Womem’s Suffrage Discussion

369 words | 2 page(s)

Professor Kuhlman and Professor Woodworth-Ney hold mostly similar views regarding the progression of suffrage and the reasons behind them. The differences are in the way these ideas are presented and the subjects chosen. Professor Kuhlman chooses the world wars to make her point and focuses specifically on war widows. The idea that both the world wars contributed significantly to the suffrage movement across the western world (and also most of the eventually independent countries in the commonwealth) cannot be denied. Both Professor Woodworth-Ney and Professor Foner agree with this aspect. Professor Kuhlman further includes the case of German women in her commentary, where suffrage movement began approximately at the same time. Professor Woodworth-Ney mentions that in addition to suffrage, German women were also impressed and influenced by American women in areas such as modernity and social justice. The common thread combining the women in the countries was the Great War, regardless of the sides they were on.

Professor Woodworth-Ney goes further in understanding the specific conditions that gave voting rights to women in different states in United States. For instance, Wyoming (1st to grant universal suffrage to women) saw suffrage as a means to attract more women into the state; Utah (the next state) granted suffrage to women to fight legally against polygamy; Idaho and Colorado (next in line to grant suffrage) had political motivations – granting women suffrage means more votes and more support to end the gold standard; Texas had a racist agenda – granting votes to white women would support the fight against people of the color. As can be seen, the individual reasons that finally paved way to granting suffrage were diverse. Although it must be said that by this time, women were already seen as important contributing members of the society and not an extension of their male relatives.

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All three authors agree that not in all places granting suffrage was considered to be equivalent to granting equal status to women. In many cases, women votes were merely seen as addition to numbers into whichever side believed they would benefit. The fact that suffrage was increasingly considered as a viable option made this evolutionary, though suffragists and political entities insisted on seeing the change as revolutionary.

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