The Suffrage Movement Essay

2160 words - 9 pages

The suffrage movement, an instrumental incident in United States History, challenged woman to fight their oppression to secure their right to vote. Women like Carrie Chapman Catt devoted their lives to this cause, doing everything humanly possible to improve both their own lives and the lives of future women. When Speak’s Melinda Sordino composes a paper on these suffragettes, she discovers that their battle is not very dissimilar to her own. Through the influence of relentless suffragettes such as Carrie Chapman Catt speaking out for their rights, Melinda of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak musters up her own courage to uniquely “speak.”
The suffrage movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries began with the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 during which early suffrage leaders including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony proposed the Declaration of Sentiments, a document stating the rights that women demanded (“American”).Women argued that they deserved to vote as it was a basic right that everyone should be guaranteed as an American citizen (Kauffman). Considering that women must obey the same laws and pay the very same taxes as men, it was necessary that they receive a voice in these laws (Kauffman). In the coming years following the convention, the women’s rights movement lacked both activity and support; therefore, to become more effective the two largest organizations, The American Woman Suffrage Association and The National Woman Suffrage Association, chose to unify (“United Women’s; “Women’s Rights”). Establishing The National American Woman Suffrage Association, with Stanton and Anthony as the leaders, was imperative for the eventual attainment of women’s suffrage (“United Women’s”).
In 1892 Stanton decided to ultimately resign from her presidency of NAWSA giving way for Anthony to establish control until she too resigned in 1900 (“United Women’s”). The turn of the century brought many changes in the women’s suffrage movement, for the NAWSA was now under the newfound leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt (“Votes”; Kuffman). Upon Catt’s induction into the presidency, only four states, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho, had achieved full suffrage (“United Women’s”). The new leaders determined that to further their successes, they needed to change their tactics, using the working woman as one of their main arguments versus the Declaration of Independence (“United Women’s”). Low wages and poor working conditions drove groups of working women to more militant tactics, leaving some to feel that the NAWSA had become antiquated in their stratagem (“United Women’s”). Due to this dissatisfaction, previous members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association including Harriet Stanton Blatch founded the Equality League of Self-supporting Women for women in the work force, primarily factory workers (“United Women’s”). Realizing they must again alter their methods, the NAWSA was approached by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns,...

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