Commentary on the film "Modern Jawed Angels" Essay

Commentary on the film "Modern Jawed Angels" Essay

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After watching Katja von Garnier’s “Iron Jawed Angels,” I was truly moved by the remarkable and little-known story of a group of passionate women suffragists, led by Alice Paul and her best friend Lucy Burns, who put their lives on the line to fight for American women’s right to vote. We’ve learned about women suffragists throughout the years in school, but actually seeing the struggles Paul and her group of “bandits” had to go through just to be heard made me realize just how sexist people were until the 1920’s. What Paul and her young suffragist activists endured for those eight or so years will never be forgotten. Modern women have suffragists from one hundred years ago to thank for their place in government and that is phenomenal.
“Iron Jawed Angels” begins in 1912 Philadelphia when Alice Paul and Lucy Burns have a meeting with Carrie Chapman Catt and Anna Howard Shaw of NAWSA (National American Woman Suffrage Association, formed in 1890 by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton). Although Paul and Burns have the same overall intentions as Catt and Shaw, the rebellious spirits of the two younger women clash with the more conservative older women and the meeting is unsuccessful. Paul and Burns want to “go big” so to say and shoot for a constitutional amendment for women to have the right for vote, but Catt and Shaw are partial to the state-by-state approach. Still, Paul is permitted to take over NAWSA's Washington, D.C. committee, provided she and Burns raise their own funds.
They begin planning their first big event, a parade to promote women's suffrage, and recruit a team of volunteers during which Paul meets a Washington newspaper political cartoonist, Ben Weissman, causing romantic sparks to fly. Unfortunately, the pa...


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...eleased from prison as he comes out in its favor in a Congressional speech.
By 1920, 35 states have ratified the amendment, but one more state is needed. Tennessee becomes that state when a recalcitrant legislator casts the deciding vote after receiving a telegram from his mother (a real life event). On August 26, 1920, the Susan B. Anthony Amendment becomes law, and 20 million American women win the right to vote.
After watching “Iron Jawed Angels” a second time, it never fails to amaze me just how long it took President Wilson to support womens’ right to vote and even longer it took to legally give women voting rights. Watching “Iron Jawed Angels” gave me a real-life example of what a suffragist really is and what their determination did for our country. I say shame on our government for waiting until they absolutely had to give America’s women a say in politics.

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