Essay about The History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement

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Women’s suffrage, or the crusade to achieve the equal right for women to vote and run for political office, was a difficult fight that took activists in the United States almost 100 years to win. On August 26, 1920 the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified, declaring all women be empowered with the same rights and responsibilities of citizenship as men, and on Election Day, 1920 millions of women exercised their right to vote for the very first time.
The women’s suffrage movement is thought to have begun with the publication of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft in 1792. Wollstonecraft is considered the “mother of feminism” and wrote of the sexual double standards between men and
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In 1848 a group of women met at the Seneca Falls Convention in New York and began to formulate a demand for the enfranchisement of American women (Women’s Suffrage, 2011). Elizabeth Cady Stanton composed the Declaration of Sentiments, modeled after the Declaration of Independence, stating that “a man should not withhold a woman's rights, take her property or refuse to allow her to vote” (Kelly, 2011, para.3 ). The convention participants spent two days arguing and refining the content of the Declaration of Sentiments, then voted on its contents; the document received support from about one third of the delegates in attendance. The Seneca Falls Convention was not a resounding success, but it “represented an important first step in the evolving campaign for women’s rights” (Tindall & Shi, 2010, p.374, para.1).
During the 1850’s the women’s rights movement in the United States continued to build, but lost momentum when the Civil War began. After the war ended, the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution were drafted and ratified; protection to all citizens - with the term “citizens” defined as male, and suffrage for black men, respectively. The drafting of the 15th Amendment caused animosity with women’s rights activists and led them to believe that this was their chance to push lawmakers for truly universal suffrage. They “allied
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