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“The Final Rush For Suffrage” In The United States Through The Experience And Contributions Of Working Class Women From The Late 19th Century Thro

1248 words - 5 pages

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it,” as stated by Helen Keller in her essay Optimism. With the start of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States during the mid-nineteenth century abolition was a prominent theme in many suffrage activities as the Civil War approached. With the country reunited and slavery conquered, suffrage for African American’s became a new goal alongside achieving the vote for all women. Racial tensions and anti-Semitism paired with discrimination towards the working-class made relations difficult, but it was obvious to all that cooperation was the only means of achieving the vote. As the fight for suffrage ...view middle of the document...

In light of the Civil War, lasting from 1861 through 1865, it was not until after the conclusion of the war and the end to slavery that the women’s movement began in its own right.
Wyoming became the first state legally to allow women to the opportunity to vote in 1869. In that same year, the women’s movement halted at the production of the Fifteenth Amendment causing the AWSA and NWSA to oppose one another, as the alternation of the amendment excluded African American women in support of “the Negro’s hour” directly ignoring the rights of African American women. In addition, these and other prominent women’s group disagreed as to whether it was best to seek out change at the state or federal level. In 1874, Minor vs. Happersett ruled that citizenship did not guarantee constituency under the 14th Amendment based upon the precedence that the founding fathers would have directly stated that all citizens are “invested with the right to suffrage” should that had been the intension.
In 1890, NAWSA formed from the AWSA and NWSA rejuvenating the fight for women’s rights after a decade of little advance. The goal soon became guaranteeing constituency with citizenship as more direct measures of action were organized by prominent women’s groups, such as NAWSA. As the women’s movement began to focus on federal change with an incoming generation of suffragists, Colorado simultaneously gave women the right to vote in 1893.
Despite discrimination throughout the women’s movement, it was clear to many that the power needed to achieve suffrage could not be obtained without working-class women being active participants. In 1911, together Rose Schneiderman, Jewish Union organizaer, and Harriot Stanton Blatch brought working-class women together as the Wage Earners’ League to fight for suffrage. A friend of Alice Paul’s and Jewish activist, Caroline Katzenstein, sold various items in Pennsylvania to raise funds for their efforts, such as items stating “taxation without representation is tyranny.” Echoing back to the Revolutionary War, women demanded the rights long overdue to citizens still without a voice in the laws of their country, which they must reside. That same year on the west coast, California gave women the right to vote as a young working-class, Jewish woman named Selina Solomons proclaims, “Good-day, fellow citizens. I’ve come to vote.”
The turning point of the women’s movement was the start of World War I in which the battle for women’s suffrage was seen by the public as frivolous and disrespectful, but militant tactics by the NWP continued despite both the negative public opinion and NAWSA. Harry Lowenburg, Jewish suffragists, continued the fight for equal representation along with other members of NWP, as they interrupted a meeting between Congress and President Wilson in 1916...

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