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Women’s Suffrage in History

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    Kelly Dittmar, an assistant Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University, stated, “More women than men register to vote. Some 83.8 million women were registered to vote in 2016, compared to 73.8 million men”(1). In recent years, women across the nation have been increasing their voice in politics in order to feel more represented. The Women’s Suffrage Movement is the main reason that women are allowed to vote in today’s society.

    The Women’s Suffrage Parade occurred in 1913 on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Over five thousand women participated with the common goal of hoping to make a change. The women faced a great amount of adversity throughout the course of the parade, but never gave in and finished the march. In the early twentieth century, women in America were misrepresented throughout American politics, therefore, the Women’s Suffrage Parade was enacted in order for women to take a stand and achieve the right to vote.

    In the nineteenth century, women in the United States began to recognize the inequality between men and women. Women in this time period did not receive many of the rights that men were granted. Very few opportunities were present for women to succeed in the society. Women were viewed as people who should remain homebound, and completing everyday tasks within the household. Men, on the other hand, were expected to live a more public life. The men were able to receive an education and later on enter the workforce and begin to earn a living. Christopher Sailus, who received an M.A. in history, stated, “very few women had the same opportunities for education as men. Indeed, educating women was often seen as subversive, a possible perversion of the correct social order. Women were also entirely shut out of political activity” (1).

    Sailus’ lesson taught about how women were viewed throughout society in the nineteenth century. The lesson shows how very few women had similar opportunities as men, but how all other women were not included in simple everyday rights. When few women were offered these opportunities, it was perceived as the wrong thing to do. One of these many opportunities women were denied was the right to vote. Women in the nineteenth century had no voice in politics, and could not take a stand for their beliefs. Five women took notice to this and wanted to make a difference for women in society. In 1848, these five women met in Seneca Falls, New York, at the Seneca Falls Convention.

    According to Meredith Worthen, an Associate Professor of Sociology, “On July 19-20, 1848, hundreds of women and men met in Seneca Falls, New York for the very first woman’s rights convention in the United States. Its purpose was to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women”(1). The Seneca Falls Convention is considered the event that led to the formation of the Women’s Rights Movement. The Convention fought for social as well as civil rights for the women of the United States. Many women showed up to this convention, and began to spark the fight for women’s suffrage. After the first meeting, the Convention was opened up to men as well, which helped to grow and shape movement.

    In March, 1913, thousands of women marched together in Washington, D.C., in order to secure their right to vote. Women from all over the nation joined together to make a stand. The women began their march at the U.S. Capitol building and headed toward the Treasury Building. The organizers planned the march in order to obtain the maximum amount of attention and supporters. Danielle Cohen, a writer for the White House, stated, “The organizers of the parade also maximized attention on the event by strategically hosting it just one day before the inauguration of President-elect Woodrow Wilson. As the women marched from the U.S. Capitol toward the Treasury Building, they were met by thousands of spectators”(1).

    During the Women’s Suffrage Parade, women hoped to achieve the right to vote. Through spreading awareness and strategic planning by the organizers, the women’s voices began to be heard. Politicians and Government officials began to realize the need for something to be done, in order for women to become more equal to men. As the parade made its way towards the Treasury Building, women were preparing for the conclusion of the event. According to Sheridan Harvey, the author of the book American Women, “one hundred women and children presented an allegorical tableau written especially for the event to show those ideals toward which both men and women have been struggling through the ages and toward which, in cooperation and equality, they will continue to strive”(1).

    At the Treasury Building, the women wanted to allow people to understand the real reason behind the parade. The reason was not just to increase women’s rights, but to make known that men and women have been facing struggles in society. When all these struggles have been accessed, both men and women together will be able to succeed in a more equal society. Throughout the entire parade, the women who marched down Pennsylvania Ave had a goal of spreading awareness for women’s suffrage, a goal in which they greatly achieved.

    Throughout the Women’s Rights Parade, women faced a large amount of adversity. Many people in society opposed the idea of women being treated the same as men. These people felt that men should be treated superior to women, and that women should play a different role in society. During the parade, many who opposed the women’s ideas stood as bystanders on the sides of the street. Sheridan Harvey states, “crowds, mostly men in town for the following day’s inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, surged into the street making it almost impossible for the marchers to pass [picture]. Occasionally only a single file could move forward. Women were jeered, tripped, grabbed, and shoved”(1).

    Harvey describes the atmosphere in Washington, D.C., on the day of the parade. Many people were gathered around to protest the women who were participating. As the parade progrogressed on Harvey described how the women were responding to the bystanders around them. Instead of retaliating and reacting with violence, the women kept to themselves and pushed through the surrounding crowds. Over the course of the parade, the violence ensued, causing many women to be injured and hospitalized.

    The acts of violence did not stop the women from abandoning their mission, as they continued to march down through the streets. Many on-duty police officers were present as the parade progressed on, however, that did not stop bystanders from creating chaos. Alan Taylor, a Senior Editor at The Atlantic, wrote, “Policemen appeared to be either indifferent to the struggling paraders, or sympathetic to the mob. Before the day was out, one hundred marchers had been hospitalized”(1).

    Taylor described how the policemen who were on sight at the parade did not bother to help the women being injured. By displaying this kind of behavior toward the suffragettes, the police officers were prime examples of how government officials would respond to women. By the police officers showing how little they cared for women being hurt, also reflected the amount of respect they were giving to women across the nation. During the parade women were trying to voice their opinions alongside with fighting adversity and battling through many struggles and challenges that were thrown in their way. The suffragettes never once gave up and accepted defeat, they completed the parade and made sure their voice had been heard.

    The Women’s Suffrage Parade achieved the goal of women being allowed the right to vote, but it took several years to get passed by Congress. The end goal for the women who participated in the parade was for women to gain the right to vote in government elections. When the parade occurred in 1913, women took a stand to allow their voices to be heard by many, especially government officials. Alan Taylor later states, “What began in 1913 took another seven years to make it through Congress.

    In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment secured the vote for women”(1). Taylor talked about the year when this movement actually began to take effect within the United States. Although this movement did not reach success immediately after the parade, success was eventually achieved. In the year 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment had finally made its way through Congress. The Amendment had been passed just seven years later and secured the women’s right to vote. According to Franky Abbott, a curation and education strategist, states, “ On August 18, 1920, Congress ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women across the country the right to vote. This historic moment was largely the result of the work of activists and organizations advocating for universal voting rights”(1).

    Abbott talks about the direct impact that the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment had on the women of America. The passing of the Nineteenth Amendment allowed for women to finally be able to have a say in the governing style of the United States. Much success was achieved on this day in 1920, which is still being observed in present day. Without the passing of this amendment the women in today’s society would still be excluded from voting. Great success had been derived throughout the many years that the activists and organizations had been stepping up and fighting for a change.

    In the early twentieth century, women in society were being misrepresented within politics, however, the Women’s Rights Parade took a stand and achieved great success. The idea for the Women’s Rights Movement occurred in the late nineteenth century, and was formed by women at the Seneca Falls Convention. These women realized the inequality between men and women, and began to fight to make a change. Years later, over eight thousand people gathered in D.C. to stand up for women’s rights.

    Over the course of the parade much adversity had been faced by women, but nothing was able to stop them from finishing their march. Years after the parade, change had finally been made within Congress. Success had been achieved for women throughout the nation, and their voice had finally been heard. Without the courage of the women in the nineteenth century, women today would not have to opportunity to use the right to vote. The right to vote is something that can very easily be taken for granted, but the process in order to achieve it shall never be forgotten.

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    Women’s Suffrage in History. (2021, Jul 23). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/womens-suffrage-in-history/

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