Who Was the First Feminist?

Updated on March 13, 2019
catalystmuse profile image

Passionate on the rich history of our American nation. Article has been thoroughly researched. Feel free to contact me for Q's or to clarify

Throughout the past century, feminism has been redefining itself. However, it was spearheaded during the first wave occurring during the 19th and 20th century in the United States. It climaxed in the roaring twenties when the 19th amendment, ratified on August, 18, 1920, gave women the right to vote. Feminism is the equalization of women to men through political means. Elizabeth Cady Stanton embodies this definition because she advocated for women’s suffrage, which she garnered by starting the National Woman’s Suffrage Association. The NSWA influenced citizens and politicians, and expanded women’s influential sphere in society.

Her Actions and Legacy

Elizabeth Cady Stanton pushed and advocated for women’s suffrage, shaping the late 19th and early 20th century political landscape. To advance women’s suffrage, Stanton organized the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. After the convention’s two days, the Declaration of Sentiments, which was the first step to organized suffrage, was signed by 100 men and woman. Men’s signatures were significant at the time because it was thought politics were out of a woman’s mental capacity. In 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was founded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucia Mott. Stanton served as its first president and launched a grass roots campaign exclusively to advocate for women’s voting rights through orations and publications, including her persuasive newspaper The Revolution. As a result of her grassroots campaign, states began passing permanent suffrage laws. These meant women could elect their local politicians such as majors, state representatives and senators; however, not the president of the Unites States. In 1869, Wyoming was the first state to enact permanent suffrage laws. Stanton passed away in 1902; however, her legacy of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association continued to push legislation to enable women the right to vote.

The Anti- Suffragist Turncoat

In August 26, 1920, Harry Burn, a 24-year-old representative from East Tennessee joined suffragists by casting the 36th vote needed to ratify the 19th amendment, which states the right of citizens to vote "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." This is applied on a state and national level. When he joined the suffragists, he traded his red rose worn on his lapel for a yellow one, the symbol of suffrage. The wearing of the rose was called the war of roses.

The Mother That Made History

The motive behind Burn’s change was a letter from his mother Phoebe King "Febb" Ensminger Burn. It was written that morning urging him to "Hurray and vote for suffrage and don’t keep them in doubt. I noticed (an opponent’s) speech, it was very bitter. I’ve been waiting to see how you stood but have not seen anything yet…. Don’t forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. Cat put the 'rat' in ratification." Mrs. Cat referred to Carrie Chapman Catt, the president of NWSA at the time.

What Women Did and How We Felt About Their Actions

The premise for advocating women’s suffrage was so women could tackle women’s issues. When women began influencing the political sphere, they gave emphasis on social reform laws like child labor and prison reform. The ratification of the 19th Amendment proved there was no “proper sphere of life” for women. Instead, they could equally participate in politics alongside men. Women’s suffrage included women of all ethnicities. During the 1920s, these “new women” or women who voted and feminists that were a product of the NWSA grassroots campaign movement were harshly criticized. However, their actions did not go without appreciation. Over almost half a century later, according to a Gallop poll from 1999 asking Americans The Most Important Events of the Century From the Viewpoint of the People,women’s suffrage came in second below WWII.

Without Her

Without Elizabeth Cady Stanton, there may not have been a suffrage movement, much less the 19th amendment and the woman’s right to vote ratified. She was a feminist because she equalized women to men through political means. Elizabeth Cady Stanton embodies this definition of first wave feminism because she advocated for women’s suffrage which she garnered by starting the National Woman’s Suffrage Association, the NSWA influenced citizens and politicians, and through the effects of the NSWA, women’s influential sphere was expanded in society.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Catalyst Muse

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, soapboxie.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://soapboxie.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)