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Women's Liberation In The 1920s Essay

2059 words - 8 pages

America is the land of opportunity. It is a place of rebirth, hope, and freedom. However, it was not always like that for women. Many times in history women were oppressed, belittled, and deprived of the opportunity to learn and work in their desired profession. Instead, their life was confined to the home and family. While this was a noble role, many females felt that they were being restricted and therefore desired more independence. In America, women started to break the mold in 1848 and continued to push for social, political, educational, and career freedom. By the 1920s, women had experienced significant “liberation”, as they were then allowed to vote, hold public office, gain a higher education, obtain new jobs, drastically change their appearance, and participate in entertainment and sports. However, there are some that say that females were still suppressed by the advertising industry and stereotypes. But even with those setbacks, women achieved a new way of life that affected the entire nation.
A common misconception is that no women were allowed to vote before the 19th Amendment. In reality, females in most western states had been granted full suffrage as early as 1869, starting with Wyoming. Why did women’s voting rights first become recognized in the West? As a wild frontier, the West expanded the roles of women as they struggled to survive in the harsh environment. Gone was the socialite who attended parties, trailed her husband, and kept a nice house. In her place was a tough and weathered woman that, out of necessity, had to help run the ranches, plant the crops, manage the farm, and supervise the cattle as well as perform her customary roles as a mother and homemaker. In this sense women worked harder than men, as they had to fulfill both traditional and nontraditional roles. As a result, there was an evolving mindset that women were becoming more equal with men, seeing as they were just as capable. Accordingly, frontier women gained the right to vote and over time other states granted females suffrage, in full or in part. Women became influential in elections and had an effect on who was elected into Congress. These members were then more obligated to vote for a women’s suffrage amendment to the Constitution. Finally, in 1920 the 19th Amendment was passed in part due to these members of Congress and because women had played a major role in supporting the country during World War I. The amendment stated that nobody could be denied the right to vote based on their gender. This was a great stepping stone for females that allowed them to participate in the world of politics and decide who their leaders were. No longer was the woman a voiceless bystander.
Not only were women voting for their nation’s officials, they were some of the ones being elected. Starting in as early as 1866, women had been running for various public offices and in some rare cases they won the election. For example, Susanna Salter was elected mayor of...

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