Research Paper Fall 2011
Women’s Suffrage Movement Impact on the United States
Woman suffrage in the United States was achieved gradually through the 19th and early 20th Century. The women’s suffrage movement concluded in 1920 with a famous passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution 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.” In the aftermath of the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, which demanded the rights for women’s suffrage, most Americans rejected the movement because people did not want the United States system to change when it was already clearly working, women already had a solidified role and duty in local affairs, and because men and women were just simply viewed as having different abilities and capabilities in society. Although many Americans were against women’s suffrage, the movement brought progress towards equality, related social and political reform, and led to many key events that positively allowed women to bring about social change.
The first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. Two days later, a Declaration of Sentiments was signed by 68 women and 32 men. This outlined all the injustices and allowed the women’s rights movement to begin. Twelve resolutions were adopted, calling for equal treatment of women and men under the law and voting rights for women. In 1850, the first national Women’s Rights Convention took place in Worcester, Massachusetts. More than 1,000 participants came and annual national conventions were held afterwards all the way through 1860.
Some of the most influential women in history were Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In 1869, they formed the National Woman Suffrage Association, with the goal to attain voting rights for women through an amendment to the Constitution. In Letters of a Nation, Elizabeth Cady Stanton writes a letter to Susan B. Anthony about editing their feminist newspaper, “The Revolution.” In this letter, Stanton writes how changing the name of “The Revolution” would be a mistake. Stanton quotes, “The establishing of woman on her rightful throne is the greatest revolution the world has ever known or ever will know. To bring it about is no child’s play. You and I have not forgotten the conflict of the last twenty-years- the ridicule, persecution, denunciation, detraction, the unmixed bitterness of our cup for the past two years, when even friends crucified us”. These gallant statements that Stanton writes proves how much the women’s suffrage movement needed to happen. Stanton is literally bitter about how they have been treated and will do anything to change the American ways for a more fair and equal future for women. Stanton comes off as an admiral, strong women in history, who believes that she can make a difference in everyone’s lives. Indeed, Stanton is one of the many reasons why the women’s suffrage movement occurred, and all women everywhere have her to thank. Fifty-one years later, Anthony and Stanton are still friends working on “The Revolution” and trying to see their ultimate dream through- the right for women to vote. Unfortunately, they never lived to see this day, but another letter was found in Letters of a Nation, in which Anthony wrote a letter to Stanton about their journey through the women suffrage. Anthony describes that throughout all their hard work, they never once stopped being optimistic towards their battle for women’s suffrage. Even in fifty years, they accomplished a lot more than they could have hoped for, such as: women were able to get a college education, have business experience, and were fully able to speak in public now. Anthony continued to be optimistic throughout her letter and was certain that their influence and reign would be carried on to victory by future women....