movement. Why are these things left out of history? Who decides to make these judgment calls? WHO WRITES HISTORY?

I think it would have been a hell of a lot more inspiring to learn about Ms. Lockwood and Ms. Stow as a 10-year-old elementary school student with my entire education in front of me, versus as a 19-year-old pessimist about gender equality in our “United” States.

–Krystie Yandoli

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Comments
  1. sammylif says:

    yea! it’s so funny how throughout elementary school, “women’s history” was separate from regular class, it was it’s own unit. And people think we’re in a post-sexist world…

  2. Katie says:

    My guess is that Gage and company weren’t considered *serious* candidates for president. Their odds of getting elected were probably pretty slim, so they’ve decided to just gloss over that part of history. That’s no excuse, though!

    Krystie, you seem to be really into women’s issues, so I think you’d find this post important: http://jezebel.com/5192134/us+backed-afghan-government-passes-pro+rape-law-to-win-election?skyline=true&s=x

  3. […] honor of women’s history month last March I wrote a couple of blog posts for Jerk and Feministing.com about Matilda Joslyn Gage, an unknown suffragist who greatly contributed to […]

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