Isabella Beecher Hooker (American National Biography)

Sharon Ann Holt, "Hooker, Isabella Beecher," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
In 1868, with her two daughters married and her youngest child nearing majority, Hooker returned to public life with the publication of "A Mother's Letters to a Daughter on Woman's Suffrage" in Putnam's Magazine. Over the next forty years, until her death in Hartford, Hooker refined her arguments for and deepened her commitment to the cause of women's rights. From the tentative and unpublished essay "Shall Women Vote? A Matrimonial Dialogue" (1860) through her influential treatise called Womanhood: Its Sanctities and Fidelities (1873) to her last published tract, An Argument on United States Citizenship (1902), Hooker imagined and argued for a democratic society that made public use of the knowledge and virtue gained by women in their domestic struggles. Women, she maintained, should be judges and juries because they learned to adjudicate at home, equitably settling passionate disputes among their children. Women learned to legislate at home as well, quietly persuading others and spending patient years urging projects forward to completion. Hooker argued that wife- and motherhood provided the best possible training for government service, a view that, for her, made woman suffrage all the more urgent.
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