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Women's Social Standing After the Civil War

But more Americans apparently sided with the thoughts expressed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in 1882:

A woman who occupies the same realm of thought with man must ever be surprised and aggravated with his assumptions of headship and superiority, a superiority she never concedes, an authority she utterly repudiates. Words can not describe the indignation, the humiliation a proud woman feels for her sex in disenfranchisement .

The 1920s was one of the most important decades for women's rights, seeing both the achievement of women's suffrage and the introduction into Congress (in 1923) of a constitutional Equal Rights Amendment that would have removed legal, economic, and social restrictions on women. The importance of the franchise cannot be stressed enough, for it gave women full status as citizens for the first time since the birth of the nation. But beyond this, having the vote meant that women could elect candidates (including of course female candidates) who would move society in the direction that they wanted to see it go. The vote made women true citizens with both a far greater stake in their country and the formal mechanism and thus the responsibility to participate fully.

Women have continued to fight for equal political and legal standing throughout the century, aided by such measures as the Civil Rights Act, which began by protecting the rights of African-Americans but was extended to women. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 gave legal protection to women's right to abortion, a year after the second Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress.

When Geraldine Ferraro was selected by presidential candidate Walter Mondale to be his running mate in 1984, her candidacy was seen as either marvelous or astonishing (and sometimes both). But as Elizabeth Dole begins making the first steps in her run for the presidency in 2000, her candidacy is seen as perfectly normal, with political pundits commenting not on...

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Women's Social Standing After the Civil War. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:28, August 17, 2017, from
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