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Origins: In song 'Women's Rights' - what US law?

DigiTrad:
WOMAN'S RIGHTS


Related thread:
trad songs on women's rights movement (25)


GUEST,Grab 11 Mar 03 - 04:55 PM
katlaughing 11 Mar 03 - 06:51 PM
Joe Offer 11 Mar 03 - 08:05 PM
JohnInKansas 11 Mar 03 - 09:50 PM
Malcolm Douglas 11 Mar 03 - 11:54 PM
JohnInKansas 12 Mar 03 - 02:40 AM
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Subject: Origins: In song 'Women's Rights' - what US law?
From: GUEST,Grab
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 04:55 PM

In the song "Women's Rights", what is the "Silver Bill" the song's talking about? From context, this seems to be some law about women's right to vote. However I've searched the web for this, and the only "Silver Bill" references I can find are all about coinage.

My wife's planning on singing this in a few weeks, and it'd be interesting to know the background to it. According to the DT the song dates from 1942, by which time women were already voting! Or is this an older song written at the time of the suffragette movement which was only collected years later? And what's this law?

Suggestions on a postcard...? Or more usefully, posted below... :-)

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Origins: In song 'Women's Rights' - what US law?
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 06:51 PM

Surely the song is older than the date shown for gathering it? The only silver bill I can think of or find would be the The Sherman Silver Act which was late 1800's.

At the same time, women's suffrage began in 1848, so it seems this would argue for an earlier date for the song, too. One can imagine women being "het up" over their rights while their husbands fretted over whether they were about to lose their shirts over what were about to be worthless silver mines as in the case of Horace Tabor in Colorado.

Hope this helps,

kat


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Subject: RE: Origins: In song 'Women's Rights' - what US law?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 08:05 PM

Note that 1942 is when Randolph heard the song, not when it was written. Seems to me it must come from sometime before women got the vote in the U.S. with the 19th Amendment (1920).
In the UK, women over 30 were allowed to vote beginning 1918, women over 21 beginning 1928, and women over 18 beginning 1969 - but this apprears to be a US song. The "Silver Bill" was a very controversial topic in the late 19th century. William Jennings Bryan made his famous "Cross of Gold" speech to the Democratic convention in 1896, and got the presidential nomination. I still wonder why he lost to McKinley (twice), and to Taft. Bryan was a leading advocate of the free coinage of silver.
There seemed to be a strong element of machismo on both sides of the silver bill argument.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: In song 'Women's Rights' - what US law?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 09:50 PM

The song seems to be clearly about suffrage, but the title immediately suggested to me that it could have a relationship to some of the mining laws of about that era. There were a number of "strike" actions in which women sought the right to work in the mines - in some cases successfully.
The impetus for at least some of these actions was the total loss of income - and lack of any other means of family support - if a man was injured. In at least a couple of areas (according to my very vague recollection of something I read a long time ago) women were given the right to replace an injured husband - although in very few cases was a women allowed in the mines otherwise. To get that right, they had to be able to elect sympathetic representatives - and there was some resistance to allowing them to vote in the union (such as they were) elections.

I note that the lyric says "Silver Bell," not "Silver Bill"(?)

John


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Subject: RE: Origins: In song 'Women's Rights' - what US law?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:54 PM

That's an error of transcription, as I've pointed out.


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Subject: RE: Origins: In song 'Women's Rights' - what US law?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 02:40 AM

Haven't found anything on this specific subject, but if someone needs a hero as a subject for a new song, they might look at Women in Labor.

John


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