The Pioneers Of Womens Suffrage Essay

1758 words - 7 pages

The Pioneers of Womens Suffrage

Are women really inferior to men? Of course not, but this is the mindset that has been a part of the world since the beginning. For a long time, even women did not believe that they measured up to men. In her book Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen wrote, "A women, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can (Gurko 1974, 5)." Beginning in the early 1900's, though, women began to want changes in society. They wanted to have a say in the decisions that were made, especially in the area of politics. They did not believe that men should be the only people allowed to vote, when they, too, were active members of society. Women's suffrage changed the face of the earth in many ways. It was the most important movement in showing the equality of men and women, and while to this day, there still may be some people that believe that women are inferior to men, the majority of people see that women are truly capable of doing anything that men can do.
Women had wanted their political freedom for a while, but they did not feel as if they were a strong enough force to overcome the negative opposition from men and even other women. The idea of women's suffrage was first introduced at the Seneca Falls Convention on July 19, 1848. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott headed it. It was the first organized women's rights convention. They met in a Wesleyan church chapel. There were between one hundred and three hundred people that attended, including quite a few men that were sympathetic to the plight of the women (Millstein 1977, 98). At the convention, they created a Declaration of Sentiments, in which they included all of their feelings and their planned approaches for gaining the right to vote. There were many points that were included in the declaration, but for the most part it stated that, "All laws which prevent woman from occupying such a station in society as her conscience shall dictate, or which place her in a position inferior to that of man, are contrary to the great precept of nature, and therefore of no force or authority (Gurko 1974, 310)." After this conference, Stanton and Mott, as well as the other people that had attended received an immeasurable amount of criticism regarding their plans, and the press got particularly involved, using very harsh words to describe the women. It was reported that they were called "the shrieking sisterhood," "unfeminine," and "immoral drunks." Even with all of this opposition, the women continued to hold meetings, and went on speaking tours to inform the public about their vision for the future. These women were not treated well at all. They were criticized, but as well as verbal abuse, they were also often the victims of physical violence. Their meetings were very often interrupted and disbanded by gangs (Microsoft 2000). Through all of this, the women remained true to their cause, and although it was not...

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