Segments in this Video

Women Without Suffrage (02:05)


Though universal suffrage is a natural outcropping of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, women were denied the right to vote for the first century and a half of America's history. This represented a major inconsistency between American ideology and practice.

Building the Women's Suffrage Movement (02:33)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the first woman to publicly demand women's suffrage. She and Lucretia Mott organized the Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights. The National Woman Suffrage Association proposed a constitutional amendment to Congress every year for 50 years before it was finally ratified.

Lucretia Mott (02:22)

Lucretia Mott (1793-1880), born into a Quaker family, became an outspoken abolitionist. She advocated the use of truth for authority. She and her husband made their home into a refuge for escaped slaves, and she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the Seneca Falls Convention.

Lucretia Mott: "Discourse on Woman" (1849) (09:51)

Lucretia Mott exposed the hypocrisy of a government which ruled over and taxed women but allowed them no voice. She spoke on behalf of lower class women who especially struggled without property rights, criticized marriage, and encouraged women to not "ask as favor, but claim as right" their due justice.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (02:58)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) challenged any institution that threatened perfect equality of all people. She learned from observing her father's law practice that the law neglected women. She was best friend to Susan B. Anthony and a mother to 7.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton: "The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions" (1848) (11:01)

In her famous Seneca Falls Convention speech, Stanton invoked the Declaration of Independence to highlight the illegality of denying women the right to vote. She called married women "civilly dead" and illustrated the subordinate positions, and absence, of women in major societal institutions. She exposed the "God complex" of men who participated in the subordination of women.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton: "The Destructive Male" (1868) (06:48)

In this speech to Congress, Stanton attributed the violence of empire-building to the "male element," proposing that the elevation of women would necessarily contribute to the betterment of society. She illuminated men's total repression of womanhood and the devaluing of qualities like compassion.

Susan B. Anthony (03:06)

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) is credited with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. She called for women to be "roused" to their proper, equal citizenship. Her experience as a teacher, combined with her mother's lack of rights after her father's death, helped make her a tireless suffragette and abolitionist.

Susan B. Anthony: "Women's Right to Vote" (1872) (03:39)

Upon being arrested for voting for President, Anthony insisted she had not committed a crime under the Constitution. She maintained that denying women the right to vote undermined democracy and created, instead, a "hateful oligarchy of sex."

Lucy Stone (02:21)

Lucy Stone (1818-1893) received the first college degree awarded a woman in Massachusetts. She became an abolitionist and women's suffrage lecturer. She wore "bloomer dresses" and kept her maiden name after marriage, insisting that marriage be an equal partnership.

Lucy Stone: "Disappointment is the Lot of Women" (1855) (08:57)

Stone spoke to the National Woman's Rights Convention, focusing on the central image of a "disappointed woman." She argued for equal pay, attacked the narrow sphere reserved for women, and urged men to understand the natural benefits of parity in marriage.

Sojourner Truth (02:54)

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) grew into a living legend for her intellect, energy, and wit. Born a slave named Isabella, Sojourner redefined herself as a strong, inspirational speaker who traveled to spread truth.

Sojourner Truth: "Ain't I a Woman?" (1851) (04:53)

In this speech, Sojourner Truth sharply critiqued the hypocrisy of treating white women one way based on their sex and treating black women another way based on their race. She invoked Christian stories and logical analogies in her cry for equality.

Sojourner Truth: "American Equal Rights Convention: (1867) (04:23)

Sojourner Truth urgently called for parity between black men and black women, and equality among women of all races. She drew parallels between slaveowners and any men who believed in denying women their rights.

19th Amendment (01:18)

Male politicians, including Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, eventually supported women's suffrage. The 19th Amendment, drafted by Stanton and named for Anthony, finally guaranteed women the right to vote in 1920.

Credits: The Oratory of Women's Suffrage (00:15)

Credits: The Oratory of Women's Suffrage

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The Oratory of Women's Suffrage

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This video documentary re-creates the speeches of leading suffragettes whose impassioned words shaped the women’s movement during its inception in the late 19th century.

Length: 71 minutes

Item#: BVL49201

ISBN: 978-1-62290-345-0

Copyright date: ©2005

Closed Captioned

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