Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820. This year-long blog celebrates not only her 200th birthday,
but also her work, life, and the progress toward universal woman's suffrage as well as the 100th anniversary
of the year-long effort to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.

During this year I will be adding stories from my imagined kitchen conversations with Susan B. Anthony and recipes from her era.
I am beginning this week because on June 4, 1919, women were one step closer to getting the vote when the United States Congress
passed the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Just over a year later, on August 18, 1920, Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify,
thus achieving passage by the required three-fourths of the nation's then 48 states states.
By 1984 all of the states that had been in the union at the time had finally ratified the amendment.

As essays are added, I'll mark them as "POSTED" on this Overview page and provide a link through for the stories and recipes of this year of celebration.

RECIPE for Susan B. Anthony's favorite kind of Old Fashioned Sponge Cake is at the bottom of this post. Scroll down to find the easy-to-make recipe.

Monday, May 13, 2019

1870-1890 "Women Want Bread Not Ballots": Susan's Most Popular Speech

Susan B. Anthony spoke to audiences around the
nation. Not all of her audiences were in large halls.
She spoke in churches, small halls, even in the open
air from the back of a wagon. In large hall convention
meetings she specified that the stage have comfortable
chairs and be well decorated. 

I had just opened my packet of yeast preparing to mix it with warm water and a bit of sugar before beginning to make bread.

Wait! came the voice from my elbow.

I have a bread recipe for you to try. These White Mountain Rolls are  from New Hampshire that would have been close to my Adams, Massachusetts childhood home. They really are simple, and tasty.

I’d be glad to have the recipe. But maybe we can discuss why you titled your most famous speech ‘Women Want Bread, Not the Ballot? to suggest that women didn’t want the vote? 

I must have given that address hundred of times over the course of the last two decades of my work. It was so well known that the title was featured in posters advertising my appearance. Here's how I began that argument: I'm here to answer the popular objection 'a woman wants bread not the ballot.' She wants nothing but a home with her daily needs supplied, and if she gets these, she is happy. I think I shall be able to prove to you that the only possibility of her securing bread adn a home for herself is to give her the ballot. 

It was, you see an economic argument, based on the tradition of English economic argument.

What do I need for the bread? And then you can tell me more.

My familiar cooking and intellectual companion gathered milk, butter, an egg, sugar, salt, and flour and we began.

Of course the title is ironic. My point was one I’d mentioned and written about for years. It is, in fact, the underpinning of my suffrage efforts. A woman can not control her economic life is she does not have the right to vote.

You gave this many times, right?

Yes.  It was my most well-known address and I presented it to audiences across the nation for nearly two decades.

Do you have a copy of it?

Oh my no.  I spoke from memory and knew the points of argument so well, that I never had the entire speech written out. Nor did I keep notes. I spoke from my mind and my heart.”

How did you begin?

I would start my typically two-hour address with the statement that disenfranchisement if a political, industrial, and moral degradation. Years ago in England when the working men, starving in the mines and factories, gathered in mobs and took bread wherever they could get it, their friends tried to educate them into a knowledge of the causes of their poverty and degradation. At one of these “monster bread meetings” held in Manchester, John bright said to them, “Workingmen, what you need to bring you cheap bread and plenty of it is the franchise.” But those ignorant men shouted back to Mr. Bright, precisely as the women of America do to use today, “it is not the vote we want. It is bread; and they broke up the meeting, refusing to allow him, their best friend, to explain to them the powers of the franchise.”

Did you confine your remarks to the experience in England?

Of course not. After I discussed the positive effect of enfranchisement on the lives of English workers, I then brought the discussion to this nation. After speaking of the effectiveness of labor strikes, I brought my comments to the lives of women and the ballot.

What did you say?

It is said that women do not need the ballot for their protection because they are supported by men. Statistics show that there are 3,000,000 women in this nation supporting themselves. In crowded cities of the East they are compelled to work in shops, stores and factories for the merest pittance. In New York alone, there are over 50,000 of these women receiving less than fifty cents a day. Women wage-earners in different occupations have organized themselves into trades unions, from time to time, and made their strikes to get justice at the hands of their employers just as men have done. I detailed the experience of labor actions.

How did you end?

I put it into human terms. Women, denied the ballot, the legitimate means with which to exert their influence, and, as a rule, being lovers of peace, they have recourse to prayers,  and tears, those potent weapons of women and children, and, when they fail, must tamely submit to wrong or rise in rebellion against the power that be. Women’s crusades against saloons, brothels and gambling-dens, emptying kegs and bottles into the streets, breaking doors and windows and burning houses. All go to prove that disfranchisement, the denial of lawful means to gain desired ends, may drive even women to violations of law and order.

And then I brought it around to the Constitution.

Hence to secure both national and “domestic tranquility.” To “establish justice,” to carry out the spirit of our Constitution, put into he hands of all women, as you have into those of all men, the ballot, that symbol of perfect equality, that right protective of all other rights.

It really was quite well received.

My companion was modest in her evaluation of the effect of her words and gently turned my attention from the power of her words to the yeast and flour before us. 

These soft rolls are delicious.  The original recipe specified
that they be formed as "long rolls." Of course you can
make them in any shape you would like. However you shape
them, they are a wonderful soft roll. Perfect for serving
with soup or salad or even used as a finer sandwich.

White Mountain Rolls

1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup butter

1 package instant dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar

¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt, optional
1 lightly beaten egg white
4 to 5 cups flour

Heat the milk just to a simmer. Remove from heat, add the butter, and set aside until the butter is melted and the milk is cooled to about 90 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, water, and tablespoon of sugar. Set aside until the mixture bubbles. Add the milk mixture and egg white. Stir in the sugar and 3 cups of the flour. Stir until the batter is well mixed. Continue adding the flour until you have a non-sticky dough. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Lightly butter the mixing bowl. Turn the dough so there is a buttered side that is on top. Cover with a slightly damp kitchen towel. Set the bowl in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.  Punch the dough down. Break off pieces about the size of an egg. Form them into oblong rolls, about 3 inches long. Place on lightly greased baking pan and allow to rise until double. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake until the rolls are lightly browned on top and baked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Makes about 36 rolls 4 inches long and an inch in diameter.

Adapted from Maria Parloa’s Kitchen Companion,  Maria Parloa  The Clover Publishing Company, New York by Estes and Laurian, Boston  1887.

Susan’s Bread not Ballots speech can be found in Women of the Suffrage Movement  various authors  published by Musaicum Books

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