The Fight for Women’s Suffrage

As early as 1776 during the drafting of the declaration of independence, the cry for inclusion of women began. Abigail Adams asked her husband John and his camaraderie to “remember the ladies”. However, it was not until much later in the 1920 that woman gained suffrage with the Nineteenth Amendment’s ratification. The history of women’s suffrage lasted a century following different factions that pushed for different goals all designed for a common purpose. The following part of the paper discusses the history, developments and trends of women’s fight for suffrage outlining specific examples as well as the most contributing factors towards the struggle.

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In the nineteenth century women were disregarded as they were bound to the local circle and denied power or rights. After the United States gained their freedom from Britain, it was proclaimed that “all men are created equal”. However, women were essentially ignored and denied their “certain unalienable rights”. It was not an easy fight; society did not believe women should be granted equality. Many believed that the women’s place should be at home. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the National Women’s Party (NWP), and the rise of patriotism during World War I played an important role in the fight for women’s rights and led them to the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920.

Social activist and founders of the women’s movement in the United States, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott met in Seneca Falls, New York along with 300 men and women “to protest the mistreatment of women in social, economic, political, and religious life”.

Stanton wrote The Declaration of Sentiments, a document in which she argued for equal rights between men and women with outright power, which was signed by 68 women and 32 men. In her “Declaration of Sentiments” Stanton announced.

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“He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice”. Stanton effectively started the fight that would last about 70 years. Women who existed before the twentieth century served for only one capacity: to be a slave and to work without scrutinizing the place that they had been constrained into. Clara Barton, a nurse and founder of the Red Cross stated after her experience during the Civil War “I could not carry musket nor lead men to battle; I could only serve my country by caring for, comforting and sustaining the soldiers; I broke the shackles and went to the fields”.

Though women had ended up being pretty much as capable as men, society was still excessively reasonable to allow women the same uniformity that men were allowed. Orestes Brownson, a Catholic representative believed that the women’s place was at home, “Her fitting circle is home, and her legitimate capacity is the forethought of the family unit, to deal with a family, to deal with kids, and go to their initial preparing”.

For a woman who asked for her place in society was to oppose all social norms. On the other hand, women in the Western states did question their place in society and proved men that they were able to work the outskirts the same way they did. The state of Wyoming was the first state to pass the bill granting woman the right to vote in 1869. According to an article written by Mary Schons, “Historian C. G. Coutant wrote, one man told me that.

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he thought it right and just to give women the vote. Another man said he thought it would be a good advertisement for the territory. Still another said that he voted to please someone else, and so on”. But not until World War I women’s equality was fully recognized by society by all other states.

In 1917 Alice Paul a founder of NWP and some of its member started to protest outside of the White House, resistance developed. America had recently sent troops to battle in World War I, and marching outside of the White House was seen as unpatriotic, as well as totally offensive to those battling abroad. Still, women stood, noiselessly holding signs expressing, “Keiser Wilson … 20,000,000 American women are not self-governed. Take the beam out of your own eye”, which resulted in the arrest of Alice Paul and Rose Winslow, a factory worker.

Miss Alice Paul, the then chair of the National Woman’s Party and Dr. Caroline Spencer from Colorado Springs were charged with attempted picketing of the Whitehouse. They were sentenced to six months in the workhouse. Others such as Baltimore’s Miss Gladys and Hinsdale’s Miss Gertrude Crocker were sentenced for thirty days each. The presiding Judge Mullowney further extended the sentence of four other suffragists by thirty days for picketing while out on bail.

In prison on November 5, both Paul and Winslow “went on a hunger strike” which led to their isolation, being forced-fed, and tortured. Rose Winslow recorded the time of their isolation, she wrote notes describing the horror they were going through in the prison that were “smuggled outside”.

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As news of the treatment these women were going through spread, those opposing the movement realized “that brutal bullying isn’t quite a statesmanlike method for settling a demand for justice at home”.

After the brutality these women faced the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920 was a must. The 19th amendment granted all American women the right to vote. The Seneca Falls Convention, the occurrence of World War I, and the nonstop disobedience to society’s beliefs, were some of the main events that led to this victory. Although women faced many humiliations the fight that took 70 years was worth it.

Work Cited

Brownson, Orestes Augustus, and Henry Francis Brownson. The Works of Orestes A. Brownson. New York: AMS, 1966. Print.

Hollihan, Kerrie Logan. Rightfully Ours: How Women Won the Vote: 21 Activities. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review, 2012. Print.

“Long Sentence Imposed on Local Suffrage Leader for Picketing; Sentence Three Others.” Evening Public Ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]), October 22, 1917. Accessed December 6, 2014. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045211/1917-10-22/ed-1/seq-1/.

“National Women’s History Museum.” Education & Resources. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.

Rynder, Constance. “Elizabeth Cady Stanton.” History Net Where History Comes Alive World US History Online RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.

Schons, Mary. “Woman Suffrage.” – National Geographic Education. N.p., 21 Jan. 2011. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.

“Seneca Falls Convention, 1848.” Seneca Falls Convention, 1848. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.

“Susan B. Anthony’s Fine. A Woman’s Indignation Meeting in Apollo Hall.” The Sun, June 21, 1873. Accessed December 6, 2014. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030272/1873-06- 21/ed-1/seq-1/.

Ramos 6″Starving for Women’s Suffrage: “I Am Not Strong after These Weeks”” Starving for Women’s Suffrage: “I Am Not Strong after These Weeks” N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.

Young, Charles Sumner. Clara Barton; a Centenary Tribute to the World’s Greatest Humanitarian. Boston: R.G. Badger, 1922. Print.

“Susan B. Anthony’s Fine. A Woman’s Indignation Meeting in Apollo Hall.” The Sun, June 21, 1873. Accessed December 6, 2014. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030272/1873-06- 21/ed-1/seq-1/.

“Seneca Falls Convention, 1848.” Seneca Falls Convention, 1848. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.

Rynder, Constance. “Elizabeth Cady Stanton.” History Net Where History Comes Alive World US History Online RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.

Young, Charles Sumner. Clara Barton; a Centenary Tribute to the World’s Greatest Humanitarian. Boston: R.G. Badger, 1922. Print.

Brownson, Orestes Augustus, and Henry Francis Brownson. The Works of Orestes A. Brownson. New York: AMS, 1966. Print.

Schons, Mary. “Woman Suffrage.” – National Geographic Education. N.p., 21 Jan. 2011. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.

Hollihan, Kerrie Logan. Rightfully Ours: How Women Won the Vote: 21 Activities. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review, 2012. Print.

“Long Sentence Imposed on Local Suffrage Leader for Picketing; Sentence Three Others.” Evening Public Ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]), October 22, 1917.

“National Women’s History Museum.” Education & Resources. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.

“Starving for Women’s Suffrage: “I Am Not Strong after These Weeks”” Starving for Women’s Suffrage: “I Am Not Strong after These Weeks” N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.

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