Women's Movement During The Progressive Reform Era

1326 Words 6 Pages
In the gilded age, many reformers were realizing how many issues there were with a thriving and growing population. During the Progressive Reform Era, many people were attempting to find a way to fix all the problems. One of the problems was Women’s rights. Many women were expected to stay in the home and take care of the children. Two of the most famous reformers of Women’s rights were Alice Paul and Margaret Sanger. While they both fought for the expansion of women’s rights, Alice Paul focused mainly on voting rights and Margaret Sanger concentrated on birth control.
The fight for women’s right to vote originally began even before the Civil War and in 1848, there was a gathering in Seneca Falls, New York. Both the women and men gathered
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After her degrees, she spent time in London where she learned radical and “unladylike” tactics to draw attention from a woman suffragist by the name of Emmeline Pankhurst. She returned to the United States in 1910 and began to implement these tactics within the fight for women’s suffrage. Alice Paul’s party, the National Women’s party, of which she was the leader, continued their public protests even during World War I. These non-war related protests were considered unpatriotic and many women present at these protests were arrested and placed in jail. Some women who were particularly influential in this party, such as Paul, were placed in solitary confinement so that they were not allowed communication with others. To protests this unfair arrest, many women went on a hunger strike in which they refused to eat every meal that they were offered. At first the police officers figured that the inmates had to eat at some point and were therefore unworried but as time passed and the women lost more and more weight and still refused to eat, the officers became concerned. Society would not allow these protesters, who were simply exercising their right of freedom of speech as stated by the First amendment, had died in prison. In panic, the officers force-fed the women for up to three weeks. To be force-fed is an often painful experience …show more content…
After watching her own mother die from the weakness that wracked her body after having too many children, Sanger dedicated her life to helping to legalize and distribute birth control. Many women died at this time from having too many babies, where such exertion wrecked their immune and physical systems. The women that were dying were important women in society, they were mothers, grandmothers, wives, all dying from a preventable cause. When asked about how many children a woman should have, Snager replied “Women of the working class, especially wage workers, should not have more than two children at most. The average working man can support no more and and the average working woman can take care of no more in decent fashion.” This means that after two children, a woman should exercise birth control to not produce a life that neither her husband can support and she can raise. “Decent fashion” refers to being able to provide for that child and be able to support them so that they have the necessities of life such as food, water clothes, etc. Sanger wanted to be able to legalize and distribute birth control to women of all classes so that they would be able to control how many children they

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