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Progressive Era Women's Rights

Powerful Essays
The progressive era, a period in American history between the 1890s and 1920s, was a time of widespread social activism and political reform. This period saw the formation of labor unions and the implementation of antitrust laws. Most importantly, this time saw a rise in activists who fought for the extension of equal rights for women. Notable advocates at the time were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Margaret Higgins Sanger; both lobbied on the liberty of married woman and the freedom womanhood. These women, among others, saw this era as an opportune time to demand their rights. After the reconstruction insured African Americans their freedom and right to vote, women believed it was their time to pursue their equality under the law. During this…show more content…
Proponents of a women’s right to choose when to child bear include Margaret Sanger. Margaret Sanger, better known for her involvement in organizations that evolved into what is now know as Planned Parenthood Federation of America, argues in, “Free Motherhood,” that accessibility to birth control and the decision in child bearing allows women to foster a better generation, that allows for the advancement of society. She elaborates on her claims and paints an image of what she envisions a world with access to birth control would be like by writing, “…or she my, by controlling birth, lift motherhood to the plane of a voluntary, intelligent function, and remake the world” (Doc 118) Sanger reasons that by allowing women to decide when to child bear, it automatically creates a pool of mothers who are more willing to raise quality children, rather than rear kids by the dozens who do not promote societal values. To further women’s rights activists’ demands, Sanger explains the relationship between birth control and freedom. Sanger does this by writing, “She gains food and clothing and shelter, at least, without submitting to the charity of her companion, but the earning of her own living does not give her the development of her inner sex…show more content…
The ultimate goal of this movement is for the social equality of women, so they can be free to be themselves. Sanger makes this obvious when she writes, “when we voice then the necessity of setting the feminine spirit utterly and absolutely free, thought turns naturally not to the rights of the woman, nor indeed of the mother, but to the rights of child” Sanger emphasizes the importance in allowing women the freedom to express themselves by acknowledging that once women are considered equals to men, society can focus on children and humanity itself. Stanton shares this sentiment when she writes, “When marriage results from a true union of intellect and spirit…then will marriage and paternity acquire a new sacredness and dignity and a nobler type of manhood and woman hood will glorify the race!!” (Doc 98) Stanton gives us insight on the ultimate vision shared by her and women’s rights activists, where society thrives and humanity is glorified because women are no longer degraded or considered secondary. Although this idealist image sounds exception, how we live today is yet to look anything like the world envisioned by these women. In an article from the Huffington Post, writer Samantha Paige Rosen has explored several reasons why women are
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