The Women's Movement

Decent Essays
The Women's Movement "To have drunkards, idiots, horse racing rum-selling rowdies, ignorant foreigners, and silly boys fully recognized, while we ourselves are thrust out from all the rights that belong to citizens, is too grossly insulting to be longer quietly submitted to. The right is ours. We must have it" (Rynder 3). This quote from one of Cady Stanton's speeches shows what great injustice women had to suffer. Stanton is saying that even the scum of the earth had more rights than highly cultured women. In many aspects of life, women's rights were dramatically less than those of men. Women were not allowed to vote; yet they had to pay taxes. Women were subjects of their husbands, and expected to do all…show more content…
Before about 1900, women were still not able to control their own bodies, and were not allowed to use birth control. A woman was bound by law to her husband. She was forced to consent to his wishes. If she did not, it was legal for him to beat her as punishment (Rydner 34). A woman was not allowed to control whether or not she wanted children. Before 1873 women could learn about birth control through advertisements in women's magazines. This right was taken away from women in 1873 when Congress passed the Comstock Act after Mr. Comstock's prodding. This law prohibited selling distributing, or mailing obscene literature and defined contraceptive devices and any information about them as obscene. The new form of birth control was "voluntary motherhood" (Rydner 37). Supporters of this form stated that if women were able to have children when they wanted to, the women would have happier, healthier children because they were wanted. In order to use this form of birth control, women needed the right to say no to their husbands. Some religions encouraged this practice because it prevented "sexual excess." It is not known to what extent this method worked, but from 1800 to 1900 the birthrate among American women declined by about one half (Ryder 39). Many women helped in achieving women's rights. Some of these women were Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Catharine Beecher. The
Get Access