Women’s Suffrage in the United States

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Prior to 1920, women in the United States did not carry the right to vote in political elections, for the privilege of voting was solely for caucasian men. Women across the country desired for equality- to have the social, economic, and political status as men. Unfortunately, these ambitions were seen as irrational and continuously neglected by many men.

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These brave women sought to prove that they were capable of more than just tending to children and carrying out household chores. American women felt it necessary to be recognized as citizens that contributed to society in both political and economical aspects. The Women’s Rights Movement started to take shape and be more recognized in the 1950’s. Unfortunately, the timing did not work in their favor. Just as the movement was gaining more and more attention from others, the Civil War began. This interrupted any progress in the fight for women’s rights. Upon the conclusion of the Civil War, another group was awarded the right to vote.

On February 26, 1869, the Fifteenth Amendment reached enough attention to pass through, thus granting African-American men the right to vote. With the passing of this amendment women had a sense of optimism and excitement anticipating that they too may also win the long awaited legal dispute to vote in elections. While being oppressed, women were so desperate for equality that some of them dressed as men just to attempt to cast their vote. Other actions some suffragettes took were hunger strikes. These women would starve themselves just to get attention to prove their point of equality. Risking their lives, their freedom, and their health were all drastic measures they viewed as necessary steps in achieving their goal. The fight for women’s suffrage lasted mostly between the times from the American Revolution to 1920. Many of the women that founded this movement also took part in the abolitionist movement to end slavery in the 1830’s and 1840’s. These women were intelligent, strong- willed and persistent. They knew what they wanted and they were ready to fight for it.

An important woman in this movement, Alice Paul, began an Equal Rights Amendment and gained popularity with her crusade. Alice Paul and her supporters would arrange parades to raise awareness of women’s equality. Through this, Alice Paul and the rest of her organization gained many more supporters. Some women were beaten and arrested for simply talking about how they deserved to be treated better. Opposition was using propaganda and stating women should not have that right. President Wilson was a big support to this movement. He talked to the senate about adopting women’s suffrage after World War l ended. After many years of protesting, arguing, and fighting, the 19th Amendment, women’s right to vote, went through the ratification process in 1919. Before Senate passes the 19th Amendment, there were many states that adopted women’s suffrage prior to this happening. Some states to adopt this act were Oregon, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota.

Some states to reject this act included Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. Other actions that were occuring to help this movement was women living in Arkansas could vote in primary elections, and in 1917, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to congress and is part of the House of Representatives. Most of these particular steps supported the movement and helped the Amendment pass. However, some actions were taken to try and stop these women from overcoming their goal. Alice Paul was put in a prison because the government was trying to break her will of leading the other women. This did not stop the women because they soon had the 19th Amendment go through the ratification process, and all they can do is continue to support and hope the 19th Amendment is ratified.

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