Supporting Suffrage Essay

1311 words - 6 pages

One hundred forty-nine years ago, the United States of America ended a war that resulted in the end of slavery. However, the conflict of slavery remained for years afterward in other forms. As African Americans tried to find their equal places in society, women fought to earn the “emancipation of the white slaves of America,” women’s suffrage (Times October). This idea inspired countless women throughout America. One such woman was Louisa May Alcott, a talented and well-known author. Trying to make a difference, Alcott used her writing to promote women’s suffrage.
Alcott filled her writing with life experiences. Her family’s positions and opinions influenced Alcott’s position on women’s suffrage. Both of her parents supported the end of slavery and equal civil rights for all races before and after the Civil War in America. Alcott’s father, a Transcendentalist who was friends with Thoreau, was an ultimately unsuccessful financial supporter for the Alcott family (History Museum). Therefore, Alcott became responsible for the majority of the family income. Through this, she took a leadership role that was uncommon for the time period, but she proved that a woman could do a man’s job which meant women and men could do the same sort of things, including vote. Despite this, the inequality between genders was unfairly biased for the male gender and women did not have the right to vote.
Alcott wrote a variety of works, ranging from letters to newspaper articles to novels. Based on the characteristics and themes in her writing, her works could be separated into three eras. Although her earlier works tended to have cunning, almost malicious women, her second and third eras supported women’s suffrage and rights. The third era especially showed Alcott’s opinion that women were not less than men. These works often focused on women with strong, vibrant personalities who were satisfied with their self-supporting lives (Literature Criticism 12). By keeping the female leads in her novels satisfied without marriage, Alcott suggested that women were educated enough to understand America’s government and that they should be a part of it.
In order to carry on her support for women’s suffrage, Alcott believed her actions were just as important as her words. After she had supported her family and took the responsibility of caring for her family, Alcott continued to prove her equality. During the American Civil War, Alcott volunteered to be a nurse, so she traveled to Washington, D.C. to help the wounded soldiers (Literature Criticism 11). Once the Civil War was completed and groups formed for women’s rights, Alcott joined the campaigns. However, Alcott also made a point to show she understood and acknowledged the differences between men and women. She showed that women could still be feminine and treated as equals when she missed meetings to care for others. Since Alcott’s sister died in Europe and left a child behind, Alcott took responsibility for her niece. She...

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