Women’s Suffrage • A Brief History
Suff-what? • Suffrage - The right to vote • Franchise - The right to vote. The rights of citizenship • Vote - A formal indication of a choice between two or more candidates or courses of action, expressed typically through a ballot or a show of hands or by voice.
At the Beginning... • Women were the “weaker vessel” - morally, mentally and physically inferior to men. • Women were subject to the authority of men - first their fathers’ then their husbands’. • With marriage a women was under the legal identity of her husband. • Women could not own or control property • Women could not be the guardian of their children • Women could not sue or be sued in court • Any wages a women earned were legally her husbands
Women Speak Out • Women begin speak out and fight against slavery (Abolitionists). • By 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the first women’s right convention in Seneca Falls, New York.
Seneca Falls • Over 300 men and women attended the convention. • Women’s rights advocates at Seneca Falls argued that political power came from the consent of the governed and thus women should be given the right to vote. • The Declaration of Sentiments (1848) was drafted at Seneca Falls and was modeled after the Declaration of Independence. • “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Progressive Era • By the end of the 19th century more women were looking beyond their home and into the public sphere. • By 1900 there were over 500 women’s clubs with over 160,000 members. • Many of these organizations focused on supporting libraries, hospitals, schools, settlement houses, compulsory education and child labor laws.
National American Woman Suffrage Association • National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) led by Carrie Chapman Catt. • Catt devised a “winning plan” which called for action on two fronts. • Some groups lobbied Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment. • While other groups utilized the new referendum process to try and pass state suffrage laws.
National Woman’s Party • National Woman’s Party (NWP) was created by Alice Paul • NWP believed that NAWSA was moving too slowly • NWP took a more militant approach to campaigning for women’s suffrage. • The NWP picketed outside of the White House. • Women were arrested and sent to jail as a result of the protests. • While in jail some women (like Alice Paul) went on hunger strikes until they were able to vote or be released from jail.
National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage • National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NAOWS) was formed in New York City in 1911 • NAOWS felt that women’s suffrage would decrease women’s work within their communities and societal reforms. • NAOWS operated in Washington D.C. until it was disbanded after the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.
Nineteenth Amendment • The efforts of both NAWSA and the NWP convinced a legislators to support a women’s suffrage amendment. • June 1919, Congress approved the 19th Amendment which stated: • “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
Sources • http://www.america.gov/st/pubs-english/2005/May/20050531160341liameruoy0.2459375.html • http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trr040.html • http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/senecafalls.asp • http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Declaration_of_Sentiments.html • http://www.accessible-archives.com/2012/03/elizabeth-cady-stanton-profile-part-4/ • http://www.biography.com/people/lucretia-mott-9416590 • http://theautry.org/explore/exhibits/images/suffrage/equal_350.jpg • http://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/progressiveera/peace.html • http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/homeEc/suffrage/suffrage_pics/NAWSA_certificateAlt.jpg • http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/exhibition-hall/archives/images/1766?detail-image-node=1767 • http://www.socialwelfarehistory.com/organizations/national-womans-party/ • http://jwa.org/primarysources/orgrec_08.html • http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/404481/National-Association-Opposed-to-Woman-Suffrage-NAOWS