"WOMEN HAVING ONCE GOTTEN THE POLLS WILL HAVE THEM TO THE END… THAT IS THE END OF OUR NEW-BORN, MORE BENEFICENT CIVILIZATION": FIRST EDITION OF HORACE BUSHNELL'S WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE; THE REFORM AGAINST NATURE, 1869
BUSHNELL, Horace. Women's Suffrage; The Reform Against Nature. New York: Charles Scribner, 1869. Octavo, original gilt-stamped green cloth. $400.
First edition of this passionate 19th-century Christian-based argument against women's suffrage, in original cloth.
Women's Suffrage; the Reform Against Nature by a prominent Christian minister, Horace Bushnell, argues that women should be excluded from suffrage due to the desire to have them uphold a Christian way of life. "Although Bushnell rejected women's participation in the political world, he expected them to support his goal of a Christian American is a different way—by increasing the American population through marriage and childbirth, and by using Christian values and principles to nurture women… In Bushnell's view, women's participation in politics through women's suffrage would weaken the foundations of the family, the church and nation, and lead to the decline of a Christian America based on the organic unity of family, church, and nation" (Morita, 107). Bushnell did not want to restrict women solely to the domestic sphere. Rather, he wanted women to become involved in the church, in nursing, in education, and in other realms that he felt reflected their particular talents. Bushnell's views caught the attention of the literati. William James, in particular, provided a review that went so far as to accuse the Protestant minister of an affinity for Catholicism due to his elevation of women's suffering over their capacity for action. Isabella Beecher Hooker went further, accusing Bushnell of including falsehoods in his work and calling it "shameless." Others, such as Orestes Brownson and Ronald William Hogeland sided with Bushnell arguing against voting as a natural right and mentioning the dangers of involving women in the corruption of politics. Early ink owner signature.
Slight rubbing to extremities of binding, gilt bright. A handsome copy in nearly fine condition.