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A major issue that existed in America in the 19th and 20th century was women’s suffrage. Women all over the country argued that they should have to right to have a say in political matters especially when it regarded themselves. The campaigning started in the mid 1940’s, and various organizations were created. Two of the major unions were the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association. The leaders of the previous groups later combined the two into the National American Woman Suffrage Association, or NAWSA. They were Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe.
In order to achieve what they sought out for, as well as many other women alike, the key was persistence. Particular strategies included advertising, campaigning, protesting, picketing, and acquiring inspiration from military tactics. Publicity was vital in attaining international recognition. The population needed to become knowledgeable on the current issues of their society. There were also people who opposed women’s suffrage, known as traditionalists. They believed the place of the women belonged in the home and allowing them to be part of the political world would ruin family-life, leading to the “moral degeneracy of children, and tear down the social fabric of the country.”
While white women were fighting for their rights, many of the organizations excluded African Americans. The National Association of Colored Women, founded by Nannie Helen Burroughs, campaigned for the suffrage of black women. In an excerpt of the magazine of the NAACP known as Crisis, in 1915, Burroughs argues her position. Explicating that the “black man” is incapable of making an informed use of the ballot, the African American women must assume the role. She also states that the “negro woman is quite superior in bearing moral responsibility.” Comparing the women to the men in regards of morality is absurd, for the women convey the obligations of the Church, school and economics at home.
Eventually, partial women’s suffrage was achieved around 1918, with restrictions. Western and mid-western American states were the first to grant. Rather than uniting, the organizations that all fought for the same cause, the women scattered into groups separately fighting their own battles for their own race. In 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, sanctioning all citizen’s right to vote, regardless of gender or place of residence. Through coarse decades of unrest, persistence and courage by their side, the women were finally able to reach their victory, altering the system of the American electorate forever.
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