In the late 1800s and early 1900s, women felt discriminated
against by men and by most of society. Men generally held
discriminatory and stereotypical views of women, which made
many women dissatisfied with their lives and made them, feel
their lives were unfulfilled and spinning out of control.
Discrimination spurred women to take action. Women began
to revolt, they began expressing the feelings they had bottled
up inside all along. Kate Chopin wrote The Awakening, which
helped other women to know they were not alone. In 1848,
women organized the Seneca Falls convention and the
Declaration of Rights and Sentiments. Later women
demanded suffrage and equal rights for all. Many famous
female leaders, from the Grimké sisters to Susan B. Anthony,
led women to form many organizations and associations in
order to preserve and uphold the rights they fought so hard
for. First, in 1848 women rebelled against men's stereotypical
views and organized the Seneca Falls convention.
Seventy-two years before the 19th amendment was added to
the constitution, women knew changes needed to be made.
Five women: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Mary Ann
McClintock, Jane Hunt, and Martha C Wright; came together
in Stanton's hometown of Seneca Falls, New York, and
arranged the First Woman's Rights Convention. They were
fed up with the laws prohibiting them from the right to vote,
hold office or sit on juries. "In most states they could only hold
property if they were single and could secure the
guardianship of a man" (DIScovering U.S. History). Their main
grievances were clearly stated in a document, which was
created shortly after the convention and first printed in a small
town paper, that document was the Declaration of Rights and
Sentiments. The declaration stated the 18 main grievances
that the majority of women had with American tradition and
law. It was modeled after the Declaration of Independence
and the first sentence declares "men and women are created
equal." Although the convention led to some rude awakenings
among politicians and officials, until the 19th amendment was
finally ratified in 1920, women had to suffice with forming
organizations like the National Woman Suffrage Organization
while they continued to submit their demands to the
government. Women fought to earn the right to vote, to be
treated equally and mostly to be granted suffrage. The chief
focus of the women's rights movement quickly moved from
just being recognized as reformers to being granted suffrage.
Suffrage at that time was known as the freedom to express
their opinions through voting. Many suffragettes and
supporters believed that once women had managed to gain
the right to vote they would be able to make more headway in
gaining other rights. As stated above, the Seneca Falls
convention was one of the first reforming movements towards
suffrage (American Journey :Women's Rights). Because of
this, women began to take more of a part in education and
politics. Men believed that any women who could incite such
a revolution towards the aforementioned reforms were evil
and should have been stopped. They opposed women
suffrage and believed that women were less intelligent and
unable to make political decisions. Because of such strong
opposition from the men, women did not make progress
towards gaining suffrage; that is until the ratification of the
15th amendment which allowed black Americans to vote but
still left women segregated from the rest of society (American
Journey). It denied them the laws and principles specifically
granted to all Americans. This lowered the women's standings
in society to below that of the black freemen. Women were
outraged at this blatant show of disrespect from the American
government and, led by strong political leaders, decided to do
something about it. Many women gained fame during this era,
mainly by their strong positions on women's rights and their
demand to have their rights recognized by all. Elizabeth Cady
Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Mary Ann McClintock, Jane Hunt, and
Martha C Wright were some of the first to be distinguished
nationally by newspapers and government officials (American
Journey). They were recognized for their antagonistic views
and their loud protests. There is no doubt that all these
women were intelligent and had the ability to manage
themselves as well as men did, if not better. One of the first
women to be recognized was