Women Reformers and the Suffragettes

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What were some challenges to women's suffrage in the early 1900s?

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Women's suffrage encountered religiously sanctioned tradition that held that in marriage, man and woman become one flesh. In the patriarchal societies of Great Britain and the United States, the two countries where the movement for suffrage became most intense in the early 1900s, the woman in the marriage was understood to merge with the man. His vote was her vote. To imagine otherwise was to challenge the foundation of marriage as it was then conceived. Women themselves often opposed suffrage, including, in England, Virginia Woolf's mother (Woolf herself supported suffrage), and, in the United States, Laura Ingalls Wilder, later author of the Little House series.

The fact that the only elected officials were male made the task of getting the vote all the more difficult. Men had a difficult time perceiving women's frustration at being denied a direct voice in a democracy. They also feared it would be destabilizing to grant women the vote.

The sometimes radical behavior of the suffragists...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 740 words.)

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