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A Short History of Women´s Rights by Eugene A. Hecker - HTML preview

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PREFACE

While making some researches in the evolution of women's rights, I was

impressed by the fact that no one had ever, as far as I could discover,

attempted to give a succinct account of the matter for English-speaking

nations. Indeed, I do not believe that any writer in any country has

essayed such a task except Laboulaye; and his _Recherches sur la

Condition Civile et Politique des Femmes_, published in 1843, leaves

much to be desired to one who is interested in the subject to-day.

I have, therefore, made an effort to fill a lack. This purpose has been

strengthened as I have reflected on the great amount of confused

information which is absorbed by those who have no time to make

investigations for themselves. Accordingly, in order to present an

accurate historical review, I have cited my authorities for all

statements regarding which any question could be raised.

This is

particularly so in the chapters which deal with the condition of women

under Roman Law, under the early Christian Church, and under Canon Law.

In all these instances I have gone directly to primary sources, have

investigated them myself, and have admitted no secondhand evidence. In

connection with Women's rights in England and in the United States I

have either consulted the statutes or studied the commentaries of

jurists, like Messrs. Pollock and Maitland, whose authority cannot be

doubted. To such I have given the exact references whenever they have

been used. In preparing the chapter on the progress of women's lights in

the United States I derived great assistance from the very exhaustive

_History of Woman Suffrage_, edited by Miss Susan B.

Anthony, Mrs. Ida

H. Harper, and others to whose unselfish labours we are for ever

indebted. From their volumes I have drawn freely; but I have not given

each specific reference.

The tabulation of the laws of the several States which I have given

naturally cannot be entirely adequate, because the laws are being

changed constantly. It is often difficult to procure the latest revised

statutes. However, these laws are recent enough to illustrate the

evolution of women's rights.

Finally, this volume was written in no hope that all readers would agree

with the author, who is zealous in his cause. His purpose will be gained

if he induces the reader to reflect for himself on the problem in the

light of its historical development.

E.A.H.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS., 1910.

CONTENTS