Books and Movies Reviews

Allowing Women to Vote

Can you believe at one time women were not allowed to vote? It wasn’t until the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920 that women obtained this right. Throughout the history of America’s government, the legislature has passed many different Amendments. One important amendment to women was the nineteenth. This Amendment deals with the issues of Women’s suffrage. There was much controversy of whether or not woman should have the right to vote. Many different key women such as Elizabeth Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B.

Anthony devoted most of their lives to help obtain the passage of women’s uffrage in America. Many people wonder what women’s suffrage is. Woman’s suffrage is the right of women to vote. The woman who tried to gain suffrage, or fight for it, were called suffragists. The people who supported them and the drive for this new movement were also known as suffragists. The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States says, “The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or be abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex. This basically means that all people of the United States are allowed to vote whether they be a man or a woman. Many people today do not realize how hard women had to fight to get this right of equality. About a century ago, this issue was a very emotional subject. Many people did not agree and arguments about this often ended up in a street fight. Woman won the right to vote only after a long and heated time. The fight for women’s suffrage began in the early colonial days. After the United States became a nation, the Constitution gave the states the right to decide who should and could vote.

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There were some women who objected to not being allowed to vote. One woman by the name of Margaret Brent emanded a “place and voice” in the Maryland assembly as early as 1647. She was of course denied the vote by the all male council. Another lady, Anne Hutchinson, in Massachusetts spoke up for woman’s rights. She was later banished from the colony because it was dominated by strict Puritans. In those days, only a few women dared to demand their right in the Colonial United States. The right to vote during the colonial days was limited to those who were property owners.

Most women could not vote during the colonial times. However, there were a few exceptions. Some colonies would let women vote if hey were widowas and owned property. But by 1830, all white men could vote, even if they weren’t property owners. As time went by more women started to realize that it was unfair for them not to have the right to vote. The real struggle for women’s rights came out from the anti-slavery movement. The women were very instrumental in the abolitionist movement. They sent thousands of anti-slavery petitions to Congress.

Women back then were not looked at as equal to men, even in the Nineteenth Century. Women were thought to be inferior to men, less capable, less intelligent, and weaker. As a result to the thought that woman were inferior, lawas and lifestyles reflected that attitude. Women had few legal rights, and the opportunities for education and jobs were almost nonexistent. However, some women did not believe that all women were inferior to men. They thought that if they were given the opportunity, most women would be able to accomplish a great deal and make important contributions to society.

It was the changing social conditions for women in the early 1 800’s combined with the idea of equality that led to the birth of the women of the suffrage movement. The feminists of the nineteenth century knew hat changes in attitudes and opinions were necessary in order for women to be equal with men. There were several women who played a key role in getting the Nineteenth Amendment passed. Two ladies that started the official movement was Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mott. They met each other at an anti-slavery convention in London. Lucretia and Elizabeth quickly became good friends.

When they got to the convention, they had to sit behind a curtain and weren’t allowed to speak a word. They began to realize that there was a need for a woman’s right movement, after attending the convention about slaves in 1840. Lucretia Mott and her husband were both agents on the underground railroad. Lucretia Mott had founded the first female antislavery society. Elizabeth had also fought slavery. Both ladies were early supporters of women’s rights. Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Stanton quickly agreed to work together for women’s rights in the United States.

They each brought with them strong talents. Mrs. Stanton was a gifted writer who wrote powerful letters and speeches. Mrs. Mott became the spiritual leader of the movement. Not to long after Mott and Stanton agreed to work together, they decided to old a convention of their own for women’s suffrage. In July, 1848, they organized the first women’s rights convention in Senaca Falls, New York. It was this convention that laid the foundation for women’s movement. The convention issued a “Declaration of Sentiments”, which was modeled after the Declaration of Independence.

Their declaration stated, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men and women are created equal. ” The declaration called for women’s right to equal opportunities for jobs, trades, and most importantly the right to vote. The convention had adopted a declaration that irmly stated the foundation of it’s ideals and beliefs. Elizabeth Stanton insisted that the right to vote was a fundamental right of all citizens of the United States. The convention was attended by abolitionist luminaries like Frederick Douglas. More than hundred delegates attended the convention.

Some of the men even believed in the women’s cause. Calling for women’s suffrage was the most radical demand made in Senaca Falls. Sixty- eight women and thirty-two men signed a statement supporting women’s rights. Women’s lack of suffrage did not prevent them from being politically active. They eeded economic and political power to gain their rights. As their campaign for woman’s suffrage continued, they had several other important ladies join the team. One of these ladies was Amelia Jenks Bloomer. She urged women to wear a special uniform of knee length skirts and ankle length pantaloons.

This costume later became the uniform of the women’s rights workers. It was soon known as ‘bloomers”. Amelia also introduced Elizabeth Stanton to another key person for the women’s suffrage movement. Her name was Susan B. Anthony. Miss Anthony became active in the fight for women’s rights when she s a school teacher, she discovered that a male school teacher was being paid forty dollars while she was paid only ten dollars. In 1 872, Anthony persuaded election inspectors in Rochester, New York to allow her to register and vote, along with twelve of her women friends.

She had just engaged in a civil disobedience on behalf of her caUse by seeking to vote in the presidential election of 1872. Her highly publicized trial caught the sympathy of many people for the women’s movement. She was arrested, fined, and eventually released. One issue that soon came up was the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment. The Amendment was to allow all black men the right to vote. Their argument was that the Amendment barred electoral discrimination an the grounds of sex as well as “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” was never taken seriously.

As a result, they wanted to extend the amendment to include the right to vote for women. However many people believed if voting for women was included, the amendment would not be ratified, and former slaves would lose the chance to win voting rights. Elizabeth Stanton opposed ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment without a companion amendment giving voting rights to women. Some abolitionists favored the immediate adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment, arguing that women would be enfranchised later. Newly freed black men won the right to vote in 1870 as a result of the Fifteenth Amendment.

The Fifteenth Amendment’s grant of suffrage for black men without including women, caused a major split in the women’s movement. At the time this issue was being debated in 1869, the women’s movement lost some unity but gained some organization. The group decided to split up into two separate groups. They decided to split because they each had different thoughts on how to pursue their goal. Elizabeth Stanton and Susan B. Anthony decided to work together and formed an organization known as the ” National Women Suffrage Association”. Their goal was to pass an amendment to the United States granting the vote to all, including women.

It’s membership was only open to women. Lucy Stone founded the “American Woman Suffrage Association”. Her goal for women was to gain the right to vote in states elections. It’s membership was open to both men and women. Her association was much more conservative than the “National Women’s Suffrage Association”. Each Association fought their own battles and problems. Women had to overcome strong opposition to get voting rights. Many of the people the women made enemies against were old-line politicians, newas papers, several churches, and some businesses.

The most powerful opponents of women suffrage were men. Many of them wanted to deny women the vote simply because they didn’t want to share their power. Many of the arguments against women’s suffrage were ludicrous. Much of the opposition came from certain business groups. One business group that didn’t agree with the women at all was the liquor industry. They feared that women would vote for regulation. As their campaign continued in the east, a miracle was brewing in the west. It was in Wyoming that men out numbered women six to one.

So to try to attract more women to live there, the territory decided to let women have voting rights. They passed the act in 1869. This was a big step for women, it was the first time they had received any recognition for legal suffrage. When Wyoming became a state in 1889, it kept it’s women’s suffrage lawas intact. It wasn’t long after Wyoming granted women the right to vote, that Colorado, Utah, and Idaho soon followed. Throughout the following years, as many as welve states had given their women suffrage by 1916. Than about thirty other states granted women some kind of suffrage.

In 1890, the two woman suffrage associations united and became the “National American Women Suffrage Association”. As the Twentieth Century started, the early suffrage leaders were getting old. The four famous suffrage leaders, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Stanton, Lucy Stone, and SUsan B. Anthony, never did see the Amendment passed. Mrs. Mott the oldest by far, died in 1880. Lucy Stone was next to die in 1893, with Elizabeth Stanton dying in 1902. Susan was the last living founder of the suffrage movement. By this time, many younger women had joined the Association and helped to take over.

At age eighty-five Anthony crossed the country to attend a suffrage convention in Oregon. Then the next year at age eighty six, she attended a convention in Baltimore, which would be her last. When she got there, she stood up and addressed the audience. She said, ” The fight must not cease. You must see it does not stop! ” The audience applauded her well delivered message. Not too long after, on her last birthday, President Theodore Roosevelt sent her a telegram offering his congratulations. She made a hasty reply saying, “When will men do something esides extend congratulations?

I would rather have President Roosevelt say one word to Congress in favor of amending the Constitution to give women the suffrage than to praise me endlessly. ” A couple weeks later Susan B. Anthony died. Now that the founders were gone, a new generation of women took over the movement. After the Eighteenth Amendment was passed concerning prohibition in 191 7, the women decided they needed to try to pass their issue. The women were now focused on trying to get the Congress to pass the Nineteenth Amendment. It had been known as the Anthony Amendment, for her hard devoted work to the cause.

Tired of the slow progress of the past the women became much more radical. This group of leaders devoted most of their efforts to marches, picketing, and other forms of radical protest. Some women even chained themselves to the White House fence. Many of the women were arrested for these new radical kinds of protests. One form of protest that became real popular throughout many jails was hunger strikes. The women would refuse to eat because their issue was not being taken into consideration. The “National American Women Suffrage Association” was completely focused ongetting their Anthony Amendment passed.

A women suffrage amendment was first introduced to Congress in 1878. Although it failed to pass, the women did not give up hope. They kept introducing the amendment to Congress for the next forty years. Even though they attempted several more times with the new President, Woodrow Wilson yet he was hard to convince. The women even pointed out that Germany gave their women suffrage in hopes of convincing him. The Nineteenth Amendment was proposed again on June 4, 1919. This proposed Amendment was at the peak ofa struggle that began in the 1840s.

In June of 191 9, the Nineteenth Amendment was finally ratified by Congress, uaranteeing women their suffrage. The Nineteenth Amendment was declared in force by the Secretary of State on August 26, 1920. By the time the Amendment was adopted, fifteen states and Alaska had given women full suffrage, fourteen states had given “presidential suffrage”, and two other states had given women the right to vote in primaries only. Once the Amendment was ratified, there was no attempt to delay it’s implementation. As a result, in 1920, women for the first time were able to take part in electing the president of the United States of America.

Because of the Nineteenth Amendment, there is reater judicial sensitivity to equal rights. Key women like Elizabeth Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony devoted most of their lives to help women obtain suffrage in the United States. It was people like them who played an important part in getting the Nineteeth Amendment passed by their devoted time to informing the people. Their active protests helped bring more awareness to women suffrage. Elizabeth Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony never saw the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment yet they are credited to bringing it about along with other women.

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