Hard lessons from the women’s suffrage movement

Hard lessons from the women’s suffrage movement

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In serious reflection on the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the fight for the right of women to vote in the United States contains several lessons.


SAN JOSE, Calif., Aug. 21, 2016 –  In serious reflection on the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the fight for the right of women to vote in the United States contains several lessons.

The real question is whether people who reflect on this momentous event have the sincerity to accept a reality that has been sanitized or even glossed over by progressives and revisionist historians.

It was good that women finally received the right to vote. But the origins and development and ultimate success of the women’s rights movement needs to be viewed from a broader perspective.

Viewed as an aspect of the American progressive experience, the suffrage movement was primarily an effort by many Christian women who had initially been motivated and activated by the underlying cause of abolishing slavery.

The initial foundation came with the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, but even that was based upon the outcome of an abolitionist meeting in England and the connection made between Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. The Seneca Falls Convention is considered by most historians to be the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement in America. The convention is famous for introducing the Declaration of Sentiments, the document that Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote based on the Declaration of Independence. But even Stanton’s document might not have been signed by the attendees if it had not been for the encouragement of Frederick Douglass.

The most unfortunate roadblock that the inspiration and driving force behind the women’s movement had to contend with was the proposition that all men and women were not equal, or at least not in the minds of all men. In her Declaration of Sentiments, Stanton attempted to set the record straight, but the reality of a democratic republic was that the people had to trust their leadership and their elected representatives (translated as votes) for their representation in government.

That is the trouble with a democratic form of government in which men and no women had the right to vote. In this time, it is hard to imagine that men did not include the right of women to vote in a democratic republic that is intended to respect the rights of the minorities. The operant word here is “respect.”

Men of this period of time did not respect the rights of the women (and by no means a minority when considering roughly half of the human population) in political affairs. However, this was not merely an obvious truth that had been translated into political reality; it was also ingrained into the culture and the societal values of the worldview of the descendants of the Europeans who settled in North America.

One question that is often ignored is that there was very little precedent to use as a foundation. In fact, there was very little precedent for men to have the right to vote before the creation of the United States of America. Where in the world existed the shining example of women being able to vote?

For the most part, this area of women’s participation in governmental affairs from the grassroots level was unprecedented. Yet today, the progressives operate from a fundamental demeanor of resentment that American women had been denied the right to vote for way too long.

That may be the case, but where did it become so substantial for the first time? There was no such substantial example in prior history. Yet, instead of being proud of the pioneering effort made in the U.S. by brave women and men, the drone of guilt in buzzing through the airwaves.

In actuality, New Zealand as early 1893 and Australia in 1902 awarded women the right to vote on the national level. It took American, British and Canadian women much longer — until after the Great War. And, if one is completely honest about the delay, it is possible that in America that Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s own words may have retarded the efforts, growth and acceptance of the rights of women.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton seemed to want the rights of women so badly that she was willing to forsake simple common sense for the sake of her steadfast dedication to principle. When the true test of making a substantial step forward in awarding full citizenship to former slaves, Stanton balked at the prospect of having black men vote before any women could vote. This example of non-support of the rights of black men to vote was quite opposite and truly offensive to the majority of the abolitionist movement.

Such an entrenched position as Stanton’s was as staunch as a stone wall. Ironically, her fundamental position in her strong opposition to extending the right to vote to African-American men and her offensive language left her on the same side as the bigots of the former Confederacy.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an intelligent woman, but her strong stance against the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution would be seriously hammered today as racist. Granted, some of Stanton’s ideas were inspired and she was well ahead of her time; yet her entrenched stance against the rights of black men to vote cannot be written off or completely sanitized in the pages of history.

This period should be remembered for what it was, not remembered for what it may be made to appear to be by progressive-revisionist historians. It was a period of great struggle toward great goals, yet people at the core of leadership made seriously bad choices. Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s genuine opposition to the 14th and 15th Amendments was an ideological stance that excluded the possibility of the former slaves securing the right to vote.

Today, the progressive movement is advocating many stands against the adherence to and the enforcement of the Constitution. Today, the progressive efforts exclude many American citizens in favor of non-American citizens, and the nation is now incredibly divided. Today, the progressives portray an appearance of sincerely standing up for the disenfranchised and those in the minority.

Despite this appearance, genuine progress in the eradication of poverty and crime in the inner cities is not a reality. While the mainstream media myth is that the Republican Party is to blame, it takes more than propaganda to alter reality. Democrats should be held accountable for disingenuous efforts in supposedly supporting the rights of all people.

As evidenced in the 2016 presidential race, there are those who believe that the appearance of the Hillary Clinton campaign is a step toward the fulfillment of the women’s rights movement is just that – an appearance. The actual reality of Hillary Clinton running for POTUS may appear to be the fulfillment of the women’s suffrage movement; but the political arena today is much different from what it was in the early 1900s, and the Democratic Party of today is not the party of Truman or Kennedy. And, just as in the days of the ideological struggles between the women of the NWSA and the AWSA, Hillary Clinton is not representative of all American women, nor is she a reflection of a true American.

The Democratic Party of today has placed its “progressive” priorities well above the values of the common people, which should still happen to include fair elections. In reality, the Bernie Sanders campaign collapsed under the weight of the Democratic Party apparatus, which undermined Sander’s election results via their “super delegate” strategy – simply a method of absolutely controlling whom the party nominates.

While the GOP is not much better as the elites attempt to deprive the people of their selection of Trump, the Democratic Party resembles a more ruling oligarchy over members than ever before in its history because the common people have lost their voice in such a party. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton is at the core of this.

Is it that hard to believe that a women, as well as men, can have an agenda that appears to be one thing, yet it is actually something different? Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s indelible example within the women’s rights movement exists as an historical example. Hillary Clinton’s party of today does not qualify as “democratic.”

The “progressive” agenda is placed well above the values of the common citizens at the expense of American people who do not appreciate outrageous lies or an “above the law” stance that is in direct opposition to a democratic republic.

It would be great if American citizens would look deeper than what appears on the surface and demand truth in politics.

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