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Crystal Eastman "Now We Can Begin"
Transcript of Crystal Eastman "Now We Can Begin"
By: Sierra Eastman, and Marcus Livermore
Crystal Catherine Eastman
"Now We Can Begin"
Speaker- Crystal Eastman, an American women, lawyer, anti-militarist, feminist, socialist, and journalist, born in Marlborough, Massachusetts in 1881
Occasion- Written in December 1920, in The Liberator, a radical arts and politics magazine, about August 23rd 1920, when the 19th amendment was passed giving women the right to vote.
Purpose- To educate people, mostly women, about the tasks that remain even after the vote was won.
Subject- Women's Suffrage
Eastman's "Now We Can Begin" speech appeals to ethos because of the fact that she was a women living through the women's rights movement and therefore has first-hand experience and knowledge of what she is talking about.
"...August 23, the day when the Tennessee legislature finally enacted the Federal suffrage amendment..."
"Ninety-nine out of every hundred women want children, and seventy-five out of every hundred want to take care of their own children, or at any rate so closely superintend their care as to make any other full-time occupation impossible for at least ten or fifteen years."
" It seems that the only way we can keep mothers free, at least in a capitalist society, is by the establishment of a principle that the occupation of raising children is peculiarly and directly a service to society, and that the mother upon whom the necessity and privilege of performing this service naturally falls is entitled to an adequate economic reward from the political government. " -Crystal Eastman
Crystal Eastman was an American lawyer, antimilitarist, feminist, socialist, and journalist.
Born in Marlborough, Massachusetts on June 25 1881.
She graduated from Vassar College in 1903, received an MA in Sociology from Columbia University in 1904 and graduated second in her class with a law degree from New York University Law School in 1907.
Drafted the 1st Workers Compensation law after writing an article (" Work Accidents, and The Law ") in 1910.
She was a co-founder and co-editor with her brother Max Eastman of the radical arts and politics magazine
, co-founder of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and co-founder in 1920 of the American Civil Liberties Union.
In 1913 she joined Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and others in founding the Militant Congressional Union which became the National Women's Party.
Suffering from nephritis for many years, Eastman died in 1928.
She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York in 2000
"What, then, is 'the matter with women'? What is the problem of women's freedom? It seems to be this:..." (Page 2, Paragraph 2)
"Freedom of choice in occupation and individual economic independence for women: How shall we approach this next feminist objective? First..." (Page 2, Paragraph 4)
"... which make it difficult for women to enter or succeed in the various professions, to go into and get on in business, to learn trades and practice them, to join trades unions." (Page 2, Paragraph 4)
"...how to cook and sew and clean and take care of yourself..." (Page 3, Paragraph 1)
"bread and butter slaves" (Page 1, Paragraph 2)
"a loyal soldier in the working class army" (Page 1, Paragraph 2)
"It must be womanly as well as manly to.... And it must be manly as well as womanly to..." (Page 3, Paragraph 1)
" Now We Can Begin " was written after the 19th amendment was passed,giving women the right to vote on August 23rd 1920. This vote was won by a 2/3 majority and took over 70 years to accomplish. The women's suffrage movement was originally thought of by a group of women during an Abolition meeting in London, England 1840 and was organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. The 1st women's
suffrage meeting was held in 1848 at Seneca Falls, New York and was continued annually. After the first meeting, the Declaration of Sentiments was written and eventually women including Susan B. Anthony and Crystal Eastman joined the fight for women's rights.
The central argument of "Now We Can Begin" is that there are still improvements to be made in women's rights even after they were given the right to vote. These improvements are included in a four-point program that Eastman outlines within the speech:
economic independence for women (including freedom to choose an occupation and equal pay)
gender equality at home (raising “feminist sons” to share the responsibilities of family life)
“voluntary motherhood” (reproductive freedom)
“motherhood endowment,” or financial support for child-rearing and homemaking.
Some examples are:
"being destined by the
of their sex"
"exigencies" - urgent demands or needs
herself to the tiresome job of housekeeping for two"
Crystal Eastman's speech is bias because it is coming from Eastman's point of view as a woman and women's rights activist at the time. She speaks of injustices done to women throughout history and the improvements that still need to be made to women's rights, with a simple and straightforward yet powerful tone.
Tone- Simple and straightforward, yet powerful.
"...women are saying, "Now at least we can begin."
"...being destined by the accident of their sex to one field of activity -housework and child-raising."
Even if women have outside jobs and work the same hours as their husbands, "the responsibility is not shifted, it is still hers. ... she orders the meals, she does the buying, she meets and resolves all domestic crises, she takes care of moving, furnishing, settling. She may be, like her husband, a busy executive at her office all day, but unlike him, she is also an executive in a small way every night and morning at home."
Aristotelian Appeals (continued)
The language Eastman uses is pretty appropriate for the audience. Her writing isn't very complex and is more straightforward and to the point and appeals mostly to women but men as well as it was meant to.
She also sort of uses political jargon with words like "industrial democracy" and "proletarian dictatorship" , but very little and only in certain parts of the speech
The speech was slightly controversial and could be seen as offensive to men in the way that Eastman provides examples of things that men would typically say and then argues against them. She also says things like "men will not give up their privilege of helplessness" and "the average man has a carefully cultivated ignorance about household matters... a sort of cheerful inefficiency which protects him better than the reputation for having a violent temper."
Analysis Questions (continued)
"Now We Can Begin" didn't really spark or start a movement but instead was a huge part of the already significant women's rights movement.
The speech was also a major force in changing peoples views and providing more insight on women's rights in the way that it explained that the fight didn't end with women gaining the right to vote, it had only started.