Messenger:  New Woman and Voting Rights Movement

What's the Message?
Promoting the Message
Connecting the Message
Issues & the Message
Messengers of Democracy
Threats to Democracy

Eleanor Roosevelt
Cesar Chavez
Martin Luther King
Shirley Chisholm
New Woman


The Encyclopedia of Women's History in America by Katherine Cullen-Dupont

Biographies of Notable Black Women (Internet)

Biographies of Notable Women (Internet)

Century of Struggle: the Women's Rights Movement in the United States by Eleanor Flexner

The Other Women's Movement: Workplace Justice and Social Rights in Modern America by Dorothy Sue Cobble

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


Women's Suffrage  1848-1920

"We hold these truths to be self-evident:
that all men and women are created equal."

Freedom—Truth—Courage—Human Rights—Equality—Fairness—Dignity

Right to Vote:  The Fight Against Discrimination and for Equality

Women's suffrage was the goal of suffragists (commonly referred to as "Suffragettes"), who led a major Liberal and Democratic movement of the early 20th century, protesting vigorously for many years demanding equality with men and the right to vote. Prominent suffragists include Susan B. Anthony, Emmeline Pankhurst, Kate Sheppard and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Men who favored the new cause gathered, for example, in the Fabian Society. The supporters' common aim was to encourage women to liberate themselves from male domination, manage their own lives, and leave behind anything that might restrict their pursuit of happiness and their self-realization.

Heavily opposed by conservatives, the New Woman movement started to fade away in the course of the First World War when, due to a shortage of "manpower", many women took on jobs and when, shortly after the war, universal suffrage was achieved.  Universal suffrage is the extension of voting privileges to all adults, without distinction to race, sex, belief or social status. It is usually considered the hallmark of modern democracies.

Certain characteristics were seen as pertinent to the new ideal. By general consent, a "New Woman" was supposed

  • to have received an adequate education (primary, secondary and preferably also tertiary) and to be able to use her knowledge wisely;
  • to earn her own money and thus be financially independent;
  • to participate in political discussion and decision-making processes;
  • to decide herself if, when and whom she wants to marry and how many children she wants to have;
  • to show outward signs of being different by wearing more comfortable clothes;
  • and, generally, to defy convention and social norms in order to create a better world for all.

"Nature never repeats herself,
and the possibilities of one human soul
will never be found in another."

—Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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Women's Rights and Equality — Words we live by:

""Truth is the only safe ground to stand upon."

—Elizabeth Cady Stanton


 "Men their rights and nothing more; women their rights and nothing less."

—Susan B. Anthony

"What you should say to outsiders is that a Christian has neither more nor less rights in our Association than an atheist. When our platform becomes too narrow for people of all creeds and of no creeds, I myself shall not stand upon it."   —Susan B. Anthony
"The prejudice against color, of which we hear so much, is no stronger than that against sex. It is produced by the same cause, and manifested very much in the same way. The negro's skin and the woman's sex are both prima facie evidence that they were intended to be in subjection to the white Saxon man."

—Elizabeth Cady Stanton

"The single most impressive fact about the attempt by American women to obtain the right to vote is how long it took."—Alice Rossi

"I really believe I shall explode if some of you young women don't wake up —and raise your voice in protest against the impending crime of this nation upon the new islands it has clutched from other folks. Do come into the living present and work to save us from any more barbaric male governments." —Susan B. Anthony

"I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality."  —Alice Paul



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