Suffrage: the right to vote in political elections. The men in America have always had the right to vote. They have always had the right to do whatever they wanted. Women, on the other hand, have not. They haven’t always been allowed to vote. 1920 marked a significant landmark in American history. Women in all parts of the country voted in a political election for the first time. This may not sound like that big of a deal, but to the women of the 19th and 20th centuries.
In the 1800s, women were not allowed to have a say in what was perceived to be a “man’s world.” They were expected to be mothers and housewives. Nothing more, nothing less. Women tried to get legislation to pass a reform, but they refused to listen. Because of this, they felt they needed to gain the right to vote.
Seneca Falls, NY in 1848 marked the start of the women's suffrage movement. The movement, being led by many influential women, such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was said to be one of the largest political movement of the 20th century. According to the National Women's History Museum, the movement was the “…single largest enfranchisement and extension of democratic rights in our nation’s history (“Rights for Women: The Suffrage”).”
The advocacy for women's suffrage quieted down during the Civil War, but was brought back to life with the proposal of the 15th amendment, which would give black men the right to vote. When women's suffrage was brought back to the national scene, a new group was formed: The American Equal Rights Association (AERA). The AREA diminished after not being able to decide to emancipate women and slaves together ("National Woman Suffrage Association").
After this, there were two rival organizations: the American Women Suffrage Association (AWSA) and the National Woman Suffrage Association (NSWA). The AWSA wished to campaign state-by-state for women’s enfranchisement, while the NWSA thought that a federal constitutional amendment was necessary to reach their goal. The NWSA also felt that in order to get voting rights, women needed to gain other institutional changes, such as the right to own property.
For twenty years, women campaigned, voiced their opinions, tried to get amendments made, and put their families and their lives on the line to get more than the little rights they had. In the 1870’s, women tried to vote against the biased wording of the 14th amendment. Susan B. Anthony was arrested because of this, and the case was taken to the Supreme Court and failed ("1869-1890: A Movement Divided").
In 1890, the two groups joined their views of women's suffrage and became the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The women's suffrage movement sparked the beginning of two very important organizations. The first is the NAWSA, or National American Woman Suffrage Association. Elizabeth Cady Stanton led this organization as its first president.
The NAWSA’s approach towards the women's suffrage movement was...