What led to the Women's Suffrage Movement?Was the Woman's Suffrage Movement succesful in the 1800's - why or why not?

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enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What's interesting to note is that Women's Suffrage started in Great Britain, and then the United States; the Abolition movement also followed this pattern (GB first, US second.)  Part of the reason these movements occurred was the Anglo-American philosophy of expanding freedom. This began with white male landowners, and over time expanded beyond race and sex. This, in tandem with the Industrial Revolution (again GB first, US second) raised the standard of living, which improved health care so that women could become a political force -- they were no longer relegated to making babies and dying in the process. By being able to move beyond the domestic sphere, women, for the first time in history, could be heard politically. So industrialization, abolition, and medicine all contributed to women being able to have a political voice.


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm assuming you're talking about this movement in the United States, rather than the one in Great Britain.

The origin of the Women's Suffrage Movement was in the abolitionist movement. Women's rights activists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton typically got their start opposing slavery.  Their experiences fighting for others' rights (and the discrimination they suffered from fellow abolitionists) turned them toward considering their own rights.  It was women like this who attended the Seneca Falls Convention (1848) that is seen as the start of the suffrage movement.

Of course, the movement was not immediately successful.  Women did not get the vote nationwide until 1920.  But it can be argued that it was successful because it started to get women involved in politics and thereby laid the foundation for later success.