Women in History: The Unstoppable Isabella Beecher Hooker
A remarkable woman who doesn't take “no” for an answer, Isabella Beecher Hooker drafted a bill that gave married women property rights after taking some time weighing out a woman’s part in political arenas. Although the bill was always rejected, Isabella presented it annually until it finally passed by 1877.
Born in Connecticut in 1822, Isabelle, a daughter of a reverend, spent most of her youth watching his father from the sidelines while he lead many congregations scattered throughout New England and the Midwest. Her mother passed away during the same year that the all-female school she went to closed due to the 1837 Market Crash.
This pinnacle of events that shaped her life when she was young left a lasting mark. As she was one of the earliest women suffragists, Hooker began traveling to give a speech before crowds of people, who mostly are women. She was inspired by the conviction that the role of women in politics was important to sustain a high moral code. She believed that all women were endowed with motherly wisdom that would be put to good use in the government.
When her activism as a suffragist began, she recognized that focus was on voting alone. This was what inspired her to think more broadly on the issue of voting. For Isabella, woman should not only be able to vote, but laws should also be enacted to protect the rights of woman. The 1870s were devoted to these issues. Hooker together with her colleagues were permitted to convene with Congress. Congress declined despite a sound argument simply because they did not want to change any election laws.
A relentless girl she was, Isabella Hooker continued to campaign focusing on a larger sphere. It took many more decades for women’s voting rights in the United States to pass. Hooker, with much determination, made the ground fertile for the big change to come: with the passage of the Bill she then drafted to grant married woman property rights. A woman’s role in society as a property owner was tied to the economy in ways that are new and empowering.