On August 18, 1920 the State of Tennessee became the 36th state to pass the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution guaranteeing Women the Right to Vote. Minnesota was the 15th State to pass it on September 8, 1919.
Seneca Falls Convention & Declaration of Sentiments
It wasn’t the first attempt at passing an amendment for women to be allowed to vote, in fact it started up about 72 years earlier in Seneca Falls, New York at a Women’s Rights Convention started by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. They were abolitionists who turned to advocate for women’s rights. At the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention Mott, Stanton and other women put together a list modeled after the Declaration of Independence called the “The Declaration of Sentiments.”
The Declaration of Sentiments offered examples of how men oppressed women such as:
- preventing them from owning land or earning wages
- preventing them from voting
- compelling them to submit to laws created without their representation
- giving men authority in divorce and child custody proceedings and decisions
- preventing them from gaining a college education
- preventing them from participating in most public church affairs
- subjecting them to a different moral code than men
- aiming to make them dependent and submissive to men
Stanton read the Declaration of Sentiments at the convention and proposed women be given the right to vote, among other things. Sixty-eight women and 32 men signed the document—including prominent abolitionist Frederick Douglass—but many withdrew their support later when it came under public scrutiny. (source History.com)
Post Civil War and Reconstruction Period
Following the Civil War the late President Abraham Lincoln’s Reconstruction plan had been altered as he was no longer around to over see it. The 13th Amendment had been passed in 1865 ending slavery officially, the 14th and 15th Amendments had been passed to grant Civil Rights and Equal Protection under the law; and Voting Rights to former slaves respectively.
At the time Women thought they could register to vote with the passage of the 15th Amendment’s language allowing voting rights. The language of the article did not mention gender so it was vague, but since it wasn’t explicitly directing women to be able to vote, any woman who did was arrested. This is when Susan B Anthony was arrested in 1872.
Susan B Anthony was an abolitionist who was also a member of the Temperance Movement. The Temperance Movement was a social movement to curb alcohol consumption and eventually they succeeded to prevent the sale and production of alcohol. So before you shout hooray for Susan B Anthony think of how she helped to organize crime in America in an indirect way by helping bootleggers to smuggle illegal alcohol in the early part of the 20th century. The amount of misery heaped upon Americans not being able to have a drink of alcohol makes today’s social distancing and mask wearing pale in comparison.
Susan B Anthony died in 1906 at the age of 86, and 14 years later the 19th Amendment was named in her honor.
Split in Suffrage Movements
During Reconstruction the Suffrage for Black Men went one way and Women’s Suffrage went another way. There was a difference in the abolitionists. Most advocated for Voting Rights for Black Men which resulted in the 15th Amendment.
One could question why this was so but the industrial revolution had not hit full stride yet, which one could argue was the reason why it took so long for the cessation of slavery to occur. During the industrial age it really didn’t matter who was pushing a button on an assembly line. Also sentiments about what a woman’s place in the household was tied to family life and traditions held in the church.
World War 1 and Suffragette Parades
After World War 1 a lot of the old world had fallen away. You can see this in the period piece on PBS’ Downton Abbey. Limited Automation, and women working in traditional men’s fields to produce war material for the war effort brought out a freedom women had not seen before.
One of the ways in which women pushed their cause was to hold massive Suffragette Parades in some of the larger cities in the United States. Many women were arrested after these parades for demonstrating in public which was still illegal.
100 Years Later, Women on the Ballot is Common Place
Its been one hundred years since women were given the right to vote and it’s not a big deal as it was then. There have been many women candidates, legislators, businesswomen, and even astronauts. Women have come a long way in this country.
Here are a list of current women legislators and candidates from the Republican Party:
Rep Mary Franson, Senator Carrie Ruud, Senator Julie Rosen, Senator Carla Nelson, Senator & Former Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, Senator Karin Housley, Rep Deb Kiel, Senator Michelle Benson, former Mayor of Woodbury Mary Stephens, Margaret Stokely, Georgia Dietz, Amy Anderson, Sharon Anderson, to name a few.
And our very own HD 66B Republican Candidate Mikki Murray.
Information for this article came from History.com, and from the Secretary of State of Minnesota’s Candidate Filing website.