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History of Woman’s Suffrage



Abstract

There is no doubt, the women suffragist period has been researched by scholars deeply. Especially, they have been focused on the progress of women’s struggle for political recognition. Many authors describe the period of the women’s struggle up to the time, when they were afforded their political rights. The following is a literature review of various articles that address the topic of women suffrage. The review concentrates on the impact of the women movements on national and global fight towards women recognition in politics.

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As observed in the journal articles reviewed, most authors concentrated on a specific scope, regarding women suffrage, and a collection of information leads to a better understanding of the topic. In the journal articles, there have been analyzed topics varying from the methods used by women in their fight for political recognition, as well as impacts of the fights, challenges faced in the campaign, and the links of the national social movements in the global fight for women suffragists. However, some of the authors did not provide a direct linkage of their articles to other information from other works of literature though they all have significant contributions to the topic.

Main Body

The first journal article by Borda, Jennifer is based on the period when annual parades were introduced in the United States. The parades brought together all the women in the country and enabled them to discuss their progress and what was needed to be done. On the one hand, the parades united all women-rights fighters, enabling them to seek audience from the political leaders at that time (Borda, 2011, p. 213-216). However, the author also outlines that the parades posed the challenge on the movement’s and members’ images. Disunity among women caused some derailment in advocating for women-justice.

Though the journal article describes the annual parades and their impacts, it does not expound on the topic in a global perspective (Borda, 2011, p. 213). The article only concentrates on the United States, while, it is evident, the movement in the United States had a big impact globally. The author of the article does not also explain specifically, what mainly caused disunity among women, yet the annual parade was a uniting activity. As the annual parades are described in the article, the disunity must have been caused by an external force, such as men who had the aim of frustrating the campaign or political figures that were not ready to give in to the women’s demands. Despite lack of inclusion of such information, the article contributes to the topic of women suffragists by highlighting the methods used by the women to seek audience.

Another article, written by Ann Gordon describes women’s struggle for political rights in the 19th century. The article portrays the inconsistent nature of law-making in the United States senate, where it was difficult to convince the members to amend voting rules to include women. Firstly, the senate did not respond to the demands and after increased pressure, they amended the rules to include black men. The author refers to works of activists, such as Suzanne Marilley and Schwalm, to describe their struggles in their fight (Gordon, 1998, p. 206-210).

The article is concluded by citing that the reason, why the traditional systems of leadership collapsed, was due to consistent and persistent advocacy by the women, which made the administration give in to the storm. The writer of the article uses the works of other authors and activists to develop the main idea that brought the traditional administrations to their downfall (Gordon, 1998, p. 206). Nevertheless, the writer does not consider the article as an argumentative content to show the readers the way the movements for suffragists triumphed the political systems at those times. The article participates in the topic of women suffragists by looking at the legal and political hurdles the movements had to pass through in order to succeed. The article links are good with the previous article, describing how the campaigners sought audience.

In the article, Performing the Woman Question: the Emergence of Anti-Suffrage Drama, Emma demonstrates the way entertainment and art were used to campaign for women rights. The charades parlor games were the most popular spraying events in the US and activists for women suffragists used the games’ popularity to campaign for their rights. Other events and art activities were targeted by the activists to air their ideas, and this proved to be successful, because the events attracted a lot of people, since the activists provided audience. The use of drama and other events ultimately changed the public’s view on the rights of women (Emma, 2005, p. 212-215). The article’s idea is to portray the impact of drama in attracting audience from the political leaders, leading to the change of rules against women.

The article is unique, because it is concentrated on a specific topic (drama) and its effects on fight for women political recognition, whereas other authors provided a general perspective of the struggle (Emma, 2005, p. 215). However, the author portrays drama as the main catalyst for seeking audience, while others claim that annual parades provided the main means of seeking audience. The author justifies it by providing such specific events as the parlor games to show, how a large mass of crowd could be brought to attention. To clarify the issue, the author should have compared and contrasted the main activities, provided the audience, and present justifications as to why drama and sporting effects contributed heavily to the providing audience. Despite the issue of dramas superiority compared to other means, the overall article provides a great coverage of events that had a long-lasting impact on the political history of women.

The next article by Brayden, Cornwall and Dahlin is descriptive in nature, and it concentrates on the process of legislation. The author states that as the process moves to consequent stages, influence of social movements in decision making in the process continues to decline. This is due to the rules of law making becoming more consequential and stringent (King, Cornwall, &Dahlin, 2005, p. 1217-1219). The authors applied this principle to the women suffragist campaign, where they state that political leaders were influenced by the women suffragist advocators to bring the topic of women rights in politics in the discussion floor, but as the discussion was passed through later stages, the movements.

The article’s motive is to show that fight for women suffragists had legal hurdles, because activists could not influence the law makers’ decisions, regarding to law amendment. It mainly concentrates on the legal aspect of fighting for women rights making the reader see as if it was the only way of advocating for change (King, Cornwall, &Dahlin, 2005, p. 1217). Other methods had been used in the process of ensuring that one was fighting for such rights of women as consistent demonstrations and collaborating with men to make them realize the need for equality. The article describes the legal aspects extensively to complement other journal articles on the same topic.

The article, titled Feminism and Woman Suffrage: Debate, Difference, and the Importance of Context, shows that women were their own enemies with respect to feminism. It portrays the disagreements among feminist-activists in terms of goals and strategies. Some of the women wanted the campaign to be a single sex affair, whereas others preferred a mixed sex mode of campaign (ProQuest Research Library, 2012, p. 8-11). The article describes that activists in Japan opted for a mixed-sex campaign, in order to promote peace and harmony in their country. However, activists from the United States opted for women only. This proved to be difficult in terms of uniting the two countries’ social movements. As a result, the global campaign against women degradation was derailed.

The article’s main point is that personal opinions derailed the fight for human rights. The author has mainly concentrated on the global effect, and has not highlighted the national effects of feminism in the fight (ProQuest Research Library, 2012, p. 9-10). The author should have started with the local or national effects of feminism to lay foundation of the global effects. However, it portrays the impacts of personal emotions on the fight for women recognition in the political arena.

Another article by Susan Englander concentrates on the British fight for women suffragists. The British had two main organs that advocated for human rights, namely: the militant wing and social movements. The two wings complemented each other, because the militant wing concentrated on the global fight for suffragist, while the social movements concentrated on the British campaign (Englander &Nym, 2006, p. 159-162). The article mainly describes the contribution of the militant wing in contrast to the opinion of many people thinking the wing was dormant.

The article tries to prove to the reader that the militant wing had a more of global impact, compared to the national impact (Englander &Nym, 2006, p. 160-164). The information contained in the article is different from other articles, because it provides a European version of women suffragist fight. It helps to compare the American and European struggles and their respective impacts.

Bader-Zaar, Birgitta in the article Gender and Suffrage Politics: New Approaches to the History of Women's Political Emancipation focuses on historians from the West, who concentrated on the European and the American version of fight for women suffragists and ignoring their role in China (Bader-Zaar, 2011, p. 217-218). The author cites that the historians did not look at the China story with significance, because it was not a one gender affair. The author, then, continues to extensively describe the nature of the fight in China and their methodologies.

The author’s identification of the Chinese suffragist movement and the description of their fight for rights proves that the campaign could have been done in a different way by putting national interests beyond personal ones (Bader-Zaar, 2011, p. 216-218). The author should have acclaimed that the mixed gender fight had impact just as the single gender campaign, and it should not be ignored. The author did not compare justifiably the effects of both ways of suffragist fight to show that they both had similar impacts. If comparisons between the two ways of fight for suffragist were available, it would have provided a perfect complement to other articles portraying the impacts of both methods.

The book by Seung-kyung Kim, titled Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives views the topic of women suffrage in a global, multicultural and multiracial perspective. The book uses the works of such scholars as Nancy Hartsock and Chandra Talpade Mohanty to analyze the way every culture or race fought for women rights (Mccann& Kim, 2013, p. 29-34). The book also contains various theories that outline the tactics of various countries, and how they came to achieve their goal.

The author of the book elaborates different theories and their application in different backgrounds but, after the description, the author does not harmonize the theories and activities in different parts to show, how they coordinated to win the global fight. Even though, the book interconnects the global fight for women suffragist through describing the cultural aspect and, then, discussing the global impacts.

Lastly, authors Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ida Husted Harper Susan, Matilda Joslyn Gage and B. Anthony, in their book The History of Woman’s Suffrage, concentrated on the United States participation in fighting for suffragist. It describes the struggles the women underwent before they were politically recognized. The book describes the widespread condemnation of the women in terms of their human and political rights (In Stanton, 2012, p. 18-23). It narrates about different eras, where women had no say in any national decision making activity and describes, how gradually women became aware of their dignity as human beings and started seeking justice.

The book goes too much into details to show the way women were condemned and their rights were violated. However, it does not narrate in detail how women activists began their fight and how they managed to amass and unite all women for a common fight. Generally, the author does not identify the transitional period between the past era of women not seeking for their rights and the era of radical advocacy for their rights. The detailed explanation of the transitional period helps the reader to realize what initiated the desire of women to start their treatment.

Summary

In conclusion, the literature review describes the impacts of activists and movements fighting for women rights in politics, which helps the reader to know different dimensions of the era of women fight for their rights. Despite variation in their information and lack of extensive discussion on the topic, the information contained in the articles and the books interlink and provide information on the history of women suffrage. Through concentration on specific topics, the authors ensured their readers that the topics were discussed extensively to provide the most appropriate information. The link between these sources provides a reader with a complete knowledge about women struggle for political recognition.

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