Social Reformer. One of the major leaders of the woman's rights movement, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Along with Stanton, she authored the major documents of the National Woman Suffrage Association, and her leadership positions in the organization paralleled those of Anthony. The three women were considered the suffrage "triumvirate." "Stanton, Anthony, and Gage, linked together in the authorship of The History of Woman Suffrage, will ever hold a grateful place in the hearts of posterity," the Woman's Tribune predicted in 1888. Gage unsuccessfully tried to prevent the conservative take-over of the woman's movement in 1890 and then went on to write her magnum opus, Woman, Church and State, a brilliant indictment of the church for its role in the oppression of women. Lynn Spender in Feminist Theorists describes Gage as "one of the most far-sighted and clear-sighted of the women who have stood apart from and dared to challenge the society in which they lived." The story of Gage gives us a richer history of woman suffrage. Gage authored the brilliant voting strategy that maintained women had the right to vote, as tax-paying citizens of the Republic. The federal government, she argued, had the constitutional responsibility to protect women from the states, which illegally barred them from voting. Co-author of the 1876 "Declaration of Rights of Women" (with Stanton) and co-presenter (with Anthony), Gage risked arrest at the official Centennial celebration in presenting the Declaration. She and the four other women protesters did it, she said, "for the daughters of 1976, so they would know their mothers had impeached the government for its treatment of women." "I think I was born with a hatred of oppression," said Gage, who dedicated her life to the ongoing fight for liberty—political, social, religious and economic—for all people. An abolitionist, her home was a station on the Underground Railroad, as was her childhood home. Adopted into the Wolf clan of the Mohawk nation, Gage supported native sovereignty and pressed the United States government to live up to its treaty responsibilities. Gage refused to go along with the increasingly conservative and racist agenda of the new suffragists after Anthony merged the two suffrage organizations in 1890. Gage drew their wrath by exposing the agenda of the religious right: the establishment of a Christian nation with a religious test for political office. The same National American Woman Suffrage Association women who tried to silence Stanton by denouncing her Woman's Bible successfully wrote Gage out of history. Gage's son-in-law was L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and many other books. Baum married Gage's daughter Maud in the Gage Home in 1882, and Gage became one of his intellectual mentors, encouraging him to write down his children's stories. Matilda Joslyn Gage died at the Baum home in Chicago in 1898 and is buried in Fayetteville Cemetery, not far from her 1854 Greek Revival home, which is owned and being restored by The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation of Fayetteville, New York. The words of her motto, emblazoned on her tombstone, give voice to her strongest belief: "There is a word sweeter than mother, home or heaven. That word is Liberty!"
Bio by: sjmb
"There is a word sweeter than mother, home or heaven. That word is Liberty!"