Final - May 3, 2011 POL 347Dr. Good Final Paper The Need...

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May 3, 2011 POL 347—Dr. Good Final Paper The Need for ERA based on Women’s Second-Class Citizenship Throughout this past semester, I have concentrated on the arguments for and against the implementation of an equal rights amendment. An equal rights amendment would essentially grant women equal protection under the law, asserting their rights separately from those noted in the 14 th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The issue regarding the adoption of an equal rights amendment questions whether women are already fully protected under the law, or if a constitutional amendment is needed to grant them protection. I will argue by using the history of women’s discrimination and more presently their categorization in society that an equal rights amendment is necessary. The equal rights amendment (ERA) was first proposed in 1923 to affirm that women and men have equal rights under the law, but it has still not been adopted into the US Constitution. ERA was passed out of Congress in 1972 and has been ratified by thirty-five of the necessary thirty-eight states. When three more states ratify, it is possible that ERA would become a constitutional amendment. An alternative route to inclusion would be the traditional two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, followed by ratification by legislatures in three-fourths of the states. The actual language of the Amendment reads as follows: “Section 1. Equality or rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provision of this article. Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.” 1
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The history of women’s rights in our country initially has been very repressive and eventually has changed to include more rights for women. In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John, “In the new code of laws, remember the ladies and do not put such unlimited power into the hands of husbands.” John Adams replied to his wife, stating, “I cannot but laugh. Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems.” 1 In this regard, our government was formed on the principle that women were second-class citizens who lived in a man’s world. In this era, English common law asserted that certain white males only enjoyed freedoms. Henceforth under our new Constitution, women were still treated according to social tradition and were denied most legal rights. In general, women could not vote, own property, keep their own wages, or even have custody of their children. 2 In the 19 th century, the first visible public demand for equality came in 1848 at the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, who both worked as abolitionists against slavery, convened a two-day meeting of three hundred women and men, demanding justice for women in society who
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This note was uploaded on 03/26/2012 for the course POL 347* taught by Professor Good during the Fall '11 term at Miami University.

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Final - May 3, 2011 POL 347Dr. Good Final Paper The Need...

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