The Writing on the Wall: No Constitutional Protections for Women
No higher duty, or more solemn responsibility, rests upon this court than that of translating into living law and maintaining this constitutional shield deliberately planned and inscribed for the benefit of every human being subject to our Constitution--of whatever race, creed, or persuasion.
Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black
Chambers v. Florida, 1938.
Because their movement had so paralleled and intertwined with the abolitionist movement, feminists hoped that their gains would mirror those being made by blacks in the post-Civil War era. In their lobbying efforts around the country, feminists urged that the post-Civil War amendments to the Constitution should extend rights, privileges, and protections to women as well as to blacks. They would soon learn that this was not to be.
Of the three Reconstruction amendments, only one--the Fourteenth-- held the possibility of including women in its scope. Phrased in the most general of terms, it did not offer what feminists had wanted. It proved, nevertheless, to be one of the most important amendments for women ever