Women's Suffrage/Roaring 20s

  • Rural and urban political involvement:

Greater food production was held in the 1870s and railways threatened small-medium farms. Farmers tended to support the Populist Party and Elizabeth Lease was an orator for this; women showed support for the Grange movement and Farmers' Alliance. Protests were held in defence of farmers. 

1883 - Native women formed the National Indian Women's Association for Native American Rights. 

The Charity Organisation Society was an outlet for urban women to become public representatives of charities. Educated women established settlement houses in the 1880s with 400 built offering classes for women. Alongside this, in the 1900s women lobbied for states to pass pension legislation to protect divorced and widowed women.

  • The impact of abolition and progress in some states:

In 1866 the American Equal Rights Association was set up to secure rights for women and African Americans. The Fourteenth Amendment intervened with states trying to deny men the right to vote, and the Fifteenth Amendment stopped states banning voting according to race, colour, and previous servitude. The abolitionist movement put civil rights at the forefront of their goals and women became increasingly distanced from the movement.

  • Opposition:

In 1911 the National Association Opposed to Women's Suffrage formed, arguing against offering women the vote as supported by the Remonstrance Journal. Many women argued that having political equality would reduce their value in being angels of the hearth, and Catholic immigrants, supported by their priests, argued that voting would weaken the family. Southern Democrats feared the pushing for labour protection or action against the Jim Crow laws.

  • The voting issue:

The federal system meant in 1869 Wyoming legalised the vote for women, and Utah in 1870, with Mormons practising polygamy and not wanting women to appear exploited. In 1871-2 Susan B Anthony and 150 women tried to test the 14th and 15th amendments and were arrested for electoral malpractise, refused the right to speak at trial. The jury deemed them guilty.

Throughout the late 1880s-1900s there were small steps made in local voting. Only twenty states permitted widowed women with school-age children to vote, but men saw it as a distraction from their domestic duties, and hostile crowds prevented women from voting.

Women moved away from focus on civil rights to discuss how they could provide insight to family and domestic issues such as temperance, social reform, and working conditions improvement, alongside raising children.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton worked closely with Susan B Anthony to secure the right for women to vote, giving property rights to married women, and the right for divorced/separated women to have access to their children, alongside liberalisation of divorce laws.

Susan B Anthony was a founding member of the American Equal Rights Association in 1866 and published the journal Revolution. She also tried to vote illegally in 1872 and campaigned against abortion, a threat to women’s health.

1848 - Women's rights campaign begins with Stanton and Mott founding the Women Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, NY.

Lucy Stone founded AWSA, The American Women's Suffrage…


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