Behind this description of the 1913 Washington Suffrage Procession—one event in the long history of women's campaign for suffrage in the United States—see —lies a wealth of telling detail and the human stories that make history interesting and meaningful. A rich variety of suffrage materials in many formats lie scattered throughout the collections of the Library of Congress awaiting the curious reader in search of further details and other stories, of the sounds and sights of the fight for the vote.
French women, nonetheless, fared better than the Swiss. It took efforts of the Swiss Federation for Womens Suffrage from 1909 to 1971 before women in Switzerland were allowed to vote in national elections, and not until 1989 could women in the Appenzell Interiour Rhodes canton vote in their local elections.
The Women's Suffrage Movement - Mega Essays
Suffrage Challenged the Existing Order: Custom and laws in many countries had placed men as supreme in public sphere and within the family. Deep cultural beliefs in male/female differences in altitudes and abilities supported this situation, and giving the women the vote posed a direct threat to male powers and privileges. Changes in womens reforms, such as access to education or property rights, were justified because they were viewed as an improvement in womens social position. Suffrage, on the other hand, challenged the existing order by threatening the basis of womens subordination in society. Granting suffrage was a revolutionary act.
Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment | National Archives
The Washington march came at a time when the suffrage movement badly needed an infusion of vigor, a new way to capture public and press interest. Women had been struggling for the right to vote for more than sixty years, and although progress had been made in recent years on the state level with six western states granting women suffrage, the movement had stalled on the national level. Delegates from the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA, and its predecessor associations) had arrived in the nation's capital every year since 1869 to present petitions asking that women be enfranchised. Despite this annual pilgrimage and the millions of signatures collected, debate on the issue had never even reached the floor of the House of Representatives. In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party became the first major political party to pledge itself “to the task of securing equal suffrage to men and women alike.” But the Progressives lost the election.
Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment
National Needs Come First: In countries fighting for their independence from colonial rule there was pressure on women to wait their turn. Even Gandhi, who had brought women into the public struggle for self sufficiency from Great Britain, stated that although he wanted women to take their proper place by the side of men, the timing was wrong for a votes for women campaign; women instead should use their energies helping their men against the common foe. Women suffrage supporters, too, tended to be more nationalistic than feminist, arguing that votes for women were necessary so that they could imbue their children with ideas of nationalism.
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Even though suffrage movements in the United States were large and vigorous in the early twentieth century, it took women there seventy-two years from first claiming the franchise in 1848 to achieving it in 1920. It was an equally long process in Britain where womens important work in WWI provided an opportunity for the government to act on suffrage without seeming to capitulate to the tactics of the more militant arm of England's suffragette movement. France was one of the last in Europe to enfranchise women, even though the demand for womens rights was first voiced by Olympe de Gouge during the French Revolution, and it was in France that the most radical critique of womens subordination was developed. French suffragists, however, throughout the early part of the 20th century faced opposition from politicians, many of whom were Socialists who feared women would support Catholicism and right-wing political conservatism. French women won the vote as late as 1944.
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Full suffrage occurs when all groups of women are included in national voting and can run for any political office. In most cases women won the right to vote in uneven stages. New Zealand in 1893 was first. Liberalism was a strong force in this pioneering land which increasingly rejected what it viewed as archaic attitudes from the Old World. The support of social reform issues, including temperance, gave New Zealand suffragists the edge they needed. The now famous Womens Suffrage Petition is credited with being a major force for this success. Signed by close to one quarter of the female adult population, the petition was the largest of its kind in New Zealand and other western countries. It is comprised of 546 sheets of paper, all glued together to form one continuous roll 274 metres long, with the signatures of over 10,000 adult women. A few Maori women signed, but at this time they mainly were concerned with achieving political participation rights for the whole tribe.