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Suffrage movement made it into history as the longest women’s political movement in America (Cooney, 2009). The main reason for the upraise of the movement was inability of women to express their political opinion by voting because of the changes made to American Constitution. The results of the women’s fight for their rights were world-changing. Women became politically empowered and able to influence the situation in the country. But the road to the success was long and thorny.
The suffrage movement started the very same year when country of the United States was founded. Before 1776 women had the right to vote, but new Constitution of the United States changed the situation. By the year 1807 women lost their right to vote in every state of the US. The correspondence between Abigail Adams and her husband, John Adams, is believed to be the first written evidence of the reasons of suffrage movement as in his letters John Adams declared that “the men will fight the despotism of the petticoat”. Patriarchal structure of the society had made women depending on men and the only role they had was housekeeping. It is said that in the 19th century only adult men owning property had a possibility to vote. The first attempts of women to change the situation were met with utter hostility, hardly surprising.
Changes in educational conditions as well as appearance of self-depended women in the working class have created breeding grounds for a suffrage movement. A women rights meeting in Seneca Falls in New York had translated into “Created Equal” campaign. And that campaign started a real revolution. Elizabeth Cady Stanton became the “voice” of the revolution as she wrote the plan for the revolution and proclaimed main points of the movement at Seneca Falls meeting . Later on she became the leading feminist philosopher and she devoted all possible time to the movement, not neglecting her responsibilities as a wife and mother
The aim of the movement was not limited by acquiring women right to vote as activists also defended rights of African American women who were discriminated not for their gender, but for the race also. In 1870’s the main aim of the movement was to obtain including right to vote irrespective of race, color and gender. Some other reasons for women to join the movement were state-specific, for example, in Utah women tried to bring an end to polygamy.
1919 has become a year of the victory of suffrage movement – and it is said to have the most enormous impact on the history of American politics and the meaning of democracy (Cooney, 2009). Thanks to the efforts of women in 19th century today women are equal in rights with men. Without this movement women would still be on inferior positions without a possibility to influence political situation in the country. And it had an influence not just on women of the United States – women all over the world where their rights to vote are not secured received a perfect example how to protect their rights.
Cooney, R. (2009). Taking a New Look The Enduring Significance of the American Woman Suffrage Movement. Retrieved on June 6 from http://www.mith2.umd.edu/WomensStudies/ReadingRoom/History/Vote/enduring-significance.html