Professor John Swann
February 9, 2013
The Progressive Era was a period of social activism and political reform in the United States. From the Progressive Era through the Great Depression there were many significant turning points within this period. The Women’s Suffrage Movement was one major historical turning point of the Progressive Era. Another turning point in this period was the Stock Market Crash of 1929.
Although “women were basically the main players in the Progressive Era reforms, there right to vote were still denied” (Schultz, 2012). Many pushed for the franchise for all women and through their efforts in the Nineteenth Amendment to the constitution provided full women suffrage. There were two groups that pushed and furthered the cause of women’s suffrage. These two groups were formally called “The National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA), as well as The National Women’s Party (NWP)” (Schultz, 2012). The National American Women’s Suffrage Associations strategy was basically a way to push for suffrage at the state level, hoping that the federal government would pass the amendment. The National Women’s Party’s goal was of eliminating all discrimination against women. As stated by Brown, “In 1923 The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), was announced and launched what would be a life-long campaign to win full equality for women,” (2010).
Even with the Progressive Era having a lot of issues and turning points throughout its time, the Great Depression had its ordeals as well. The Stock Market Crash was a big historical event that took place during this time. The Stock Market Crash of 1929
devastated the economy and was the key factor in the beginning of The Great Depression. “In three days, over five billion worth of market capitalization had been erased from stocks that were trading on the New York Stock Exchange” (Grant, 2008). There were also a lot of banks that had been interrupted because of this matter. But even though The Stock Market Crash left much in disarray, it was also beneficial to for some such as Jesse Livermore and Joseph Kennedy. This issue or turning point is what led to the major economic crisis known as The Great Depression. The United States was converting from a wartime economy to a peacetime economy. America became the richest nation and a culture of consumerism. Socially, change was brewing in order to protect and empower every citizen in America. Politically, laws were enacted to allow people who normally didn’t have a voice to be heard. Culturally, America was developing into a music, sports, and entertainment. During the Depression a lot of women went to work. “The efforts to support their families provoked many Americans who thought women workers were taking jobs away from men” (Schultz, 2012). As of today, women are still looked down upon being as if to come second and do not deserve as much as man.
Even though women struggled to get equal voting rights, there were still issues between the western, eastern, and southern states. The western states granted the right for women to vote before the eastern and southern states. The first state to grant women the right to vote was Wyoming, which passed universal suffrage in 1869. There are numerous reasons why women were voting ahead of the women in the East Coast. One
explanation is that “mining and agricultural prospecting was a driving force behind the westward expansion of the United States” (Scaliger, 2008). Suffrage was seen as an enticement for women to move west, particularly in states like Wyoming. Additionally, granting women the right to vote ensured that Western states had larger voting populations, and would therefore have more representation in Congress. Griffith states that, “Members of Congress initially supported women voting in Utah because they believed that women would...