The women’s suffrage movement was a decades long fight for women to have the right to vote in the United States. The movement, which succeeded in 1920 with the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, ended with major national reform movements seeking to improve public education, create public health programs, regulate business and industrial practices for women. Women suffered for years by not having a voice and this movement helped lead to a major change. This paper will not only talk about the movement itself but also what lead to this movement and some of the major pioneers that helped to bring this change.
During the years before women were granted the right to vote. Women were not given many opportunities at all. The men went to work while the women had to stay at home with the children. These men would get off work and go to saloons and spend the family’s money on alcohol. This money was meant to be spent on food and the home for the family, but these men were blowing it on alcohol. This would lead to families starving and even the wives being beaten by their husbands. These things made women want to create a change and have a better life for not only them but also their family.
This led to women fighting for more rights. The women’s suffrage movement began in 1848 at a women’s convention in Seneca Falls, New York. This meeting helped spark the movement that eventually lead to the right to vote for women. It was held from July nineteenth to the twentieth at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls. The meeting had about three-hundred people attend it. On the first day only, women were able to attend. The convention spoke on the eleven resolutions for women and each passed except the ninth resolution. This resolution was the right to vote for women.
The five women who helped put together the convention were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Mary M’Clintock, Martha Coffin Wright, and Jane Hunt. National conventions became a major ordeal throughout the years after the Seneca Falls convention. In the twentieth century, two organizations helped lead the suffrage movement. The two organizations were known as the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman’s Party. The NAWSA was led by Carrie Chapman Catt. This organization wanted to help the women’s suffrage movement by getting women the right to vote by state. She hoped each state would give women the right to vote and therefore lead to the next state.
This organization also seeked to get congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment for women’s suffrage. The next group was the NWP which was led by Alice Paul. This group took more of an action approach with their movement by going to the White House to protest for a change. Due to these two groups strong efforts to bring about change for women, the nineteenth amendment was ratified in 1920. One of the greatest women’s suffrage leaders is Susan B. Anthony. Anthony was born February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. She grew up unable to voice her opinion and this helped her to put forth the effort to make a change. She was involved in a case known as the United States vs. Susan B. Anthony.
Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting in the presidential election of 1872, and the judge directed the jury to deliver a guilty verdict. The judge sentenced Anthony to pay a $100 fine. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was another great leader for the movement. Stanton was born on November 12, 1815 in Johnstown, New York. She was a writer and widely known as a women’s rights activist. Before Stanton became strictly a women’s rights activist, she was an active abolitionist with her husband. Stanton wanted more for women then just voting rights, she was fighting for property rights, custody rights, and divorce rights for women. She believed women deserved way more freedom to make more choices then they were given.
After the Civil War, Stanton and Susan B. Anthony worked together to fight for women’s rights. The next important leader for women’s rights was Lucy Stone. Stone was born on August 13, 1818 in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. In 1847 she became the first woman from her state to earn a college degree. She stood up for women’s rights and even slavery during a time when it was not normal for women to do. Stone played a very vital role in showing women how important they were and why it was important to fight for a better future. The Nineteenth Amendment was adopted on August 18, 1920.
This amendment prohibits the states and the federal government from denying citizens the right to vote in the United States based off sex. The amendment was originally brought to Congress in 1878 however, it was rejected. After earning the right to vote however, few women went out to vote during the first elections after earning the right. There were also many women who were against the suffrage movement and they did not want change, these people were known as the anti-suffragists. Organizations were even set up to try and prevent women from having certain rights.
These people argued that woman suffrage ‘would reduce the special protections and routes of influence available to women, destroy the family, and increase the number of socialist-leaning voters.” Most people who were against the suffrage movement believed that politics were dirty, and it was no place for women to be. The New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage was the biggest movement who posed a threat to the women’s suffrage movement. This group used techniques learned from the suffragists themselves to counter against them.
Another issue that women faced before the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified was southern states. In 1900, the Constitution required three-fourths of the 45 states to ratify an amendment. Most southern states were against the suffrage movement and did not want change. Majority of the southern white men grew up with the idea that women should be in the household, so they did not want to give them the right to vote. The women’s suffrage movement has helped pave the way for women today. Now women finally have a voice and can change things if they do not agree with them.
This is very important in that now; the male population can not dominate the country like in the past. Previously, women would not be able to earn the jobs that they wanted and were not aloud to go off to college and earn degrees that they would like. The woman’s role was in the home. This was wrong in that it did not give women the opportunity to do something that they may want. Women were expected to be home cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children. While the man was able to pursue any career path he may choose, the women were not given the same opportunity.
This movement has helped create the idea of a woman today being independent and able to do anything that she puts her mind to. Without the people in history who fought for these rights and endured hard times for these things to happen, women would not be where they are today. Not only has this movement given women the right to vote but it has also made women equal. Women can now do anything that a man can and this is what is so great about our country. Women help this country in so many ways and it went unnoticed for years until they were given fair treatment. Thanks to the women’s suffrage movement our world is truly a better place.