Women's Suffrage

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Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These women lived at the turn of the century, and fought vehemently for a cause they believed in. They knew that they were being discriminated against because of their gender, and they refused to take it. These pioneers of feminism paved the road for further reform, and changed the very fabric of our society. Although they were fighting for a worthy cause, many did not agree with these women’s radical views. These conservative thinkers caused a great road-block on the way to enfranchisement. Most of them were men, who were set in their thoughts about women’s roles, who couldn’t understand why a woman would deserve to vote, let alone want to vote. But there were also many women who were not concerned with their fundamental right to vote. Because some women were indifferent in regards to suffrage, they set back those who were working towards the greater good of the nation. However, the suffragettes were able to overcome these obstacles by altering their tactics, while still maintaining their objective. In 1869, two organizations for the promotion of women’s suffrage were founded with different opinions on how to reach the same goal. The National Women’s Suffrage Association (NWSA) was headed by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. This group opposed the 15th amendment, while suggesting the passage and ratification of another, new amendment, specifically granting women the right to vote. This was considered a more radical view on the matter, and promoted a wide variety of other feminist views as well. The other organization, called the American Women’s Suffrage Association (AWSA), supported the 15th amendment, while calling for yet another amendment for women’s enfranchisement. This organization was more focused on trying to make this and other feminist reforms seem less radical, and more in tune with the values of the American people. After the negative response to the proposal of a new federal amendment, both groups tried new approaches, such as challenging the constitutionality of their exclusion from the vote in the supreme court, only to be rejected again. In the case Minor VS Happersett (1874), the Supreme Court decided that the state of Missouri was acting within its constitutional limits in denying a woman the right to vote. “This decision ended the ‘new depart... ... middle of paper ... ... it was too bad that they never got to vote, but they made their mark, by opening the doors for the next generation to further their progress. The original feminists were pushing for equality, but the later activists had to settle for just the vote. This was a setback for women’s rights everywhere, since the only way they were able to obtain the right to vote was by admitting that they were different, and needed to be able to vote to protect themselves form the big strong men. There were many women who fought for female equality, and many who didn’t care, but eventually the feminists won the vote. Women today are still fighting for equality in the home, in the workplace, and in society as a whole, which seems like it may take centuries of more slow progress to achieve. Works Cited Foner, Eric & Garraty, John A. “Minor V. Happersett” http://www.historychannel.com/perl/print_book.pl?ID=35418>[March 11, 2001] Mara Mayor. "Fears and Fantasies of the anti-Suffragists," Connecticut Review 7, no. 2 (April 1974), pp. 64-74. Goldstein-LaVande, Meredith “The arguments of the Anti-Suffragists” http://www.history.rochester.edu/class/suffrage/Anti.html> [March 11, 2001]

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