Mark Twain Volume 3

These past few years have done a great deal in changing our society’s mindset. But it’s not the first time. Looking back over one hundred years ago, Mark Twain dictated in his autobiography a similar occurrence that happened fifty years prior:

Isabella Beecher Hooker threw herself into the woman’s rights movement among the earliest, some sixty years ago, and she labored with all her splendid energies in that great cause all the rest of her life; as an able and efficient worker she ranks immediately after those great chiefs, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Mrs. Livermore.

When these powerful sisters entered the field in 1848 woman was what she had always been in all countries and under all religions, all savageries, all civilizations — a slave, and under contempt. The laws affecting women were a disgrace to our statute book.

Those brave women besieged the legislatures of the land, year after year, suffering and enduring all manner of reproach, rebuke, scorn and obloquy, yet never surrendering, never sounding a retreat; their wonderful campaign lasted a great many years, and is the most wonderful in history, for it achieved a revolution — the only one achieved in human history for the emancipation of half a nation that cost not a drop of blood.

They broke the chains of their sex and set it free.

– Autobiographical dictation, 1 March 1907. Published in Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 3

I, for one, want everyone to be offered the freedom to have equal rights and respect. If it means fighting for it- then so be it. But there is no need to shed blood or promote violence. We can use our voices to stand tall and form the world to be a better place. This is not the time to sit idly by.

We need to break the chains once more.

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