Women's Rights: People and Perspectives

Women's Rights: People and Perspectives

Women's Rights: People and Perspectives

Women's Rights: People and Perspectives

Synopsis

A lively, accessible collection of essays exploring the history of the struggle for women's rights in the United States from the colonial period to the present.

Excerpt

In June of 1856, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote to her friend Susan B. Anthony, encouraging her to take the long view when charting a course for the work they had recently undertaken on behalf of women’s rights. “We cannot bring about a moral revolution in a day or year,” Stanton cautioned. “Now that I have two daughters, I feel fresh strength to work. It is not in vain that in myself I have experienced all the wearisome cares to which woman in her best estate is subject.” Written from her home in Seneca Falls, New York, which in 1848 served as the site of the first women’s rights convention in the United States, Stanton’s letter presaged several themes that would remain central to subsequent generations of women’s rights activists. Advising that Anthony and others needed to “rest awhile in peace and quietness and think great thoughts for the future” (DuBois 1992, 63), Stanton conceived of a necessarily dynamic relationship between thought and action in the struggle for women’s rights. Her assertion that she and her comrades were fomenting a “moral revolution” suggested that securing gender equality would be as much about altering perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings as about changing laws, policies, and institutions. In reflecting that the at-times restrictive domestic and maternal duties she was compelled to perform propelled her to engage in social critique and activism, Stanton encouraged a recognition of the relationship between the private realm of home and family and larger systems of public power. In identifying that her own “wearisome cares” were common among women, Stanton saw the possibility of female solidarity, even as she alluded to likely variations in women’s circumstances. Those same cares also became a source of inspiration for Stanton, and in pledging to work to better her daughters’ lives, she spoke to the importance of each generation renewing and sustaining a commitment to women’s rights into the future.

Stanton’s insight that bringing about a “revolution” in women’s rights would require the ongoing efforts of generations of women has proven to be correct. This book explores the struggle for women’s rights engaged in by diverse groups of women throughout the course of the history of the United States. Broadly conceived, this struggle has encompassed women’s efforts to eliminate gender hierarchy and achieve greater opportunity, autonomy . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.