A history of the struggle for universal suffrage in the United States.
Initially suffrage was reserved for white male property owners, and while the property ownership requirement had largely been eliminated by 1800, white women were still disenfranchised, with legal control of their bodies and possessions transferring to their husbands upon marriage. Frazer (Economic Inequality, 2018) details the events and people that brought about incremental change and the eventual passage of the 19th Amendment. Suffragists’ advocacy of reform issues—abolition, free love, temperance—is also covered. Frazer does not shy away from naming the underlying racism, nativism, and elitism espoused by early suffragists such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the discomfort within the larger movement of black suffragists like Ida Wells-Barnett and Frances Harper, or the complacency of white suffragists in the implementation of Jim Crow laws instituting poll taxes and literacy tests on black men. Frazer ends with warnings about current attempts at voter suppression and calls for the protection of voting rights and the mobilization of female voters. As this is a brief overview, some topics could have benefited from additional nuance and exploration, such as historical shifts in the Republican Party and barriers to Indigenous people’s suffrage. Informative sidebars break up the text and offer important context.
Offers teens a call to action to protect all voters from disenfranchisement. (glossary, source notes, bibliography, further information, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-16)