Browse our archive of original historical documents on the themes of this book:

- Founding Principles

- Slavery

- Property Rights

- Women and the Right to Vote

- Women and the Family

- Was the Founding Undemocratic? The Property Requirement for Voting

- Poverty and Welfare

- Immigration and the Moral Conditions of Citizenship

- Afterword: Liberals and Conservatives Abandon the Principles of the Founding

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Chapter 3. Women and the Right to Vote

Today’s View of the Founders on Women
Wilson, Kerber, Current, Mason, Cummings, Burns, Stampp
Seven contemporary writers denounce the Founders’ view of women.

The Farmer Refuted
Alexander Hamilton
1775
The classic argument for limiting voting rights to adult males who own property: so that voters are excluded who are dependent on the wills of others for their livelihood.

Letters on Women’s Rights
John Adams and Abigail Adams
March-April 1776
Abigail lobbies for laws protecting women from their husbands' abuse, and John defends the legal authority given to men within the household.

John Adams to James Sullivan
May 26, 1776
Adams explains why women, children, and the poor are excluded from the vote.

Richard Henry Lee to Mrs. Hannah Corbin
March 17, 1778
There is no reason for single women who own property not to vote.

The Essex Result
Town of Essex, Massachusetts
(Theophilus Parsons, probable author)
1778
On why women, children, and the poor do not vote.







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