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Issues of the First Wave
Women's Suffrage: Topic Page
The right of women to vote; Throughout the latter part of the 19th cent. the issue of women's voting rights was an important phase of feminism.
Achievements of the First Wave
Married Women's Property Acts (United States)
From From Suffrage to the Senate: America's Political Women
Until the passage of married women’s property acts in the mid–nineteenth century, marriage essentially resulted in a woman’s civil death, which included the denial of her right to own property. The acts, however, fueled the debate on women's rights.
Married Women's Property Acts (Great Britian)
From Dictionary of British History
Two statutes that granted basic property rights to married women and were thus important landmarks in the women's movement.
The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution
From Encyclopedia of Gender and Society
The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted women’s suffrage in 1920 by stipulating that the right to vote could not be denied on the basis of sex.
Leaders and Activists of the First Wave
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906): Topic Page
Undoubtedly one of the most forceful pioneers of women’s suffrage in the United States, Anthony never gave up hope of winning.
Olympia Brown (1835-1926)
From Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers
Inspired by the ordination of Antoinette Brown Blackwell in 1853, Olympia Brown set out to become a preacher herself, achieving her goal in 1863 when she was ordained in the Universalist Church. She was also a leading suffragist and pacifist as a member of the Congressional Union and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902): Topic Page
Women’s rights leader and feminist pioneer; She was drawn to the abolitionist, temperance, and women’s rights movements through visits to the home of her cousin, the reformer Gerrit Smith.
Lucy Stone (1818-1893): Topic Page
Abolitionist and women’s rights activist. At age 25 she finally was able to enter Oberlin College (Ohio), and when she graduated (1847) she was the first Massachusetts woman to have earned a college degree. In 1850 she was a leader in calling a women’s rights convention in Worcester, MA, and her speech there both won over Susan B. Anthony to the cause and inspired John Stuart Mill to write ‘The Enfranchisement of Woman’.
Frances Willard (1839-1898): Topic Page
Undoubtedly the dominating presence in the WCTU, Willard devoted her considerable energies to women’s education and suffrage and protective measures for working women.
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941): Topic Page
Her essay A Room of One's Own (1929) has become a feminist classic.