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It was in the mid-1800s when the first signs of the feminist movement came
about. In 1861, a man named John Stuart Mill wrote The Subjection of Women, which
was said to have spawned the ideology of the Women’s Rights Movement (Ryan 11). He
discussed the role of women is society during that time, pointing out how the patriarchy
placed such an intense limit on what women could do. Patriarchy is the system in which
the male race governs societal views, and this practice has been in existence since the
dawn of time. This work raised the consciousness of many women, but the first hints of
an organized movement did not come about until the approach of the twentieth century.
It has been said the Black Abolition Movement was the encouragement that women
needed to go after what they believed in (Ryan 10). In 1898 came the beginnings of
Women’s Suffrage, which was the movement intended to allow women the right to vote.
During this time, over 500 separate campaigns were launched with the goal of attaining
this right. Females such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony spoke all over
the country on women’s rights and suffrage, gaining many supporters along the way
(Ryan 9). The National American Women’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA) was soon
formed, and Stanton was its first president. She helped to begin extensive mobilizing
efforts and put a strong foot forward in the suffrage movement (Ryan 22). When the
Nineteenth Amendment was passed, women nationwide rejoiced at their accomplishment
with the feeling that they had made a difference, and their feeling of inferiority had
Bardon, Edward J. The Sexual Arena and Women’s Liberation.
Chicago: Nelson Hall, 1978.
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Evans, Sara. Personal Politics. New York: Vintage Press, 1979.
Friedan, Betty. It Changed My Life. New York: Random House, 1976.
Ryan, Barbara. Feminism and the Women’s Movement. New York:
Salper, Roberta. Female Liberation: History and Current Politics.
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972.
Sinclair, Barbara. The Women’s Movement: Political, Socioeconomic,
and Psychological Issues. New York: Harper and Row,1975.
Stambler, Sookie. Women’s Liberation: Blueprint for the Future.
New York: Ace Books, 1970.