Summary #2: Angelina Grimke’s Letter To Catharine Beecher
Angelina Grimke’s letter to Catharine Beecher addresses the immorality and injustice faced by women in this time period. She begins her letter by basically saying that a lot can be learned from slavery in terms of morality and human rights than any other means in the world. Comparing the rights of all men, ranging from royalty to slaves, she says their rights are based upon the moral nature of man. She then states that, “the circumstance of sex could not give to man higher rights and responsibilities, than to woman”(i) if that rights were indeed founded in moral being. She thinks that differences in gender are completely irrelevant when considering human rights, just as skin color or eye color should be. She thus presents the idea that, our responsibilities are decided by; the differences in our lives, our specific abilities and talents, and the era that we live in, and not by gender.
Grimke says that this “regulation of duty by the mere circumstance of sex”(ii) has lead to the evils and inequality faced between the virtues of men versus women. She says that men are “the warrior.”(iii) They have qualities such as sternness, and those like it, which “belong to his character as a man.”(iv) On the other hand, women are dependent on man and are only to be admired for charm and physical qualities, and are there for men to “caress and humor like a spoiled child.”(v) She believes it is this principle has given men “a charter for the exercise of tyranny, selfishness, pride, arrogance, lust, and brutal violence”(vi) as well as robbed women of the rights to “think, speak, and act on moral questions, share dangers and responsibilities, fulfill the great end of her being, and to glorify God in her body and spirit.”(vii) Based on these claims, she thinks women have only been viewed as an extension of man and as his instrument of “convenience and pleasure,”(viii) and even as a pet trained into being playful and...
Cited: Grimke, Angelina. "Letter XII Human Rights Not Founded on Sex.” August 2, 1837
Please join StudyMode to read the full document