The History Of The Women's Suffrage Movement In The United States.

4048 words - 16 pages

History of The Women's Suffrage Movement in America"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." That was Margaret Mead's conclusion after a lifetime of observing very diverse cultures around the world. Her insight has been borne out time and again throughout the development of this country of ours. Being allowed to live life in an atmosphere of religious freedom, having a voice in the government you support with your taxes, living free of lifelong enslavement by another person. Many once considered these beliefs about how life should and must be lived outlandish. But visionaries whose steadfast work brought about changed minds and attitudes fervently held these beliefs. Now these beliefs are commonly shared across U.S. society.The Woman's Suffrage Movement in the 1800s Suffrage is the right or exercise of the right to vote in public affairs. The freedom of an individual to express a desire for a change in government by choosing between competing people or ideas without fear of reprisal is basic to self-government. Any exclusion from the right to suffrage, or as it is also called, the franchise, excludes that person from a basic means for participation in the political decision-making process. In the United States at the time the Constitution was written, it is estimated that only six percent of the adult male population was entitled to vote. Under the influence of Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy, religious and property qualifications were eliminated. Racial barriers to voting existed legally until the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified after the civil war. Although the struggle to achieve equal rights for women to vote did not include a declared national war, it was nevertheless, a fierce battle fought primarily by determined female "soldiers". Even though the women's suffrage movement started long before the civil war, it was the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment that set a precedence for human equality. This precedence was the antecedent that women needed to become more aggressive and increasingly vociferous, which ultimately led to their right to vote. Like other suffrage movements, it was the strong leaders that ensured that the battle for women's rights would in their favor.In the early nineteenth century, women were considered second-class citizens whose existence was limited to the interior life of the home and care of the children. Women were considered sub-sets of their husbands, and after marriage they did not have the right to own property, maintain their wages, or sign a contract, much less vote. It was expected that women be obedient wives, never to hold a thought or opinion independent of their husbands. It was considered improper for women to travel alone or to speak in public.With the belief that intense physical or intellectual activity would be injurious to the delicate female biology and reproductive system,...

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