Women’s Suffrage Through the Years.

The women’s suffrage movement started back in the 1840’s. Since then, numerous advances have been made for women’s rights. It’s obvious that women’s suffrage was one of the most successful Progressive reforms, even though it took 80 years in the making, doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful. In The Great Water, Professor Thick provides an excerpt by Sojourner Truth where she states that women should have the same rights as men. “I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that?” This is what she asks. What makes women any different from men besides their sex?

At this time, section four of Civil Rights states that a woman is bound to obey her husband. It’s states if a women was to disobey her husband, he had a right to “restrain her of her liberty”. Which in short, means he had a right to “bind her with cords” and “lock her in closet” (Foster 131). It even goes as far as to say “if she makes opposition, and in enforcing his demands, her arms should be broken.” It is ludicrous to think that there was a time in our history that allowed such abuse. It also states that a woman’s property becomes her husbands after marriage, but if the husband dies, the widow only has a legal right of one third of his estate. But if the wife dies, the husband has a legal right to her entire estate. This shows that women’s suffrage is one of the most powerful reforms in history.

As many people know, women gained the legal right to vote in national elections in August of 1920. But in Michigan, tax paying women were allowed to vote for school trustees in 1867. But the state rejected total woman suffrage. But what many people don’t know is that there were boards of women who were against giving women the right to vote. The Michigan Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage was made up entirely of women. In 1913, Helen Keep wrote to Governor Osborn saying “we have formed this organization because we do not believe the majority of women of Michigan wish to vote.” They were written back with that Governor Osborn was currently in Europe and that he is is a strong believer in woman suffrage and that he would be no help to them.

This reform was so successful because it paved a path for women today. People don’t think twice this day and age when they see a working mother or a woman doctor. They don’t see the harm with a women running for office. We almost had our first woman president (let’s hope for 2020, 100 years after the right for women to vote). The facts are here, and it is a beautiful thing. I’m not saying that in this day and age women have it perfect, but today, women have the same rights as men.

Works Cited:

  • ”The Great Water” Sojourner Truth. Ain’t I a Woman? pg 129-130. 
  • “The Great Water” Theodore Foster. Notes on Women’s Rights. pg 131.
  • “The Great Water” William Webb. No Benefit to Women’s Suffrage. pg 139. 
  • “The Great Water” Helen Keep. Michigan Association Opposed to Women’s Suffrage. pg 139-140. 
  • “The Great Water” Office of Governor Chase S. Osborn. A Response to Helen Keep. pg 140. 
  • “Women’s History Timeline” http://www.michiganwomenshalloffame.org/womens_history_timeline1.

9 thoughts on “Women’s Suffrage Through the Years.

  1. It’s amazing to see all of the work that was done (and how long it took), for women to gain the right to vote. It is also crazy to think that in 2018 there is still work to be done in the area of equal rights for everyone. We can look back and and wonder how it took so long for previous generations to pass women’s suffrage, but if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit in the area of equal rights for all, we still have work to do.

  2. I thought you made a lot of good examples in this blog. It is so crazy to think men could get away with such damned things if his wife was disobedient. I am married, him and I don’t see eye to eye sometimes, but he is not doing that to me. That just shows the freedom women have gained from all this suffrage. I do believe in equality and what all these women and women even today are doing, we have come so far. It is so refreshing to think I, as a women, have all these options just as any man. It also saddens me to think about the women who did not receive these rights.

  3. The idea that a husband could just tie his wife up or break her arms for wanting what she wants is appaling. And it’s just as applaing that there were groups of woman against moving foward. With everything going on today with woman sticking together and working as one to be treated equal (because we still aren’t completely), I just can’t believe woman would try to hinder the growth of eachother back then in such a huge way.
    The law of men being in control of every thing a woman owns but a woman haing no say in his belonging is the worst application of, “What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine” I have ever seen. Basically you could have men marrying women just to get access to their property and then take it in death or a divorce.

  4. I agree that Women’s Suffrage was the most important reform movement of the Progressives. It is hard to fathom that in the 20th century, men believed they had the right to completely control their wives. There is much frustration still today regarding the equality of minorities and women. The Progressives (both women and men) who fought for a woman’s right to vote are to be admired for their courage to bring about change in our country.

    Chase Osborn, who served as Govorner of Michigan from 1911-1913, deserved his reputation as “Mr. Progressive” for his advocacy in fighting for women’s suffrage.

  5. I strongly believe that a woman should have just as many rights as men do. I feel that if a woman capable of doing what a man does she should get the same pay and recognition that the man does. It appalls me that men would be able to get away with the atrocities like tying their wives up and throwing them into a closet like a used broom.

  6. In this day in age it is understood that the majority of Americans believe women should have the right to vote. It is outrageous to think that a man can “restrain her of her liberty” (love the use of that quote by the way) but that is how it was before and during suffrage. It is crazy to think of how far we have come as a country in terms of women’s rights and is even crazier to think how far we still have to go. Great blog, fun read!

  7. I think it’s crazy that a lot of women didn’t even want the right to vote. Those women had a conservative mindset and tried standing in the way of the progression of women’s rights! I would’ve thought that most, if not all, women wanted the right to vote. That being said I’m glad that those women didn’t get their way and that women earned the right to vote, among other things, that lead to today’s woman having the same rights as men do.

  8. I like that you mentioned that women were allowed to vote in school matters. I’m sure when this was first allowed it was a very big deal to many women, and today it seems that these are things a lot of people don’t bother to vote for. You are correct, women do not have it perfect, but this was a major step into the rights women do have today.
    Great post!

  9. It’s important to recognize and remember that the women’s suffrage movement did more than just give women the right to vote. It changed common views on women. It made women equal to men. Women can do plenty of things that men can do, just as Sojourner Truth pointed out. So why if women could work and do as much as men, were they not treated the same as men? Women’s suffrage helped to defeat many stereotypes of women and that they were inferior to men.

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