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The Women’s Suffrage Movement in America in the 19th & 20th Centuries

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The women’s suffrage movement, specifically in the United States, was a nationwide cause that aimed at obtaining women’s right to vote. The campaign began in July, 1848 with the Seneca Falls Convention held in Seneca Falls, New York. This assembly was the first of its kind. More specifically, it was the first event in America that was solely dedicated to women’s rights and it was as organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.

Other significant contributors to this cause include Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul. Susan B. Anthony, arguably the most famous influencer of this period, was raised by Quaker parents that believed that all women and men should be treated as equals. Taking this idea with her as she grew up, Anthony soon became an influential leader in the suffrage movement. She, along with Stanton, created “The Revolution” which was a weekly publication that openly promoted women’s rights, chiefly the right vote. In addition to this, the pair also established the National Woman Suffrage Association.

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Alice Paul was also a big contributor to this cause. Paul viewed the protest of suffragist as too conservative, so in response, she founded the much more radical, National Women’s Party. She, along with her group known as the “Silent Sentinels” boldy protested in front of the White House and even when she was arrested, she remained firm with her cause. Paul’s bold methods of protest helped the suffrage movement gain attention and by 1918, President Wilson was claimed his support for the cause. This campaign ended in 1920, when the nineteenth amendment was ratified, officially allowing all adult women to vote.

This suffrage movement led by women challenged many cultural ideas of Americans in the 19th and 20th century. It opposed the norm set that deemed it inappropriate for women to speak out in society. During this time period, women, although educated, were not allowed to openly voice their opinions and they were expected to be submissive. However, with the suffrage movement, more and more women were going out in public and brazenly stating their beliefs and fighting for their liberty. This caused a change in the way women were perceived in society. Now, because the words of women were louder and more impactful, they had to be taken more seriously and they were increasingly gaining political strength.

Women’s suffrage also disputed the belief that women should be limited to only work within the household. People of this time believed that a woman’s life revolved around caring for her children and pleasing her husband. However, they challenged this belief by implying that women were just as capable as men and could participate in the same activities. It gained women more opportunities to widen their roles in society and gave them more chances to be independent from their family. This movement additionally challenged the value of group superiority in America.

America during this period was largely male-dominated, with men expecting women to be submissive to them and thinking that they were more incapable. Suffragist fought for equality between men and women and their cause created a more just standing between women and men and broke broke down some of the walls of discrimination. Although there was no full equality between the two genders, this movement was a step closer to it. Women’s suffrage was a profound campaign that was a part of the wider feminist movement. It contradicted traditional thoughts of American society and created a permanent mark in American history. It gave women more rights and was a great leap towards a more democratic and liberal world.

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