Suffragists You Need to Meet: Matilda Joslyn Gage

Suffragists You Need to Meet: Matilda Joslyn Gage

Photo of Matilda Joslyn Gage

Matilda Joslyn Gage was born March 24, 1826 in Cicero, N.Y; she died in 1898.  Gage’s parents nurtured her intellectual curiosity. She was a prolific writer, speaker, and thinker. She co-authored History of Woman Suffrage, with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony, and wrote other books and essays on a wide range of topics such as women inventors, reproductive rights, and suffrage.

Gage is often thought to be the most radical of the early women’s rights activists.  While she was a life-long activist for women’s rights, promoting the notion that suffrage was a natural right and admonishing the federal government for not protecting women’s right to vote, she also devoted her life to ending oppression against all people.  Gage chastised the Christian community for upholding the Bible’s view of women as inferior and subservient to men, and wrote passionately about the importance of separation of church and state, saying in October 1881, “that the greatest injury to women arose from theological laws that subjugated woman to man.”

Gage was also dedicated to supporting the treaty rights and the sovereignty rights of Native peoples, and a few years before her death received an honorary adoption into the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation. She wrote:

“That the Indians have been oppressed - are now, is true, but the United States has treaties with them, recognizing them as distinct political communities, and duty towards them demands not an enforced citizenship but a faithful living up to its obligations on the part of the government. “

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