Feminism: One Movement in Four Waves (Part 2)

I got so busy yesterday I forgot to post part two! So you get two posts today. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

Wave Two: 1960-1988 – Women Fight for Equality
Key figures: Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Anna Nieto-Gómez, Sandra “Casey” Hayden, Mary King, Cherríe Moraga, Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and others.

The second wave of feminism in is often attributed to the strict gender roles that oppressed women in the wake of WWII. Despite new household technologies making homemaking easier than ever and socioeconomic change resulting in an abundance of new jobs not confined to the brute strength of men, women were still expected to fulfill many of the same roles they always had, and women were growing restless. In 1963 author Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique, criticizing how white women were shown in the media (as good little housewives with no drive or potential) and showing the emotional toll such a life took on women. Add to this the 1961 advent of the birth control pill which made employment without the threat of unexpected pregnancy a reality for the first time, and American females were primed for action.

It can also be said that there was a direct correlation between the fight for Civil Rights by African-Americans and the beginning of the second wave of feminism, which focused on equality for women. The Civil Rights movement gave women a template to follow and showed that their voices matter in terms of activism. These “radical feminists” went on to led the second wave in speaking out on violence and sexism.

Legal victories such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave women momentum. But this time, there wasn’t just one theme, but many. The women spurred on by consciousness raising meetings fought for the right for women to have access to and equal opportunity in the workforce, as well as the end of legal sex discrimination, championed reproductive rights (especially after 1973’s Rode v. Wade case made abortion legal) and spoke out against domestic violence and marital rape.

By the 1980s many people felt that the movement had achieved its goals through sexual harassment laws, the legalization of abortion and legislation that gave women more equal opportunities with men, so large-scale protests faded away, along with much of the energy behind the movement. Supporters still fought to uphold abortion rights and sexual harassment laws, promote full equality in the military and prevent violence against women, but overall it had lost its spark. On top of this, some feminists were starting to argue over the inclusion of sex workers in the feminism movement, a fight that would continue into the next wave.

The second wave was highly criticized by many African-American feminists and others of color as focusing far too much on the rights and politics of white women, as well as by the LGBT community for being too heteronormative.

Feminism: One Movement in Four Waves (Part 1)

Some of you may be aware that I’m working on a proposal for a non-fiction book on the history of U.S. feminism that I hope to have published on or near the 100th anniversary of American women getting the right to vote, which is August 19, 2020.  This week, Diana at Creating Herstory is featuring a four-part article I wrote on this very same subject and I thought I’d repost the article each day as it runs on her site. It will give you a rough idea of what the book will include, although the book also will have a section on colonial feminist thought that this article doesn’t cover.

Image purchased from Adobe Stock

For me, every day is Women’s History month because I’m currently researching the history of the feminism movement in the United States for a book.

Honestly, although I’ve considered myself a feminist for more than 20 years, I never really thought much about the movement in general or how it came to be. But then I researched my historical fiction novel Madame Presidentess, which is about Victoria Woodhull, a suffragist and the first woman to run for president in the U.S. in 1872 – 48 years before women won the right to vote. Because she was friends with the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, I came to learn a lot about how feminism and women’s rights came to be in our country.

Historians generally agree that there have been at least three “waves” or intense periods of activity around women’s rights. But that is where the consensus ends. Exactly when these waves took place and what they encompassed is a serious matter of debate, especially where later waves are concerned. Some people (like me), believe we’re currently living in a fourth wave of feminism, while others say we’re still in the third or even in a fifth. There is even some debate on whether or not feminism in American dates back to colonial times, far before the generally accepted seminal event of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention.

While one article could never do justice to the many facets of the feminist movement (that’s what the book is for, and even then it is impossible to hit all points), here’s a brief summary of the three accepted waves, as well as my theory of a current fourth wave. All dates are approximate.

Wave One: 1840-1920 – Women Fight for Citizenship and Suffrage
Key figures: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, Alice Paul, Carrie Chapman Catt, and others.

Susan B. Anthony (standing) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Beginning in the 1830s, women started to quietly talk amongst themselves about their rights and to question why, under United States law, they were not considered full citizens. This eventually led to the first public debate on women’s rights at Oberlin College in 1846 and the first public address about women’s rights the next year. The first women’s rights convention in the United States took place the following July in Seneca Falls, New York. From this meeting came the Declaration of Sentiments, which was modeled on the Declaration of Independence, was all about woman and her rights, or lack thereof, in the country at that time. It became the basis for the women’s rights movement until the Civil War disrupted the whole country and placed the public’s attention squarely on abolition.

After the Civil War, the women’s movement split into two groups divided over the idea of enfranchisement of blacks as well as whether universal suffrage should be granted at the Federal or state levels. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were the leaders of the radical National Woman Suffrage Association, whose members believed that the enfranchisement of black and immigrant men would make it more difficult for women to be given the vote and called for a federal agreement for women suffrage. On the other side of the fence were Lucy Stone and the American Woman Suffrage Association, whose members supported the 15th Amendment and worked for women’s suffrage on a state-by-state basis.

This division hampered the efforts of both groups, by weakening resources, causing in-fighting within the movement and fracturing public attention. As time went on, some states granted suffrage on a case-by-case basis, usually beginning with school suffrage. The first state to grant women full voting rights was Wyoming in 1869. In 1872, Victoria Woodhull ran for president, even though she wasn’t technically old enough and the vast majority of women didn’t have the right to vote for her. Despite the odds, Susan B. Anthony succeeded in voting in that election (not for Victoria, as the two were bitter enemies by this point) but was arrested and found guilty of illegal voting. But she made history and headlines with her act, and her widely publicized trial spurred on flagging suffragists across the country. In 1875, Virginia Minor, a suffragist from Missouri, argued before the Supreme Court that women already had the right to vote under the 14th amendment of the Constitution, which that states suffrage is a right of all citizens of the United States. But the Supreme Court ruled against her, stating that all “men” had the right to vote, and the suffragists realized that the Federal government wasn’t going to help them. Thus began the decades-long campaign

Women’s Rights National Historical Park. Image purchased from Adobe Stock.

for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would enfranchise women.

The two warring factions of women’s suffrage finally reunited in 1890 as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), under the united cause of getting suffrage state-by-state. Twenty-six years later, tired of this slow, tame approach, Alice Paul formed the National Woman’s Party, a militant group focused on the passage of a national suffrage amendment. The following year, more than 200 members of this group – known as the Silent Sentinels – were arrested while picketing the White House. Many of them went on hunger strikes in prison and were subjected to torture and barbaric practices like forced feeding. (These women were the Iron-Jawed Angels of the 2004 film of the same name.)

Despite these setbacks, the women’s movement continued under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, who focused whole-heartedly on the national amendment from 1916 on. Women finally gained the right to vote on a Federal level on August 20, 1920. But it took a long time for the states to catch up (Mississippi was the last state in the union to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment in 1984) and it wasn’t for several decades that African-American women were truly able to vote without fear of discrimination and harm.

Tomorrow’s Part 2 will talk about the Second Wave of feminism, which lasted approximately from 1960-the late 1980s.

P.S. – Did you know that the National Woman’s Party still exists? I’m a member!

Please Vote for Been Searching for You in the RONE Awards

Been Searching for You is up for voting this week in the RONE awards. Popular vote is what turns a nominee a into a finalist and gets her books in front of judges, so please vote.

You MUST be registered at www.indtale.com in order to vote for the RONE Awards, so please sign up now. It’s a simple process:

  1. Register at www.indtale.com.
  2. Click the verification link sent to you via email. (If you don’t verify, you won’t be able to vote.)
  3. Don’t forget to vote at http://www.indtale.com/2017-rone-awards-week-three for Been Searching for You.

If you have any trouble, please email me at nicole [dot] evelina [at] att [dot] net and I will try to help you.

Voting is open all week, May 1-7. You can only vote once per registered email address. Thanks in advance!

Please Vote for Camelot’s Queen in the RONE Awards

I have two books up for RONE awards (sponsored by Ind’Tale Magazine) this year: Camelot’s Queen and Been Searching for You.

Camelot’s Queen is up for voting this week. Popular vote is what turns a nominee a into a finalist and gets her books in front of judges, so please vote.

You MUST be registered at www.indtale.com in order to vote for the RONE Awards, so please sign up now. It’s a simple process:

  1. Register at www.indtale.com.
  2. Click the verification link sent to you via email. (If you don’t verify, you won’t be able to vote.)
  3. Don’t forget to vote at http://www.indtale.com/2017-rone-awards-week-one for Camelot’s Queen.

If you have any trouble, please email me at nicole [dot] evelina [at] att [dot] net and I will try to help you.

Voting is open all week, April 17-23. You can only vote once per registered email address. Thanks in advance!

Victoria Woodull’s 1872 Election Day as Seen on Facebook

“Lock her up!” is a common refrain in this election, with opponents of Hillary Clinton, the first woman to run for president on a major party ticket, loudly calling for her to spend election day in jail. Ironic then, that the first woman to ever run for President in the U.S., Victoria Woodhull, did just that in 1872.

Days before the November 4, 1872, election, she and her sister, Tennie, published a scandalous issue of their newspaper, Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, in which Victoria accused Rev. Henry Ward Beecher of having an extramarital affair with one of his parishioners, and Tennie recalled the debauchery of a public party years before. Due to a quote Tennie used (which also appears in the book of Deuteronomy), the sisters were changed by Anthony Comstock, America’s self-appointed moral crusader, of sending obscene material through the mail and arrested.

I present to you my imaginings of what Victoria, Tennie and the other women of the suffrage movement might have posted on Facebook on and around Election Day.

victorias-election-day-as-played-out-on-fb

Voting Was Very Different in 1872

H. Balling, "Victoria C. Woodhull at the Polls," Harper's Weekly, 25 November 1871

H. Balling, “Victoria C. Woodhull at the Polls,” Harper’s Weekly, 25 November 1871

With less than two weeks until the 2016 election here in the United States, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how the voting process has changed since Victoria Woodhull’s time. Today we go into a private, curtained booth or at least stand at shielded machines to cast our vote.  Unless we divulge it, there isn’t supposed to be any way for anyone else to know who we voted for.

In 1872, not so much.

When I went into my research for Madame Presidentess, I had no idea that votes weren’t always anonymous.  America began using the “Australian Ballot” for presidential elections in 1888. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the Australian Ballot is defines as “the system of voting in which voters mark their choices in privacy on uniform ballots printed and distributed by the government or designate their choices by some other secret means.” 1888 is also the same year America used the first mass marketed automated polling system – the Myers Automatic Booth.

This ballot for the Equal Rights Party at the re-enactment of 1872 shows what the ballot for Victoria may have looked like. Note that no historical ballots for her exist.

This ballot for the Equal Rights Party at the re-enactment of 1872 shows what the ballot for Victoria may have looked like. Note that no historical ballots for her exist.

Ballots
I also didn’t know that your voting tickets weren’t always given to you at your polling place. Ballots were printed by regional printers, often in the newspapers and sometimes were written out by hand.

There was little uniformity in ballots. Some listed the Presidential Electors, some the candidates, some had photos of the candidates, some were small, some were excessively large. Some places had voters sign their name on the back to prevent fraud.

It was the responsibility for the parties as private organizations to provide these tickets. Parties had to station people at precincts in order to distribute tickets. Both had to be done before election day.

Voting
Few people at the time understood the political machine. (Actually, I’m not sure how many of us now really understand it.) Party agents translated platforms for the masses and were known to employ deception, bribery and manipulation to get votes for their candidate.

Voting took place in the county courthouse in the large towns, while immigrant neighborhoods favored the saloon as a polling place. In the country, saloons, general stores, homes, churches, fire stations, warehouses and livery stables all functioned as polling places. When Victoria attempted to vote in 1871, her polling place was a furniture store.

Intimidation and physical violence at polling places was common. Parties often provided free drinks (especially at saloons) to voters as an inducement to vote. Some even got them drunk before they voted so that the voter could be swayed. (If you want more information, I found this article on voter fraud in the 1800s very interesting.) Labor unions, employers, pastors/priests and hired thugs were all people a voter had to fear, especially if he was going to vote for someone those people didn’t want him to vote for. People had their houses burned or were beaten up or fired for going against the wishes of employers or unions.

The voting window separated the election officials from the voters. This required voters to step up onto a platform in full view of everyone else in the room to cast their vote. Men handed their ballot to the official, who put it in the corresponding box or glass globe labeled with the party or candidate, which was out of reach of the voter, but within sight of all. Tickets were only recognized as votes once they were in the hands of election judges.

Some states, like Missouri and Minnesota, allowed verbal voting, whereby a vote was stated publicly and recorded. This also made it very easy to know how an individual voted.

Women Voting
As early as the late 1860s, women were attempting to vote, even though they didn’t yet have the legal right. In 1868, in Vineland, New Jersey, 172 women cast their ballots in a separate box during the presidential election and vowed to do so again each year until they were granted the right to vote. Women in the Wyoming and Utah territories were granted the right to vote in 1869 and 1870, respectively.  In 1871, Victoria Woodhull led a group of women in an attempt to vote that was documented by reporters. It is said that one woman managed to cast her ballot amid the chaos. The following year, Susan B. Anthony and 15 other women were arrested while voting for President Grant. Women continued to try to vote until finally being granted the right in August 1920.

Sources:

Ackerman, Donald l. That’s the Ticket! A Century of American Political Ballots.

Bensel, Richard Franklin. The American Ballot Box in the Mid-19th Century.

Woman Suffrage Timeline

Reenacting the Election of 1872 (pictures included)

As close to meeting Victoria Woodhull as I will ever get!

As close to meeting Victoria Woodhull as I will ever get!

As some of you know, last weekend I had a the great privilege of participating in a re-enactment of the election of 1872 (the one Victoria Woodhull ran in) at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in south St. Louis County. I’ve never done re-enactment before (I’ve been to Renfaires, but only as a spectator), so this was a totally new experience for me. I was stationed at table with a few other women under the banner “Votes for Women.” We stayed in character some of the time as campaigners for Victoria, but the rest of the time was spent answering questions about her and about my book. I even got to do an impromptu Q&A session after Victoria gave her speech on Sunday.

Much to our surprise, Rebecca Rau and her camera man showed up to film part of their documentary about Victoria, The Coming Woman, at the event. Rebecca and I have become friends on Twitter and Facebook and she saw me post about it, hopped on a plane and there she was! I think she got a lot of good footage from the actors playing Victoria, Horace Greeley, Frederick Douglass, Virginia Minor and others. I particularly enjoyed Frederick Douglass – he’s a man I need to learn more about – and Virginia Minor, whose speech was so moving. And of course, they recorded the rest of us. She even interviewed me on-camera, so you may be seeing me in the film!

The park estimates we had 750-800 people come through. Yes, I may have sold some books by talking with people and handing out postcards (I wasn’t allowed to sell on-site), but more important than that is that this was a huge opportunity for me to get Victoria’s name out there and educate people about her. Only a handful of those we talked to had ever heard about her. Spreading the word about this amazing woman is the whole reason why I wrote my book in the first place, so through this event, I know I achieved my goal of helping get her name in the historical record where it belongs!

Oh, and we held a mock election. The men at the booth harassed us females good-naturedly for trying to vote (remember, this was 1872 and women didn’t get the right to vote in the US until August 1920). Although it was all in good fun, it gave me a small sense of what it must have been like for the women like Victoria, Tennie, and Susan B. Anthony who really did try to vote and were turned away due to their sex, and in Susan’s case, even arrested. In the end, Victoria came in second to Grant, beating Greeley by a long shot. While I would have LOVED to have seen her elected, I realize now that wasn’t likely when the event was being held on the grounds of Grant’s former home.

Speaking of, I also got to tour the grounds, which include Grant’s home of White Haven, a barn, a chicken house and several other buildings used by slaves and animals. As a history lover and life-long St. Louisan, I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know that this place existed until about a month ago. It was very interesting to see that such amazing history is right in my own back yard. I’ve been to nearby places like historic St. Charles, old town Florissant, downtown St. Louis and even Cahokia Mounds across the river in Illinois, but this place really struck a chord with me. Maybe it was because I could tie it to a specific small group of people and that made it more personal; maybe I’m just more aware now that I’m older and more educated through my research. Who knows. But I was fascinated by some of the stories told by the staff and on plaques in the houses. There may be a future novel there. But I need to get the other 20 or so written first!

If you want another perspective on the day, here’s a post written by one of the other participants. The comments are interesting as well.

And now, on to pictures, which is what you are really here for, right?

Grant's home, White Haven

Grant’s home, White Haven

Suffragists!

Suffragists!

 

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Horace Greeley

Horace Greeley

Frederick Dent (right) and a reporter

Frederick Dent (right) and a reporter

Virginia Minor

Virginia Minor

Join Me in Campaigning for Victoria Woodhull – A Reenactment of the Election of 1872

grant-and-greeley-final_1This weekend if you’re in St. Louis and looking for something to do, I encourage you to attend a free unique event: a reenactment of the election of 1872, in which Victoria Woodhull ran for President. The event takes place September 9-11 at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in south St. Louis County. Here’s the website with all the details.

I will be there in period clothing “campaigning” for Victoria from noon – 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. The event includes a mock election, so make sure to cast your vote for Victoria! It would be really cool if we could get her to win 144 years later! Victoria will be speaking several times throughout the day, as will the other candidates.

And yes, I will post a few pictures after the event, for those who can’t make it.

I wish I could explain how important this event is to me. I fell in love with Victoria through my research and so short of time travel, this is as close to doing her justice as I will ever get. I’m looking forward to sharing the knowledge I gained from my research and hopefully getting her into office, even if only symbolically. I hope you can join me for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live history!

The Suffrage Movement in America, pre-1900

National_Womens_Suffrage_Association-216x290As we close out National Women’s History Month, I thought I’d give a brief history of the suffrage movement, mostly focusing on the pre-1900s time period because that is when my book is set. I haven’t done research later than that and will leave it others to tell the fascinating stories of the women who finally got us the right to vote. This list is by no means all-inclusive and is only meant to capture the high points. (I have also left out things that my main character did because I still don’t want to say who she is, though there is a hint in this post. Hopefully within a month, I can.)

1846 – First public debate on women’s rights at Oberlin College.

1847 – First public address about women’s rights.

1848 – First convention on women’s rights held in Seneca Falls.

1850 – First national women’s rights convention.

The Revolution 1868-1872 Paper run by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

The Revolution 1868-1872 Paper run by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

1860 – Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association. They were the more radical arm of the suffrage movement. Their group opposed the 15th Amendment and called for a Federal agreement for women suffrage. They believed that the enfranchisement of black and immigrant men would make it more difficult for women to be given the vote. They also believed the educated shouldn’t have to submit to slaves to ask to vote (hence, their opposition to the 15th Amendment). They also believed that divorce was justified in some cases, which set them at odds with their more conservative women’s rights peers.

Lucy Stone, who didn’t oppose enfranchisement of freedmen but still wanted universal suffrage, founded the American Womans Suffrage Association, supporting the 15th Amendment and working for women’s suffrage. They endorsed suffrage state by state, and were more conservative than the National Woman Suffrage Association.

1866 – Congress passed the 14th Amendment, introducing the word “male” into the Constitution as a qualification for voting.

1868 – The 200+ women of the spiritualist town of Vineland, New Jersey, cast their votes in a separate box and tried to get them counted among the men’s, an event they repeated for several years.

1870 – Fifteenth Amendment passed, giving black men the right to vote.

1875 –  Virginia Minor took women’s suffrage to the Supreme Court in Minor V. Happerstatt, arguing that the Constitution already gave women the right to vote by declaring them citizens and giving all citizens the right to vote. The Court said citizenship did not imply the right to vote, but that the power was left to the states unless the federal government could be persuaded to amend the Constitution.

1880 –The National Woman Suffrage Association realized the state by state approach was probably best and focused on that, rather than Federal reform to get women the right to vote.

1890 – The National Woman Suffrage Association and American Womans Suffrage Association reunited as the National American Woman Sufferage Association

1920 – Women finally get the right to vote. (August 18)

Sources:
Gabriel, Mary. Notorious Victoria.
Wheeler, Marjorie Spruill Wheeler, ed. One Woman, One Vote: Rediscovering the Woman Suffrage Movement.

Do you have thoughts or questions about the early suffrage movement in America? It’s not my strongest subject, but I will definitely try to get answers.