Today in Feminist History: Welcome to “The Revolution”

Today in Feminist History is our daily recap of the major milestones and minor advancements that shaped women’s history in the U.S.—from suffrage to Shirley Chisholm and beyond. These posts were written by, and are presented in homage to, our late staff historian and archivist, David Dismore.

January 8, 1868: “The Revolution” has begun! Edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Parker Pillsbury, owned and managed by Susan B. Anthony, the first weekly issue was published this morning out of a little office in Room 17 of 37 Park Row in Manhattan.

The Revolution is dedicated to “Principle, Not Policy—Individual Rights and Responsibilities,” and demands “Justice, Not Favors” for women.

Among the many things it will advocate:

(1) IN POLITICS: Educated Suffrage, Irrespective of Sex or Color; Equal Pay to Women for Equal Work; Eight Hours Labor; Abolition of Standing Armies and Party Despotisms. Down with Politicians – Up with the People!

(2) IN RELIGION: Deeper Thought, Broader Idea; Science not Superstition; Personal Purity; Love to Man as well as God.

(3) IN SOCIAL LIFE: Morality and Reform; Practical Education, not Theoretical; Facts not Fiction; Virtue not Vice; Cold Water not Alcoholic Drinks or Medicines. It will indulge in no Gross Personalities and insert no Quack or Immoral Advertisements, so common even in Religious Newspapers.

This new nationally-distributed publication is housed directly across from New York City Hall, on “Newspaper Row” alongside the city’s largest and most established newspapers, and is in the same building as the New York World. The venture has been initially capitalized by $600 in starting funds from entrepreneur George Francis Train.

Naturally, the suffrage struggle will always be a front-page topic.

In this first issue, there is a promise:

The Revolution will contain a series of articles, beginning next week, to prove the power of the ballot in elevating the character and condition of woman. We shall show that the ballot will secure for woman equal place and equal wages in the world of work, that it will open to her the schools, colleges, professions and all the opportunities and advantages of life; that in her hand it will be a moral power to stay the tide of vice and crime and misery on every side.

Thus, too, shall we purge our constitutions and statute laws from all invidious distinctions among the citizens of the States, and secure the same civil and moral code for man and woman. We will show the hundred thousand female teachers, and the millions of working women, that their complaints, petitions, strikes and protective unions are of no avail until they hold the ballot in their own hands; for it is the first step toward social, religious and political equality.

Though other publications have taken up the issue of woman suffrage, this one will not only strongly champion that cause, but that of the workers, the poor and unjustly convicted, as well as promote other long-overdue social reforms. Most importantly, The Revolution will fearlessly take up any issue of importance to women, and provide a nationwide forum for women to share their concerns and views on topics that are neglected, or in some cases strictly barred from discussion, in traditional newspapers.

This unique weekly certainly seems well worth the cost of a two dollar annual subscription, and will clearly speed the day when full equality for women will be achieved.


David Dismore is the archivist for the Feminist Majority Foundation. His journey from would-be weather forecaster to full-time feminist began with the powerful impression made by a photo and a few paragraphs about the suffragists in his high school history textbook; years later, he had his first encounter with NOW—in which he carefully peeked in a window before opening the door to be sure men were allowed. He was eventually active in the ERA extension campaign of 1978, embarked on a cross-country bikeathon for it in 1982 and even worked for pioneers Toni Carabillo and Judith Meuli.