The Development Of Women Rights Essay


Women Activists Dilemma to support or Oppose the 15th Amendment as evidenced by the split in the Women’s suffrage Movement Introduction

After the Civil war, three amendments were passed which massively transformed the women’s rights movement. These were the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments. The thirteenth amendment approved in the year 1865 declared slavery illegal (Parker, 1849). Thus, all the women who were previously enslaved became free and acquired protection by human rights. The fourteenth amendment declared that everyone born in the U.S was a legal U.S citizen and should not be deprived off their rights including all slaves. Moreover, the law added that all male American citizens had the right to vote (Anderson, 590).

Finally, there was the controversial Fifteenth Amendment, passed in 1870. The amendment granted black American men the right to vote by stating that the rights of U.S citizens to participate in elections must not be denied on the basis of their race or color. The Fifth Amendment had no mention of women or their rights (Pankhurst, 478). Hence, women were greatly offended by the Amendment because it intentionally omitted the mention of gender. Women activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony together with their women followers were extremely offended by this omission (Anderson, 591). According to them, the amendment was extremely wrong to omit the rights of women. They argued that the rights of women should have been defended together with those of black American men. Other activists e.g. Lucy Stone and Mary Livermore were also offended by the fifteenth amendment yet still supported it (Pankhurst, 493). They feared that if the rights of women were included in the amendment, the amendment would not pass meaning no new suffrage rights would be won....


In fact, after the omission of women’s rights in the Fifth Amendment, five decades went by before women gained the right to vote in any federal elections. In fact, none of the women of the Seneca Falls generation lived long enough to enjoy their right to vote (Pankhurst, 295).
Stanton argued that the omission of the rights of women in the Fifth Amendment was an unreasonable compromise that limited women. Other scholars reasoned that the rise of Jim Crow would not have been possible if the Fifth Amendment women had acknowledged women and given them a voice in politics. However, this implied that white women were more progressive and open minded than men (Parker, 1852). This might have not been the case, but it resulted into the split of women right’s movement into two disputing delegations. These are the National Women’s Suffrage Association and the American Women’s Suffrage Association. This dispute greatly stunted the growth of the movement for many years (Anderson, 590).

The women suffrage movements were conducted both in the U.S and in Australia. This was in the late 19th C and in the early 20th C. However, women suffrage in the U.S began way earlier than in Australia and even took longer to succeed. In the U.S, woman suffrage began after the first U.S conference held to fight for women’s rights, the Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention. The convention was held by various feminists in the Seneca Falls in 1848. The convention was organized by activists Lucretia Mott and Stanton and attended by various other feminists. Its primary goal was its claim of the declaration of sentiments (Pankhurst, 498).

The declaration claimed that women that women had been oppressed and deprived off their rights for many years. Similarly, the declaration implied that…

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