September 9, 2005
By: Frank J. Collazo Beauchamp
Introduction: The scope of the report provides the rationale as to why slavery had to be resolved before the women’s suffrage problem. In fact, in every slavery movement there is a link to women’s suffrage. Most of the abolitionists had women’s suffrage in their agenda. A description of the development of the women’s suffrage problem in the 19th and 20th centuries is discussed in detailed. Attachment one describes the Abolitionists and Suffragettes involved in the women’s suffrage movement from 1805 to 1920.
Women’s Suffrage Movement: The right of women to share on equal terms with men the political privileges afforded by representative government and, more particularly, to vote in elections and referendums and to hold public office. Equal political rights for women have been advocated since antiquity. Under the autocratic forms of government that prevailed in ancient times and under the feudal regimes of the Middle Ages, suffrage was so restricted, even among men, that enfranchisement of women never attained the status of a major political issue. Conditions warranted organized woman suffrage movements only after suffrage had been won by large, formerly disfranchised groups of the male population as a consequence of the democratic revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries.
British Suffrage Movement: In Britain the woman-suffrage movement roughly paralleled that of the United States, but in the movement’s later stages more vigorous and violent tactics were often employed.
The great pioneer figure of British feminism was the writer Mary Wollstonecraft. Her chief work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), is one of the major feminist documents of the 18th century. During the 1830s and ‘40s British suffragism received notable aid and encouragement from the Chartists (see Chartism), who fought unsuccessfully for a sweeping program of human rights. In subsequent years the woman-suffrage issue was kept before the British public by a succession of liberal legislators, among them the statesmen and social philosophers John Stuart Mill, John Bright, and Richard Cobden. Mill helped to found in 1865 the first British woman-suffrage association. All efforts to secure the franchise for women were effectively opposed. Prominent among the antifeminists of the period were the reigning monarch Queen Victoria and the British Prime ministers William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli.
The British woman-suffrage movement acquired additional impetus when in 1897 various feminist groups merged to form the National Union of Woman Suffrage Societies. A section of the membership soon decided that its policies were timid and indecisive, and in 1903 the dissident and more militant faction, led by the colorful feminist Emmeline Pankhurst, established the Women’s Social and Political Union. Pankhurst’s suffragists soon won a reputation for boldness and militancy. Tactics employed by the organization included boycotting, bombing, window breaking, picketing, and harassment of anti suffragist legislators. In 1913 one dedicated suffragist publicized her cause by deliberately hurling herself to death under the hooves of horses racing in the derby at Epsom Downs. Because of their forceful and provocative behavior, the suffragists were often handled roughly by the police and repeatedly jailed and fined.
During World War I the British suffragists ceased agitation and made notable contributions to many aspects of the war effort, favorably influencing public opinion. In 1918 Parliament enfranchised all women householders, householders’ wives, and women university graduates over 30 years of age. Parliament lowered the voting age of women to 21 in 1928, giving them complete political equality with men. In 1929 British trade union leader Margaret G. Bondfield became the first woman cabinet member in British history. A major breakthrough occurred in 1979 when Margaret Thatcher became the first woman prime minister of the United Kingdom; she served three successive terms before leaving office in 1990.
Colonial America: The women’s suffrage movement originated in the United States during the 19th century. In colonial America, as elsewhere in the world, civil law did not recognize the equality of men and women. The perception of inequality, which included the belief that women lacked the capacity to reason as soundly as men, provided the basis for denying women the right to vote. Even before the American Revolution (1776-1783), however, American women participated in public life somewhat more freely than European women. In most colonies land ownership, not gender, determined the right to vote. Although females possessed only limited property rights, women from families that owned property could sometimes vote, particularly if the male head of household was for some reason incapacitated. In Massachusetts women property holders had voting privileges from 1691 to 1780. In this period, groups such as the American Quakers, and some individuals, notably the Anglo-American political philosopher Thomas Paine, also argued that women should possess the right to vote.
After the American Revolution, the framers of the Constitution of the United States reserved decisions about qualifications for voting to the individual states. By the early 19th century, most states had dropped the property qualification and extended voting rights to all adult males. Ironically, the extension of democracy to a broader base of men represented a double setback for women. By definition, laws giving only men the right to vote now excluded women solely on the basis of their gender. In addition, by eliminating property ownership as a requirement for voting, these laws deprived women of the only legal claim for a right to vote that they previously had.
Abolitionism and Temperance: During the first half of the 19th century, American suffragists worked mainly through the abolitionist and the temperance movements, but antifeminist prejudices severely limited the role of woman members. A notable instance of such prejudice occurred at the London Anti-Slavery Convention of 1840. For several days the convention debated bitterly the right of eight American women to take part in the proceedings. Internationally famous clergymen contended during the debate that equal status for women was contrary to the will of God. Eventually two of the women, the noted American feminists Lucretia Coffin Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, were seated behind a curtain, effectively shielded from view and denied the right to speak.
After many such rebuffs, American suffragists decided to create a separate movement dedicated to women’s rights. Prominent early in the movement were, besides Mott and Stanton, the brilliant American feminists Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Abby Kelley Foster, and Ernestine Rose. American men active in support of woman suffrage included the clergymen Henry Ward Beecher and Wendell Phillips and the essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The Seneca Falls Convention: In July 1848, on the initiative of Mott and Stanton, the first women’s rights convention met at a Wesleyan church chapel in Seneca Falls, New York. Between 100 and 300 people attended the convention, among them many male sympathizers. After serious discussion of proposed means to achieve their ends, the delegates finally agreed that the primary goal should be attainment of the franchise. The convention then adopted a Declaration of Sentiments patterned after the American Declaration of Independence.
Public reaction to the Seneca Falls convention prestaged a stormy future for the new movement. Although many prominent Americans, including the famed editor Horace Greeley and the abolitionist leader William Lloyd Garrison, warmly supported it, many citizens and the great majority of newspapers responded with ridicule, fury, and vilification. Suffragists were called the shrieking sisterhood, branded as unfeminine, and accused of immorality and drunkenness. Later, when suffragist leaders undertook speaking tours in support of women’s rights, temperance, and abolition, they were often subjected to physical violence. Meetings repeatedly were stormed and disrupted by gangs of street bullies. On one occasion when Anthony spoke in Albany, New York, the city mayor sat on the rostrum brandishing a revolver to discourage possible attacks by hoodlums in the audience. Despite intimidation, the woman suffrage and abolitionist movements continued for some years to grow side by side.
After the Civil War: Bitter disagreements over strategy engendered a schism between the suffragist and abolitionist groups after the American Civil War. Many male abolitionists voiced fears that the demands of women suffragists might impede the campaign to gain voting rights for male ex-slaves. The issue came to a head in 1868, when the abolitionists pressed for a constitutional amendment enfranchising all Americans regardless of race, creed, or color. Suffragists retorted that the proposed amendment made no mention of women. The abolitionists answered that the suffragists should defer their claims rather than endanger passage of the amendment. To many suffragists, notably Stanton and Anthony, postponement was unacceptable.
In May 1869 the two feminist leaders created the independent National Woman Suffrage Association, with the objective of securing enactment of a federal woman-suffrage law. Another suffragist faction, led by Lucy Stone and Henry Ward Beecher, countered in November of the same year by founding the American Woman Suffrage Association. That group worked for gradual adoption of woman suffrage on a state-by-state basis. The territory of Wyoming gave women the vote in 1869.
After the passage (1870) of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Anthony interpreted the law as enfranchising American women as well as male ex-slaves. She went to the polls in Rochester, New York, in 1872 and persuaded the election inspectors to let her and 12 other women register and vote. Two weeks after the election she, her 12 friends, and 3 of the election inspectors were arrested. Anthony received a grossly unfair trial, during which the judge repeatedly displayed antifeminist prejudices. At the height of the proceedings the judge, apparently anticipating a jury verdict in her favor, dismissed the jury and imposed on her a fine of $100. Anthony refused to pay the fine, whereupon the judge, apprehensive that she might appeal to higher courts, allowed her to go free. Her friends never were brought to trial. The election inspectors received heavy fines, which were paid by sympathetic spectators. The case aroused widespread interest, but the ban against woman suffrage remained.
Suffrage Gains: Anthony’s ordeal had the effect, however, of lending impetus to the feminist movement. In 1890 the Stanton-Anthony group merged with the Stone-Beecher faction to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. For many years thereafter the association worked to advance women’s rights on both the state and federal levels. Besides Stone, Anthony, and Stanton, leaders and supporters of the association included the noted American feminists Harriet Beecher Stowe, Julia Ward Howe, Clara Barton, Jane Adams, and Carrie Chapman Catt. Largely as a result of agitation by the association, suffrage was granted in the states of Colorado (1893), Utah and Idaho (1896), and Washington (1910). In addition, the association in 1910 secured 500,000 signatures for a petition urging federal woman-suffrage legislation. California granted women full suffrage in 1911; Kansas, Oregon, and Arizona followed in 1912; Nevada and Montana in 1914; New York in 1917; and Michigan, Oklahoma and South Dakota in 1918.
The American suffragist movement scored its climactic victory shortly after World War I. In 1919 Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provided that “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.” Ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment became the law of the land. See also League of Women Voters of the United States.
Suffrage in Other Countries: Meanwhile and subsequently most of the other nations of the world enacted woman-suffrage legislation. Among the first to do so were the following, each of which granted the franchise to women before the mid-20th century: New Zealand (1893); Australia (1902); Finland (1906); Norway (1913); Denmark (1915); the Netherlands and the Soviet Union (1917); Canada and Luxembourg (1918); Austria, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Germany, Poland, and Sweden (1919); Belgium (partial, 1919; full, 1948); Ecuador (1929); South Africa (1930); Brazil and Uruguay (1932); Turkey and Cuba (1934); France (1944); Italy and Japan (1946); China and Argentina (1947); South Korea and Israel (1948); Chile, India, and Indonesia (1949). Switzerland granted the franchise to women in 1971. By the 1980s, women could vote virtually everywhere in the world, except for a few Muslim countries. Women who attained national leadership posts in modern times include prime ministers Golda Meir (Israel), Indira Gandhi (India), and Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan) and President Corazon Aquino of the Philippines.
Women’s Rights: With the widespread extension of the franchise to women, the women’s rights movement broadened its scope during the 20th century. Among the rights sought currently by feminist groups throughout the world are the right to serve on juries, the right to retain earnings and property after marriage, the right to retain citizenship after marriage to an alien, and the right to equal pay and equal job opportunity. In the late 1960s so-called women’s liberation movements were organized and became active.
Emancipation Proclamation-13th Amendment: A variety of forces began to press for a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery permanently. Women's groups were in the forefront in this battle, particularly the National Women's Loyal League, a predominantly white organization led by suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. They believed that chattel slavery as practiced in the United States was closely linked to women's inferior place in society and that progress in one area could result in progress in another. The Republican Party outlined support for such an amendment in its 1864 platform.
Lincoln, after winning the 1864 presidential election, began pushing Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery, using both his electoral mandate and his political skills to overcome the opposition of the Democratic Party. Early in 1865, shortly before the defeat of the Confederacy and Lincoln's assassination, Congress approved the 13th Amendment. Its simplicity and brevity was believed to be the fundamental changes it made to American society. Section 1 states that, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." Section 2 gives Congress the "power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." Although Congress approved it, the amendment had to be ratified by three-fourths of the states before becoming part of the Constitution.
Most Northern states had ratified it, but it was up to President Andrew Johnson, who assumed the presidency after Lincoln's assassination in April 1865, to secure the necessary approval from Southern states. Johnson set very lenient terms for Southern reentry into American political society, as part of the process known as Reconstruction, but he required that Southern states ratify the amendment as a condition of readmission. Many state constitutional conventions, including those of Delaware and Kentucky, which had never outlawed slavery, opposed this requirement. Southern states especially disliked the second section, which provided for federal intervention if slavery were practiced. Johnson's tactics gained cooperation of enough states, however, and the amendment was ratified on December 18, 1865, finally abolishing legalized slavery throughout the United States.
Reconstruction Period: In 1867 Congress passed the Reconstruction Act, followed by three supplemental acts passed later the same year and in 1868. These acts invalidated the state governments formed under Lincoln and Johnson’s plans and divided the ex-Confederacy into five military districts. The acts also provided that voters—all black men and white men not disqualified by the 14th Amendment—could elect delegates to write new state constitutions that ensured black male suffrage.
A state could be readmitted to the Union once it had met a series of requirements, including ratification of the 14th Amendment. Black enfranchisement made Congressional Reconstruction more radical than Johnson’s plan. Still, even Congressional Reconstruction provided only a temporary period of military rule, and it did not take property away from former Confederates or punish them for treason. When President Johnson tried to block the new Reconstruction laws, Republicans again united, this time in order to remove him from office. The House approved 11 charges of impeachment, but Johnson escaped conviction in the Senate by one vote. Congress then passed the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed black suffrage. Women’s rights advocates complained that the new amendment ignored their demands for enfranchising women, but to Republican leaders the woman suffrage issue was not vital. Black suffrage, in contrast, was imperative: Only with the votes of African Americans could Republicans control the former Confederate states.
1868 - 14th Amendment: A combination of personal stubbornness, fervent belief in states’ rights, and deeply held racist convictions led Johnson to reject the bills. His vetoes caused a permanent rupture between the president and Congress. The Civil Rights Act was the first major piece of legislation in American history to become law over a president’s veto. Shortly thereafter, Congress approved the 14th Amendment, which forbade states from depriving any citizen of the “equal protection of the laws,” barred many Confederates from holding state or national office, and threatened to reduce the South’s representation in Congress if black men continued to be kept from voting.
The 14th Amendment, the most important addition to the Constitution other than the Bill of Rights, embodied a profound change in federal-state relations. Traditionally, citizens’ rights had been delineated and protected by the states. Being born in the United States did not necessarily make one a citizen, for less than a decade earlier, Chief Justice Roger A. Taney, in the Dred Scott decision, had announced that no black person, free or slave, could be a citizen of the United States (see Dred Scott v. Sandford). Now, Congress not only wrote into the Constitution the principle of birthright citizenship but also proposed that the federal government guarantee all Americans’ equality before the law, regardless of race, against state violation. This was a remarkable transformation in the traditional structure of federalism. Yet Republican egalitarianism had its limits. Women’s rights advocates insisted that the time had come to “bury the black man and the woman in the citizen”–to eliminate, that is, gender as well as race as grounds for legal distinctions among Americans.
Congress, however, had no intention of altering prevailing gender norms. Indeed, Republicans, including many black spokesmen, saw emancipation as restoring to African Americans the natural right to family life, in which men would take their place as heads of household and women theirs in the domestic sphere from which slavery had unnaturally removed them. Restoring the freedman’s “manhood” and women’s right to raise their children was central to the meaning of freedom. When it came to suffrage, few in Congress, even among Radical Republicans, responded sympathetically to feminists’ demands. Reconstruction, they insisted, was the “Negro’s hour” (the hour, that is, of the black male). When suffrage came to African Americans, it was for men alone.
Women and the Black Baptist Church: Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, black Baptist women challenged gender proscriptions that thwarted the full utilization of their talents. The debate over women's rights in Arkansas typified that in other states. Ministers argued that separate organizations under the control of women would elicit a desire to rule the men. Some Arkansas ministers contended that women's financial contributions would cease to be under the men's control, whereas others demanded that male officers preside over women's societies—if they were permitted to form. The women of Arkansas responded by stressing their critical importance as a missionary force, insisting that they could better accomplish the work of religiously training the world by uniting as a separate organization. The women claimed their right to be an independent voice in the church on the assumption that they were equally responsible, in proportion to their abilities, as men.
Outstanding leaders such as Virginia W. Broughton of Tennessee and Mary V. Cook of Kentucky turned to the Bible to defend women's rights in the church and the larger society. Broughton, a schoolteacher and zealous missionary, published Women's Work, as Gleaned from the Women of the Bible (1904) in order to disclose biblical precedents for gender equality. Her feminist interpretation of the Bible shaped her understanding of women's roles in her own day, and the book summed up the ideas that had marked her public lectures, correspondence, and house-to-house visitations since the 1880s.
Broughton led the women of her state in forming Bible bands for the study and interpretation of the Scriptures, and her gender consciousness united black Baptist women in other states as well, emboldening them to develop their own societies. Traveling throughout the urban and rural areas of Tennessee, Broughton was instrumental in organizing a statewide association of black Baptist women. She advocated training schools for mothers in order to better the home life of black people, and she ardently promoted higher education for women. Mary Cook of Kentucky also appropriated biblical images to prove that God used women in every capacity.
During the late 1880s, Cook, a professor at the black Baptist-owned State University at Louisville (later renamed Simmons University), was the most prominent woman in the ministerial-led convention movement that ultimately led to the founding of the NBC. She urged women to spread their influence in every cause, place, and institution. In newspaper articles and speeches she emphasized woman's suffrage as well as full equality for women in employment, education, social reform, and church work. In a speech given in 1887, Cook praised female teachers, journalists, linguists, and physicians, and she insisted that women must "come from all the professions, from the humble Christian to the expounder of His work; from the obedient citizen to the ruler of the land." Both Cook and Broughton noted male resistance to the formation of women's societies; for example, they claimed that ministers and laymen had locked the doors of their churches, refusing to accommodate women's societies.
In her autobiography, Twenty Years as a Missionary (1907), Broughton even recalled potentially fatal confrontations and physical threats made against women. Although the black Baptist convention movement had served the critical role of uniting women and men in the struggle for racial self-determination, it had simultaneously created a separate, gender-based community that reflected and supported women's equality.
1885 - Reform Bill: One of the most important features of the Reform Bill of 1885 was a provision that virtually doubled the electorate by enfranchising workers and agricultural laborers. This act made representation almost proportionate to the male population.
1890 -1920 Feminism in the United States: During the period from 1890 to 1920 African Americans organized on the national level. The growth of Jim Crow segregation in schools, employment, political life, and public accommodations heralded deteriorating conditions in the South and fostered a mass migration of blacks to cities of the North (see Great Migration). This increasing urbanization created African American communities that could support a range of ideas and organizations. Politically, women struggled for suffrage and African Americans demanded political and civil rights, an end to the terrorism of lynching, and adequate standards of living. Spurred on by these catalysts, middle-class black women began to organize on a local level to undertake educational, philanthropic, and welfare activities. Black women's clubs were founded in a number of cities.
The growth of black urban communities and the urgent needs of the poor gave rise to a national black women's club movement. The National Federation of Afro-American Women was founded in 1896 and elected Margaret Murray Washington as its president. The National League of Colored Women was founded in Washington, D.C., in 1892. Together these two organizations represented over 100 local black women's clubs. After their merger into the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) in 1896, Mary Church Terrell was elected president. The NACW became a unifying force, an authoritative voice in defense of black womanhood. The black women's club movement was both an activist and intellectual endeavor. The leadership of the national organization worked not only to eliminate black women's oppression but also to produce analyses of that oppression. The work of these black feminist intellectuals was influenced by the four core themes of black feminism, particularly the merger of action and theory.
The activities of early-20th-century black women such as Ida B. Wells, Fannie Barrier Williams, Terrell, Anna Julia Cooper, and others illustrate that theme. These women produced analyses of subjects as diverse as the struggle for education, sexual politics and violence, race pride, racial prejudice, the importance of black women collectively defining black womanhood, and inclusion in white women's organizations. Since the vast majority of African American women in the early 20th century were burdened both by long hours in either agricultural or domestic work and by shouldering the responsibilities of caring for families, they had little time to engage in either theorizing or organizing. The activities of the clubwomen on behalf of all African American women, and not just those of the middle class, remain noteworthy.
1902 Maryland-Country’s First Workers Compensation Law: Johns Hopkins University, founded in 1876, led the way in graduate education. Its faculty members also campaigned for better management of the oyster beds in particular and for more rational public policies generally. Educators succeeded in strengthening and standardizing teacher training. In Baltimore, Henrietta Szold developed model programs for the care and education of immigrant children. Enoch Pratt, a Baltimore merchant, sponsored the first citywide system of free libraries, which opened in 1886. In 1894 the legislature restricted child labor and set standards for pure milk; in 1896 it adopted the secret ballot; and in 1902 it passed the country’s first workers’ compensation law. The Maryland Bar Association formed in 1895 and called for revised laws and professionalism among judges. Women in favor of good government formed a state federation in 1899 and five years later organized a women’s suffrage association.
1907 Achievements and Aspirations of Labor: For much of history and throughout the world, social and legal traditions have tolerated or even promoted the physical assault of women by men. In ancient Rome, a husband could legally divorce, physically punish, or even kill his wife for behaviors that were permitted for men. Punishment of wives was called chastisement, a term that emphasized the corrective purpose of the action and minimized the violent nature of the behavior. Under medieval English common law, a husband could not be prosecuted for raping his wife because the law provided that a wife could not refuse consent for sex to her husband.
Because much of U.S. law was modeled on English common law, this definition of rape remained in effect in the United States until the 1970s, when many (but not all) states modified their rape statutes. Although laws in the United States have always prohibited wife beating, these laws often were not enforced. Furthermore, laws prohibiting assault and battery set different standards for guilt if the victim was the wife of the assailant. That is, to be found guilty of a crime for hitting his wife, a husband had to more severely strike and more seriously injure her than if he had hit a stranger. Courts treated victims of assault differently because the husband had a legal right to chastise his wife.
The right to chastise wives was first overruled by courts in Alabama and Massachusetts in 1871. Further reading these sources will provide additional information on Domestic Violence. Since the 19th century, women have acquired greater legal and political rights, such as the right to vote (see Woman Suffrage). As the status of women has improved, attitudes toward domestic violence have shifted and laws have been changed. The National Organization for Women (NOW) and other women’s rights organizations in the United States have sponsored campaigns to raise public awareness of intimate violence. Whereas 30 years ago spouse abuse occurred behind closed doors and was largely considered a private matter, today it is widely recognized as an important, dangerous, and harmful social problem.
1912 Washington State: The government also enacted a number of political reforms that gave the people greater control of government. These measures included the initiative and the referendum, through which citizens could initiate or approve laws by popular vote, and the recall, which allowed them to remove dishonest or irresponsible public officials. Female suffrage gave women the vote, and the direct primary provided voters, rather than party bosses, with the ability to choose candidates for public office. In 1912 the Progressive candidate for president, Theodore Roosevelt, carried the state.
1913 - Against Women Voting Grace Duffield Goodwin: The ardent supporters of the present demand for universal adult suffrage (the exact meaning of "votes for women") are under the necessity of proving to American women their present evil condition, and of proving, also, that universal adult suffrage is the panacea. … We submit the proposition that American women, judged not by the individual, the group, or the class, but as a whole, are suffering under no wrongs, which need for their redress the violent overturning of the entire political machinery of the nation.… The suffragists ask for the ballot upon the ground that they are "human beings." Anything so obvious is outside the bounds of discussion, but anti-suffragists constantly emphasize the equally undeniable fact of sex differentiation with its many limitations. What will do for a man "human being" will not necessarily do for a woman "human being."
There is no neuter gender in our thought. We hold that sex is a dominant factor in this question of duties and of abilities. …A large part of the suffrage movement at present, in its fervor and fury, represents the acme of hysterical feminine thoughtlessness and unrest. The remainder represents the impractical idealism of that class of men and women whose ardor carries them lightly over the many difficulties, which are insurmountable for those who will be called upon in the future to apply these roseate dreams to the common tasks of practical politics. … The cause of woman suffrage, though deeply interesting, is not supremely urgent, and is in no way comparable to the liberating struggles for religious and political freedom, which the world has sometimes seen. In its application it is but a question of method, a discussion of ways and means—the best ways, the most effective means, of attaining undefined and half-understood political ends in a huge and ill-balanced democracy struggling under the present burden of an already dangerously large electorate.
1913 US Cavalry Routs Mobs in Washington DC: Washington, March 3—Five thousand women, marching in the woman suffrage pageant today, virtually fought their way foot by foot up Pennsylvania avenue through a surging mob that completely defied the Washington police, swamped the marchers, and broke their procession into little companies. The women, trudging stoutly along under great difficulties, were able to complete their march only when troops of cavalry from Ft. Myers were rushed into Washington to take charge of Pennsylvania Avenue. No inauguration has ever produced such scenes, which in many instances amounted to nothing less than riots.
Indignation Meeting: Later in Continental Hall, the women turned what was to have been a suffrage demonstration into an indignation meeting in which the Washington police were roundly denounced for their inactivity and resolutions were adopted calling upon President-Elect Wilson and the incoming Congress to make an investigation and locate the responsibility for the indignities the marchers suffered. Miss Helen Keller, the noted deaf and blind girl, who was so exhausted and unnerved by the experience in attempting to reach a grand stand where she was to have been a guest of honor, that she was unable to speak in Continental Hall.
Women in Tears: Many of the women were in tears under the jibes and insults of the mob that lined the route. Although stout wire ropes had been stretched up and down the length of Pennsylvania Avenue from the Peace Monument to the wall behind the White House, the crowds overstepped them or crawled beneath. Apparently no effort was made to drive back the trespassers in the early hours, with the result that when the parade started it faced at almost every hundred yards a solid wall of humanity.
Hostile Crowd: On the whole, it was a hostile crowd through which the women marched. Miss Inez Milholland, herald of the procession, distinguished herself by aiding in riding down a mob that blocked the way and threatened to disrupt the parade. Another woman member of the “petticoat cavalry” struck a hoodlum a stinging blow across the face with her riding crop in reply to a scurrilous remark as she was passing. The mounted police seemed powerless to stem the tide of humanity.
Guests Disgusted: Hoodlums assembled in front of the reviewing stand, in which sat Mrs. Taft and Miss Helen Taft and a half-dozen invited guests from the White House, and kept up a running fire of caustic comments. Apparently no effort was made to remove them and, evidently disgusted, the White House party left before the procession had passed in its halting and interrupted journey toward Continental Hall.
The tableau on the steps of the Treasury building, framed in the great columns and the broad stairway of the government treasury house, were begun when the parade started. Beautiful in coloring and grouping, the dramatic symbolization of women's aspirations for political freedom was completed long before the head of the parade was in sight. In their thin dresses and bare arms, the performers waited, shivering, for more than an hour, until finally they were forced to seek refuge within the big building. Around the Treasury Department the crowds were massed so tightly that repeated charges by the police were seemingly ineffective. Occasionally the mob gave way in one place, only to break over and under the wire at some other.
Cavalry Appears: When the cavalry appeared there was wild applause in the reviewing stand. The men in brown virtually brushed aside the mounted and foot police and took charge. In two lines the troops charged the crowds. Evidently realizing they would be ridden down, the mobs fought their way back. When they hesitated, the cavalrymen drove their horses into the throngs and whirled and wheeled until hooting men and women were forced to retreat. A space was quickly cleared. The parade in itself, in spite of the delays, was a great success. Passing through two walls of antagonistic humanity, the marchers for the most part kept their temper. They suffered insult and closed their ears to jibes and jeers. Few faltered, although several of the older women were forced to drop out from time to time.
Ovation for Rosalie: The greatest ovation probably was given to “General” Rosalie Jones, who led her little band of “hikers” from New York over rough roads and through snow and rain to march for the cause. “General” Jones was radiant. She carried a great bunch of American Beauty roses, which made a splash of red against the dull brown of her hooded tramping gown. When the women assembled in Continental Hall, the first resolution adopted, to be presented to President Wilson after his inauguration tomorrow, called on him to demand of Congress a thorough investigation of the causes for the “poor police protection which would have been a disgrace to any city, but which was doubly so here,” with a further demand that the responsible authorities be punished for their indifference and negligence.
The opening address by Dr. Anna Shaw, president of the National American Woman's Suffrage Association, was a bitter excoriation of the police. “Never was I so ashamed of our national capital before,” she said. “If anything could prove the need of the ballot, nothing could prove it more than the treatment we received today. The women in the parade showed wonderful dignity and self-respect by keeping cool in the midst of insult and lewd remarks. Hoodlums were given possession of the streets here today without any adequate attempt being made to protect us.” Oswald Garrison Villard of New York, grandson of William Lloyd Garrison, at the conclusion of Dr. Shaw's address, read the resolution, which she had suggested in her speech, calling for Congressional investigation, and it was adopted with wild cheers.
Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the International Suffrage Association, declared that members of Congress should demand an investigation. Many of the men along the line, she declared, “were drunk enough for the lock-up.” In no other nation but Switzerland, she said, have the women been forced to take their appeal for the vote “to the rabble.” Source: Los Angeles Times, March 4, 1913.
1910 Popular and Social Dance: Not long after the first performance in 1867 of the “Blue Danube” waltz, by Austrian composer Johann Strauss the Younger, dominance in the development of popular dance shifted from Europe to America. Previously, American emphasis had been on imported English country dancing and the French contredanse and cotillion. In 1889, however, American bandmaster John Philip Sousa’s “Washington Post March” gave birth to the two-step in ½ meter, with a quick marching step with skips. Ragtime, with roots in black American music, emerged in the late 1890s. With its lively, syncopated rhythms, it gave rise to a popular craze for dances imitating animals, such as the turkey trot (in which syncopated arm gestures simulated wing movements, and the feet moved with one step to each beat), the grizzly bear, and the bunny hug, from about 1910 to about 1915.
Also popular during this time were the tango, a sensual dance imported from Argentina, and the maxixe. The radical changes in dance styles mirrored the changes in society: automobiles and airplanes, radios and telephones, suffrage for women, the rise of labor unions, the writings of Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and the Russian Revolution of 1905.
1912: Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive (Bull Moose/Republican) Party becomes the first national political party to adopt a women suffrage plank.
1914 Montana: Women in Montana had more rights than in most of the country. The territorial government had permitted women to vote in some local and school elections, beginning in 1869. In 1914 women were granted full suffrage. In 1916 Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman to be elected to the United States House of Representatives, and Maggie Hathaway became the first woman appointed as the minority leader in the state legislature.
19th Century Struggle for Women’s Rights: Organized efforts by women to achieve greater rights occurred in two major waves. The first wave began around the mid-19th century, when women in the United States and elsewhere campaigned to gain suffrage—that is, the right to vote (see Woman Suffrage). This wave lasted until the 1920s, when several countries granted women suffrage. The second wave gained momentum during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, when the struggle by African Americans to achieve racial equality inspired women to renew their own struggle for equality.
Mid 19th Century - Population Growth: In the mid-19th century, the development of the germ theory, which stated that microorganisms cause infectious diseases, helped people understand how diseases were transmitted. Antiseptic procedures began to be used, saving many lives in surgery and childbirth. Concerned individuals and private groups carried on much of the early fight against germs and disease. Mothers sought to improve health by attacking the germs that might harm their families. They taught their children to brush their teeth, use a handkerchief when blowing their nose, cover their mouths when coughing, wash with soap, and never spit. This concern for health and sanitation even helped fuel the woman’s suffrage movement, as many women demanded the right to vote in order to push for clean water, clean streets, and the pasteurization of milk.
In the second half of the 19th century, the health and longevity of African Americans and their children improved substantially after the end of slavery enabled them to form permanent families. Enslaved children had been undernourished, poorly clothed, and denied education. When plantation owners no longer made the decisions about childcare, children were healthier and better educated. And after 1867 the Granger movement, which brought farmers together to solve common problems, helped raise standards of sanitation on farms.
Limitations on the New Freedom - President Woodrow Wilson: Wilson’s political leadership awed Limitations to the New Freedom Many observers at the time. Circumstances of the time, however, greatly limited the effect of Wilson's program. The major economic reforms were accomplished in 1913 and 1914, years that saw an unexpected industrial decline. This minor depression did not start to recede until after World War I had begun in Europe and production for foreign markets expanded, but then the war disrupted foreign trade, diminishing any benefits from the Underwood Tariff. After the war a high protective tariff replaced it, and the Clayton Act, as interpreted by the courts, was of little help to labor unions. Wilson proved to be less decisive on other reform issues. He had little faith in the ability of women to vote and participate in politics (called suffrage), but for political reasons he was slow to disagree with the determined suffragettes who sought his support for voting rights for women. Similarly, he fought for the child labor law with obvious reluctance and advocated the Adamson Act only to ward off a threatened strike by railroad workers.
1917 Subsequent Reform Acts: Among later reform bills, the most important were those of 1917, which fixed the ratio of parliamentary representation as one seat for every 70,000 inhabitants, and provided for universal suffrage for men 21 years of age or older and women 30 or more years of age; and of 1928, which set identical voting qualifications for men and women.
1919 Wisconsin State: Wisconsin was the first state to ratify the women’s suffrage amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1919, but women’s rise to political prominence has lagged. By the early 21st century, no woman had yet been elected governor or U.S. senator, although many women served in the state legislature, on local legislative bodies, and as mayors of smaller municipalities. Women have held major non-elective positions in state and federal service, in the universities, and as chief executives of several major Wisconsin corporations.
1920 Iowa Social and Political Issues: Iowa politics faced other issues in the post-Civil War era in addition to farmer dissent. Following the war, Iowa became the first state in the nation to grant blacks the right to vote in 1868, which became one argument in favor of granting women the same right. In the early 1870s, the state legislature narrowly defeated a constitutional amendment to extend the vote to women, but the issue did not go away. In 1916 Iowa voters—all men—again narrowly rejected women’s suffrage.
The state legislature, however, ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States granting women the vote when the U.S. Congress proposed it, and Iowa women voted in the 1920 elections. Wisconsin-born Carrie Chapman Catt, an Iowa resident, was twice the president of the National Woman Suffrage Association between 1900 and 1919. The prohibition of alcohol also shaped Iowa politics for more than a century. In 1855 the state legislature prohibited the sale of alcohol, but local governments did not always enforce the laws. In general Democrats opposed government restrictions and the Republican Party was bitterly divided. German, Irish, and other European immigrants resented attempts to regulate beer production and sale while evangelical Protestant churches crusaded against liquor companies.
In 1882 prohibition forces won a referendum to prohibit alcohol throughout the state, but the courts struck it down on legal grounds. The state legislature then passed a strict prohibition law, but local towns and cities again enforced it unevenly. After the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages across the nation in 1919, several rural areas in Iowa earned a reputation for bootlegging, or illegally making and selling alcohol. Most famous for bootlegging was the German town of Templeton in west central Iowa. In 1933 Iowans voted 376,661 to 249,534 to repeal national prohibition. The state legislature then set up a system of state-owned liquor stores where Iowans could buy bottled liquor. Not until the early 1960s did the state permit the sale of liquor by the drink in either bars or restaurants.
League of Women Voters: League of Women Voters of the United States, formerly National League of Women Voters, nonpartisan political organization, founded in 1920 in Chicago for the purpose of educating women in the use of the newly won vote (see Woman Suffrage). The National League of Women Voters was an outgrowth of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which was dissolved after its goal of woman suffrage had been achieved. Woman suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt was elected honorary president of the new group. Today, the organization is concerned with political education and action on a wide variety of local, national, and international issues, including governmental reform, education, civil liberties, social welfare, and foreign trade. It conducts an intensive educational program designed to encourage the responsible participation by all citizens in government. The league publicizes the views and qualifications of political candidates of all parties and attempts to secure the passage of legislation in the public interest.
Women’s Voting Rights: Women won the right to vote in 1920, through ratification of the 19th Amendment. This amendment resulted primarily from the activities of the women's voting rights, or suffrage, movement led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Carrie Chapman Catt. The suffragists held rallies, demonstrations, and protest marches for nearly a half-century before achieving their goal. The most recent expansion of voting rights in the United States took place in 1971, with the ratification of the 26th Amendment. This amendment lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.
Civil Liberties and Civil Rights - United States: Douglass Frederick - Douglass had a prominent role in 19th-century reform movements, not only through his abolitionism but also in his support for women's rights and black suffrage. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he stayed true to his principles, remaining steadfast in his commitment to integration and civil rights. Douglass was militant but never a separatist. He rejected the nationalist rhetoric and latter-day conservatism of black abolitionist Martin R. Delaney as well as Booker T. Washington.
1936-1945 Liberalism: In the U.S., positive liberalism was further extended, with such developments as the social criticism of the muckrakers, the agitation for and enactment of legislation curbing trusts and extending the suffrage to women, the trade-union movement, the “New Freedom” of President Woodrow Wilson, and the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Gradually these programs, movements, and laws prepared the way and provided sanctions for government intervention in the economy. The U.S. Supreme Court, which had long maintained a sturdy defense against such intervention, heard eloquent defense for state regulation of hours and wages by both conservatives, such as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and liberals, such as Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis. Their opinions were accepted by the majority after 1936, when the Court sustained one act of New Deal legislation after another, asserting that individual citizens must be protected against overpowering economic groups and from disasters they have not brought on themselves. Legislative enactments provided for old-age and survivors insurance, unemployment insurance, federal control of various financial interests, minimum wages, supervision of agricultural production, and the right of labor unions to organize and bargain collectively.
1944 Wyoming: Wyoming is popularly known as the Equality State, because it has always extended the privilege of suffrage to men and women on equal terms. Its area is 97,914 square miles, of which 408 are water. It is 365 miles long and 276 miles wide. About 3,472 square miles are comprised within Yellowstone National Park, oldest and largest of U. S. National parks, which since 1872 has been reserved for public uses. Grand Teton National Park was established in 1929 and contains 150 square miles. The Jackson Hole National Monument, created by Presidential Proclamation on March 15, 1943, contains 221,610 acres. There are three other national monuments: Devil's Tower, Fort Laramie and Shoshone Cavern.
Wyoming has twelve national forests. Shoshone National Forest, created in 1891, has the distinction of being the first in the United States. The Wyoming Area. Wyoming Territory came into existence by an act of Congress on July 25, 1868, was admitted to the Union July 10, 1890. It is known as the "Equality State" by reason of having been the first to grant to women the same suffrage rights as those accorded to men. The area is 97,914 square miles, of which 408 are water. It is 365 miles long and 276 miles wide.
1964 - Equal Rights Amendment (ERA): Historically, American women have been denied their civil rights in suffrage (they were unable to vote until a 1920 constitutional amendment), employment, and other areas. In the 1960s women organized to demand legal equality with men and, after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, made many gains, especially in employment. During the 1970s efforts continued to change not only unfair practices but also outmoded attitudes toward the role of women in society. In 1972 Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution and submitted it to the states for ratification. The ERA, however, which was designed to eliminate legal discrimination against women, failed to win the approval of a sufficient number of states; by the June 1982 deadline only 35 of the required 38 states had ratified the amendment. Although the ERA failed, beginning in the 1970s the Supreme Court ruled that laws treating men and women differently were constitutionally suspect. In the landmark case United States v. Virginia in 1996, the Court said that sex discrimination is unconstitutional unless the state can advance an “exceedingly persuasive justification.”
1970 Women's Liberation: The 50th anniversary of women's suffrage was observed on August 26 with demonstrations throughout the United States, signaling a growing militancy among women seeking equal rights. Major demands included equal opportunity in jobs and education, 24-hour free childcare centers, and free abortions on demand. Earlier in August, the House of Representatives passed a proposed constitutional amendment guaranteeing that "equal rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." The amendment was not passed by the Senate, although some Senate critics sought to water down the measure by adding statements to the effect that the amendment would not make women subject to the military draft or interfere with state legislation limiting the number of hours women may work or prohibiting them from holding certain types of jobs. Some activists in the women's liberation movement have charged that such legislation is more discriminatory than protective. Interest in abortion-law reform did increase sharply this year. Some states, such as New York and Hawaii, passed liberal legislation, and court actions under way in many jurisdictions challenged existing abortion laws.
1970 - Domestic Violence: For much of history and throughout the world, social and legal traditions have tolerated or even promoted the physical assault of women by men. In ancient Rome, a husband could legally divorce, physically punish, or even kill his wife for behaviors that were permitted for men. Punishment of wives was called chastisement, a term that emphasized the corrective purpose of the action and minimized the violent nature of the behavior. Under medieval English common law, a husband could not be prosecuted for raping his wife because the law provided that a wife could not refuse consent for sex to her husband. Because much of U.S. law was modeled on English common law, this definition of rape remained in effect in the United States until the 1970s, when many (but not all) states modified their rape statutes.
Although laws in the United States have always prohibited wife beating, these laws often were not enforced. Furthermore, laws prohibiting assault and battery set different standards for guilt if the victim was the wife of the assailant. That is, to be found guilty of a crime for hitting his wife, a husband had to more severely strike and more seriously injure her than if he had hit a stranger. Courts treated victims of assault differently because the husband had a legal right to chastise his wife. The right to chastise wives was first overruled by courts in Alabama and Massachusetts in 1871. Further reading these sources provides additional information on Domestic Violence. Since the 19th century, women have acquired greater legal and political rights, such as the right to vote (see Woman Suffrage). As the status of women has improved, attitudes toward domestic violence have shifted and laws have been changed.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) and other women’s rights organizations in the United States have sponsored campaigns to raise public awareness of intimate violence. Whereas 30 years ago spouse abuse occurred behind closed doors and was largely considered a private matter, today it is widely recognized as an important, dangerous, and harmful social problem.
Stamp Collection 1970: Jefferson Davis made his first appearance on U.S. postal paper as part of the Stone Mountain, Ga., commemorative. The poet Edgar Lee Masters also joined the gallery, as Dwight Eisenhower replaced Franklin Roosevelt on the regular 6-cent stamp. Women's suffrage and early settlements in Maine, South Carolina, and Minnesota were also commemorated.
1971 Music: The best operatic news, however, came from outside New York. In June the St. Paul (Minn.) Opera Company premiered Lee Hoiby's, Summer and Smoke, the first opera to be based on a play by Tennessee Williams. Mary Beth Peil sang the part of the repressed minister's daughter, with John Reardon as the handsome doctor who awakens her desire too late. Also in Minnesota, the Center Opera Company of Minneapolis made a stir with Faust Counter Faust, a concoction of Faust music by Boito, Berlioz, and Gounod, with contemporary additions by John Gessner. The text, as eclectic as the music, was by Center Opera's director W. Wesley Balk. A more rollicking effort by Center Opera was in behalf of The Mother of Us All, Virgil Thomson's 1947 setting of a text by Gertrude Stein. Based on the life of suffragette Susan B. Anthony, it proved oddly in keeping with the current women's liberation movement.
1995 Nixon and Marilyn Monroe: A 32-cent memorial stamp honored President Richard Nixon, and another featured actress and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe. Additional issues commemorated Florida and Texas statehood anniversaries, the independence of Palau, the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, and women's suffrage. Topical stamps depicted jazz musicians, children's drawings, carousel horses, and recreational sports.
“What we suffragettes aspire to be when we are enfranchised is ambassadors of freedom to women in other parts of the world, who are not so free as we are.” Christabel Pankhurst (1880 - 1958)
Anti-Fear Emotional Composition of Women: More strongly the anti’s conception of women’s emotional composition aggravated their fears about women’s suffrage. Whereas men were described as rational and emotional stable, women were portrayed as “high strung,” tense, irritable, and potentially irrational. “Their delicate emotional equilibrium could easily upset by a strain-like voting.” “When women generally vote and hold office,” warned one anti-group, “nervous prostration, desire for publicity, and ‘love of the limelight’ will combine to produce a form of hysteria already increasing in the United States.” Those women already involved in the suffrage movement were pointed to as case studies of hysteria. One male doctor who opposed women suffrage declared that he “could not shut his eyes” to the fact that they are mixed up with much mental disorders. Another anti-spoke of the insane craving of the suffragists to imitate men and of her pathological contempt for “woman’s work”. (Mayor, 67)
Other Rights Independent from Voting: The claim is that since women are permitted to hold property, they should also be permitted to exercise all rights. By law, the possession of property brings with it, as put forward in the petition on strictly constitutional grounds, and is advanced entirely without reference to any abstract rights or fundamental changes to the institutions of old English society. It is impossible not to feel that the ladies who make it do so with a practical purpose in mind, and that they conceive themselves to be asking only for the recognition of rights that flow naturally from the country’s existing laws and institutions.
The female sex is no bar to the higher laws. It cannot reasonably be to the lower privileges of political life when those privileges are dependant upon certain conditions (such as the possession of property), which women actually fulfill. They characterize the exclusion of half the human race from any share in self-government, and this is an “anomaly” in our representative system.
Universal suffrage by its very name includes them; personal representation, if carried out on principle, has for its necessary consequence the representation of women since the leading idea of personal representation is the effort to secure a hearing to every individual interest or opinion in the nation, however insignificant or obscure.
Those who disapprove of all attempts at class representation believe them to be lingering remains that effect the state of society. And those who disapprove of special legislation based on the difference in sex, and enforce by law the exclusion of women from all masculine occupations or privileges, also consistently object to consider women as a class or make any claim for them as such. But this is not possible for those who group all women together, as actual potential wives and mothers.
In pointing out the quite peculiar position occupied by female possessors of property, the lady petitioners have undeniably touched upon a weak point in out present political system, a kind of gap, where in political life there exists no equivalent for what we have in social and civil life. It is an “anomaly” as they assert. For who else among us, entitled by law to hold property in a certain amount, is nevertheless deprived of the vote that the British Constitution looks upon as the safeguard of property? The answer will be—minors, idiots, lunatics, and criminals. These, and these only, are classed as anything else but politics.
In no other respect can their standing among us be compared with that of women. We do not mean to compliment the ladies by asserting that they may not be as weak, as foolish, as mad, or as wicked as any of these classes of the community; but we might be as enthusiastic a women-hater as ever wrote in the Saturday Review, and still a moment’s reflection on the legal position of these classes would show that it has nothing in common with that of women administering their own property.
Suffrage in the United States was so restricted, even among men, that enfranchisement of women never attained the status of a major political issue. During the period 1805-1920 blacks and women were suffering from suffrage-could not vote and women's label: "The place of the women is at home."
In Britain the woman suffrage movement roughly paralleled that of the United States, but with exception: Emmeline Pankhurst, established the Women’s Social and Political Union. Pankhurst’s suffragists soon won a reputation for boldness and militancy. Tactics employed by the organization included boycotting, bombing, window breaking, picketing, and harassment of antisuffragist legislators. In 1918 Parliament enfranchised all women householders, householders’ wives, and women university graduates over 30 years of age. Parliament lowered the voting age of women to 21 in 1928, giving them complete political equality with men. In 1929 British trade union leader Margaret G. Bondfield became the first woman cabinet member in British history.
The women’s suffrage movement originated in the United States during the 19th century. In colonial America, as elsewhere in the world, civil law did not recognize the equality of men and women. The perception of inequality, which included the belief that women lacked the capacity to reason as soundly as men, provided the basis for denying women the right to vote. Even before the American Revolution (1776-1783), however, American women participated in public life somewhat more freely than European women. In most colonies land ownership, not gender, determined the right to vote. In Massachusetts women property holders had voting privileges from 1691 to 1780.
The anti’s conception of women’s emotional composition aggravated their fears about women’s suffrage. Whereas men were described as rational and emotionally stable, women were portrayed as “high strung, tense, irritable, and potentially irrational.”
During the first half of the 19th century American suffragists worked mainly through the abolitionist and the temperance movements, but antifeminist prejudices severely limited the role of woman members. After many such rebuffs American suffragists decided to create a separate movement dedicated to women’s rights. Suffragists were called the shrieking sisterhood, branded as unfeminine, and accused of immorality and drunkenness. Later, when suffragist leaders undertook speaking tours in support of women’s rights, temperance, and abolition, they were often subjected to physical violence.
Bitter disagreements over strategy engendered a schism between the suffragist and abolitionist groups after the American Civil War. Many male abolitionists voiced fears that the demands of women suffragists might impede the campaign to gain voting rights for male ex-slaves. The American Woman Suffrage Association worked for gradual adoption of woman suffrage on a state-by-state basis. The territory of Wyoming gave women the vote in 1869. After the passage (1870) of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Anthony interpreted the law as enfranchising American women as well as male ex-slaves.
Politically, women struggled for suffrage and African Americans demanded political and civil rights, an end to the terrorism of lynching, and adequate standards of living. In 1913, the US Cavalry had to be ordered to squelch the hostile women's demonstration during a parade in Pennsylvania Avenue. The parade in itself, in spite of the delays, was a great success. Passing through two walls of antagonistic humanity, the marchers for the most part kept their temper.
In 1916 Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman to be elected to the United States House of Representatives and Maggie Hathaway became the first woman appointed as the minority leader in the state legislature of Montana. Wyoming is known as the "Equality State" by reason of having been the first to grant to women the same suffrage rights as those accorded to men.
California granted women full suffrage in 1911; Kansas, Oregon, and Arizona followed in 1912; Nevada and Montana in 1914; New York in 1917; and Michigan, Oklahoma and South Dakota in 1918. The American suffragist movement scored its climactic victory shortly after World War I. In 1919 Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provided that “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.” Ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment became the law of the land. See also League of Women Voters of the United States.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, made many gains, especially in employment. In 1972 Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution and submitted it to the states for ratification but the Act was not ratified by the states. In1970, the Supreme Court ruled that laws treating men and women differently were constitutionally suspect. In the landmark case United States v. Virginia in 1996, the Court said that sex discrimination is unconstitutional unless the state can advance an “exceedingly persuasive justification.”
In August 1970, the House of Representatives passed a proposed constitutional amendment guaranteeing that "equal rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex," but the bill was not passed by the Senate. The same year, the Women's suffrage and early settlements in Maine, a stamp also commemorated South Carolina, and Minnesota. A 32-cent memorial stamp honored President Richard Nixon, and another featured actress and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe.
Meanwhile and subsequently most of the other nations of the world enacted woman-suffrage legislation. Among the first to do so were the following, each of which granted the franchise to women before the mid-20th century: New Zealand (1893); Australia (1902); Finland (1906); Norway (1913); Denmark (1915); the Netherlands and the Soviet Union (1917); Canada and Luxembourg (1918); Austria, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Germany, Poland, and Sweden (1919); Belgium (partial, 1919; full, 1948); Ecuador (1929); South Africa (1930); Brazil and Uruguay (1932); Turkey and Cuba (1934); France (1944); Italy and Japan (1946); China and Argentina (1947); South Korea and Israel (1948); Chile, India, and Indonesia (1949). Switzerland granted the franchise to women in 1971. By the 1980s, women could vote virtually everywhere in the world, except for a few Muslim countries. Women who attained national leadership posts in modern times include Prime ministers Golda Meir (Israel), Indira Gandhi (India), and Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan) and President Corazon Aquino of the Philippines.
Background: The role of women in the workforce varies according to the structure, needs, customs, and attitudes of the societies in which they live. In prehistoric times, women and men participated almost equally in hunting and gathering activities to obtain food. With the development of agricultural communities, women's work revolved more around the home. They prepared food, made clothing, and cared for children, while also helping to plow fields, harvest crops, and tend animals. As cities developed, some women sold or traded goods in the marketplace.
Some major changes are now occurring in industrial nations, including the steadily increasing proportion of women in the labor force; decreasing family responsibilities (due to both smaller family size and technological innovation in the home); higher levels of education for women; and more middle- and upper-income women working for pay.
Medieval Times: In Babylonia, about 2000 bc, women were permitted to engage in business and to work as scribes. In most ancient societies, however, upper-class women usually were limited to their homes, and workingwomen were either plebeians or slaves used for unskilled labor. In ancient Greece, women worked outside the home as sellers of goods such as salt, figs, bread, and hemp; seamstresses; wet nurses; laundresses; cobblers; and potters. Despite the strict seclusion of women in Asia, their work patterns were similar to those of women in Greece. In India, working women crushed stones used to make roads and worked long hours weaving cloth.
Medieval Europe: Artisans working in their own homes not infrequently used the labor of their families. This custom was so prevalent during the Middle Ages that woodcarving guilds of the period, including some that otherwise excluded women, often admitted the widows of guild members, providing they met professional requirements. Some early guilds barred women from membership; others accepted them on a limited basis. By the 14th century, in England and France, women were frequently accepted equally with men as tailors, barbers, carpenters, and saddlers and spurriers. Dressmaking and lace-making guilds were composed exclusively of women.
Gradually, the guilds were replaced by the putting-out system, whereby merchants distributed tools and materials to workers; the workers then produced articles on a piecework basis in their homes. Some of these workers were women, who were paid directly for their labor, while men with families were commonly assisted by their wives and children.
The Industrial Revolution: During the 18th and early 19th centuries, as the Industrial Revolution developed, the putting-out system slowly declined. Goods that had been produced by hand in the home were manufactured by machine in factories (see Factory System). Women competed more with men for some jobs, but were concentrated primarily in textile mills and clothing factories.
American Women in Colonial America: Much of colonial America was agrarian, and most women worked the land alongside men. Even after the American Revolution, many women continued to make economic contributions by farming and tending domestic animals.
By the early 19th century the factory system had spread to the U.S. The first cotton factory was built in 1814, and by 1850 some 24 percent of manufacturing workers were women. They produced clothing, shoes, cigars, and other items. In the Northeast, newly arrived immigrant women with little education or command of the English language became the permanent factory force. In the South, black women moved into factory and domestic jobs, first as slaves and later as free workers. A homework system, similar to the putting-out system, kept many women employed in home manufacturing enterprises for meager pay.
By 1890 nearly 4 million women in the U.S. worked for pay. This represented 18 percent of the female population aged 14 and over and 17 percent of the total workforce. Half the female workers were under 25 years of age, and seven out of ten were single. The majority worked in domestic service, teaching positions, and textile factories; only about 5 percent were secretaries, clerks, or salespersons.
White Collar Employment: The early 1900s were marked by a striking change in the growth and composition of the white-collar workforce in the U.S. As a result of urbanization and the availability of public education, more middle-class women joined the labor force, primarily as teachers and nurses. With the growing use of the typewriter in business, women filled more than 75 percent of typist jobs by 1900. At the same time, 29 percent of telephone and telegraph workers were women. Like the majority of all women in the workforce, female white-collar workers were young, single (teachers were required to quit when they married), and paid less than male workers, but they were also native-born and educated. This concentration of women in low-paying white-collar jobs has persisted throughout the 20th century.
Women's Contribution during WWII: During World War II the United States government sought increased domestic production to supply the war effort while at the same time sending a percentage of the male work force into military service. While the men were fighting the war, the women back at home were the prime contributors of the war machinery. They were the ones who assembled the airplanes, tanks and weapon systems. These women were dedicated to provide the best and necessary war equipment to the War Fighters. They performed their jobs exceptionally well and met the challenge of WWII. To help meet the need for a larger labor force, the government created Rosie the Riveter. The publicity campaign focusing on the fictional poster girl, which ran from 1942 to 1945, encouraged women to support the war by working outside the home. More than 6 million women joined the U.S. domestic work force during World War II.
Legislation: Two types of legislation have directly affected women workers in the US: protective legislation and antidiscrimination, or equal opportunity, legislation. Protective laws were developed in the early industrial era to guard women and children from exploitation by limiting the number of hours and shifts they could work, the weights they were required to lift, and the minimum wage they could be paid.
Massachusetts established a commission in 1912 to determine minimum-wage schedules for women and children. In 1938 the federal government passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, setting maximum working hours and minimum wages for persons engaged in or producing goods for interstate commerce. Coverage has been extended over the years, and in 1974 it was amended to include domestic employees.
In the 1960s protective legislation for women was nullified by anti-discrimination policies. Through legislation, executive orders, and judicial decisions, equal opportunity for women in employment and education became a federal goal. This goal was first expressed in the Equal Pay Act (1963), an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which prohibited wage discrimination, based on sex, in public or private employment. Current legislation applies to nonprofessional (wage and salary workers), professional, executive, and administrative employees.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extended the prohibition against sex discrimination to include not only wages, but also job classification, assignment, promotion, and training. A 1978 amendment required employers to treat pregnancy in the same way as any other disability. In 1986 the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that sexual harassment of an employee violates the civil rights law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission administers Title VII regarding sexual harassment. Various executive orders, enforced by the Labor Department, prohibited sex discrimination by companies receiving government contracts and established guidelines for employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, train, and promote women. Enthusiasm for such aggressive enforcement activities diminished under the conservative administration of President Ronald Reagan.
Family responsibilities are clearly related to women's equal employment opportunities. The U.S. has no federal child-care policy, but several government programs do affect childcare. Six major programs, including Head Start and the Work Incentive Program, are targeted for low-income families; during the Reagan presidency, however, increasing federal budget pressures squeezed these programs. Mainly middle- and upper-income families claim a tax credit for work-related child-care expenses.
Current Trend in the USA: In 2000 almost 63 million women, aged 16 and over, were employed, representing 47 percent of the total workforce. Three-fifths (60 percent) of all women over 16 years of age were employed; 66 percent of all black women and 68 percent of all Hispanic women were in the labor force. Some 68 percent of the workingwomen were married with husbands present, and 72 percent of these women had children less than 18 years of age. Working mothers with children under 6 years old more than tripled from 1960 to 2000.
Despite the increasing number of working women and more than a quarter century of equal opportunity legislation, women in the early 2000s, as in 1900, were concentrated in a few types of jobs and generally earned less than men. Some 23 percent of the employed women were administrative support workers, and 18 percent were in the low-paid service occupations. Women were further segregated within certain occupations and industries: 99 percent of secretaries, 98 percent of family childcare providers, 97 percent of receptionists, 96 percent of private household workers, 93 percent of registered nurses, 90 percent of bank tellers, and 64 percent of retail sales clerks were women. Statistics show that employees in clothing and textile industries, telephone communication, health services, and local education were predominantly women.
American women today are holding paid jobs of greater diversity than ever before. In the last two decades many more women have entered the new high-technology industries; by 1998, for example, 31 percent of all computer programmers, and 28 percent of all computer systems analysts and scientists were women. Women are also making slow but steady progress in entering nontraditional fields such as engineering and construction work, professions such as medicine and law, and elected and appointed political positions.
Women continue to be paid less for their labor than men. In 2001 women's median annual full-time earnings were 28 percent less than men's earnings. Women in professional jobs earned 70 cents and saleswomen earned 60 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. One reason for this disparity is that a relatively small number of women hold top-level (and high-paying) jobs, even in such fields as social work, library work, and teaching, in which they greatly outnumber men. Even when they do the same kind of work at the same level, they are frequently paid less than men. Women are also more likely to work part time or to be unemployed. Women in minority groups remained the lowest paid, reflecting the impact of race and sex discrimination.
In 2000, 11.5 percent of the total female labor force belonged to unions, representing 41 percent of all labor union members. Union organizations generally reflected the segregation of the marketplace. The majority of women were concentrated in a few unions. More than 80 percent of the members of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union and the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (see Union of Needle trades, Industrial and Textile Employees: International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union) are women. Although women in blue-collar jobs are most likely to be union members, white-collar employment is currently the fastest-growing area of union organizing, as teachers, nurses, clerks, and others in both the public and private sectors try to improve their wages and working conditions. See Trade Unions in the United States.
Many policymakers now believe that the major problem for working women is not equal pay for equal work or equal access to jobs—although both are important—but the under valuation of work traditionally done by women. The concept of “equal pay for comparable work” challenges current job evaluation procedures and implies added payroll expenses for employers.
Working Women in Other Nations: Despite the fact that women constitute more than one-third of the world's labor force, in general they remain concentrated in a limited number of traditional occupations, many of which do not require highly technical qualifications and most of which are low paid. According to data from the International Labor Organization, however, as countries become industrialized, more women obtain jobs in more occupations.
Eastern Europe: Employment policies in Eastern Europe were based on a belief in both the duty and the right of women to work. In 1936 the Soviet constitution specified that no legislation should deviate from the principle of women's equality with men. The USSR and its allies established child-care, health, educational, and recreational facilities. According to estimates, in the 1970s and early '80s about 85 percent of all Soviet women between the ages of 20 and 55 were employed outside the home; in East Germany (now part of the united Federal Republic of Germany) the number of employed women was as high as 80 percent.
Women's participation rate in the workforce, however, was lower in Hungary and Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), which had less-developed economies. Although more integrated than in the West, women in Eastern Europe were still concentrated in some traditional occupations and industries. In Bulgaria, for example, 78 percent of textile workers, but only 25 percent of engineers, were women; in the Soviet Union, these figures were 74 and 40 percent, respectively. Although part-time employment was discouraged, about half the married women worked only part time. Communist countries reported that equal pay for equal work was achieved. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, communist governments in Eastern Europe lost power.
Western Europe and Japan: The employment pattern for women in Western Europe and Japan is similar to that in the U.S. Before 1990, labor-force participation rates range from 38 percent in West Germany (now part of the united Federal Republic of Germany) to 55 percent in Sweden. Most of these countries have some form of equal employment or protective legislation. Collective bargaining is used more widely than in the U.S. as a means to improve women's working conditions.
Among Western nations, Sweden has come closest to achieving equality in employment. In the last two decades, women's average hourly earnings have risen from 66 to 87 percent of men's earnings. At the same time, the Swedish government undertook major reforms of textbooks and curricula, parent education, child-care and tax policies, and marriage and divorce laws, all geared to accord women equal opportunities in the labor market while also recognizing their special needs if they are mothers. Counseling and support programs were designed for women reentering the workforce. Other European countries have studied the Swedish model and some are adapting programs to fit their social-welfare policies.
Japan, the most industrialized nation in the Far East, generally has retained its traditional attitudes toward working women. For example, women are expected to retire when they have children. In most countries, the higher their educational attainments, the more likely women are to work. In Japan, however, this situation is reversed; college-educated women are considered overqualified for jobs generally held by women and often leave the labor force.
American Women Employment, Contributed By: Brigid O'Farrell, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Howard Ends, Literature Guides, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Women Suffrage Contributed By: Lois W. Banner, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Susan B. Anthony, Biography contributed by: Contributed By: Patricia G. Holland, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
PARADE OF SUFFRAGETTES IS DISRUPTED BY RIOTS, Women Are Forced to Fight Their Way Through Pennsylvania Avenue, Los Angeles Times, March 4, 1913, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
The Subjection of Women Contributed By John Stuart Mill, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Source: Mill, John Stuart. The Subjection of Women. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1993. Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Harper's "Woman's Political Future" contributed By Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Source: Harper, Frances Ellen Watkins. “Woman’s Political Future.” The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., and Nellie Y. McKay, eds. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997.
Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Women's Rights, Contributed By: Katrin Schultheiss Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Against Women Voting, Source: Articles from Bibliobase edited by Michael A. Bellesiles. Copyright © 1998 by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.
Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
League of Women Voters of the United States
Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Publication Information: Book Title: Regulating the Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy from Colonial Times to the Present. Contributors: Mimi Abramovitz - author. Publisher: South End Press. Place of Publication: Boston. Publication Year: 1988. Page Number: 241. Questia Media America, Inc. www.questia.com
Social Security for Women. Contributors: Trudy Lieberman - author. Magazine Title: The Nation. Volume: 269. Issue: 3. Publication Date: July 19, 1999. Page Number: 6. COPYRIGHT 1999 The Nation Company L.P.; COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group, Questia Media America, Inc. www.questia.com
Women's Suffrage, Contributed By: Lois W. Banner, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
US Cavalry Routs Mos in Washington DC, Los Angeles Times, March 4, 1913, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Susan B. Anthony, Contributed By: Patricia G. Holland, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Lampkin, Daisy Elizabeth Adams, Contributed By: Kate Tuttle, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Johnson, Hiram. Governor of California, Women Suffrage Amendment, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Dunbar-Nelson, Alice, contributed by: Lisa Clayton Robinson, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Baldwin, Maria Louise, From Dictionary of American Negro Biography by Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, editors. Copyright © 1982 by Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.Contributed By: Dorothy B. Porter, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Alexander Clark, A Rediscovered Black Leader," by Marilyn Jackson in The Iowan (Spring 1975, pp. 43-9). An earlier study is Leola Nelson Bergmann's piece "The Negro in Iowa" (Iowa Journal of History and Politics, February 1969, pp. 50-3). Though incomplete, George Van Horn's piece "A Remarkable and Great Example" (A.M.E. Church Review, republished in the Muscatine Weekly Journal, January 27, 1888, and May 31, 1940) is indispensable. For the lawsuit involving Susan Clark, see Iowa State Supreme Court Records (April 14, 1868, 24: 267-77). Information about Clark's Masonic activities is in Phylaxis (March 1975, p. 64); about his diplomatic career in the article by John Briggs, "Iowa and the Diplomatic Service" (Iowa Journal of History and Politics, July 1921, pp. 321-63). Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Lockwood, Belva Ann, Women Suffrage Accomplishments, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Hunt, Ida Alexander Gibbs, Contributed By: Allison Blakely; and A principal source of information on Ida Hunt is the Hunt Papers collection, located in the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University, in Washington, D.C. For information on the Pan-African Congress see The Crisis, April 1919 and December 1921, (p. 68);
From Dictionary of American Negro Biography by Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, editors. Copyright © 1982 by Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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Cary, Mary Ann Shadd, contributed by: Alisob Blakely, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
American Women Employment, Contributed By: Brigid O'Farrell, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Mary Lyon founds Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, web site: http://www.inform.umd.edu/EdRes/Topic/WomensStudies
Summary, The National American Woman's Suffrage Association web site: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1920womensvote.html
Harrio Stanton Blatch, web site: http://www.inform.umd.edu/EdRes/Topic/WomensStudies
Carrie Lane Chapman Catt (Ripon, WI) web site: http://www.inform.umd.edu/EdRes/Topic/WomensStudies
Mar Terrell, web site: Mary Church Terrell, Contributed by Marian Angular, Encarta Encyclopedia, Microsoft, Inc
Seneca Falls Meeting, web site: http://www.history.rochester.edu/class/suffrage/home.htm
Clara Barton, web site: http://www.DistinguishedWomen.com/
Other voting rights denied to Women, web site: http://www.indiana.edu/~letrs/vwwp/taylor/suffrage.html