Essay Assignment

HIS 265 Spring 2020
When the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote was ratified in 1920, it marked the end of a decade’s long struggle on the part of thousands of women. From the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls in 1848 to the final ratification by the state of Tennessee in 1920, women throughout the United States had worked tirelessly to gain this basic right of citizenship. It was a complicated and divisive struggle as women brought different priorities to the effort. Many of the early suffragists (suffrage refers to the right to vote; enfranchisement) came from the ranks of the abolitionists and/or the temperance movement and those issues often took precedence over enfranchisement. While some did focus exclusively on voting rights, others fought for related issues of equality such as the right to own property or maintain control over personal finances. A few organizations focused on gaining the vote at the federal level through a constitutional amendment while others worked on a state by state effort (by 1920, 15 states had already granted women the right to vote). All of this took place within a male dominated social structure that, for the most part, found the idea of women voting to be, at worst, ridiculous, or at best, unnecessary.
The purpose of this assignment is to write a two to three page essay on the work of an individual suffragist who was active in the movement between 1848 and 1920. A list of women is provided at the end of the instructions from which you are to select one. Read about a few before making your choice. Anthony is the best known of the group, but all have fascinating stories. If you have an individual you would like to write about that is not on the list (there are thousands to chose from), send me the name and I’ll consider whether they are appropriate.
Specific instructions:
• The essay must be at least 2 pages in length and no more than 4. Use 12 point font, double spaced.
• The essay must include a brief biographical introduction to the individual and a description/analysis of their significance to the suffrage effort. It should explain the emphasis of their work and the philosophy behind their efforts. It must identify key activities/events that they were associated with related to suffrage as appropriate.
• At least three sources of information must be used in your research and cited in a bibliography at the end of the paper (bibliography does not count as one of the two pages). Sources must be cited as appropriate within the text of the paper (refer to writing a research paper/plagiarism lecture).
• Research sources must be legitimate primary or secondary sources. Remember that Wikipedia is not an acceptable source as entries can be edited by others and may be incorrect. If you have questions regarding a source, please contact me.
Much has been written regarding these women and it will be easy to unintentionally plagiarize with this particular assignment. Review the lecture on plagiarism and get help from the library if necessary. Email me if you have questions.


Susan B. Anthony
Harriet Eaton Stanton Blatch
Madeline McDowell Breckinridge (Kentuckian)
Lucy Burns
Carrie Chapman Catt
Laura Clay (Kentuckian)
Inez Miholland
Lucretia Mott
Alice Paul
Jeannette Rankin
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Lucy Stone
Mary Church Terrell
Sojourner Truth

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