Women'S Suffrage Movement Research Paper

The right to vote is one of our most precious civil rights. Now, a new film tells the story of how women gained that right in England and set the example for women in the U.S. On October 23, 2015, the film Suffragette opened in U.S. theaters. Starring Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep, Suffragette tells the true story of how women from all strata of English society became radicalized in order to gain the right to vote.

Find out more about the women’s suffrage movement. (Credit: YouTube)

It was a time when the traditional role of women was that of wife and mother. Every aspect of their lives was subject to the rule of men. In the film we see how members of the women’s suffrage movement risked everything to achieve an equal place at the table of democracy.

Suffragette

These days we tend to take the right to vote for granted. Many Americans don’t even bother to go to the polls on voting day. But for those who are denied that right, voting means everything. In 1912, an intrepid group of English women were willing to risk ridicule, jail and their lives to gain that right.

Pete Hammond provided background on the film that depicts their story in an October 19, 2015, article for Deadline.com, “‘Suffragette’ Review: Carey Mulligan Inspires And Meryl Streep Shows Up Too – Briefly.

The film focused on the character of Maud Watts, who transforms from a young wife and mother into a militant as her struggle for voting rights develops.

“In fact, the movie’s most moving section actually comes as the end credits begin to roll. That is when a crawl of hundreds of countries rolls by with the year that women won the right to vote. Astonishingly that crawl leads all the way to today with Saudi Arabia pending. How far we have come, but how far we still have to go,” Hammond observed.

Women’s suffrage in the U.S.

Lead by the example of English suffragettes like Emmeline Pankhurst (played by Meryl Streep in the film), women in the U.S. waged their own battles for voting rights. A good place to research the early years of the feminist movement in the U.S. is at Questia. Among the books and articles on women in U.S. history is the book, How the Vote Was Won: Woman Suffrage in the Western United States, 1868-1914 by Rebecca J. Mead.

In her book, Mead explains the regional differences in the enfranchisement of women’s voting rights. By the end of 1914 almost every Western state and territory had enfranchised its female citizens in the right to vote. It would not be until the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 that women in the rest of the country could vote. Why the difference?

In her study Mead proposed that Western suffrage resulted from a combination of factors that included regional politics, race relations and broad alliances between suffragists and farmer-labor-progressive reformers and sophisticated activism by Western women.

According to Mead, “The achievement of equal suffrage for women was a long and complicated process, involving several generations and many different individuals with varying rationales and agendas. Some were idealistic and inclusive, others were opportunistic, many were frankly prejudiced and exclusive, and most were some combination of motives and beliefs.”

Resources on women’s suffrage

The struggle for women’s voting rights dates back to the early days of our country. You can find a “Woman Suffrage Timeline (1840-1920)” at the site for the National Women’s History Museum.

The blog of the Long Island Woman Suffrage Association features regular posts that focus on the biographies of individual suffragists as well as announcements on current events related to women’s suffrage.

History.com features “The Fight for Women’s Suffrage” with articles and videos.

The National Archives website offers links to important documents in U.S. history, from the Declaration of Independence to Apollo flight plans. It is here you will find a link to the 19th Amendment, which guarantees all American women the right to vote.

Find millions of resources for your research papers at Questia where you can learn more about women in U.S. history.

Do you have a favorite women’s rights heroine? Tell us about her in the comments.

The women’s suffrage movement was massive and was conducted by both women and men of diverse views. One of the main differences between the movement members, especially in Britain, was the division into suffragists, seeking to change the constitutional way, and suffragettes, led by Emmeline Pankhurst, who created in 1903 the Social and Political Union of Women practicing more drastic action.

Suffragette movement spread received in late XIX-early XX centuries, mostly in the UK and the U.S. Suffragists actively used non-violent methods of civil disobedience: chained themselves to the gates, sat on the rails, organized demonstrations, and stood in the streets with streamers.

There were also differences in views on the place of women in society. Some thought that women are naturally better, softer, and more concerned about the plight of vulnerable members of society, especially children. In accordance with these views, women’s participation in elections should lead to a more civilized politics and, in particular, will help introduce a turnover control of alcohol. They also believed that the main task of the women was the maintenance of the home, and a woman should be able to influence the laws relating to her home.

Other participants indicated that women should be fully equalized with men, and there should be no such thing as “natural destiny for woman.” Different views were on the right to vote for the other categories of people. Some thought that all adults, regardless of property, gender, and race are eligible to vote, while others believed that women’s suffrage should abolish the right to vote for the members of the poorer classes and men with non-white skin color.

Currently, radical changes in the field of women’s suffrage are expected in Saudi Arabia. The main problem is in particular the perception of the role of women in this country’s society.

In general, women’s suffrage is the right of women to participate in the election of people’s representatives. It includes the right to elect and to be elected.

Until the XIX century, the right of women to vote was granted locally and was usually accompanied by additional constraints (a property qualification, position in the family, society, etc.). Then began a period of growing activity of the women’s suffrage movement. This led to its consolidation in international law in the middle of the XX century.

Currently, the movement is introduced in most countries of the world. One of the first women’s suffrage was introduced to New Zealand (1893), Australia (1902), and the Russian Empire (in the Grand Duchy of Finland, 1906). One of the last in Kuwait (2005), United Arab Emirates (2006), and Saudi Arabia (2011).

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