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Women's Activism in the Revolution of 1848/49: Louise Otto's Statement of Principles in the First Issue of the Women’s Newspaper (April 21, 1849)

In this statement of principles published in the first issue of Women's Newspaper [Frauen-Zeitung] (1849), Louise Otto encourages women to fight for a share in the ongoing revolution and to support their underprivileged sisters above all. She clearly distances herself, however, from "emancipated" feminists who had deprecated marriage and motherhood, thereby "degrading women into a caricature of men."

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An organ for higher female interests
Motto: I recruit female citizens for the realm of liberty.
Founded by Louise Otto, Volume 1, 1849, Großenhain/Saxony
No. 1 Saturday, April 21, 1849


“The history of all ages, and especially of today, teaches us that those who forget to think of themselves will be forgotten! I wrote this in May of 1848, when I was addressing primarily the men in Saxony who were concerned with the labor question – admonishing them to think of the poor women workers by speaking up for my sisters, so that they may not be forgotten! (i.e., “Address of a young woman” to the liberal Oberländer Ministry, D.H.).

It is this same principle derived from experience that prompts me to publish a women’s newspaper. In the midst of the great upheavals in which we all find ourselves, women will discover that they are being forgotten if they forget to think of themselves!

Well, then, my sisters, join with me so that we shall not be left behind, as everything around us and beside us is pushing forward and struggling. We want to demand and earn our share of the great world-redemption that must at long last come to all of humanity, of which we are one half.

We want to demand as our share:
The right to cultivate what is purely human in us with a free development of all our powers, and the right to come of age and be independent in the state.

We want to earn our share:
We want to exert our strength to advance the work of world-redemption, first by seeking to spread the great ideas of the future – liberty and humanity (two words which essentially mean the same) – in all circles open to us, in the wider ones of the world at large through the press, in the narrower ones of the family through example, instruction, and child-rearing.

But we also want to earn our share by not striving individually, each one for herself, but rather each for all,

and above all by looking after those who languish forgotten and neglected in poverty, misery, and ignorance.

Well, then, my sisters, help me in this work!
Help me to work for all the ideas I have mentioned, first of all through this newspaper! –

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