The Women's Suffrage Movement Essay

2255 words - 10 pages

California women and men worked tirelessly to strengthen the women’s suffrage campaign from 1893, when the state legislature passed an amendment permitting women to vote in state elections, through the final passage of the amendment in 1911. The strength of the movements themselves, passionate support overcoming harsh opposition, pushed by the people and the organizations championing for the women’s vote were the main contributing factors which accumulated in the eventual passage of Amendment 8. Since California women have begun to vote, there have been many advancements and setbacks in the other women’s rights movements, including the Nineteenth Amendment and the Equal Rights Amendment.
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According to James J. Rawls, co-author of textbook California: An Interpretive History, the Progressive Party of California tended to support women’s rights due to their reforming intentions. Under women’s rights is, naturally, women’s suffrage (Rawls). The Socialist Party supported women’s suffrage because they believed that a woman’s vote was a step closer to a more egalitarian and socialist utopian society. Helen Valeska Bary, an administrator for the Los Angeles Political Equality League, said, in an interview with American history author Jacqueline K. Parker, that “every place where we had worked and sent literature and all that, we lost. We won in the places that we had neglected” (Bary). These places were rural areas, known as “cow counties.” They had not heard of the campaign for women’s suffrage until it had been reported in the newspapers that the referendum had failed. These voters then went to the voting boxes and voted for Amendment 8 (Bary). CONCLUSION
Opposition for the women’s suffrage movements came from the Los Angeles Times newspaper, the alcohol industry, Catholics, and, the largest block of opposition, San Francisco County. In the 1900s, the Los Angeles Times newspaper was a conservative leaning paper. On the whole, it was opposed to women’s suffrage; the paper showed its opposition by “belittling the campaign and sneering at it,” when it was not ignoring the campaign (Bary). The alcohol industry of California was also against women’s suffrage. Many of the important figures in the industry believed that if women could vote, they would vote for the prohibition of alcohol (Bary). Women were, generally, huge supporters of the adoption of Prohibition. Protestants were a driving force behind the Progressive Party and the Progressive era, they are an example of a religion in support of women’s suffrage. Catholics were, as a whole, opposed to women’s suffrage. They believed that, “a woman’s place was in the home” not in the voting booths (Bary). Although all of the previously stated groups opposed women’s suffrage, the largest block of opposition was San Francisco County. The working class of San Francisco was unionized, not socialist leaning. They believed that men must stay in control and that it was their jobs to protect women, apparently that meant not allowing them to vote. Other contributing factors to the opposition of the women’s suffrage movements included the power of the alcohol industry (according to historical author Mae Silver, “San Francisco had more liquor stores in it than any other city west of the Mississippi.”) and the overwhelming number of Catholics in the county. CONCLUSION
The organizations and people involved in the women’s suffrage movements were the most important reason why they ultimately succeeded in gaining votes for women. General organizations, not described below, that contributed to the success of the women’s suffrage movements include: “White middle-class women's clubs, unions, church groups,...

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