By Natalie Issa
Needless to say, there’s a lot of hooplah going on politics-wise. For those of us who are not well acquainted with politics, we might just want to through in the towel altogether.
Yeah, but maybe that's not be the best idea.
Women have only had the right to vote since 1920—less than one hundred years. It’s crazy to think about, right? That we've only had the right to vote for less than one hundred years?
To fully appreciate this fact, let’s take a little walk through history and see what exactly the suffragettes had to do earn our right to vote.
The suffragette movement hit the ground running before the Civil War. Around 1820s, most of the states allowed all white men to vote, despite the amount of property they possessed. The same courtesy wasn’t extended to women, however. Which is a huge problem. Obviously.
And many women during that time also thought that this was a huge problem. So in 1848 a group of (mostly) women activists met in Seneca Falls, New York to debate about women’s rights. Not surprisingly, most of the group agreed—women deserved the right to vote.
The women’s rights campaign faded into the background a bit during The Civil War, (because, you know, there were some pretty important things going on) but made major changes in the 1890 when the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) was formed.
Now, it’s important to note that NAWSA focused only on gaining the vote for white women. Unfortunately, NAWSA purposely excluded black women from their organization because of the time period.
But these BA African-American women did not let another form of oppression get in their way. The National Association of Colored Women was formed in 1896, making black suffrage one of their priorities.
In 1913 another more militant group of women emerged that called themselves the National Woman’s Party. This group of ladies was widely criticized for their militant tactics, and for ignoring the war effort when World War I began. Their tactics included chaining themselves to the White House and going on hunger strikes, as well as picketing the White House to gain more publicity.
As aggressive as their campaign was, many people opposed the inhumane way these suffragettes were treated in jail—there were many accounts that related moments of being painfully force-fed. Ironically, people’s opposition to the treatment of the suffragettes created more support for their movement.
Finally, after roughly 100 years of campaigning, both black and white women were granted the right to vote on August 20th, 1920. Like most movements or figures in history, the suffrage movement certainly wasn’t perfect. But we can both appreciate good things they did and learn from their mistakes.
The fact of the matter is, all of the suffragettes made sacrifices to give us the right to vote. Shouldn’t we honor their hard work by voting ourselves?
So go ahead and vote! You don’t have to a completely perfect knowledge of politics—just try your best. Your voice matters, and you are entitled to the right to put it to use.
(Image via biography.com)