Taking The Law Into Our Hands and Two Paths to Women's Equality

1308 Words Jul 17th, 2018 6 Pages
During the Reconstruction era, supporters of women’s rights employed a legislative and organizational means in their battle for equal rights and suffrage. The successes and failures experienced by the 14th and 15th amendments helped shape the landscape of the American suffrage movement that culminated in the 19th amendment. The assigned readings addresses the legislative and organizational avenues that were actively utilized by advocates of women’s rights and suffrage, albeit in slightly different ways. The two readings align well with each other, each bringing an unique perspective of a significant historical phrase within the women’s rights movement in the United States.

The first reading, “Taking the Law Into Our Hands: Bradwell,
…show more content…
Drawing upon the original Constitution, the Minors applied an elaborate interpretation to demonstrate the existence of women’s rights to vote as citizen. The main premises of the New Departure established federal sovereignity over state control, the power of federal government in defending individual and collective rights, the benefits enjoyed by all natural born citizens belonged to all, despite one’s sex, and the infringement of one of the most basic privileges of citizenship-voting. Essentially, Minors shifted the main responsibility of suffrage from the state level to the federal level, which brought women suffragists in droves undertaking militant action such as physically registering and voting at ballots. The Minors paved the way for legal agitation for women and on behalf of women. The cases were not always successful in the legal realm, evidenced by the Blackwell and Minor cases. The arguments involving what constitutes of a citizen and the considerations involving the privileges and rights of a citizen laid the formative groundwork for future activism that would eventually lead to the establishment of the 19th amendment.

The second reading by Janet Zollinger Giele, Two Paths to Women’s Equality: Temperance, Suffrage and the Origins of Modern Feminism traces two significant forces behind the origins of modern feminism: the temperance movement and the suffrage movement. The first chapter considers the origins and rationale behind women’s
Open Document