coming off of the particularly tempestuous presidency of andrew jackson, the country was set on a path set to stir up social unrest. humane treatment in 1837 was a luxury only afforded to white men.
if, instead of martin van buren, we had elected sarah grimke, we could have addressed the issue of abolition head on instead of deliberately overlooking the blatant oppression in america.
van buren, in an effort to appease the southern members of his party, advocated for states' rights and therefore stood in direct opposition to abolition. his actions are incredibly transparent from a distance of over 175 years: he was trying to usher in his second term by not alienating his southern supporters. he chose the path of least resistance, and one that would serve to benefit him -- but not the american people.
sarah grimke contrasts sharply with martin van buren's track record. born on a plantation in south carolina, she abhorred slavery and set to act against the institution from a very young age. incredibly bright, but not allowed to reap the benefits of the same education afforded to her brothers, sarah's education was shaped by the fact that she was a woman. she was unable to practice law as she had intended, but her she found a way to impact the legal and political realm by a different route.
before she was 30 years old, she moved north to philadelphia, followed shortly thereafter by her equally powerful sister, angelina. together, they proved to be two of the most renowned and outspoken leaders in both the abolitionist and suffragette movements. they were fighting for equality. sarah grimke spoke out against the quaker church of friends who viewed her sex as a means of preventing her admittance to the clergy. she used her disdain of the degradation she witnessed as a child in south carolina and the inequality she experienced as a woman to fuel her speeches as part of the american anti-slavery society.
sarah grimke penned letters on the equality of sexes in 1837, which would have served as an incredible platform for her same-year presidential run. "all I ask of our brethren, is that they will take their feet from off our necks, and permit us to stand upright on that ground which god designed us to occupy" is one hell of a campaign slogan.
"i know nothing of man’s rights, or woman’s rights; human rights are all that I recognize."