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Tuell 1

Ivanna Tuell

Ms. Manley

History 110

14 May 2019

Research Essay: Women’s Suffrage

Women have the same rights as men, but are still untreated fairly. Women are still

fighting for equality just as they did in 1848. It all started in Seneca Falls, New York in the year

of 1848. The convention was to promote Women’s Suffrage. According to the “History, Art and

Archives;” they state that the Women’s Suffrage movement was to “secure the franchise for

women.”1

These five activists women named: Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady

Stanton, Frances Willard, and Alice Paul all worked together as well as many other women

fighting for the 19th Amendment for Women’s Rights. Some of the things “w​omen reformers

would do is: address social and institutional barriers that limited women’s rights, including

family responsibilities, a lack of educational and economic opportunities, and the absence of a

voice in political debates.”2 As the debate of Women’s Rights continued on during the suffrage

movement these women spoke their minds clearly what they felt was right to be equal to men.

They went through many obstacles of people that were for it and against it. About the 1920’s is

when the women were successfully able to pass the 19th amendment for women’s rights.

Nowadays women are able to have the same rights as men, but are still treated unequal in the

sense of unequal pay. An example of this would be a woman and a man doing the same job but

1
​History,Art and Archives, ​The Women’s Rights Movement, 1848-1920s.​
2
History, Art and Archives, ​The Women’s Rights Movement, 1848-1920s​.
then the man receives a higher pay than the woman. These Brave, outspoken women wanted a

change in society for the equality of voting rights. These women faced obstacles along the way

to fight for what they believed in and that led to a revolution of the Women’s Suffrage

Movement. ​When researching the topic of Women’s Suffrage, what will be discussed is why

there was the Women’s suffrage movement, who were the women that were involved, and what

were the obstacles that occurred during the movement as well.

During researching process, the Women’s suffrage movement started because of “women

having no voice or say in what they thought.” Women would also “only acquire property,

livestock, and other items if the husband was deceased making her a widow.”3 Women like the

people in the suffragist movement wanted to be able to speak their own opinion and vote without

having some white man say “you’re a woman, you cannot have an opinion.” Many women later

came to stand up for what they wanted which was women’s rights.

The first meeting was held in “Seneca Falls, New York in 1848 after one of the

organizers read the Declaration of Independence outloud: these women were able to adopt the

historical document with a few slight changes for equality of both sexes.”4 A primary source

called the ​Declaration of sentiments and Resolutions, 1848 Seneca Falls Convention s​ tates along

the lines that these “women wanted to leave the British Empire breaking from old traditions

because they wanted to be an independent nation.”5 Later on, one of the organizers of the

Women’s Suffrage Movement made a speech called, ​The Great Secession Speech of Victoria C.

Woodhull s​ he basically told the people that they would “urge women to secede from the United

3
Hill, ​Defining Moments Women’s Suffrage, ​(United States, 2006), 5.
​Jeff
4
Hill, ​Defining Moments,​ 18.
5
Ibid., 151-155.
States and form their own government if they are not granted the right to vote.”6 This speech

took place in 1871 during the National Woman’s Suffrage Convention. It didn’t just stop there

though. The movement continued for a while. The five known activists who started it all was

Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard, and Alice Paul.

These five important women did many things in their time. Most of them had family they

had to take care of or even about to start a family. Lucy Stone was a “famous woman in the

United States and she was a successful antislavery lecturer in the late 1840s, she states she was a

woman before she was an abolitionist.”7 It is 1848 and “Susan B. Anthony insisted Lucy help

with the convention because she needed her to do the details even though she was pregnant at the

time.”8 Susan B. Anthony believed that women should be able to do the same thing as men. She

mentions at one point that “women’s clothing is an illustration of the subjection and that if you

put a woman in men’s clothing on, men acknowledge her equality at doing the same work.”9

Lucy agreed with Susan B. Anthony that “women could never compete in skirts successfully

against men.”10 This explains how women felt. It gave a brief explanation like yes, they are

women, but they will fight fairly or compete fairly to be equal to men. The women want to be

treated equally so that is why they make that statement.

Another famous women during the movement who played a big part as well was named

“Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and she found the change from the Boston depressing.”11 Elizabeth

6
Ibid., 169-174.
7
Jean H. Baker, ​Sisters The Lives of America’s Suffragists,​ (United States, 2005),13-14.
8
​ aker, ​Sisters The Lives,​ 29-32.
B
9
Ibid., 55.
10
Ibid., 55-59.
11
Ibid., 111-113.
Cady Stanton was liberated after the political battles they lost and wanted to do more because she

saw Susan B. Anthony willing to do anything for her rights to vote as a person. This shows that

Elizabeth Cady Stanton recognized someone just as passionate as her to fight for the same beliefs

they both had which was women’s rights and the equality of all women. There was many other

women as well as the other three well known activist that were apart of the women’s suffrage

movement. According to the​ Encyclopedia of Britannica,​ “Frances Willard was an American

Educator, Temperance reformer and a Women’s Suffragist.​ ​Frances Willard later became the

national president of Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1879, and remained

president until her death in 1898.​” Frances was one of the leaders who had a very important role

during the suffrage movement.

On the other hand, another suffragette named, Alice Paul was also very well known and

important. “Alice Paul was a suffrage leader who first proposed the equal rights amendment to

the U.S Constitution and organized marches, rallies and the white house protests. Her

progression in the fight for women's suffrage led her to imprisonment on three or more occasions

before the 19th amendment was even ratified in the 1920s” (Encyclopedia of Britannica). In

1903,​ Belle Kearny Discusses Women’s Suffrage in the South ​state that this primary document

said that if Women are able to vote it will give white men and women more supremacy over

african americans.12 Some of these women were abolitionists and so in my research that I picked

up on is that they might just be tricking the men that they are for slavery. The women in the

suffragist movement want the men to think that they are helping them strive for that overall

supremacy over blacks to vote. In reality these women were all against it and want to say if they

12
Jeff Hill, ​Defining Moments Women’s Suffrage, ​(United States, 2006), 181-183.
have the right to vote then they will help the african americans to vote too possibly. According

to​ The Women’s Rights Movement, 1848-1920s​ page by “​securing the voting rights state by state

and Paul’s vocal and partisan protest campaign coincided with the Wilson administration’s

decision to intervene in the First World War, the development provided a compelling rhetoric

and a measure of expediency for granting the vote.” All these women were able to pull it

together to fight for what they believed in. The only thing is that these women did face a lot of

obstacles when trying to get people to listen to them and other women to help them. It was hard

at times because some women did not want to get in trouble or they felt their place was at home

to cook, clean, and take care of the children. In the process of all of this when the men would go

off to work these women and even larger groups of women would hold secret meetings at their

house and come up with ideas or ways to also protest. This way they were able to speak their

minds and talk the way they wanted while thinking out a strategy altogether to make the

movement successful.

The 19th amendment did not come easy at all for these women. Some of them were

imprisoned if they were being too loud or pushing their boundaries when protesting. Did that

stop them though? No! It did not stop any of these strong women at all. They kept protesting to

make a stand and statement. “In 1917, the radical National Woman’s Party would send groups of

female protestors at a time to picket in front of the White House.”13 This is important because it

shows or explains how determined women were to fight for their rights. They were not going to

wait around hoping for one day they might be equal to men. The five activist women, as well as

13
​ Jeff Hill, ​Defining Moments Women’s Suffrage, ​(United States, 2006), 184-190.
many other women that were involved knew they needed to make a stand and keep being

persistent when speaking out about the women’s suffrage movement.

In this primary document called ​Picketing and Prison: The Experiences of Ernestine

Hara Kettler,​ it basically states that “women in the suffrage movement planned to oppose and

protest against President Woodrow Wilson until he agreed to support a constitutional amendment

granting women the right to vote.”14 The President was very annoyed with all these women

because in this document it explains how “there was pickets for months at a time that these

women started being arrested and sent to prison”15 hopefully to scare them and to stop what they

were doing. But little did they know, it only made them feel these women had to try a lot harder

to fight for what they believed in. This document illustrates an image in people’s head of what it

seemed like to be apart of the movement. Susan B. Anthony had a trial because she was one of

the protestors during the women’s rights movement and voted in Congress when she did not

have her voting rights as a woman. Her statement was “had the defendant, being a female, the

right to vote?”16 The jury “conceded that she is a female, and did vote at the time and place, and

for members of congress,” “Crowley commenced that Susan B. Anthony violated the

Enforcement Act because she has no legal right to vote.” This is important because it shows that

women who were part of the women’s suffrage movement were really devoted to their beliefs in

having all women be equal to men as well as being treated fairly.

14
Hill, ​Defining Moments​, 184-190.
15
Ibid., 184-190.
16
N.E.H. Null, ​The Woman Who Dared to Vote, The Trial of Susan B. Anthony, (​ University
Press of Kansas, 2012), 146.
During the 1920’s on August 18th, the nineteenth amendment was passed. Many women

were so proud and felt very accomplished due to the amount of effort they put in for the right to

vote as well as being equally treated like the men. Since the “beginning of the 1800’s women

have picketted and petitioned”17 for their equal rights. It was finally here! Women’s Rights!

Little by little women were able to be treated equally with respect in doing the same things as

men.

Years and years passed by now and women still have the same rights as men. One of

history’s greatest achievements on the side of women’s history. The women were very

determined in making the goal to have the same, equal rights as men and they succeeded in the

end. It is 2019, and the only thing that women are still struggling with is the fair treatment. Some

women are still discriminated and not given a certain job because they are not a “man” and they

person who is interviewing them prefers a man over a woman. There is also the case scenario of

women and men doing the exact same job and are paid less because they’re a woman.

Throughout history women have fought long and hard for the 19th amendment as well as having

the same opportunities as men plus being the equivalent to them.

17
​National Archives, 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women's Right to Vote (1920)