Chapter

“None Could Deny the Eloquence of This Lady”: Women, Law, and Government in California, 1850–1890

Donna C. Schuele

in Taming the Elephant

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780520234116
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936485 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520234116.003.0007
“None Could Deny the Eloquence of This Lady”: Women, Law, and Government in California, 1850–1890

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This chapter investigates the circumstances that led Californian women in the mid-nineteenth century to become involved in law reform, and their persistent fight over the following twenty years for equal political, property, and occupational rights, waged of necessity within the masculine arenas of law and politics. Spiritualism played a crucial role in the development of the leadership of the women's movement in California. The campaign for political rights of women in California is discussed. Over the course of twenty years of agitation, reformers were most successful in achieving occupational rights for women; they scored one victory in securing political rights and were thoroughly disappointed in their efforts to correct marital property law. Reforming California's marital property system so as to give real force to the notion of joint property rights threatened to reach beyond the public and symbolic sphere into the private lives of husbands and wives.

Keywords: law reform; California women; government; occupational rights; political rights; property rights; marital property law

Chapter.  10732 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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