Asked in History of the United StatesBotany or Plant BiologyAbolitionism
Is there ten examples of the suffrage movement?
May 21, 2008 2:50AM
Suffrage Movement In the year 1863, Abraham Lincoln granted African Americans freedom. By 1870, black men are given the permission to vote in a public election. In 1893, New Zealand women were approved the right to vote, but still American women were refused this right. Was it to be their fate to spend their lives as homemakers, or being paid less for the jobs they did as well as men? No! Women protested, petitioned, and fought for their rights, for the ability to be treated the same as any man. Through the suffragist movement women won their right to vote, but it was not only the right to vote that women achieved. For generations the suffrage movement served as a reminder to women, an encouragement that led to the equality women have today. In the early 1800's women were considered inferior to men. By law women were considered to be their husbands' property. If a couple got a divorce, it was predetermined that the man would get all children and property, regardless of the circumstances. Whether it was a wife to a husband, or a daughter to her brother, the men always had control over the women. Women had many problems that they felt should be resolved by the government. It was not only in right to vote, but countless situations, that women felt were unfair to women. The fight for women's rights included all of the discrimination against women. Thousand's of women who came to the United States from Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia, found jobs at factories called sweatshops. Women who lived through the sweatshops described them as "crowded, smelly, dimly lit, cold in the winter, and stifling in the summer" (Sullivan 43). Factory women were only paid by what they produced, and were charged for any damaged or lost items. Women felt that they should be allowed more breaks, less hours, better pay, and safer working conditions. This was one of the many problems that women's right activists felt needed to be dealt with. Women and girls were not allowed to pursue the education they desired. Before the American Revolution it was rare that a girl even went to elementary school. Afterwards it became more common that a girl was sent to school. Parents wanted to prepare their daughters to teach the next generation how to be good citizens. Girls were allowed to go to elementary school. In theory they were allowed to attend high school, but in reality, because of money, or their home situation, few girls actually made it to high school. College was not an option. "Women's brains are too small" "They're not as smart as men." "They can't learn science and mathematics." That's what male experts said about women attending college (Kama, 19). By 1830 more schooling options were opened. Maria Stewart was a brave black woman who felt schools should treat girls and boys equally. She urged audiences and pressed schools to teach black girls who, by law, were not allowed a formal education. A woman named Emma Willard started a female seminary, called Troy, in New York. Emma felt that women were as capable of learning as men. No matter how much she was ridiculed, Emma endeavored to fulfill her goal of proving that women were as capable of learning as men. She knew that women, if given the opportunity, could study a college based curriculum. Lucretia Mott was a Quaker born in Nantucket. Since Quakers believed in educating women, Lucretia was sent to a Quaker school. In the early 1800's Lucretia Mott wanted to join the abolitionist movement. Anti slavery groups did not accept women as members. As a result of this, Lucretia started the first female anti slavery group in Philadelphia. Lucretia believed in women's rights. She was upset that she was paid less for a job that she did equally as well as any man. Lucretia felt it was time for a women's rights convention. There had never been a convention whose sole propose was to discuss women's rights but, in the summer of 1848, Lucretia held the first ever women's convention in Seneca Falls, New York. On the day of convention the roads outside the chapel, where the convention was to be held, were packed with a huge crowd of men and women. The convention discussed all the wrongs that had been done to women in the past. The majority of the convention agreed that women were created equal and should be allowed to speak in public and in church. It was left undecided whether or not women should have the right to vote. After the convention many newspapers responded harshly about the gathering, calling these women monsters. They wrote that women who were not happy in their positions would not make good wives. This attack on the Seneca Falls Convention caused women to refuse to attend future meetings for fear of having their names published in the paper. Although many women had been scared because of the media's reaction, Lucretia still felt that the convention had been an achievement. After all, even bad publicity was publicity. Many people read about the Seneca Falls convention and disagreed with the stand the newspapers had against women's rights. Now people who had never cared about women's rights began to regard this as an important problem. Just as Lucretia Mott said, "It will start women thinking, and men too", and she felt "that is the fist step" (Kamma 36) . In the year 1861 the Civil War broke out in America. Just like black slaves, women felt that they had little rights. Many abolitionists were not only against slavery, but also against discrimination of women. Sarah and Angelina Grimke were two famous abolitionists, who were also pro-women's rights. They urged women "not to obey the limits, commonly set by society, on what they could achieve" (Kamma 32) . From the start of the Civil War slavery was always linked to women's rights. It was during the Civil War that many women got to prove their potential. Because of the shortage of men, women were employed in both the south and the north. Women trained as nurses and some even ran army hospitals. They provided clothing and medicine, an essential necessity in war. When a husband went away for battle, many women had to do "men's jobs" in order to support their families. In the year 1863, Abraham Lincon issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Northern slaves had achieved their goal; they were no longer forced to work for other men. Women wondered if they could also solve their problem, the felt that if the African American men could do it, they could too. With their newfound hope women began to design a way to achieve their goal. A goal that would require, not a war, but hard work and persistence. Inspired by the freedom of the African Americans, women began to work on their cause. The first suffragist groups were formed, and people began to chose their sides, pro-suffrage or against. In the year 1860, some of the women's hard work began to pay off. Some of the unfair marriage laws where changed, first in New York, and then in other states. Laws concerning women's property and wages were changed. Women were given more control over their possessions and their children. This success gave hope to women that someday they could change all the laws that discriminated against women. In the south women were treated very different then women in the north. They ran their own ranches, and farms, and some even became mayors and judges. There were very few women in the south and men hoped that if women were allowed to vote in the south many women settlers would bring their family to live there. In 1869, a women named Esther Morris moved to Wyoming. She invited politicians over to her house to discuss the matter of women's rights. Her argument was very persuading to the male politicians. Unlike women, men in the south were very drunk and rowdy at the voting polls. If women could vote they would vote for what was best for their families. Esther Morris was able to convince a big enough percentage of men to be able to give women the right to vote. That year when men went to vote women were allowed to join. Contrary to the ideas of many, there was no trouble at the polls that year. Women were treated respectfully when it came their time to vote. Although women's voting rights went well in the south, northern politicians were still not convinced. They felt that it was very different for women living in the north than for those living in the south. They felt that women in the north were more delicate, they couldn't Handle things the way women in the north did. Besides they had already gotten more rights over their possessions, wasn't that enough? Even though northern women had won part of the battle, America was still far from achieving nationwide women's equality rights. Women faced many day-to-day difficulties. Many were sick of having to wear tight corsets and long heavy skirts. Amelia Bloomer decided to print a pattern in the newspaper for a new type of pants to be worn by women. When women saw Amelia's "Bloomer" pattern in the newspaper, hundreds of them sent letters to Amelia requesting sewing instructions. When women began to wear this new style, a wave of hostility, similar to that towards the women of Seneca Falls, began to be published by the media. Mothers did not want their daughters to wear this unaccepted style. Women quickly gave up this style due to the aggression and embarrassment shown to those who chose to wear this new controversial style. It took a number of years before bloomer's resurfaced as acceptable. In 1870, African American men are approved the right to vote. Many women were upset about this. They felt that now was the chance for the amendment to be changed to allow voting for blacks and women, but instead only black men were included in the amendment. The politicians, who could have been able to help women obtain this right, ignored women because they were unable to vote. Many women feared that if they didn't get the right to vote now, it might take a long time before they had another chance (Kamma 52). Because the newspapers had a strong influence on the way people viewed different issues, people who where against the suffrage movement began to publish articles and cartoons scorning suffragist ideas. These cartoons usually showed women shoving her responsibilities onto her husband so that she could go out and vote. They were usually accompanied with a statement like "leave the voting for the men" or "women in their rightful place". Although these cartoons were silly, they gave men the impression that women's rights were a humorous matter. During women's fight for their rights, they often marched, picketed, and went on hunger strikes. They were repeatedly arrested and sent to jail for their exploits. The more women joined the movement and began to fight, the more common it became for a woman to be put into jail. In jail women were not treated right. One especially brutal occasion occurred on November 15, 1917. A couple of cruel night guards decided to show the women who was boss. One angry prison guard threw a suffragist woman across a cell. The woman smashed her head on the opposite wall and was knocked unconscious. Another woman, seeing her unconscious cellmate, presumed her dead and had a heart attack. This night became known as the "Night of Terror" after numerous women were shoved, knocked down, and thrown across cells. After the Night of Terror a group of jailed women decided to go on a hunger strike. These women refused to eat even when the guards tried to brutally force tubes of food down their throats. Alice Paul was a suffragist woman who was put into jail for leading a protest. While in jail Alice caused trouble to the authorities by rallying up the women to protest and strike. In an attempt to get rid of problematic Alice Paul the prison tried to declare her mentally insane. The psychiatrist who was called in to examined her said that Alice was not crazy, just brave. The more people heard about how badly women were treated in jail, the more people began to involve themselves with the suffragist cause. People felt guilty and sympathetic for what happened to these women. Even people who did not agree with women's right group's stand on voting rights, joined any ways. They agreed that no women, no matter What she believed in, should be treated this way. Later, when Alice was released from jail, she arranged a march of women in Washington D.C. Alice wanted congress to change the constitution so that all women could vote. A gang of outraged men brutally attacked the women marchers. The police officers did not offer any protection to these women. By the time a group of male student formed a circle around them shielding them from their attackers, hundreds of women had been injured. People where stunned by how these women were being treated. Many newspapers questioned how come the police had not come to the aid of these women. Out of sympathy many people joined the women's rights movement and the amount of people interested in the suffragist women began to grow tremendously. News of the suffragist movement was spreading fast and many more people began to hear about it. The government could no longer ignore these women. A woman named Jeannette Rankin suggested a suffrage amendment to the House of Representatives. In order for the amendment to be passed there had to be a two-thirds majority requirement. A voting took place On January 10, 1918. The outcome of the vote was very close, but the final vote was 274 in favor, and 136 opposed to the amendment. That vote was enough to fill the requirements. For another year and a half the amendment was submitted to various states for the ratification process. There was thirty-five state requirement in order to pass the amendment. There were thirty-four pro-suffrage states and Tennessee was left undecided. On August 26, 1920 Tennessee became a pro-suffrage state, so that year the nineteenth amendment was added to the U.S constitution. It had been many years of hard work, but that year, for the first time in history, women all around the country were allowed to vote. Seventy-two years had passed since the Seneca Falls convention, only one woman was still alive from that time. Their goal reached, many women took this day to celebrate the people who had brought about this tremendous achievement. Now that the nineteenth amendment had been past, it became the goal of many women's parties to pass another amendment that would form equality for all women. The Equal Rights Amendment is a right that women still fight for today. With the nineteenth amendment came many other accomplishments. Women began to change the way they felt about themselves, in general women became more confident about the paths they chose to peruse. Doctors, firefighters, lawyers, these are some of the jobs that used to be exclusively for men. With the same persistence women used to achieve women suffrage, women were able to prove that they were capable of handling much more than people thought. The women's rights movement brought about a great change in the way Americans feel about equality for women. Although the greater part of Americans now agrees with the idea of women having equal opportunities as men, there are still many problems in the American government that need to be changed. A majority of the people in the three legislative branches are still white, middle aged men, this affects the way laws are passed in the states. This and many other problems are the focus of many women activists concern. The suffrage movement changed the way all women are treated today. Because women could now vote many women were elected for political offices. The majority of these women-politicians support equal pay for equal work, and enforcing existing laws on equal education and access to jobs. Women in politics is a great benefit on behalf of the women's rights activists. No more will women be beaten for expressing there opposition to the law, while the male politicians pretend that they do not exist. As a result of the hard working suffragettes, women can now safely fight for what they believe in. Bibliography Baker, Jean H. Sisters: the Lives of America's Suffragists. Union Square West, New York: Hill and Wang; A division of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2005. Helmer, Diana Star. Women Suffragists. New York, NY: Fact on File Press, 1998. Kamma, Anne. If You Lived When Women Won Their Rights. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc., 2008. Stevens, Doris. Jailed For Freedom. Ed. Carol O'Hare. Troutdale, OR: New Sage Press, 1995. Wheeler, Spruill., et al. One Woman, One Vote: Rediscovering the Women Suffrage Movement. Troutdale, OR: New Sage Press, 1995.