Throughout most of our history women traditionally have had fewer rights than men. The early colonists operated under English common law which restricted rights while giving women additional duties in the house hold. The common law was predominately used regardless of ones own religious preference. With the westward expansion through the Revolution of America came the changing roles of women in the household and workplace throughout early America. During the nineteenth century, the women’s rights movement was vastly significant because it led to suffrage and increased opportunities for women in the workforce.
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“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it,” as stated by Helen Keller in her essay Optimism. With the start of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States during the mid-nineteenth century abolition was a prominent theme in many suffrage activities as the Civil War approached. With the country reunited and slavery conquered, suffrage for African American’s became a new goal alongside achieving the vote for all women. Racial tensions and anti-Semitism paired with discrimination towards the working-class made relations difficult, but it was obvious to all that cooperation was the only means of achieving the vote. As the fight for suffrage concluded, the country’s women contended against the patriarchal system and internal conflict of the movement until they won the battle with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.