ONE WOMAN ONE VOTE: Rediscovering the Woman Suffrage Movement by Marjorie Spruill--Ed. Wheeler

ONE WOMAN ONE VOTE: Rediscovering the Woman Suffrage Movement

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The companion volume to the PBS documentary of the same name, this is a solid collection of essays by women academics on the women's suffrage movement in the US, with some writings from the participants themselves. Wheeler (History/Univ. of Southern Miss.) begins with a useful, if somewhat dull, overview of the movement from the convention in Seneca Falls, NY, in 1848 through ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Historian Linda Kerber then harkens back to the Revolution, quoting Abigail Adams's exhortation to her husband in 1776 to ""Remember the Ladies"" when creating a code of laws for the new nation. This he didn't do, but neither did the Constitution deliberately exclude women; it merely ignored them. The women and men of Seneca Falls (covered here in a piece written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Gage) thus hoped that women might be enfranchised within the bounds of the existing laws. This hope was crushed with the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868 granting the right to vote to all ""male citizens."" The result was a schism in the movement, discussed by Andrea Moore Kerr, in which proponents of women's suffrage were pitted against those who demanded civil rights for blacks above all--a tragic occurrence, considering the close ties between the two ideologies before the Civil War, but one that would be repeated during the civil rights struggles of the 19608. Other essays follow the careers of some of the major players (the friendship of Anthony and Stanton, Alice Paul's militancy), how suffrage fit within the larger political movements of the time (Reconstruction and Progressivism), and the final victory and its aftermath. Wheeler remembers the ladies, planting them firmly in the context of American political history.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1995
Page count: 388pp
Publisher: NewSage--dist. by Publishers Group West