The Right to Vote in the Turn of The Century


It is telling part of history when women were split on whether or not the fourteenth amendment should be passed. Why would they not be though? The amendment still viewed women as inferior to men. The way it was originally wrote was not an accident, to emphasize male, rather than in previous amendments, man or mankind. In the time, this was viewed by many women as a step back for women’s rights. It provided a way under law to deny women the right to vote. Politicians could argue, using the amendment that the Constitution establishes that women do not have the constitutional right to vote.

On another note, the previous paragraph makes it sound like women did not have an active voice in politics. This however is not completely true in my opinion. It is clear that without the right to vote, their power was limited.  This however did not prevent women from standing up for the causes they believed in. In fact the rise of the “new woman” caused a change in the perceived role of women in society. Women were no longer staying at home and just having children. They were going to get an education, and chasing after opportunities that were viewed impossible by previous women generations. In 1900, 20 percent of women were getting a college degree versus only 13 percent in 1890. Furthermore, women were actively participating in clubs for social reform and charity. There were over 160,000 women participating in over 500 clubs (1). I believe this information shows that women were beginning to take a step towards becoming more active participants in politics. It is clear without the right to vote they could only do so much. Still they were able to advocate for their causes, and later their political unrest would lead for them to achieve the right to vote.

As far as African Americans go and other minorities, this was time where they had little influence and power. Even when they received the right to vote, literary test and other obstacles were put in place to impede them. These were tests many white men would be unable to pass. The other obstacles could be even violent. These methods and the racial beliefs that many people had towards minorities gave them no power in society. These conditions I believe, made it impossible for minorities to have an active voice in politics. It would take years of discrimination before they could truly not feel disenfranchised.

So the question comes to be, if women and minorities did not have the power in this time period, who did? Was it the rich, white man? The interesting thing about the time period was the pace of information. I believe it would be incredibly easy for a rich individual to buy or bribe influence without anyone knowing about it. Therefore, I do not believe it would be impossible that rich people and businesses carry the majority of the influence in government. With the constant push and easy access we have for information this would be definitely more difficult to occur today. However, in this time the people were lucky to hear about even the bigger news out of government.

Lastly, I do believe that our system provided a way for even the poor working man to have a voice, although a quiet one. The voice is simply through the power of voting. There were more working men than rich men, therefore these men had the larger say in who represented the country. Those who were elected still had to respect that voice in fear of not be reelected. Whether or not politicians viewed them seriously in this time period is curious, however I believe our democracy even then did a decent job in spreading out influence. It clearly needed changes as we see in the later time periods, but I believe it was still a well-built system.

 

Sources:

Keene, Jennifer D., Saul T. Cornell and Edward T. O’Donnell. Visions of America: A History of the United States, Volume, 3/e. Boston: Pearson, n.d. Chapter 17.3.2 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “The Right to Vote in the Turn of The Century

  1. It’s intriguing to me how there can be so many more working men even to this day but the rich still run the government. I almost believe that we truly don’t have a vote more like a suggestion. Take this last election for example majority of votes chose the other candidate yet the government (electoral college) chose our current president. I’m ready for the day when we are all truly equal!

    1. I agree with you completely, take net neutrality, NO ONE besides bigger companies that it was benefit, wanted net neutrality, yet it still passed. You are so correct when you say it’s basically more of a suggestion!

  2. Women just didn’t want to be overlooked, they wanted to be seen as a part of society and they thought that they should have the right to vote. Women finally stood up for themselves it may have taken years for their voices to be heard, but they eventually were.

  3. This time in American history showed what could be accomplished when people banded together in support for their shared beliefs. Farmers banded together to fight for cheaper transportation of produce, laborers joined forces for higher wages and better safety, many women banded together to fight for the right to vote and minorities banded together to fight for equality. Though the battles were hard fought, all of these groups would end up with some level of success.

  4. I think you made a great point when taking about how women felt about allowing African American’s to vote. I can see where there would be mixed feelings about this. Part of me thinks that woman probably saw this to be unfair, while another part thinks that many women saw this as a step in the right direction for voting rights of their own.

  5. I am so glad that the “New Woman” movement allowed women to have their voices heard for a change. The courage it took for them to stick up for themselves in order to get change induced in what was a men’s world is the courage that everyone needs to have within them today to get whatever that they feel is unfair. I am glad after all the struggle that both African Americans and women got the opportunity to become voting citizens of the United States and have their concerns accurately represented. This was definitely an improvement for our country.

  6. Great blog this week, I also had to write a blog this week. I agree that back in this era it was very difficult for the working class and women to get their opinions to the rich. The rich got whatever they wanted and still do. They never put the poor people first or try to help with the conditions they lived in. The best thing about thus era was when the third party was born, which was the peoples choice.

  7. I agree with that most of the government was run by rich people and it only took so many people to bribe and win over to get a vote. by doing that it won’t take the rich to win majority vote if they buy all of their votes from people. Seeing that the government hasn’t changed at all into today, the government is run by the rich still and the fact that the rich still get whatever they want with the money they have is sad.

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