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Woman’s Suffrage: The Lengthy Struggle By Alyssa Adams
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It is not commonly know that the Woman’s Suffrage movement began long before it garnered much national attention. Only the generations of women who grew up fighting for their rights could truly tell you what an on-going struggle it was. Such generations of women span from the very first convention for women’s rights, held all the way back in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848, to the long-awaited passing of the 19 th Amendment more than seventy-two years later 1 . Unfortunately, in a male-dominated 19 th and 20 th century society, it wasn’t the easiest thing for a woman to get her voice heard when she wanted to. The New York Times, like most papers, was owned by men, written by men, and read by men, therefore they didn’t see much of a need for articles that paid attention to the plights of women. Those articles that could be found, before the movement gained power in the 20 th century, were usually the opinions of men afraid of giving women any sort of political influence. They preferred that their mothers, daughters, and wives continue to focus solely on raising the family and creating a good household for the man to come home to. Such a temperament is clearly exhibited by Horace Greeley, editor and founder of the NY Tribune back in the 1860’s, when he said that female suffrage “involves the overthrow of the family relations.” 2 A man so involved in business certainly wouldn’t be open to the idea of women seeping into his paper’s articles. Another point that many made about women becoming more involved in politics was that it could cause disputes at home if a husband and his wife were supporters of different parties. There was worry that a time would come when if a man supported the Democratic Party, and his wife backed the Republicans, then it would soon take, “two houses to hold them.” 2 Supporters of such an idea argued that a man should not have to 1 Brody, David, Dumenil, Lynn, and James Henretta. America A Concise History . Boston, MA: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2006. Page 680. 2 Greely, Horace. “Mr. Greeley On Female Suffrage.” New York Times , Oct. 3, 1867. Page 4 2
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spend his day struggling to keep his family afloat only to have to continue the struggle at home, where he should find a reprieve. So many men had in their heads the opinion that women were not learned enough in the ways of government or business to be allowed the right to vote and should therefore focus only on being housewives. After all, men had been running the country for over a century and therefore assumed women knew nothing about politics. However, women seemed more knowledgeable of politics than most people thought. They chose to
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course HIST 101 taught by Professor Buler during the Spring '08 term at Northeastern.

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rough draft - Woman's Suffrage: The Lengthy Struggle By...

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