Possess the spirit of independence. The Americans do, and why should not you? Possess the spirit of men, bold and enterprising, fearless and undaunted. Sue for your rights and privileges. Know the reason that you cannot attain them. Weary them with your importunities. You can but die, if you make the attempt; we shall certainly die if you do not. The Americans have practised nothing but head-work these 200 years, and we have done their drudgery. And is it not high time for us to imitate their examples, and practise head-work too, and keep what we have got, and get what we can?
Maria Stewart (1803–1879), African American abolitionist and schoolteacher. Originally published in her pamphlet entitled Religion and the Pure Principles of Morality, the Sure Foundation on Which We Must Build (October 1831). As quoted in Black Women in Nineteenth-Century American Life, part 3, by Bert James Loewenberg and Ruth Bogin (1976).