Governmental corruption saw much improvement in regulation and law enforcement during the Progressive Era for women’s rights in politics. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the movement sought to refine female welfare and injustice within America. Progressives sought two main goals regraded politics: to use the state and control power and trusts, and to improve individual conditions of life and labor (Kennedy, Cohen, Bailey, pg 708). After the Civil War, colleges for ambitious and goal-oriented young women rose around various locations in the country. An improved school system created a generation of college-educated protestors who were aggressive in their beliefs and protested even more passionately.
Emmeline Pankhurst was a British political activist and a leader of the British suffrage movement; a movement that helped women win the right to vote. Since 1848 women wanted to recognize their own rights and started the Women 's Rights Movement. The movement was protesting against the fact that women were not afforded the same rights as men. Since women were excluded from the political government, they pressured the government to grant them political rights. As part of the movement, in 1913, Pankhurst carried her appeal to the United States, where she delivered her famous speech Why Are We Militant.
Before the women’s rights movement gained momentum, women were treated unfairly, so they united together to fight for their rights. During the nineteenth century, women lacked many basic, human rights and were often belittled by men because it was believed they could not be as superior as them. Women were discriminated in law, religion, education, politics, and professions (Finkelman 405). Unfortunately, there is a lengthy list of rights women didn’t obtain. Once the reform movement began, however, abolitionist women realized their rights could be compared to those of slaves, and a few bold women decided to do something about the inequality of men and women (Finkelman 405).
Pankhurst in Defense of Militancy During the Suffragette Movement 1916 was the year the first woman was finally elected to Congress. This was not from disinterest or a lack of qualifications, but because women had no rights. During the early 20th century, while men relaxed in the comfort of their homes, women waged a war. The fight for equality influenced women like Emmeline Pankhurst to become soldiers on the front lines in the fight for suffrage. Her speech, “Freedom or Death,” outlines the necessity of her militant methodology.
August of 1920, the year that became a remarkable change for women, allowing them to vote. Before that, women weren’t allowed to vote and women such as Susan B. Anthony fought for that right. In her letter “On Women’s Right to Vote”, she furthers her purpose by telling all the citizens of the United States that women are people too and are entitled the right to vote just as their male companions. Throughout the speech, Anthony uses pathos, ethos, logos and other rhetorical devices to push her point across. In her letter, her second paragraph she states the US Constitution., giving her major credibility.
After her husband's death, she created the Women's Social and Political Union along several colleagues in 1903, which had the main purpose of taking direct action to win the vote. This organisation gained recognition for its high-profile tactics and violent acts such as bombing and arson. Her daughters, specially Christabel and Sylvia, also joined the WSPU and its cause. Their motto was “Deeds, not words” also written on Emily Davison's tombstone. Her involvement with the movement got her arrested on numerous occasions and she also went on hunger strikes which ended with unfortunate episodes of force-feeding which she explains in the
The protests intensified as the women became more aggressive and damaged European colonial property. Colonial arms were ordered to put an end to the riot, this lead to the death of a number of women. This was a successful form of resistance as the protests lead to a number of warrant chiefs resigning and also caused the colonial power to withdraw the new tax that was going to be implemented. This movement was remarkable as it included only women that were armed with their anger and grievances, these protests are great examples of anticolonial and feminist movements against colonial
In the speech "Freedom or Death" (1913), Emmeline Pankhurst expresses the need for resistance towards American and British Governments as a result of the state 's denial of women 's voting rights. She describes the suffragist movement 's efforts of civil disobedience as a result of gender inequality and the urgent need to fight for women 's rights as human rights. In the speech, she discusses the significance of the term ‘militant’, an attribute suffrage women were given based on their radical actions during this time. Suffrage women were described as militant due to their confrontational reactions and support for women’s rights which was sometimes perceived to be an unfavourable political cause. Many at this time, negatively applied the term ‘militant’ to the suffrages.
On the one hand, as it can be seen in My Own Life (1914), Emmeline Pankhurst explains that the society in general felt curious about the reasons why they were using force to make their voice heard. To her, in men’s history there have always been conflicts to achieve what they needed “For every advance of men's political freedom has been marked with violence and the destruction of property” (Pankhurst; 214). On the other hand, Politicians in general were not just against supporting suffragettes but, also, they were using force to contain them. One of the most common arguments against women’s suffrage was that politics was a pure element within society and that the mere participation of women on politics would make it abnormal, as it can be seen in Ideology and Feminism: Why the Suffragettes were “Wild Women” (1982) “opponents argued that by their involvement in politics women would be ‘almost debased or degraded’, their purity and modesty defiled” (Billington, 1982; 4). Considering all of this, it can be seen that the creation of W.S.P.U.
Mary Wollstonecraft was a key component in the movement of rights for women. Her philosophies on equality were a precursor for women around the world who would join together and fight back against the injustice they faced due to their gender. Wollstonecraft promoted her ideals during the middle of the 18th century at a point in time where rights for women were non-existent and she lived her whole life without any true rights of her own. Years after her death, her values were continued by women who were trying to gain the right the vote. The fight for the rights of women has continued since then and still continues in modern feminist movements.