Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Department

History

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The U. S. women's movement began in 1848 with the Seneca Falls Convention for women's rights. As set forth by the convention's "Declaration of Sentiments," the movement was concerned with a broad array of social, religious, cultural and political reforms to bring about gender equality. Following the Civil War, the women's movement took on the semblance of a single-issue movement, as the effort to achieve woman suffrage consumed feminists' resources and energies. The acquisition of suffrage was intended to be the vehicle for women to gain the spectrum of rights initially defined in 1848. Extravagant predictions about the power of suffrage led many women to view the vote as a panacea for the ills of society and women's place in society. When the vote failed to bring about major changes in the lives of most women, the women's movement fragmented and stagnated. The extremely divisive Equal Rights Amendment, introduced in 1922, drove an even deeper wedge among the many branches of American feminism. By 1930, the women's movement was splintered and disorganized, and would remain so until the 1960s. But it had also matured and established itself as a permanent feature of the American political and cultural landscape and the desire for gender equality and social justice continued to be the primary force in the lives of American feminists.

Disciplines

History | Women's History | Women's Studies

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