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Ohio's Role in the Women's Rights Movement
In America, the womens rights movement started from the abolitionism directly as a result of complex processes. The main goals of the leaders of this movement were to fight for the social justice of women. Within America, the first womens right movement came to a reality with the onset of the American Revolution. Women believed that the men, who struggled for the independence of America from Great Britain, were hypocrites. This was mostly due to the fact that men in the United States opposed British rule as a result of King George the third failing to grant the representation of American people in the parliament. The parliament was considered the legislative branch of the British government.
Women, at the time, argued that they also needed representation in the parliament. They also claimed that men wielded all the power and kept it to themselves. Men were seen to have complete power and authority over women in the same way that the British government controlled its colonies (Report of the Select Committee of the Ohio Senate on Giving the Rights of Suffrage to Females 45).
As the American Revolution continued to grow, the womens right movement continued to grow in the same proportion. At the time, the number of women advocating for the womens rights were very few in the first half of the nineteenth century. However, as time passed the numbers began to increase gradually. Majority of men within the United States were opposed to the idea of womens rights and treated the mass action of women lightly. Females who were already in a family setting experienced a lot of opposition from their husbands due to the fact that they participated in the womens right movement (Goldstein 45).
From the mens point of view, the womans duty of functions within a family was to care about their husbands and bring up children within the family. Women, performing their main functions in the society, made the United States flourish considering that children were the base of a promising future. This concept of thought was better known as republican motherhood, which interpreted the womens roles as to raise virtuous children who held a promising future for the republic of America. The major reason attributed to the slow growth of the establishment of womens rights was the lack of national representation. The lack of national representation was mostly due to the fact that the womens rights movement was disjoint. National representation would have increased national awareness and hence increased the mileage of the movement (Isenberg 64).
The women in America made an effort to increase the public awareness of their movement by engaging in the public setting by participating in movements and reforms. This all happened in the early 1800s especially through abolition movements. The women argued that since they were responsible for bringing up virtuous children, they should also assist in helping the people indulging in acts of immorality to get a chance of redemption. Ohio was the grassroots for the development of the womens rights movement. Numerous numbers of women were seen to participate actively in the reforms associated with the womens movements. This consequently resulted in the formation of the Ohio Womens Temperance Society, which assisted people to lead a morally upright life and assisted the womens rights movement (Audretsch 32).
The Female Moral Reform Society was also observed to ensure that people led a moral life. Ohio was the residence of most great women activists such as Lucy Stone who assisted greatly in the abolitionist movement through writing and giving public speeches (Cattell 23).
In 1848, there was a recorded breakthrough in the womens rights movement in a convention held at the Seneca Falls. This was because of the reason that, during this convention, womens rights were declared. During the event, a document was drafted containing all womens rights and was signed by 240 women. The men were also not left out as the document contained the signatures of forty men. This document was drafted some time later after the pronouncement of independence in the United States. All the demands that were made by the womens movement were met without opposition. The only wish that had not been granted was giving the women voting rights within the United States. The women were contented with this decision as they argued that they did not want to make the men in the United States feel threatened (Geary 54).
The document of the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments did not receive unanimous approval, nevertheless. A hundred women who had signed the document received a lot of criticism. This resulted in some of them withdrawing from the document. Although a large number of women were moved by the criticisms, they went through and benefited a lot from this document. This was mostly because the womens rights movement had a list whereby all womens rights were clearly stated making their demands known to men. Owning to the convention held at the Seneca Falls, many other women were inspired to stand up for their rights. The declaration of these womens rights as stipulated in the Declaration of Womens Rights and Sentiments inspired the women in Ohio to demonstrate more in all over Ohio to get equal rights as those that men in the United States experienced (McMillan 97).
There were more developments recorded as time passed. The womens rights movement gained media representation through a newspaper known as The Alliance. The Alliance fought for equal rights whereby women had rights comparable to those of men. This newspaper made it possible for the women throughout Ohio to arrange conferences whereby they discussed issues that affected them and mostly how to increase the womens movement awareness. Petitions were also forwarded so as to which demanded the Ohio Constitutional Convention to give women the right to vote. This took place in the year 1850. Another petition was also put in place, which demanded the state legislature to grant women more rights in the state of Ohio (Benedict, Les and Winkler 34).
Although the women in the state of Ohio made many efforts to gain reforms in terms of gender equity, little success was noticed by the time the civil war was concluded. The desire to give women a right to vote in the state of Ohio was not granted by the Ohio constitution in the year 1851 (Women, Inc. 15). Married women whose husbands had become deceased were granted the right to make contracts and own property. Prior to the establishment of this law, all the property, that a given married family owned, belonged to the husband alone. The efforts invested by the women in the state of Ohio were similar to those of women in other states. The major difference was that the women in Ohio were more organized and vocal compared to women in other states. Hence, Ohio formed the foundation for the development of womens rights, which has eventually led to gender equity within the United States currently (Jones 65).