The good old days

August 17th, 2005

Wouldn’t you think that after 85 years, women would stop making a big deal about the 19th Amendment?

On Aug. 27, Bartlesville Women’s Network will celebrate the 85th anniversary of “woman suffrage” by conducting a rally, a march to the courthouse, and a re-enactment of the famous trial, United States versus Susan B. Anthony.

Talk about the good old days!

At that time, both women and slaves were considered the property of men. Women, in fact, had fewer rights than a male inmate of an insane asylum. Women were prevented from attending college and barred from all professions. Women who dared speak in public in the early years of American democracy were thought “unladylike” at best, and indecent at worst.

Boy, were women ever unreasonable back then! Reasonable women would have been happy with the 14th Amendment.

The 14th Amendment, ratified after the Civil War in 1868, stated that all persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens. The Amendment also said that states could not abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens nor deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.

But no. Give ’em an inch…

Following ratification of the 14th Amendment, the National Woman Suffrage Association was formed in 1869. Elizabeth Cady Stanton served as president. Women in several states attempted to vote, but their ballots, though cast, were not counted.

But men were men back in the 19th century.

In 1875 the Missouri case of Minor versus Happersett was heard by the United States Supreme Court. The court held that being a citizen does not guarantee women the right to vote. The Court said that each state could decide who, among its citizens, were entitled to vote.

Everything was going fine until those pussy-whipped men of the early 20th century came along.

The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, was ratified Aug. 26, 1920, ending 72 years of struggle to extend the voting privilege to women. No longer could the United States or any state deny the vote to women.

Susan Lauffer really put out a very good article on this struggle for the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise; a story that reminds us of our ancestor’s ingrained ignorance of only a short time ago. Can we sincerely believe that we are fully enlightened today?

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