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The Passing Of The Nineteenth Amendment

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Can you believe at one time women were not allowed to vote? It wasn't until the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920 that women obtained this right. Throughout the history of America's government, the legislature has passed many different Amendments. One important amendment to women was the nineteenth. This Amendment deals with the issues of Women's suffrage. There was much controversy of whether or not woman should have the right to vote. Many different key women such as Elizabeth Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony devoted most of their lives to help obtain the passage of women's suffrage in America.

Many people wonder what women's suffrage is. Woman's suffrage is the right of women to vote. The woman who tried to gain suffrage, or fight for it, were called suffragists. The people who supported them and the drive for this new movement were also known as suffragists.

The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States says, "The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or be abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex." This basically means that all people of the United States are allowed to vote whether they be a man or a woman. Many people today do not realize how hard women had to fight to get this right of equality. About a century ago, this issue was a very emotional subject. Many people did not agree and arguments about this often ended up in a street fight. Woman won the right to vote only after a long and heated time.

The fight for women's suffrage began in the early colonial days. After the United States became a nation, the Constitution gave the states the right to decide who should and could vote. There were some women who objected to not being allowed to vote. One woman by the name of Margaret Brent demanded a "place and voice" in the Maryland assembly as early as 1647. She was of course denied the vote by the all male council. Another lady, Anne Hutchinson, in Massachusetts spoke up for woman's rights. She was later banished from the colony because it was dominated by strict Puritans. In those days, only a few women dared to demand their right in the Colonial United States.

The right to vote during the colonial days was limited to those who were property owners. Most women could not vote during the colonial times. However, there were a few exceptions. Some colonies would let women vote if they were widowas

and owned property. But by 1830, all white men could vote, even if they weren't property owners.

As time went by more women started to realize that it was unfair for them not to have the right to vote. The real struggle for women's rights came out from the anti-slavery movement. The women were very instrumental in the abolitionist movement. They sent thousands of anti-slavery petitions to Congress. Women back then were not looked at as equal to men, even in the Nineteenth Century. Women were thought to be inferior to men, less capable, less intelligent, and weaker. As a result to the thought that woman were inferior, lawas

and lifestyles reflected that attitude. Women had few legal rights, and the opportunities for education and jobs were almost nonexistent. However, some women did not believe that all women were


inferior to men. They thought that if they were given the opportunity, most women would be able to accomplish a great deal and make important contributions to society. It was the changing social conditions for women in the early 1800's combined with the idea of equality that led to the birth of the women of the suffrage movement. The feminists of the nineteenth century knew that changes in attitudes and opinions were necessary in order for women to be equal with men.

There were several women who played a key role in getting the Nineteenth Amendment passed. Two ladies that started the official movement was Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mott. They met each other at an anti-slavery convention in London. Lucretia and Elizabeth quickly became good friends. When they got to the convention, they had to sit behind a curtain and weren't allowed to speak a word. They began to realize that there was a need for a woman's right movement, after attending the convention about slaves in 1840.

Lucretia Mott and her husband were both agents on the underground railroad. Lucretia Mott had founded the first female anti-slavery society. Elizabeth had also fought slavery. Both ladies were early supporters of women's rights. Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Stanton quickly agreed to work together for women's rights in the United States. They each brought with them strong talents. Mrs. Stanton was a gifted writer who wrote powerful letters and speeches. Mrs. Mott became the spiritual leader of the movement.

Not to long after Mott and Stanton agreed to work together, they decided to


hold a convention of their own for women's suffrage. In July, 1848, they organized the first women's rights convention in Senaca Falls, New York. It was this convention that laid the foundation for women's movement.

The convention issued a "Declaration of Sentiments", which was modeled after the Declaration of Independence. Their declaration stated, "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men and women are created equal." The declaration called for women's right to equal opportunities for jobs, trades, and most importantly the right to vote. The convention had adopted a declaration that firmly stated the foundation of it's ideals and beliefs.

Elizabeth Stanton insisted that the right to vote was a fundamental right of all citizens of the United States. The convention was attended by abolitionist luminaries like Frederick Douglas. More than hundred delegates attended the convention. Some of the men even believed in the women's cause. Calling for women's suffrage was

the most radical demand made in Senaca Falls. Sixty-eight women and thirty-two men signed a statement supporting women's rights. Women's lack of suffrage did not prevent them from being politically active. They needed economic and political power to gain their rights.

As their campaign for woman's suffrage continued, they had several other important ladies join the team. One of these ladies was Amelia Jenks Bloomer. She urged women to wear a special uniform of knee length skirts and ankle length

pantaloons. This costume later became the uniform of the women's rights workers. It




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