Lucretia Mott
 

 


Suffrage

Another concern of Lucretia Mott was suffrage.  At that time only white men had the privilege of voting, even though it should have been a right for everyone.  From the National Women’s Rights Convention of 1866 stemmed the American Equal Rights Association; Mott, now more than seventy years old was made president.[52]  The goal of the association was universal suffrage.[53]  This was a daunting task, seeing that blacks were not even American citizens at this time and that women were still struggling to be realized as citizens.  And in the future, it would be the issue that tore the women’s movement apart.  The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in July 1868, which made blacks citizens.  Six months later the Fifteenth Amendment was introduced into Congress (not ratified)--it protected one’s right to vote no matter “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”[54]  What a remarkable hope it was that all men might be able to vote.  But this is where the conflict among women’s activists began.  Women’s rights leaders began to divide as whether to support it or not; Anthony and Stanton were against it, while Garrison and Douglass supported it.[55]  And some people, such as Mott, did not take sides.[56]  Should women sacrifice the goal of women’s suffrage for a time in order to reach another one of their goals?  This question obviously provoked tensions.  By 1870, the young Equal Rights Association had split because of these differences.[57]  Nonetheless, the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified in 1870, giving blacks suffrage rights.  It would not be until 1920 that women gained suffrage rights with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, but this event may have not come so early, or at all, if it had not been for the work of women’s rights activists such as Mott.  Click here to read the full text of Constitutional Amendments discussed in this paper.[58]

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[52] Matthews, Struggle, 122-25.

[53] Ibid., 124.

[54] Flexner, Century, 150-51.

[55] Papachristou, Together, 63.

[56] Bowden, Dictionary, 320.

[57] Matthews, Struggle, 125.

[58] Amendments 11-27 of the United States Constitution, National Archives and Records Administration, 1999, Available from http://www.nara.gov/exhall/charters/constitution/amendments.html, Accessed 10 February 2001.