Zitate von Frances Wright

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Frances Wright

Geburtstag: 6. September 1795
Todesdatum: 13. Dezember 1852

Frances Wright, auch Fanny Wright genannt , war eine zu ihrer Zeit bekannte Sozialreformerin und eine der frühsten und unerschrockensten Frauenrechtlerinnen. Die glänzende Rednerin und Journalistin wuchs in Großbritannien auf, verbrachte aber ihr Erwachsenenleben überwiegend in den USA, wo sie unter anderem die Sklaverei bekämpfte. Wikipedia

Zitate Frances Wright

„It is not, happily, within our power thus to work destruction in the universal womb of things; still within the sphere of human influence — which extends to the uttermost limit of our world's circumambient atmosphere — we can, and do, modify all nature's kingdom; bending towards good or ill, health or disease, harmony or discord, each part, each unit of the universal plan.“

—  Frances Wright

"An Exposition of the Mission of England: Addressed to the Peoples of Europe" in The Reasoner, Vol. 3, No. 54 (1847), p. 321
Kontext: It is not, happily, within our power thus to work destruction in the universal womb of things; still within the sphere of human influence — which extends to the uttermost limit of our world's circumambient atmosphere — we can, and do, modify all nature's kingdom; bending towards good or ill, health or disease, harmony or discord, each part, each unit of the universal plan. Upon our just or erroneous comprehension then, of the laws of nature, must depend our adaptation of art for the right improvement or for the ignorant deterioration of Nature's works. And moreover, upon our just or erroneous interpretation of these in the first division of truth — the physical — will depend our interpretation of them in the intellectual and in the moral; from all which it follows, that our system of human economy will present, even as it has ever presented, a practical exhibition of that of the universe. There is more consistency in the human mind, as in the course of events, than is supposed. In both, the first link in the chain decides the last. Man hath ever made a cosmogony in keeping with his views in physics; a scheme of government in keeping with his cosmogony; a theory of ethics in keeping with his government, and a code of law and theology in keeping with his ethics. Every perception of the human mind modifies human practice. Science is but the theory of art.

„An opinion, right or wrong, can never constitute a moral offense, nor be in itself a moral obligation.“

—  Frances Wright

A Few Days in Athens (1822) Vol. II
Kontext: An opinion, right or wrong, can never constitute a moral offense, nor be in itself a moral obligation. It may be mistaken; it may involve an absurdity, or a contradiction. It is a truth; or it is an error: it can never be a crime or a virtue.

„To give liberty to a slave before he understands its value is, perhaps, rather to impose a penalty than to bestow a blessing; but it is not clear to me that the southern planters are duly exerting themselves to prepare the way for that change in the condition of their black populations which they profess to think not only desirable but inevitable.“

—  Frances Wright

Letter XXVIII (April 1820) Views of Society and Manners in America (1821)
Kontext: The Virginians are said to pride themselves upon the peculiar tenderness with which they visit the sceptre of authority on their African vassals. As all those acquainted with the character of the Virginia planters, whether American or foreigners, appear to concur in bearing testimony of their humanity, it is probable that they are entitled to the praise which they claim. But in their position, justice should be held superior to humanity; to break the chains would be more generous than to gild them; and whether we consider the interests of the master or the slave, decidedly more useful. To give liberty to a slave before he understands its value is, perhaps, rather to impose a penalty than to bestow a blessing; but it is not clear to me that the southern planters are duly exerting themselves to prepare the way for that change in the condition of their black populations which they profess to think not only desirable but inevitable.

„I dare say you marvel sometimes at my independent way of walking through the world just as if nature had made me of your sex instead of poor Eve's.“

—  Frances Wright

Letter to Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (11 February 1822) as quoted in Lafayette in Two Worlds (1996), by Lloyd Kramer, p. 158
Kontext: I dare say you marvel sometimes at my independent way of walking through the world just as if nature had made me of your sex instead of poor Eve's. Trust me, my beloved friend, the mind has no sex but what habit and education give it, and I who was thrown in infancy upon the world like a wreck upon the waters have learned, as well to struggle with the elements as any male child of Adam.

„Is there a thought can fill the human mind
More pure, more vast, more generous, more refined
Than that which guides the enlightened patriot's toll“

—  Frances Wright

Independence Day speech (1828)
Kontext: Is there a thought can fill the human mind
More pure, more vast, more generous, more refined
Than that which guides the enlightened patriot's toll:
Not he, whose view is bounded by his soil;
Not he, whose narrow heart can only shrine
The land — the people that he calleth mine;
Not he, who to set up that land on high,
Will make whole nations bleed, whole nations die;
Not he, who, calling that land's rights his pride
Trampleth the rights of all the earth beside;
No: — He it is, the just, the generous soul!
Who owneth brotherhood with either pole,
Stretches from realm to realm his spacious mind,
And guards the weal of all the human kind,
Holds freedom's banner o'er the earth unfurl'd
And stands the guardian patriot of a world!

„Liberty means, not the mere voting at elections, but the free and fearless exercise of the mental faculties, and that self-possession which springs out of well-reasoned opinions and consistent practice.“

—  Frances Wright

Independence Day speech (1828)
Kontext: Liberty means, not the mere voting at elections, but the free and fearless exercise of the mental faculties, and that self-possession which springs out of well-reasoned opinions and consistent practice. It is for them to honour principles rather than men — to commemorate events rather than days; when they rejoice, to know for what they rejoice, and to rejoice only for what has brought, and what brings, peace and happiness to men. The event we commemorate this day has procured much of both, and shall procure, in the onward course of human improvement, more than we can now conceive of. For this — for the good obtained, and yet in store for our race — let us rejoice! But let us rejoice as men, not as children — as human beings, rather than as Americans — as reasoning beings, not as ignorants. So shall we rejoice to good purpose and in good feeling; so shall we improve the victory once on this day achieved, until all mankind hold with us the jubilee of independence.

„Let them not imagine that they know aught of the delights which intercourse with the other sex can give, until they have felt the sympathy of mind with mind, and heart with heart; until they bring into that intercourse every affection, every talent, every confidence, every refinement, every respect. Until power is annihilated on one side, fear and obedience on the other, and both restored to the birthright — equality. Let none think that affection can reign without it; or friendship or esteem. Jealousies, envyings, suspicions, reserves, deceptions — these are the fruits of inequality.“

—  Frances Wright

Lecture II: Of Free Inquiry, considered as a Means for obtaining Just Knowledge
A Course of Popular Lectures (1829)
Kontext: How many, how omnipotent are the interests which engage men to break the mental chains of women! How many, how dear are the interests which engage them to exalt rather than lower their condition, to multiply their solid acquirements, to respect their liberties, to make them their equals, to wish them even their superiors! Let them inquire into these things. Let them examine the relation in which the two sexes stand, and ever must stand, to each other. Let them perceive that, mutually dependent, they must ever be giving and receiving, or they must be losing — receiving or losing in knowledge, in virtue, in enjoyment. Let them perceive how immense the loss, or how immense the gain. Let them not imagine that they know aught of the delights which intercourse with the other sex can give, until they have felt the sympathy of mind with mind, and heart with heart; until they bring into that intercourse every affection, every talent, every confidence, every refinement, every respect. Until power is annihilated on one side, fear and obedience on the other, and both restored to the birthright — equality. Let none think that affection can reign without it; or friendship or esteem. Jealousies, envyings, suspicions, reserves, deceptions — these are the fruits of inequality.

„If such a patriotism as we have last considered should seem likely to obtain in any country, it should be certainly in this. In this, which is truly the home of all nations, and in the veins of whose citizens flows the blood of every people on the globe. Patriotism, in the exclusive meaning, is surely not made for America. Mischievous every where, it were here both mischievous and absurd. The very origin of the people is opposed to it.“

—  Frances Wright

Independence Day speech (1828)
Kontext: If such a patriotism as we have last considered should seem likely to obtain in any country, it should be certainly in this. In this, which is truly the home of all nations, and in the veins of whose citizens flows the blood of every people on the globe. Patriotism, in the exclusive meaning, is surely not made for America. Mischievous every where, it were here both mischievous and absurd. The very origin of the people is opposed to it. The institutions, in their principle, militate against it. The day we are celebrating protests against it. It is for Americans, more especially to nourish a nobler sentiment; one more consistent with their origin, and more conducive to their future improvement. It is for them more especially to know why they love their country, not because it is their country, but because it is the palladium of human liberty — the favoured scene of human improvement. It is for them more especially, to know why they honour their institutions, and feel that they honour them because they are based on just principles. It is for them, more especially, to examine their institutions, because they have the means of improving them; to examine their laws, because at will they can alter them.

„Since the political struggles of France, Italy, Spain, and Greece, the word patriotism has been employed, throughout continental Europe, to express a love of the public good; a preference for the interests of the many to those of the few; a desire for the emancipation of the human race from the thrall of despotism, religious and of the human race from the thrall of despotism, religious and civil; in short, patriotism there is used rather to express the interest felt in the human race in general, than that felt for any country, or inhabitants of a country, in particular. And patriot, in like manner, is employed to signify a lover of human liberty and human improvement, rather than a mere lover of the country in which he lives, or the tribe to which he belongs. Used in this sense, patriotism is a virtue, and a patriot a virtuous man.“

—  Frances Wright

Independence Day speech (1828)
Kontext: In continental Europe, of late years, the words patriotism and patriot have been used in a more enlarged sense than it is usual here to attribute to them, or than is attached to them in Great Britain. Since the political struggles of France, Italy, Spain, and Greece, the word patriotism has been employed, throughout continental Europe, to express a love of the public good; a preference for the interests of the many to those of the few; a desire for the emancipation of the human race from the thrall of despotism, religious and of the human race from the thrall of despotism, religious and civil; in short, patriotism there is used rather to express the interest felt in the human race in general, than that felt for any country, or inhabitants of a country, in particular. And patriot, in like manner, is employed to signify a lover of human liberty and human improvement, rather than a mere lover of the country in which he lives, or the tribe to which he belongs. Used in this sense, patriotism is a virtue, and a patriot a virtuous man. With such an interpretation, a patriot is a useful member of society, capable of enlarging all minds, and bettering all hearts with which he comes in contact; a useful member of the human family, capable of establishing fundamental principles, and of merging his own interests, those of his associates, and those of his nation, in the interests of the human race. Laurels and statues are vain things, and mischievous as they are childish; but, could we imagine them of use, on such a patriot alone could they be with any reason bestowed.

„Americans no longer argue on the propriety of making all men soldiers, in order that their nation may be an object of terror to the rest of the world. They understand that the happiness of a people is the only rational object of a government, and the only object for which a people, free to choose, can have a government at all.“

—  Frances Wright

Independence Day speech (1828)
Kontext: Americans no longer argue on the propriety of making all men soldiers, in order that their nation may be an object of terror to the rest of the world. They understand that the happiness of a people is the only rational object of a government, and the only object for which a people, free to choose, can have a government at all. They have, farther, almost excluded war as a profession, and reduced it from a system of robbery to one of simple defence. In so doing, they ought also to have laid aside all show of military parade, and all ideas of military glory. If they have not done so, it is that their reform in this matter is yet imperfect, and their ideas respecting it are confused.

„Where men then are free to consult experience they will correct their practice, and make changes for the better.“

—  Frances Wright

Independence Day speech (1828)
Kontext: Where men then are free to consult experience they will correct their practice, and make changes for the better. It follows, therefore, that the more free men are, the more changes they will make. In the beginning, possibly, for the worse; but most certainly in time for the better; until their knowledge enlarging by observation, and their judgment strengthening by exercise, they will find themselves in the straight, broad, fair road of improvement. Out of change, therefore, springs improvement; and the people who shall have imagined a peaceable mode of changing their institutions, hold a surety for their melioration. This surety is worth all other excellences. Better were the prospects of a people under the influence of the worst government who should hold the power of changing it, that those of a people under the best who should hold no such power. Here, then is the great beauty of American government.

„How wonderful has been the march of the human mind in these last thirty years … so may it be till the last link of the chains of slavery is broken and the banner of freedom waves over the whole earth!“

—  Frances Wright

<!-- http://www.vialibri.net/552display_i/year_1820_600_491675.html DEAD LINK as of 2014·09·06 --> Letter to William James MacNeven (1820); quoted in "The Red Harlot of Liberty: The Rise and Fall of Frances Wright" by Kimberly Nichols in Newtopia Magazine (15 May 2013) http://newtopiamagazine.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/the-red-harlot-of-liberty-the-rise-and-fall-of-frances-wright/
Kontext: Another revolution! Naples free and all of Italy in insurrection! How wonderful has been the march of the human mind in these last thirty years … so may it be till the last link of the chains of slavery is broken and the banner of freedom waves over the whole earth!

„No: — He it is, the just, the generous soul!
Who owneth brotherhood with either pole,
Stretches from realm to realm his spacious mind,
And guards the weal of all the human kind,
Holds freedom's banner o'er the earth unfurl'd
And stands the guardian patriot of a world!“

—  Frances Wright

Independence Day speech (1828)
Kontext: Is there a thought can fill the human mind
More pure, more vast, more generous, more refined
Than that which guides the enlightened patriot's toll:
Not he, whose view is bounded by his soil;
Not he, whose narrow heart can only shrine
The land — the people that he calleth mine;
Not he, who to set up that land on high,
Will make whole nations bleed, whole nations die;
Not he, who, calling that land's rights his pride
Trampleth the rights of all the earth beside;
No: — He it is, the just, the generous soul!
Who owneth brotherhood with either pole,
Stretches from realm to realm his spacious mind,
And guards the weal of all the human kind,
Holds freedom's banner o'er the earth unfurl'd
And stands the guardian patriot of a world!

„Man hath ever made a cosmogony in keeping with his views in physics; a scheme of government in keeping with his cosmogony; a theory of ethics in keeping with his government, and a code of law and theology in keeping with his ethics. Every perception of the human mind modifies human practice. Science is but the theory of art.“

—  Frances Wright

"An Exposition of the Mission of England: Addressed to the Peoples of Europe" in The Reasoner, Vol. 3, No. 54 (1847), p. 321
Kontext: It is not, happily, within our power thus to work destruction in the universal womb of things; still within the sphere of human influence — which extends to the uttermost limit of our world's circumambient atmosphere — we can, and do, modify all nature's kingdom; bending towards good or ill, health or disease, harmony or discord, each part, each unit of the universal plan. Upon our just or erroneous comprehension then, of the laws of nature, must depend our adaptation of art for the right improvement or for the ignorant deterioration of Nature's works. And moreover, upon our just or erroneous interpretation of these in the first division of truth — the physical — will depend our interpretation of them in the intellectual and in the moral; from all which it follows, that our system of human economy will present, even as it has ever presented, a practical exhibition of that of the universe. There is more consistency in the human mind, as in the course of events, than is supposed. In both, the first link in the chain decides the last. Man hath ever made a cosmogony in keeping with his views in physics; a scheme of government in keeping with his cosmogony; a theory of ethics in keeping with his government, and a code of law and theology in keeping with his ethics. Every perception of the human mind modifies human practice. Science is but the theory of art.

„Is not an hereditary nobility inconsistent with liberty? I will ask more, is it not inconsistent with public virtue?“

—  Frances Wright

Letter (1820), quoted in "The Red Harlot of Liberty: The Rise and Fall of Frances Wright" by Kimberly Nichols in Newtopia Magazine (15 May 2013)
Kontext: Is not an hereditary nobility inconsistent with liberty? I will ask more, is it not inconsistent with public virtue? Not only does it lodge authority with the unskillful but with those whose interest it is to abuse it. It does more – it degrades the minds of men, it corrupts their hearts and debases their understanding, leading them to attach honor and to yield respect to something else than talent and virtue.

„However novel it may appear, I shall venture the assertion that until women assume the place in society which good sense and good feeling alike assign to them, human improvement must advance but feebly.“

—  Frances Wright

Lecture II: Of Free Inquiry, considered as a Means for obtaining Just Knowledge
A Course of Popular Lectures (1829)
Kontext: However novel it may appear, I shall venture the assertion that until women assume the place in society which good sense and good feeling alike assign to them, human improvement must advance but feebly. It is in vain that we would circumscribe the power of one half of our race, and that half by far the most important and influential. If they exert it not for good they will for evil, if they advance not knowledge they will perpetuate ignorance. Let women stand where they may in the scale of improvement, their position decides that of the race.

„But your spiritual teachers caution you against enquiry — tell you not to read certain books; not to listen to certain people; to beware of profane learning; to submit your reason, and to receive their doctrines for truths. Such advice renders them suspicious counsellors.“

—  Frances Wright

Lecture III: Of the more Important Divisions and Essential Parts of Knowledge
A Course of Popular Lectures (1829)
Kontext: I must intreat your patience — your gentle hearing. I am not going to question your opinions. I am not going to meddle with your belief. I am not going to dictate to you mine. All that I say is, examine; enquire. Look into the nature of things. Search out the ground of your opinions, the for and the against. Know why you believe, understand what you believe, and possess a reason for the faith that is in you…
But your spiritual teachers caution you against enquiry — tell you not to read certain books; not to listen to certain people; to beware of profane learning; to submit your reason, and to receive their doctrines for truths. Such advice renders them suspicious counsellors. By their own creed, you hold your reason from their God. Go! ask them why he gave it.

„The Virginians are said to pride themselves upon the peculiar tenderness with which they visit the sceptre of authority on their African vassals.“

—  Frances Wright

Letter XXVIII (April 1820) Views of Society and Manners in America (1821)
Kontext: The Virginians are said to pride themselves upon the peculiar tenderness with which they visit the sceptre of authority on their African vassals. As all those acquainted with the character of the Virginia planters, whether American or foreigners, appear to concur in bearing testimony of their humanity, it is probable that they are entitled to the praise which they claim. But in their position, justice should be held superior to humanity; to break the chains would be more generous than to gild them; and whether we consider the interests of the master or the slave, decidedly more useful. To give liberty to a slave before he understands its value is, perhaps, rather to impose a penalty than to bestow a blessing; but it is not clear to me that the southern planters are duly exerting themselves to prepare the way for that change in the condition of their black populations which they profess to think not only desirable but inevitable.

„We detect … throughout the whole of things — in the operations of nature, of human society, and in those of our own internal percipient and sentient soul — two master energies.“

—  Frances Wright

"An Exposition of the Mission of England: Addressed to the Peoples of Europe" in The Reasoner, Vol. 3, No. 54 (1847), p. 321
Kontext: We detect … throughout the whole of things — in the operations of nature, of human society, and in those of our own internal percipient and sentient soul — two master energies. These — while preserving equal forces and acting in conjunction — keep all existences in life, all bodies in place; impart and preserve to each and all their appropriate sphere of action or of movement; and tend, throughout the world of matter, as of mind — to order, harmony, and beauty. Acting in disjunction — i. e. singly, or in opposition — these two principles are transformed into agents of disorder and death; producing variously, violence, inertia, confusion, stagnation, convulsion, decomposition, dissolution. To render this facile of apprehension by every ordinarily informed and reflecting understanding, let us, for a moment, conceive the material universe itself — in which we move and feel and think and have our being, submitted to one only of those universal energies which as considered in disjunction — we call attractive and repellant. Conceive the material universe, I say, submitted to one only of these; it matters not which, for select either, the result must be the same — stagnation, darkness, immovability, universal death.

„How many, how omnipotent are the interests which engage men to break the mental chains of women!“

—  Frances Wright

Lecture II: Of Free Inquiry, considered as a Means for obtaining Just Knowledge
A Course of Popular Lectures (1829)
Kontext: How many, how omnipotent are the interests which engage men to break the mental chains of women! How many, how dear are the interests which engage them to exalt rather than lower their condition, to multiply their solid acquirements, to respect their liberties, to make them their equals, to wish them even their superiors! Let them inquire into these things. Let them examine the relation in which the two sexes stand, and ever must stand, to each other. Let them perceive that, mutually dependent, they must ever be giving and receiving, or they must be losing — receiving or losing in knowledge, in virtue, in enjoyment. Let them perceive how immense the loss, or how immense the gain. Let them not imagine that they know aught of the delights which intercourse with the other sex can give, until they have felt the sympathy of mind with mind, and heart with heart; until they bring into that intercourse every affection, every talent, every confidence, every refinement, every respect. Until power is annihilated on one side, fear and obedience on the other, and both restored to the birthright — equality. Let none think that affection can reign without it; or friendship or esteem. Jealousies, envyings, suspicions, reserves, deceptions — these are the fruits of inequality.

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