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Solitude of Self – Jake Berman

Stanton’s use of religious imagery is much heavier than a modern feminist’s would likely be. Now, many view biblical texts as being against many of the modern ideas of feminism. Being written thousands of years ago, women played a very different role in society than they do today (as well as than they did in 1892), where they were subjected to men’s will. However, it is not as contradictory for Stanton to use religious imagery in her speech. Her view that everyone is essentially on their own in the world, each on our own journey through life (and death) evokes religious ideals throughout, and makes for a very strong argument. One section particularly stood out to me:

“Whatever the theories may be of woman’s dependence on man, in the supreme
moments of her life, he cannot bear her burdens. Alone she goes to the gates of
death to give life to every man that is born into the world; no one can share her
fears, no one can mitigate her pangs; and if her sorrow is greater than she can bear, alone she passes beyond the gates into the vast unknown.” (6)

This passage’s religious symbology of the “gates of death” are used to really point out not only how solitary everyone’s journey through life, but to show how noble a woman’s role is. Childbirth is not just part of ones role as a woman, but is rather facing death in the face.

She also uses religious imagery in softer, yet just as rhetorically powerful ways, with her anecdote about, “the little girl who helped to dress a Christmas tree for the
children of the family in which she served,” (3) in which she, though she decorated the tree, did not receive any gifts, and was left with the solitary feeling that threads throughout the speech. Her use of religious rhetoric, which goes as far as quoting Jesus himself, makes her arguments very powerful for her audience, at a time when Americans were becoming even more drawn to religion as a way of reaching social change.

The most strikingly powerful part, I must say, is her concluding sentence, which I think warrants repetition: “Who, I ask you, can take, dare take on himself the rights,
the duties, the responsibilities of another human soul?” (9)

Patrick O’Neil Response to Solitude of Self

During her “Solitude of Self” speech, Elizabeth Cady Stanton immediately ties the women’s suffrage movement in with morality, stating that “the right of individual conscience and judgement” is a “Protestant idea.” This fits very well with other progressive notions of the day, as vices such as gambling and alcohol were other targets of the Progressives at the turn of the 20th Century. Stanton also speaks of “natural rights,” undoubtedly a reference to Jefferson’s inalienable “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

However, for most of the rest of the speech Stanton treats women’s rights as a political issue. Individual citizenship is a “republican idea,” and Stanton repeatedly refers to “selfs-“: self dependence, self-sovereignty, self-respect. Individual liberty is paramount to Stanton, and she sees herself as entitled to it just as male citizens are. Stanton decries the practice of defining women as mothers, sisters and daughters, since men are not defined solely as husbands or fathers. She implores the Senate not for a special place for women, but to be included with men to share the basic rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

It seems to me that Stanton draws much of her argument from slavery and the black rights movement. Just as DuBois wanted to stand on equal footing with the white man culturally (attend the same plays, learn at the same schools, hold the same public offices), Stanton desires for women to be on equal footing as men in a citizenship sense. “To refuse political equality is to rob the ostracized of all self-respect,” Stanton claims. She even compares the plight of women to a Shakespeare character whose tongue and hands are cut off,  which may also be an indirect reference to the similarities of the women’s suffrage movement and the horrors endured by slaves.

In the closing of her speech, Stanton makes sure to note that the Progressive vision for women is a modernistic one. Modern women, she argues, have made great strides in art and literature: “the poetry and novels of the century are theirs…” Just as technologies such as the spinning wheel have faded into the past, so should political constraints placed upon women. In an increasingly industrialized nation, this analogy is a powerful way for Stanton to make her case, and position her cause as the way of the future.

The Principles of Scientific Management

In The Principles of Scientific Management, Frederick Winslow Taylor provides a systematic approach toward improving the nation’s industrial efficiency. This book was written in 1911, two years before Henry Ford introduced the moving assembly line to his automobile factories; the need for more effective methods of production was at its height during the time of Taylor’s writing. In an effort to eliminate soldering (laborers working at a purposefully inefficient rate) Taylor recommends replacing the traditional rule-of-thumb style of management with one based upon science.


He explains that with the rule-of-thumb approach, success is dependent upon the laborers’ initiative to achieve some sort of reward or incentive. In contrast, scientific management relies on managers taking an increased role in the development of individual work plans, the training of employees, etc. It’s easy to see why this method would be effective. Today, I think the highest valued managers are those who are knowledgeable about the day-to-day activities of their business; those who actually go out and interact with their employees while they work rather than sit in an office all day.


I think Taylor makes a convincing argument for his scientific approach. Not only is his argument sound, but also the manner in which he presents his case is especially effective: he provides real world examples of scientific management’s positive impact in different industries (steel, bricklaying, etc.). That being said, his disparaging marks toward unskilled laborers, in which he consistently questions their intelligence, takes away from the credibility of his argument.

The Principles of Scientific Management

Fredrick Winslow Taylor begins by quoting Theodore Roosevelt who said, “The conversation of our national resources is only preliminary to the larger question of national efficiency.” Taylor conceded that natural resources were indeed important and should be valued; but the resources would be best used if more effort were put into training men with the result of making production and manufacturing of these resources more efficient.

Taylor argued that the country needed to be more efficient in almost all of the everyday tasks.

I agree with his sentiment of training men to do the work instead of what he called trying to find the “extraordinary man.” With the proper training and tools, most people can be taught to do extraordinay things.

I also agree with Taylor’s sentiment on management being a true science. Most managers can give orders. However, it takes a true leader/manager to extract the most out of a person’s abilities by knowing the worker’s strengths and weaknesses. The use of these strengths and weaknesses along with clear rules and principles – whether in a factory office or a factory production area – can create a more efficient environment.

The Principles of Scientific Management.

Fredrick Winslow Taylor’s piece on scientific management is very interesting is the way it deals with the workforce of its time. The Principles of Scientific Management thoroughly discusses the ways that the current workforce can evolved into a more efficient group with certain policies. Taylor wrote this in 1910, just as major industrial progressions were occurring, showing the shifts that were occurring in the employer-employee relations.

Taylor made many points The Principles of Scientific Management,  some better than others. One quote that I found to be somewhat misleading was found in Chapter 2. “… and since we are dealing with our men in masses, but are trying to develop each individual man to his highest state of efficiency and prosperity.” Fredrick Winslow Taylor portrays this style in which each man is individually treated to determine their more efficient qualities. Him stating that they are not being treated in the masses though is false in the sense. This ‘individual effort’ is being portrayed, though it is happening to each individual within the masses.

The story about the Pennsylvania Dutch man at the Bethlehem Steel Factory showed the effects on to get the masses into a more efficient process while working with the individual. For example, this man was only being paid $1.15 an hour. If he was able to become a ‘good working man’ and load more pig iron, his pay rate would increase into one like the ‘high priced man’. This wasn’t to help out the individual, but to help out the company as a whole, through increased mass efficiency. The man was doing about 3.5x of his original work in one day, with only 1.5x the money. Employees just became pawns in the workforce and Taylor hits that nail on the head. Not only did they only do what they were told, but employment became full life dedications.

Garlin and Bellamy – Jake

Garlin in “Under the Lion’s Paw” and Bellamy in Looking Backward each paint pictures of America tailored to their “political” views, clearly influenced by much of the Populist movement of the time. Garlin’s world of Midwest farming, while not having the same overtly politically socialist message as Looking Backward, sets the stage for much of the political sentiments of the time, focused around the idea that the banking system is causing farmers’ poverty in many ways. Even though the banker of the town, Butler, is described as being “one of the ‘easiest’ men in town,” (p. 135), he still ends up screwing over Haskins in the end by doubling the price of the farm because of upgrades Haskins himself made to the property. This idea of bankers too easily having the ability to destroy the lives of farmers is one of the root philosophies behind much of the Populist movement, and is illustrated very deliberately by Garlin to make this point.

Bellamy’s political socialist influence are much more obvious to the reader. After setting up a character relatable to readers, most of the rest of the novel is devoted to what is essentially describing his view of a socialist utopia. Whereas Garlin paints a Populist picture of the state of affairs of contemporary America, Bellamy shows how the Populists’ ideas can be transformed into a utopia from the same world in which Garlin writes. As this utopian future exists over 100 years after the writing of the novel, leaps further than Populists were campaigning on were reached; namely, Bellamy’s world includes complete public ownership, or a perfect communist system nation-wide, even spreading to other countries as well. Both of these readings remind me of Marx’s views. Garlin sees the dangers that capitalism has on the less fortunate, while Bellamy sees the end goal of communism once those dangers are realized by the masses.

Bellamy and Garlin Response – Christian Cherau

Garlin and Bellamy illustrate two very contrasting images of the current and potential future of American life as it was in the 1890s, with wealth becoming increasingly distributed and opposition to capitalism as it existed, in the form of socialism and radical leftist ideals, firmly coming into existence.

Using Garlin’s Under the Lion’s Paw, capitalism is displayed in an interesting crossover of agriculture and business. At a time when fears of big businessmen such as Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, and JP Morgan, and their powers through their wealth, gripped the nation, Garlin tells the story of capitalism on a smaller, and to a casual reader, a more palatable and understandable scale. Interestingly, however, the reader must engage in careful analysis of the situation the desperate farmers, the Haskins, find themselves in throughout the story. At the conclusion the reader, myself included, felt a great deal of anger towards the land owner, Mr. Butler, for doubling the Haskins rent and their cost to buy out the land from him. It must be noted, however, that Butler played the risk on the land just as much as the Haskins did, Butler has just “won” the land speculation game more times and knew what he was getting into. Anyone can find success in land speculation as Butler did. He started off as just a simple store owner, a “land poor” western man who was up all night and day toiling to keep his store running. He just had the cunning to make decisions to get ahead and practice smart business. The Haskins find success as well, however their financial burden increased as a result of it. They lost in the end, however this was due to a large misstep in the beginning that capitalists are very keen about. In the all-important negotiating process, the desperate Haskins did not think to plan ahead for the financial future of the land they were renting. Butler, the western capitalist, knew how to speculate and find success. Simply, Haskins’ new rent at the conclusion was his own fault, and it was not worth murdering the capitalist who has fairly won the right to charge more for the land.

As mentioned, Bellamy writes in fear of this potential of capitalism, marked by men known “to view their natural prey in their fellow men, and find their gain in the loss of others;” instead he envisions for the future a utopia marked by government control of every economic and business decision within the nation. Bellamy’s romanticizing of politicians and their power, especially in saying “We should have thought that no arrangement could be worse than to entrust the politicians with control of the wealth-producing machinery of the country,” comes in stark contrast to the earlier capitalist-centric writings of Andrew Carnegie and especially William Graham Sumner, who had a distinct distrust of politicians, philanthropists, and humanitarians deciding what to do with the capital of the wealthy to help the working classes. Bellamy fails to consider that those who have earned the capital are those who probably know how to best administer it, especially given the free nature of the United States. Bellamy’s idealist future is nice and perfect, but he fails to consider the steps and the people who need to take those steps in order to achieve that perfection.

The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. Du Bois was able to cover a large amount of racial issues in the South within The Souls of Black Folk. Some of his opinions were very interesting, including the “Talented Tenth”. This aspect I found to be radical, though I believe it was a theory that could potentially work to be true. Du Bois actively understood that black men were being educated directly to understand how to make money. While it may be demeaning to deem 90% of the black population as inept of being educated, it look for the overall increase in success of Blacks. The people that were being educated by the tenth would no longer be stuck in the vicious cycle of sharecropping, which Du Bois argued to just be an extension of slavery.

I found it interesting that Du Bois went against the political ideals of Booker T. Washington. In this time, when Black politics was suppressed, I would have expected that ideals would try to stay aligned amongst leaders as much as possible. Du Bois even went as far as to call the election of Booker T. Washington to role of the ‘spokesman of the race’. The main issues that Du Bois seemed to have with Washington was his acceptance of race, segregation, and many other racial issues.

Finally, I think the poems that started off each chapter are very important while reading Du Bois’s work. It appropriately sets the mood of the book, and each chapter individually. Du Bois saw all of these hardships in his life, and wanted to show his readers the sorrows and mood that came along with it. The lyrics were able to promote those feelings and lead his audience down a path that emphasized the sorrows.

The Souls of Black Folk

W.E.B. Du Bois, arguably the most influential civil rights advocate in history, presents a compelling appeal for racial equality in The Souls of Black Folk. I found the most interesting aspect of this piece to be the way in which Du Bois introduces each chapter: by pairing a verse of European poetry with a stanza from a ‘sorrow song’- traditional slave music. Despite their differences, they are both equally significant pieces of art. The sorrow songs, Du Bois explains, “stand to-day not simply as the sole of American music, but as the most beautiful expression of human experience born this side of the seas”; living proof of the capabilities of African Americans (156).


Du Bois’ writing is based upon the idea that education, particularly higher education, is necessary for the liberation of the black community. He explains that the freedman of his time is not actually free, despite what’s written in the 13th Amendment. Du Bois suggests that racial prejudice has caused the black man to doubt the value of seeking an education. In order to overcome this prejudice, Du Bois says blacks must not only learn to help themselves, but to demand “work, culture, liberty- not singly but together, not successively but together” (7).


It is here that Du Bois and his contemporary, Booker T. Washington, differ. The former is immovable in his demands, whereas the latter is far more conciliatory. In Chapter III, Du Bois makes his most convincing argument in the piece, largely by exposing flaws in Washington’s ‘programme.’ Du Bois recognizes that Washington’s Atlanta Compromise, which supports black submission to white rule, will do far more bad than good for the black community. By establishing African Americans as an inferior class, how can any progress be made towards a more equal society?


It’s easy to see why Du Bois would think this way. As a Harvard graduate who became a successful leader in the black community, Du Bois understood the importance of education in catalyzing the advancement of African Americans. However, he also understood just how difficult the struggle for equality would be, having seen the poor living conditions in Dougherty County, GA and other such places.  These experiences further supported Du Bois in his attempt to educate, and eventually liberate, the black man.