Legal Disabilities of Married Women

George HICKOX

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"THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE… IS WRONG, THE PLAIN REMEDY LIES IN THE SUBSTITUTION OF INDEPENDENCE FOR DEPENDENCE, EQUALITY FOR SUBJECTION": FIRST EDITION OF THE CONNECTICUT WOMAN SUFFRAGE ASSOCIATION'S LEGAL DISABILITIES OF MARRIED WOMEN IN CONNECTICUT, 1871

(WOMAN SUFFRAGE) HICKOX, George. Legal Disabilities of Married Women in Connecticut. Hartford: Case, Lockwood & Brainard, 1871. Slim octavo, original tan self-wrappers, original stitching as issued.; pp. 40. $2800.

First edition of the extensively-researched and often blunt 1871 work by attorney George Hickox, a Vice President of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association, opposing "crippling legal disabilities" in marriage law and calling for legislation to "sweep away all existing barriers," in fragile original self-wrappers.

"Connecticut's push for women's voting rights got underway in the late 1860s when Frances Ellen Burr of Hartford collected signatures on a petition in support of women's right to vote… and in Hartford in 1869 the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association (CWSA) was formed at the state's first suffrage convention… In Litchfield, local lawyer George Hickox showed his support by becoming a member and signer of the group's constitution. In 1870 Hickox served as a vice president of the CWSA and published… Legal Disabilities of Married Women in Connecticut" (Normen, Long Road to Women Suffrage in Connecticut). Published two years after Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony co-founded the National Woman Suffrage Association and Lucy Stone formed the American Woman Suffrage Association, Legal Disabilities contains three sections that extensively detail legal restraints imposed on married women.

In Part I, "The Wife's Personal Subjection," Hickox begins by stating: "the legal rights of the husband to the… wife, are almost precisely the same that the father has to the custody, obedience and services of his minor child." Part II, "The Wife's Want of Legal Authority over Her Children," highlights his state's "peculiar harshness… Our courts and legislators seem to have forgotten that if the mother is to be saddled with equal responsibilities with the father, she ought to have some, at least, of his rights." And in Part III, "The Wife's Property," he bluntly observes: "In no other business firm is a single partner given absolute control of the common property," and points to America's federal and state constitutions, which "divide supreme rule between three, co-ordinate departments, with the avowed purpose of avoiding that unity of power which is demanded for the husband." In his conclusion Hickox declares: "the fundamental principle of the present marriage relation is wrong, the plain remedy lies in the substitution of independence for dependence, of equality for subjection." In his final thoughts, he indicates women must demand their rights, for neither history nor "experience" show "that legislatures composed mainly of husbands and representing only males, will ever abandon the system of dependence by which they seem to profit… selfishness has hitherto offered an insuperable obstacle to a thorough redress of the fundamental wrong." Cover with printed "Tracts of Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association. No. 1" above title. Krichmar 513.

Text generally fresh with light marginal dampstaining mainly at rear, tiny bit of edge-wear to front wrapper. A near-fine copy.

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