Battle for the Ballot: Essays on Woman Suffrage in Utah, 1870-1896

Battle for the Ballot: Essays on Woman Suffrage in Utah, 1870-1896

Battle for the Ballot: Essays on Woman Suffrage in Utah, 1870-1896

Battle for the Ballot: Essays on Woman Suffrage in Utah, 1870-1896

Excerpt

When the delegates to the Utah constitutional convention voted to include woman suffrage in the new state constitution in 1895, their momentous decision represented more than six years of intense grass-roots lobbying by Utah women. It also reflected several centuries of recorded discontent of women who felt excluded from the dynamics of public life. By the end of the eighteenth century, their complaints acquired form and context as notions of natural law, human rights, and individual liberty came to inform public discourse.

As these philosophical ideas gained sufficient political currency to foment rebellion against monarchical power, women saw rhetorical and political parallels to their own social disfranchisement. Adopting the enlightenment vision of human rights, early feminists employed the rhetoric of revolution for their own struggle for emancipation. Treatises on women's rights, such as Mary Wollstonecraft A Vindication of the Rights of Women published in England in 1792, preceded organized action, which slowly developed as women cautiously adapted to the new role of social activist.

The steps between social theory and social activism, however, were daunting to most women. When John Adams failed to act on his wife Abigail's stirring appeal to "Remember the Ladies" in framing a constitution for the new nation, women did not "foment the rebellion" she had promised if they were excluded. Soon thereafter, another "revolutionary" woman, Judith Sargent Murray . . .

Author Advanced search

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.