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The ratification of the nineteenth amendment was the biggest turning point for women leadership in our nation because of the fifty two year struggle women had to endure in order to get the right to vote. There wasn’t anyone better to represent women equality and leadership than Susan B. Anthony. Before 1920 women were undervalued and thought of as weak but because of the strong leadership of Susan B. Anthony and other activist, voting rights for all women was secured in 1920 in the state of Tennessee. This was just the beginning for inspiring women for fighting for their rights and political power in our nation.
Freedom to some not all
Imagine being told that you are not free to express your right to vote because of what sex you are, this was the case for women up until 1920. One thing that helped the fight for women equality in the right to vote was standing firm with what the fifteenth amendment says in allowing that all African Americans in declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” In 1878 on a January afternoon the 19th amendment was first introduced to congress and it seemed that the fight for women equality was coming to an end but this was just the beginning of a long struggle. To think that all citizens in the United States did not always have the right to vote is something that isn’t the first thing that crosses your mind, but it is true. After the United States gained their freedom from Britain, it was proclaimed that “All men are created equal.” However, women seemed to not fall in this category for some reason and that was reason to fight for that equality and it was not going to be easy because society did not believe they should have the same rights as all, especially the right to vote.
To think that women did not have many self- representations in this country before 1920 is mind boggling because of the strong leadership we have in this country by women today and not just in a political standpoint but in the pulpits and corporations and organizations that help society According to Darcy, women show a great representation of how not giving up on what is right for over seventy years can end up being a success story and help shape the future leadership in this country. The government can see a positive impact in the representation of women because of the few that end up being elected have shown positivity and strong leadership qualities. So how do you fight for something that is right in your mind but many others do not believe in? This question was answered by so many activist throughout the years and one in particular was Susan B. Anthony. When you think of women’s rights, many associate her first to this and she is even on a coin in this country (dollar coin) because of her strong leadership and stance.
One example of heroism was when she casted a ballet illegally in an 1872 election to prove a point of all citizens of the United States have the right to vote, not based on their sex. The conviction of her decision making influenced activists even more to be more outspoken to their rights and determination of seeking the freedom they deserved. The conviction document of Susan B Anthony is one of several federal court cases involving women arrested for illegally voting in the 1872 election in Rochester, NY, 48 years before the Nineteenth Amendment passed in 1920. She was fined one hundred dollars but chose not to pay it because she felt it was not right for her to pay a fine for using her freedom as a citizen to cast a vote, even though some states allowed voting at the time, New York did not. The trial was a major factor in showing how serious a woman felt in using her freedom.
Susan’s determination shows that she did not care what people thought because her focus was on one thing, to seek justice for all women to vote no matter what state they were in and color. This influenced women activists across many states to stand up and fight for equality for all and some examples include making signs and flyers.
Ways to be heard
When it comes to ways to be heard and getting peoples attentions, making unique billboards, and fliers is a great way. The activists did not stop when creating certain flyers to gain attention from voters. According to the different fliers supporting women’s suffrage, they all have one thing in common and that is answering the question of why women need to have more freedom, especially the right to vote. Many historians focus on the strength that women had in standing out on the street corners with signs that screamed their beliefs in writing and ultimately was a key in the success of finally the ratification in 1920. These resources of fliers from that place and time just shows why ratifying the Nineteenth Amendment was so important for women because of how detailed they were developed in comparing and contrasting and giving pros and cons on the impact women voting could have in all states.
Parades were another way for the women to stand up and be heard on the streets during the suffrage and one way a woman could stand out and be seen was to be around a crowd of young men and boys holding banners and signs that support the vote of women. The suffrage parade was the most significant parades that was help in New York in 1912. One example of this type of parade would be a photograph that shows Mrs. Suffern wearing a sash and carrying a sign that says “Help us to win the vote.” This act of bravery shows how fearless women were to stand up for their rights, this particular action shot comes just six years before the ratification of the nineteenth amendment. This is a great example of how actions impacted the women’s movement and how they are measured today in other political and nonpolitical views society has.
A common scene on the sidewalks in front of the white house were large groups of women picketing for their rights to President Woodrow Wilson. Women were shown holding signs that read “Mr. President, what will you do for Woman Suffrage?” and “How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty?” These ten women were arrested for disturbing the peace on the sidewalks but this act seemed to work because the president later on announced in 1918 that he favored the women’s rights to vote. In “Votes for Women” Jean Baker describes the strong leaderships of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton and others alike and how the suffrage battle was interlinked with constitutional issues at the federal and state level and how the suffrage struggle played out in different regions, especially the West and the South. When the women were not out on the streets holding signs and having parades, their emotional thoughts were often written down on paper, in a journal or even put down as rhymes.
There is no doubt that when all women had the right to finally vote in 1920 there was not a big increase in turnouts at the polls. Not all women immediately took advantage of the right to vote and only about half of women started voting immediately after suffrage was granted and were in the age group of 45 and older. When comparing the amount of vote’s women drew in against men, it wasn’t even close as a country we only begin to see a strong increase in women voting 40-50 years after the ratification, (1960’s). The main reasoning of a low number of women voting during these times was because of World War 2. While the men were out fighting for the country, women were also fighting for their lands, house and income while working in factories and farms and did not have time to go to the voting booths and some were even fighting in the war too. “Still women did not get recognized for their strong stance in history and the group of anti-suffragists opposed the idea for giving equal rights, which was very similar to “domestic feminism”, in that women had only complete freedom within the home and nowhere else.”
The day it was
The day had finally come, a long struggle for women equality would be determined by one vote in Tennessee on August 26th 1920. “Everything the Cause had accomplished, every state won, every piece of legislation, every change of heart and shift in policy was once considered utterly impossible, until it wasn’t.” After everything that the women went through before this day, the first vote ended up being a tie but because of a change of heart from Harry T. Burn by reading a letter from his mother in asking him to vote yes, which his vote changed the course of history for women equality and ended the long and overdue of the passing of the nineteenth amendment. One thing that seems to hurt this day of significance for our country and diminish the importance is because “none of the leaders of the woman suffrage movement were present when the proclamation was signed, and no photographers or film cameras recorded the event as well so to not have any evidence of recording or photograph, some historians could question that it actually didn’t happen.” One of the most important things that helps strengthen the significance of the activists that fought hard for the nineteenth amendment is that many of “the women that started the fight at the beginning were not there to see the completion of the fight in the end, and the ones that were at the end of the fight in 1920 were not born to see the beginning but every fight by all paid off in the end.” Susan B. Anthony could not do this on her own and was not alive to see the result because she died in 1906 but her legacy continues to live on through the strong leadership and rights of women today.
The future is now
One positive impact on the rights of women voting in our country is that many leadership roles in our country are filled by women. “Even when it was time to ratify the nineteenth amendment there were still conflicting sides on voting and today there still can be conflicting statements when it comes to women voting but we have seen and will continue to see strong leadership from women in our country.” God made everyone into his own image and is equal in his eyes so as a Christian disapproving someone else’s right to vote based on sex is just wrong because a woman can be just as good of a leader as a man and can make strong decisions that will benefit our country as well. “When we look back to the Nineteenth Amendment being ratified almost 100 years ago, we lose sight of the struggles women went through for over six decades.”
Even today in the year 2018 we look at the lack of the number of women that get elected over the men in elections because they seem to be undervalued today in our society. We have a tendency to to get caught up as a nation in undervaluing women leadership skills. So where would our nation be without the strong vote of a woman? Will we ever see a woman elected as president? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know that without the nineteenth amendment in this country and the women that fought for those rights, none of these thoughts or questions would be possible and the future is bright for women because their voice matters.
Still making an impact today
As we continue to look back at women’s history in our country we can’t help but look at the strong future ahead. To see a woman like Hillary Clinton run for president in our country this past election, after the struggle women went through to be recognized as people in general. This is a huge accomplishment and a glimpse of a strong future of what women’s history will become. According to Hoefferle, “women leadership continues to develop into a strong foundation and the struggle has helped build a bright future for women in this country.” Still, today women continue to fight for equality and conduct protests and rallies against a government that disapproves their leadership capabilities. Women have fought for their equal rights for generations including, the right to vote, the right for equality in the work place and other physical and personal rights as well yet their voices seem to be dim in the ears of the government and because of the hard fight that Susan B. Anthony and other activists accomplished for the nineteenth amendment, there is a no give up mentality for them today in the fight for what they believe. In the end, we may see the same positive outcome on these subjects as well in the future. When you go to that voting booth to cast your ballet soon, don’t take for granted of how much a privilege it is to be heard in this great nation by one simple act. Remember the hard fight that women had endure to get that same right in voting while helping change the future but not forgetting the past. Therefore, the ratification of the nineteenth amendment was so important and it has helped shape our nation for equal rights forever.

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