Joint paper _Teddy and Polly_ by hedongchenchen

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									Irmine Uwineza

English 101/ Seminar

Teddy Chocos /Polly Welsh

10/27/2011

Final paper : The influence of gender, race and social class in Human Progress.


       By nature, human beings have been put into categories by race, gender and social class.

The common character of human beings is the desire of being free, and enjoy a happy life as it

has been stated in the Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that

all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the creator with certain unalienable rights,

that among these are Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness(Thomas Jefferson,1776,Page 1).As

Jefferson claimed freedom is a need and a right that everybody has and it is a right to everybody

to live happy. However in the 1700”s and 1800’s in the United States of America , women and

slaves were denied their right of freedom and they were living under control and oppression of

white men. In fact they were limited by gender and race because at that time being woman meant

being weak and being black was a symbol of being slave. Nevertheless there have been brave

people who have stood and spoke for freedom of women and slaves. By developing their

personality and identity they were able to overcome the circumstances of that time. William

Lloyd Garrison, Elisabeth Cady Stanton and Frederick Douglass are three examples of

abolitionist and fighters for women rights who used writing as a weapon for being heard and it

has highly contributed to equal freedom of all humans beings.


       Slaves were black people who came from Africa by the slavery trade. In America they

have been treated like if they were a property that was part of white belongings. They were

treated unfairly. Nobody should have a right to earn a human being as William Lloyd Garrison


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has said “No man has a right to enslave or imbrute his brother, to hold acknowledge him for one

moment, as a piece of merchandize, or keep back his hire by fraud or to brutalize his mind, by

denying him the means of intellectual, social and moral improvement (Garrison272)”.

Unfortunately slaves were the ones to work in the plantations, to take care of white kids, to do all

the work in the house, and above that they were beaten up for every day. Along with Garrison

idea, a human being has a right to work and have rest, to be given a possibility to think and act

according to his own judgment. As a Christian Garrison believed that slavery was the greatest

national sin that Americans have to correct. His religious belief has been his motivation and

source of strength to resist against other white people that were against his involvement against

slavery. Garrison was born as William Lloyd Garrison in December 11th 1805 in Newburyport

Massachusetts. He has grown up in a poor family and became a writer, publisher and a pacifist

Christian abolitionist. Garrison used writing as the main method to defeat slavery. He was the

owner of the “Liberator” known as the non- compromising American journal that he used to

publish articles talking about anti-slavery.


       Garrison was a white man and despite of threats coming from his people that were

against his journal the “Liberator”, he continued to publish it till when slavery was ended. He has

written many articles to fight slavery and among them is the “Declaration of Sentiments of the

American Anti-Slavery Convention”. In the declaration of sentiment that he wrote, Garrison used

the words of Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of independence and become later the

third president of United States of America where he said that “all men are created equal […]

with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of

happiness(Thomas Jefferson,1776,page 1)”. Garrison called these words “The corner stone”

describing them as the foundation of Americans freedom. Those words have been his inspiration


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because as people had believed in them and stood for the American Independence, he thought

that they would understand and act like the same with the slavery abolition.


       Men have always put women down, underestimated their ability of intelligence and

strength. In marriage ,men have dominance of their wives and they also don’t have any right to

own property as Stanton claimed “ he has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough

education, all colleges being close against her- […] the law giving the power to deprive her of

her liberty- he has taken her all right of property, even to the wages she earns( Stanton, page

1)”.In accordance of her declaration of sentiments, Women wanted to be educated and widen

their knowledge equally as men, have the same opportunities t be admitted in any school. They

wanted to be able to work and have something called theirs not just on their husbands’ names. To

fight for their rights, women had a movement where they would plan what to fight for. Among

them was Elisabeth Cady Stanton, their leader and the abolitionist who was able to stand and

speak up for women rights. Stanton was born on November 12, 1815 in New York. It was not

easy in the 1800s to stand for women rights because it was period where women had no word

neither in public nor in their household . Stanton did it because she believed that also women

could accomplish men’s work .Her father didn’t have a son and was always unhappy for that, for

Stanton that has been like an encouragement by the fact to prove to her father that, her too, was

able to accomplish what a son can do.


       Stanton has used her writing skills for her thoughts to be known. She wrote the

declaration of sentiments in which she enumerated all the struggles that proves women

discrimination as where she describes “He allows her in church, as well as state, but a suborinate

position, claiming apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, with some

exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the church .( Stanton, page 2)”.Women

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were welcomed in churches just to pray as Christians but didn’t have a right to be part of the

delegation members in the church. They were not allowed to become pastors in their

congregations. Elisabeth Cady Stanton has wrote a book that she called “women’s bible” that she

published in two volumes. She wrote it because she didn’t agree with the fact that in the original

Bible women are asked to be submitted to their husbands and describes men as head of a family (

Ephesians 5,22-23), words that women discrimination were based on. This book has brought

protest coming from religious communities as well as coming from women. Even though all

these struggles came along to her, Stanton never gave up her willing to speak for women rights

and pointing out what needed to be changed so that women could be free and part of the society

improvement and development.


       Women are equal to men, the difference of gender does not define that one is better than

the other ,because they all live in the same environment, exposed to the same danger and harsh

circumstances as Frederick Douglass admits “…the rights of man and the rights of women are

one and inseparable and stand upon the same basis.[…] we advocate woman rights, not because

she is an angel but because she is a woman, having the same wants, and being exposed to the

same evil as man. Whatever is necessary to protect him, is necessary to protect her

(340)”.Frederic believed that the inequality between women and men should end because they all

have the same want and desire of a better future and that o get there, everyone has to be given the

same opportunities as the other as well as they share and face together natural tribulations. He

believed that what can have a good impact to men improvement can have the same good impact

to women too because what makes a man be happy can make be the woman happiness at the

same time as he suggested “ If, for the well-being and happiness of man, it is necessary that he

holds a property, have a voice in making laws which he is expected to obey, be stimulated by his


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participation in government to cultivate his mental facilities,[…], precisely the same may be said

of woman ( Frederick, page 340)”. Based on Frederick suggestion, if a man can feel important

and powerful when he thinks he is smart because he went to school then a woman should have

that same right so that she won’t be inferior and aside.


       Frederick Douglass was a slave born in Maryland in February 1818.He was an anti-

slavery activist in the 19th century. For him too, writing has been his way to fight against slavery

because at that time, the easiest way was to speak in congresses and giving a speech was a good

way to be heard. Though as a slave it was not an easy task because black people were no

supposed to know anything about learning. In his young ages, Frederick has learned how to

write, taught by his master’s wife. Unfortunately she did not teach him till the end because her

husband stooped her. But Frederick has continued to learn by the street school boys. He later on

had to escape Maryland o go live in New York by where he changed his name for not being

caught and punished as slaves were supposed to just be part of their masters belongings.

Frederick Douglass has shown his brave by overcoming the limitation of his race and being

interested in learning and later he became Abraham Lincoln’s consultant. As a black from a

slaves family, abolitionist and women rights activist he has been and shown by his own life story

that the inspiration of fighting and improving was inside the person himself and not what others

sees in you. His own experience has been an inspiration and courage to fight for women rights so

that them too could be accepted as important people in the community.


               Gender, race and social class are natural factors that have played a big role in

determining decisions taken and made in the society to change people’s lives. They have been

since 1700s the causes of discrimination among human beings and have slowed down human

progress as for women and slaves couldn’t have the opportunities to work and develop their

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skills and be part of the decisions making in the society. But however women or men, black or

white, poor or rich, whatever category you are in, it is up to you to try to face and overcome the

limits that the society brings, build your own identity and personality. Also if people should

decide to work together for the best and interest of the society then everybody would feel free to

do whatever is good and defeat the wrong to bring up the right. And all human beings would

progress without ones staying behind while others are going forward.




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