The idea of women suffrage has been widely discussed by various people. The debate has been a concern for women for several decades. It was initially limited to allowing women to participate in voting but was later expanded to cover running for political office, economic empowerment, and health matters. Kuhlman and Woodworth-Ney are some of the scholars that have given their views. Their views are discussed in this paper.
Woodworth-Ney explains that various factors forced women to demand equal rights in the 19th century. She believes that the demand for universal suffrage was caused by the convergence of historical events in the late nineteenth century. These factors included the politics of mining, polygamy, change movements, and balanced racial representation.
In western states, more women were needed for legislation. She further explains that the politics of populism and silver empowered women. Men wanted women to be given voting rights with thoughts that they would vote with their husbands. This would support the silver standards as opposed to golden standards. Some states went ahead to outlaw polygamy to allow women to vote. This proved to the world that women were not suppressed.
Religious fights also contributed to universal suffrage. Woodworth-Ney asserts that anti-Mormon sentiments forced the leadership of the Church to reverse its stance of sanctioning polygamy. This was to allow women members to be involved in the voting process. She also points out that the role of activists such as Susan B. Antony and Abigail Scott Duniway contributed to the granting of equal rights. These two women traversed the Pacific Northwest, which housed the Washington Territory. They wrote articles and edited Newspapers in an effort to support women suffrage.
Kuhlman argues that women nationalist movements contributed to women suffrage. She says that the peace congress held by the feminist organization in Hague in 1915, and 1919 in Zurich laid the foundation. The congress demanded peace, an end to war, and equal rights for women.
Members in attendance fought for the freedom of expression for pacifists. This group of people had been labeled unpatriotic and defeatists. Elizabeth Rotten, for example, used activists to move around the world. Esther Pohl Lovejoy took the opportunity to write articles, which circulated and enlightened society.
There are similarities that can be derived from the works of the two scholars. They both agree that women suffrage was not entirely aimed at uplifting the rights of women. Factors that could favor men played a role as well. The idea of women suffrage was a wind that swept across Europe and America. They also agree that women activists had great influence. They both point out that women have achieved their objectives to some extent. For example, women are currently allowed to vote, participate in political processes, own property, and work in professions that were originally reserved for men.
As much as some similarities can be noted from the views of the two scholars, some differences are also noted. Kuhlman sticks more to feminist movements. She singles out women groups, congress, and activists as having played a bigger role. On the other hand, Woodworth- Ney points out other sources, such as men territories, religion, activists, and international pressure.
The two professors raise other issues apart from women suffrage. Foner reinforces some of their views. Women were not allowed to own property, procure an abortion, and work in the military. Some concerns were addressed through the activities of suffragists, for example, property ownership, economic empowerment, and the abolishment of job segregation. Other concerns are yet to be resolved, for example, exclusive rights over health.