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History of the Woman's Suffrage Movement

Aileen S. Kraditor discusses the history of the Woman Suffrage Movement form 1890 to 1920, the movement by which women agitated for and finally received the vote, something they had been denied in the original U.S. Constitution. The fact that women were omitted shows the nature of power relations between the sexes at that time in our history, and the resistance encountered to suffrage at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries shows that little seemed to have changed. However, the women were able to make their point and bring about change. Kraditor specifically considers the role of the leadership of the movement and the ideas that motivated them and by which they motivated others. She begins from the view that the movement did not have a central ideology and instead involved a number of different ideas, approaches, and tactics. Kraditor in fact finds that the movement created its effective ideology over time through the interaction of different personalities and factions, and indeed this might be said of most movements. One of the forces with which the movement had to contend and which helped shape its ideology was the ideas that were used to bolster and justify the institutions then impeding women's progress. In other words, the movement was shaped both by internal battles and by battles with the enemy. The arguments conducted over this issue have appeared in similar form with reference to other issues and do to this day.

The role of women in nineteenth-century society was largely subordinate to the male and was also limited to the household to a very great degree. Middle- and upper-class women had an ideal for women, and the perfect woman was one who was devoted to the care and attention of her husband and children. For the unmarried woman, such devotion was to be directed toward a good cause serving the community. Some women were paid for work and had to work to make ends meet, but gen...

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History of the Woman's Suffrage Movement. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 08:27, February 18, 2019, from