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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Essay on Women Suffrage Movement

Since time immemorial, all movements aspiring for a goal had to do something to attain it.  Citizens of colonized countries had to organize themselves and fight by means of revolution to attain freedom.  Slaves who aspired for freedom had to fight for their freedom.  Employees who aspired for better terms and conditions had to engage in strikes and picketing before their rights were recognized.  The fight for equal rights necessitated decades of struggle and massive propaganda campaign by the leaders and its members so that their aspirations may finally be recognized.  The women’s suffrage movement also would not have succeeded had they not been awakened and realized that their rights were being violated. 

This essay seeks to prove that the women suffrage movement is the result of the leadership of important figures in our history and the awakening not only by the women but also the men that democracy demands the due recognition of the women’s right to vote. 

In the speech entitled “On Women’s Right to Vote”, Susan B. Anthony recounted her experiences when she was arrested for something that is her right to do – casting a vote.  She was among the first female leaders who made the women realized the voting is also their right and guaranteed by the constitution.  Susan Anthony explained one of the arguments against denying a female the right to vote which is that the United States was formed by the people of the United States.  The people include those who are white and black, male or female, young and old who are all entitled to the same fundamental civil and political rights without any distinction.  She also added that the dictionary defines a citizen as a person who is entitled to vote and hold office. 

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The article entitled “”Alice Paul” explained the sacrifices of Alice Paul one of the greatest figures in the struggle for women suffrage in the United States.  In her struggle to introduce changes in the political system, she was arrested several times and went on hunger strikes for weeks.  She was fed only through force and with the use of tubes inserted in her nose.  Her group frequently conducted mass demonstrations and picketing outside the White House where she was met with assault by male oppositionists.  Because of the struggle for her group and the other women suffrage movement, the 19th Amendment was finally included in the Bill of Rights granting women the right to vote.  But her group did not stop until women were also granted equal rights in the exercise of civil rights as well.

In the speech entitled “The Crisis”, Carrie Chapman Catt stressed that the awakening of women was the result of economic, political and social changes in the United States and in another countries.  These changes have made them realize that it is time for them to take advantages of these changes.  Firstly, the war has resulted in an unintended consequence of allowing women to take part not only in direct war activities but also in administrative jobs which made them realize that they can perform other tasks that were formerly performed only by men.  Secondly, the decades of continuous struggle of the women suffrage movement and their determination to bring about equality has bore fruits as the opponents of women suffrage movement have been destroyed. 
In the article entitled “Women Suffrage is Inevitable”, Carrie Chapman Catt stressed the recognition of the women’s right to vote is inevitable.  She stressed that the history of our nation which values the principles of democracy demands that we recognize the right of the women to vote.  It is indeed foolhardy to proclaim that our country is a democracy while at the same time tolerating discrimination and inequality of treatment.  Secondly, women suffrage is inevitable because our democratic institution demands equal treatment of women and that we cannot be half democratic and half autocratic.  Thirdly, because of the leadership role occupied by the United States in the family of nations, and as the other nations turn to the United States for their inspiration, the United States is bound to recognize the right of suffrage of women.

In the speech entitled “The Destructive Male”, Elizabeth Cada Stanton acknowledged that the present society is male-dominated.  She stressed that while the male element in the society is not in itself harmful, its total domination has resulted in violence, conquest, acquisition, discord, disorder, disease and health.  She argued that the female element can temper these violent emotions and control these destructive forces inherent in male-dominated society. 

The success of the Women Suffrage Movement is now being enjoyed by women not only in the United States but in other democratic countries as well.  The success would not have been possible were it not for the indomitable spirit and firm resolve of the women leaders who fought for this right and the important events in history that made them realize that they need not be secondary citizens in their own country.  They helped awaken the spirits of women who had become accustomed to their secondary role in the society.  They also organized these women so that their collective voices will finally be heard.  

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