If I were to teach a class that dealt with the twentieth century in America, I would choose to make my focus the women's struggle for social equality. Comprising fifty-percent of the population, women are by far the largest "minority" in the United States. Through them I could relate the most important social, political and economic trends of the century. Their achievements, as well as their missteps, tell us a story of America that we most often hear of in snatches, or read about in digressions. Though we are making an effort to improve women's right for equality, the American dream is still yet to be achieved by many mothers, sisters, aunts, wives, and daughters.
How many times have you heard "All men are equal"? It's a quote from the American Constitution. In today's society it has been taken literally. Yes all men are created equal but are women created equal as well? Of course not, most would probably say yes but women are a minority in this country. Men are the rulers over America, being very forgetful that because of women they live. Elizabeth Cady Stanton stated on July 19, 1848 in her speech entitled Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers form the consent of the governed" (43). Although women are the creators of life, women are still not being treated equally when it comes to jobs, salary, or other aspects. Is it fair that women still don't receive the respect and the same thing...
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... believe any of our opponents will have the hardihood to say they are not. Being persons, then, women are citizens; and no state has a right to make any law, that shall abridge their privileges or immunities. Hence, every discrimination against women in the constitutions and laws of the several states is today null and void, precisely as is everyone against the Negroes" (72).
If we had a class dedicated to the women's movement in the 20th century, we could view all major historical events from a different perspective than the one that is typically taught. We could learn about the panoply women who have affected decision-making throughout the years. We could better understand the struggle of other minorities to achieve equal rights. Most importantly, we could honor the viewpoints of that other fifty percent who are our mothers, sisters, aunts, wives, and daughters.
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