McClellan and the suffragettes

SATURDAY | We're taking a little detour on this McClellan Poetry Day to look at some 1864 campaign verse that puts down women's suffrage. It does so in a "non-partisan" way without particularly implicating McClellan, Fremont, Lincoln or the other principal candidates.

By 1864, the women's suffrage movement was well organized and underway but pre-empted by events. In Australia, in 1864, a mistake in the wording of a new voting law allowed ladies with property access to the ballot. In the U.S., leading suffragettes

lectured and petitioned the government for the emancipation of slaves with the belief that, once the war was over, women and slaves alike would be granted the same rights as the white men. At the end of the war, however, the government saw the suffrage of women and that of the Negro as two separate issues and it was decided that the Negro vote could produce the immediate political gain, particularly in the South, that the women's vote could not. Abraham Lincoln declared, "This hour belongs to the negro."

McClellan's thoughts on suffrage were not voiced, as far as I can tell.

It's interesting that the question of woman's voting rights was prominent enough in 1864 to demand a response. The author of this doggerel is unknown and it may have appeared in a humor publication like Frank Leslie's Budget of Fun. (The references to Gouraud are to a cosmetics firm the products of which occasionally surface on eBay.)

Who's to Be President?
By a Lady

Up the famous Hudson River, as I sailed the other day,
About the nominations each person had his say;
Some said I am for Lincoln, for Little Mac some cried,
While others spoke for Fremont, and for Jessie, his fair bride.
As I listened to their speeches, a stranger came to me,
And bowing low said softly, "Dear madam, may I be
So bold as now to ask whom you'd vote for, or wish your husband to?"
He spoke so civilly, I felt an answer was his due,
And so I said, half smiling, "The household's my domain,
To my husband I leave politics, too oft our nation's bane!
I've no time to think of Democrats, or else of Copperheads,
I've to see my Biddies sweep and dust, and cook and make the beds.
But if you really wish to know the man I most admire,
And whom I recommend to husband, son and sire--
It is GOURAUD, whose benefits I never can forget,
And every day but adds to my still increasing debt--
For when my face one summer was freckled, tanned, and bleared,
I used his MEDICATED SOAP, and all soon disappeared;
And when some naughty hairs had grown upon my dimpled chin,
His wondrous POUDRE SUBTILE then made smooth as glass my skin.
I therefore, out of gratitude, most fervently declare
For the President of Fashion--