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The Journey for a Golden Vote

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The Journey For A Golden Vote

Through strategical tactics and The Golden Lane, the women of Missouri helped change history and made way for women's right to vote. Until the twentieth century, American women were expected to primarily serve as the housekeepers and mothers for their families. They held the responsibility of raising and morally educating the children,cooking, cleaning, and anything else that was demanded of the mother. The men were expected to be the sole provider through working in order to supply food, clothing, housing, and everything else that requires money. Margot McMillen, the author of The Golden Lane, explained that the Louisiana Purchase shaped a new role in society for both males and females by stating, "True Men were to take care of matters such as government, finance and business, while True Women were to take care of the families' happiness, comfort, economies, and social relationships." (McMillen, 18). Since men controlled government, women were not allowed the right to vote. This eventually changed with the help from the women of Missouri who used organizations, clubs, petitions, parades , and most importantly, the silent Golden Lane; which made history and gave women the right to vote.

Society's role for women gave them minimal opportunities to become financially independent so they focused mainly on the domestic life of their families. Although women that contained certain skills were allowed to work in factories, sweatshops, and laundresses; they were paid a wage that could not provide comfortable basic living needs. Under these conditions, women were practically forced to marry so they could survive. McMillen simply states, "If she had no husband, or if her husband died, she and her children were doomed." (19). So women that were single or a widow turned to prostitution and sweatshops in order to avoid dyeing on the streets. The pure dependence on her husband in order to simply survive motivated the American women to achieve power. Power could not be gained without the right to vote, so women started taking action.

McMillen explained women's contributions during the Civil War and came up with the statement, "So seeds of suffragist work can be found in the Civil War." (McMillen 22) The "seeds of suffragist work" that McMillen referred to, consisted of women organizations that aided troops. Many of these women that worked for the organizations such as, Western Sanitary Commission (WSC) and Ladies Union Aid Society (LUAS), became the first national figures for the suffrage movement. The first organization that aimed to achieve the right for women to vote was the Woman Suffrage Association (WSA), which gained male supporters and after five years it formed St. Louis to be the home for suffrage activism. (28) After the WSA was formed, many other organization around the nation were formed, such as, the Women's



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