19th Century Literature

Essay by shibby11High School, 11th gradeA+, March 2004

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"The only thing necessary for triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" (Edmund Burke). When good and honorable men allow evil to endure because they don't stand up for the just thing, then that is when evil truly does take over. Writers of the 19th century witnessed this scenario over and over again. Men knew that slavery and women not being able to vote were the wrong thing, yet many did little or nothing about it. Stanton, Douglass, and Melville were just three of the many writers who saw bad things happening and decided to take a stand for those who were too scared to stand for themselves. The literature of the 19th century reflects three very important issue of that time: women's rights, slavery, and poverty.

An important speech given during the 19th century, which discusses the topic of women's right, is Elizabeth Cady Stanton's speech at the First Convention to Women's Rights.

Stanton's speech was directed to the White male and it discussed the fact that women could not vote, the fact that White men who were not all that respectable could vote and not women, and the fact that if America wished to be a united nation it needed to unite within. Although women had mainly the same rights as men, they still had not achieved the right to vote. Moreover, men who were not respectable and ignorant had the right to vote, opposed to the sophisticated and loving women who did not. Another point she brought up in her speech was the fact that America could not be truly unified if a person's race, religion, or color was looked down upon. A gifted speaker, Stanton often moved crowds and also motivated and encouraged them to do the right thing. Compassionate, classy, and...