Essay about The History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement
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Women’s suffrage, or the crusade to achieve the equal right for women to vote and run for political office, was a difficult fight that took activists in the United States almost 100 years to win. On August 26, 1920 the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified, declaring all women be empowered with the same rights and responsibilities of citizenship as men, and on Election Day, 1920 millions of women exercised their right to vote for the very first time.
The women’s suffrage movement is thought to have begun with the publication of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft in 1792. Wollstonecraft is considered the “mother of feminism” and wrote of the sexual double standards between men and…show more content…
In 1848 a group of women met at the Seneca Falls Convention in New York and began to formulate a demand for the enfranchisement of American women (Women’s Suffrage, 2011). Elizabeth Cady Stanton composed the Declaration of Sentiments, modeled after the Declaration of Independence, stating that “a man should not withhold a woman's rights, take her property or refuse to allow her to vote” (Kelly, 2011, para.3 ). The convention participants spent two days arguing and refining the content of the Declaration of Sentiments, then voted on its contents; the document received support from about one third of the delegates in attendance. The Seneca Falls Convention was not a resounding success, but it “represented an important first step in the evolving campaign for women’s rights” (Tindall & Shi, 2010, p.374, para.1).
During the 1850’s the women’s rights movement in the United States continued to build, but lost momentum when the Civil War began. After the war ended, the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution were drafted and ratified; protection to all citizens - with the term “citizens” defined as male, and suffrage for black men, respectively. The drafting of the 15th Amendment caused animosity with women’s rights activists and led them to believe that this was their chance to push lawmakers for truly universal suffrage. They “allied
The right to vote.
Legal stratagem to exempt individuals from certain requirements on the basis of their ancestors' status prior to enactment of the requirements. Until 1915, Southern states used it as a means of exempting white voters from the literacy or poll-tax tests that they established to keep blacks from voting.
Requirement that a voter be able to read a section of the Constitution. One of the first devices used to circumvent the Fifteenth Amendment, it was largely eliminated by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Head, or capitation, tax that was made a prerequisite for voting. Used in some states to disfranchise poor black voters, it was outlawed in federal elections by the Twenty-Fourth Amendment (1964) and at the state level by a 1966 Supreme Court decision.
Primary election in which voting was reserved for whites. Since the Southern states voted solidly Democratic from the time of Reconstruction until the 1970s, the real choice of candidates was made at the primary stage. The Supreme Court finally disallowed the white primary in 1944.
Seneca Falls Convention
First women's rights assembly in the United States, held in upstate New York in 1848. The call for women's suffrage was one of the twelve resolutions adopted.
To prevent fraud, local election authorities maintain a list of all individuals who are qualified to vote; registration is the process of getting onto that list. Once another tool of discrimination, registration is now so simple that it can be done while getting a driver's license.