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Women in Early 20th Century America


Suffrage, Consumerism, Changing Gender Roles

The Fight for Suffrage: Early Organizing

1790s-1850s

1860s

1790: All free inhabitants of New Jersey have the right to vote 1807: Women lose their voting rights in New Jersey 1848: Seneca Falls, NY: 1st womens rights convention in the U.S Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions signed (organizing principles for suffrage movement) 1854: Massachusetts grants women property rights

1859: rubber vulcanizedreliable condoms available soon after. U.S. birth rate begins to decline. 1868: 14th Amendment to Constitution essentially defines citizen and voter as male 1869: 2 major womens orgs founded (split over 15th Amendment)

National Womens Suffrage Association (more radical, womenonly) American Womens Suffrage Association (supported amendment, included men)

The Fight for Suffrage: State-by-State

1870s

1880s-1890s

1870: 15th Amendment enfranchises black men 1869-70: Utah and Wyoming organized into territories; women have suffrage rights in both states 1874: Founding of Womens Christian Temperance Union 1878: Womens suffrage amendment first introduced in U.S. Congress 1883: Women in Washington territory granted full voting rights

1883: Women in Washington territory granted full voting rights 1887: U.S. Supreme Court disenfranchises women of Washington territory 1890: NWSA & AWSA merge to become National American Womens Suffrage Association 1890: Wyoming admitted to the Union with womens rights to suffrage intact 1893: Colorado passes womens suffrage

The Fight for Suffrage: Taking it Public

1890s-1900s

1910-1912

1896: Formation of the National Association of Colored Women in Washington, D.C. 1896: Utah admitted to the Union with womens rights to suffrage intact 1903: Formation of Womens Trade Union League of New York (later International Ladies Garment Workers Union, ILGWU) 1909: 20,000 women workers strike in the NYC garment district

1910: Washington, now a state, grants women full voting rights 1910: First large-scale suffrage parade, held in NYC 1911: California grants women full voting rights 1912: Progressive Party (Teddy Roosevelts party) makes suffrage part of their political platform 1912: Kansas and the Arizona and Alaska territories grant women the right to vote

The Fight for Suffrage: Taking it to D.C.

1913-1917

1918-1923

1913: Congressional Union (later National Womans Party) formed; stages sit-ins and hunger strikes to draw attention to suffrage cause. 1914: Women win the right to vote in Nevada and Montana 1916: First woman in the House of Representatives (Jeannette Rankin, Montana) 1917: New York State grants women full voting rights; other states grant the right to vote in presidential elections

1918: President Woodrow Wilson issues a statement in support of womens suffrage 1918: The 19th Amendment passes the House of Representatives 1919: Women are granted voting rights in Oklahoma, Michigan and South Dakota 1919: The Senate finally passes the amendment 1920: 19th Amendment ratified by state legislatures; becomes law August 26th NAWSA disbands, its members form the League of Women Voters 1923: The ERA is first proposed. (Still has never been passed!)

Changing Views of Women


Additional Factors

During Prohibition

Roles of women during the Civil War and especially WWI Women as advocates for and providers of services to the poor and needy

Increasing consumer power Fashion Home Greater interest in birth control First as a social issue More & better barrier methods become available More rigorously educated Mt. Holyoke, 1837 2-3 generations of collegeeducated women

Hull House, Jane Addams, 1890

Emerging consumer society

Growth of advertising

So it isnt just about suffrage!


By the mid-1920s, women are emerging as equal players Especially true among upper classes (wealth enables privilege) Fitzgeralds novel depicts a set of related anxieties about shifting, ungrounded gender roles Best embodiment of these anxieties is not Gatsby or Tom but Nick (esp. when talking to or about Daisy or Jordan)

F. Scott & Zelda

Fitzgerald, like Nick, is involved with 20s high society after his first novel is a success F. Scott & wife Zelda are literary celebrities of their day; live a high-flying life of alcohol and parties F. Scott borrows from their relationship and Zeldas writing in his own works, & is generally thought to have done so without her consent