The nineteenth century encountered some of most revolutionary movements in the history of our nation, and of the world – the movements to abolish slavery and the movement for women’s rights. Many women participated alongside men in the movement to abolish slavery, and “their experience inspired feminist social reformers to seek equality with men” (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 2015, pg. 654). Their involvement in the abolition movement revealed that women suffered many of the same legal disadvantages as slaves, most noticeably their inability to access the right to vote. Up until this time, women had little success in mobilizing their efforts to gain the right to vote. However, the start of the women’s rights movement in the mid-1800s, involving leaders such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, paved the path for the expansion of women’s rights into the modern century.
Throughout nineteenth century Europe and leading into the twentieth century, the division and integration of equal rights and liberties towards both genders was a predominant issue. From the 1860’s and beyond, male suffrage was expanding due to working-class activism and liberal constitutionalism, however women were not included in any political participation and were rejected from many opportunities in the workforce. They were considered second-class citizens, expected to restrict their sphere of influence to the home and family, and therefore not encouraged to pursue a beneficial education or career. Because they were seen as such weak entities, the only way they were able to advocate their interests and dissatisfaction was through their own independent organizations and forms of direct action. With hard work towards improving women’s involvement in the workforce and towards political emancipation, womanhood gradually became redefined. When looking back on these crucial times in history, it is necessary to view how various images and ideas of females represented such integral symbols in modern Europe that influenced the pivotal changes they succeeded in putting forward. Earlier photos show women in society as solely conforming to what society wants them to be, however later this changes and images of women go against what is seen as appropriate and advertise the efforts made towards gender equality.
America was supposed to treat everyone equally, although, when the country was founded, women were excluded from the right to vote. It was socially unacceptable. Women were continually taught, from a very young age, that they weren’t mature enough, or mentally capable of making decisions for themselves. This was an injustice to women, and, in order for them to gain justice, they had to fight for their right to vote, a right that should’ve been given to them from the beginning.
“ I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.” - Alice Paul. Women’s Suffrage also known as the woman’s right to vote, is the right of women to vote and to stand for electoral office. Women had limited voting rights but were gained by women in the Western U.S. States in the 19th century.
In the nineteenth century, women’s rights activists began fighting for economic freedoms to receive the same amount of legal respect as men. On July 19, 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott held the first gathering devoted solely to women’s rights in Seneca Falls, New York (“Women’s Rights Movement”). Stanton formed an alliance with Susan B. Anthony to try and move forward with their ideas to develop the right for women to vote (“Women’s Rights Movement”). In 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) were created, but struggled to maintain momentum throughout the years as they were not getting the support they wanted from middle class women and men until a later date (“Women’s Rights Movement”). There were a number of women’s organizations that were created during this time because it showed all of the diverse interests between religions and political parties (Hall 191). In the late 1880s and early 1890s, middle class women began to volunteer and spread the ideas and thoughts of these women activist groups (“Women’s Rights Movement”).
In 1848, the American women's rights movement started, during this movement, even though the leaders of the women’s rights advocated for the Reconstruction amendments , such as Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, these amendment did not promote women’s suffrage. In 1869, the writers of the nineteenth amendment, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony worked in the National Woman Suffrage Association while Lucy Stone led the American Woman Suffrage Association’s state-by-state battle for the vote. After that, the two groups united to form the National American Women Suffrage Association. This association aimed to secure voting rights for all American women (American memory, 2010). During World War I, women contributed significantly to the nation's war effort. As a result, many politicians began to realize that women could be an important source of votes, and then the United States Congress supported the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Finally, in 1920, women won the vote throughout the nation (Jone Johnson Lewis, 2008). In simple English, the Nineteenth Amendment states that Constitution cannot deny or abridge the citizens’ voting rights, regardless of the sex.
A women suffrage amendment was brought to the U.S. Congress in 1868 but failed to win support as well as a second amendment in 1878. In 1869 a woman named Elizabeth Cady Stanton got together with Susan B. Anthony, a women’s rights activist, and organized an association called the National Woman Suffrage Association. With this union they would gather with women and fight for women’s suffrage. Later, in 1890 they joined with their competitor the American Women Suffrage Association and became the National American Women Suffrage Association. “NAWSA adopted a moderate approach to female suffrage, eschewing some of the more radical feminism of other women’s rights groups in favor of a national plan designed to gain widespread support” (3). What the association did was they changed their initial tactic towards suffrage for women so that they can be able to obtain support from all over. Having little to no movement on the national front, suffragists took the next step to sate level. That was when Eastern states granted women suffrage, but hadn’t spread to Western states.
Women roles have changed drastically in the last 50 to 80 years, women no longer have to completely conform to society’s gender roles and now enjoy the idea of being individuals. Along with the evolution of women roles in society, women presence and acceptance have drastically grown in modern literature. In early literature it was common to see women roles as simply caretakers, wives or as background; women roles and ideas were nearly non-existent and was rather seen than heard. The belief that women were more involved in the raising of children and taking care of the household was a great theme in many early literatures; women did not get much credit for being apart of the frontier and expansion of many of the nations success until much later.
Women, like black slaves, were treated unequally from the male before the nineteenth century. The role of the women played the part of their description, physically and emotionally weak, which during this time period all women did was took care of their household and husband, and followed their orders. Women were classified as the “weaker sex” or below the standards of men in the early part of the century. Soon after the decades unfolded, women gradually surfaced to breathe the air of freedom and self determination, when they were given specific freedoms such as the opportunity for an education, their voting rights, ownership of property, and being employed.
During the 1840’s women's rights became a popular topic of discussion. Some people felt as if women needed to remain reserved in the public eye. While others, mostly women, felt as they had little rights when it came to politics and education. Women didn’t receive education after the age of 10, and if they did it was because they taught themselves. Politics was a topic most women were shamed for if they talked about it in public.early feminist insisted whether women were married or not. they deserve the range of individual choices and the essence of freedom. Catherine Beecher and people like her believed that women should remain modest and delicate and that women had a place on Earth given by God; the subordinate.