Seeds: The role of women in early American history can be summed up with the phrase “Republican Motherhood.” Essentially, this is the idea that in order for America to have a virtuous and educated society, women, more specifically mothers, must have the tools to fully educate their children, more importantly, their sons. However, the whole idea of educating women kind of backfired on the old white dudes who intended to keep women within the confines of the household. Eventually, more and more educated middle class women began to speak out against their own oppression. These groups gave rise to the official start of the women’s suffrage movement in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention in Seneca Falls, New York.
Core: Although it took over 72 years, on August 18, 1920 the 19th amendment was ratified and women were granted the right to vote. Since then, women have become an increasingly important voting bloc in most elections. In fact, women have outvoted men in every presidential election since 1964.
Skin: In the lead up to the ratification of the 19th amendment, many organizations presented their arguments in opposition to women’s suffrage. These arguments include “it would mean competition with men instead of co-operation” and fighting for women’s suffrage is “waste of time, energy, and money.” Some pamphlets even attempted to appeal to women by saying things like, “You do not need a ballot to clean out your sink spout.”
Leaves: Tension of voter rights still looms over every election. However, America has come a long way in the way of women’s rights. In fact, this presidential election marks the first female presidential nominee of a major political party.
Food For Thought: Why do you think it took such a long time for women to be granted the right to vote?