Women's Suffrage Essay

1294 words - 6 pages

In any democratic society, equality is the basic foundation. The right to vote is one of the basic functions in society that give an equal voice among everyone. Before 1911, California lagged behind in recognizing women’s demands for an active role in public life. The movement for the right to vote for women started in Seneca, New York, which is known as the Women’s Suffrage movement. This movement was a fight for equality, which could be seen as the birth of feminism. Although there were many women who led the fight for equal voice, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were the two primary figures of the movement.
Due to California’s political climate, the movement brought great ...view middle of the document...

They all believed that they could cure social issues and clean up dirty politics, which led the women and Socialists to broaden their alliance in California specifically in urban areas. This led the formation of the Women’s Socialist Union of California and Woman’s International Union Labor League. One key woman, who played a key role in California, was Maud Younger. Maude Younger was the key leader who bridged the economic and racial divides. Another key woman was Charlotta Spears Bass who published pro-suffrage editorials in the largest African American newspaper. The leaders of the coalition believed in visibility in their plan to win, which caused flamboyant parades, street signs, door to door canvassing, speeches, plays, pageants, and press coverage that would reach from northern to southern California (“Women of the West Museum). They sent out leaflets and flyers in Spanish, Italian, German, and etc… to attract support from men and women immigrant workers but didn’t put it in Chinese because they feared that they would lose support if they were to support Asians. In 1911, California approved the women’s right to vote by a wide margin with the eyes of the nation looking over California.
Nationally, the women’s suffrage movement started in Seneca Falls, New York, which adopted the “Declaration of Principles” modeled after the Declaration of Independence. With this in place, the struggle to earn the right to vote began. After the civil war, the suffrage movement broke up into two groups: National Woman Suffrage Association and American Woman Suffrage Association (Jones 374). The reason they broke up was because they had conflicting view, but they later combined to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association that would incorporate both views, which was to seek an amendment to the U.S. Constitution and pressure state legislatures to amend state constitutions. These organizations were met with resistance because women were challenging the belief that women should only be involved in domestic work. There were many women who were opposed to suffrage and Josephine Dodge in 1911 created the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage. Dodge believed that they can influence policy behind the scenes by use of men. By getting involved in politics, Dodge thought it would create chaos by being in matters beyond their scope of understanding. Even though there was opposition, states started extend voting rights to women, but it was a slow, uncertain process. Due to the uncertainty, leaders of the movement wanted to push for suffrage on the national level instead of the state by state tactic. The movement introduced the “Anthony Amendment”, which stated that the right of citizens to vote shall not be denied by any state on account of sex (“essortment”). The amendment was defeated by close margin, which gave hope...

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