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Primary Source on Women’s Voting Rights Essay

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Updated: Feb 25th, 2022

Introduction

Like any massive social confrontation, the struggle for the right to vote for women had opponents and proponents. Most often, such movement as suffrage has its leaders that encourage the people and express the general opinion. However, even famous people and politicians who advocated democratic rights in society expressed their negative opinion against the suffrage movement. The article “Discriminating Against Mother,” published in the Tulsa Daily World in 1918, presents comments from politicians and churchmen, which reflect the attitude of a large part of society towards women’s suffrage.

Main body

The article does not have a specific author as it is a collection of quotes from famous personalities of that time. However, the editor of this page has the role of a coordinator who sets the message’s overall mood. For example, in addition to the direct quotes, the newspaper contains questions in large font and offensive answers to them in smaller font, which are, in fact, a form of conveying opinion. For instance, “Who Profits Under Women Suffrage? – Not the Mother, nor the state, but those corrupt political influences which manipulate the controlled vote” (Tulsa Daily World 1918). In this way, the editor wants to influence readers and convince them of the harmfulness of suffrage. Moreover, the phrase “Protect the Family and Vote ‘NO’ on the Women Suffrage Amendment” occupies a significant portion of the page. () This phrase confirms the theme of the article, which is propaganda against allowing women to vote.

One can see only the article’s general point of view, since it does not have a specific author. However, it is clear and pronounced because all quotes from famous people and mentioned facts are directed against suffrage and its female representatives. For example, Bishop H. Vincent said about suffrage, “The instinct of motherhood is against it. The basic conviction of our best manhood is against it” (Tulsa Daily World 1918). Other famous people express similar ideas, such as Jefferson, Taft, Ruth, Cardinal Gibbons, and Rebbe Silverman (Tulsa Daily World 1918). The primary audience is white men, since only they had the right to vote and could decide women’s fate in a matter of voting rights.

The combination of statements that degrade the image of suffragettes and suffrage and quotes of leaders’ opinions is a way for the editor to influence the audience. This article is anti-suffrage propaganda, and authoritative statement must support false claims. Another way to get attention is the usage of large types for questions and the main message that grabs the reader’s attention. Thus, the newspaper’s appearance and its content are the editor’s ways of getting the reader.

This primary source reflects the features of the historical period of women’s struggle for their rights. For years, women have pushed for state and national consideration of the amendment to give them the right to vote. Even though in 1918, many men took the side of women, since some states’ government allowed women to vote, there was still strong resistance to the movement (Schuessler 2019). For this reason, one may note that a given source characterizes the time at which it was created. However, I disagree with the ideas that this article carries as it does not subject the suffrage movement to constructive criticism but mainly to biased opinions. For example, a statement that giving women the right to vote can harm government policy or that mothers do not have time to because they are too busy with children (Tulsa Daily World 1918). These facts are lies or manipulations of facts that are obvious to modern humans, but they may have had an impact in the past.

Therefore, this source is trustworthy as it reflects historical trends; however, the ideas stated in it are biased and not truthful. The article quotes the words of famous people, which are true, or at least coincide with their authors’ views. For example, Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of the Constitution, believed that the duty of women is to take care of children, so they do not need political rights, which is generally reflected in the text of the Constitution (Hulen n.d.). For this reason, I believe that the source can be trusted. However, this fact does not eliminate the article’s bias, in which women’s suffrage is defined as harm to society, government policies, and women themselves. Therefore, I think that this article is not truthful, although its creators could have thought otherwise, since they were guided by a preconceived opinion against women’s suffrage.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the anti-suffrage article “Discriminating Against Mother,” published in the Tulsa Daily World, is an example of a reliable source. However, although quotes and ideas correspond to the reality of that time, they only reflect a part of reality that cannot be studied without a historical context. This article demonstrates the preconceived notions of women’s suffrage opponents and the false arguments they used against it. However, one can see that the given source is appropriate and logical for the climax of the suffrage movement, which had both supporters and opponents. Therefore, this article is biased but suitable for examining the history of women’s struggles for voting rights.

References

Hulen, Tara. n.d. “Thomas Jefferson’s Gender Revolution.” UAB Magazine. Web.

Schuessler, Jennifer. 2019. The New York Times, 2019. Web.

Tulsa Daily World. 1918. 1918. Web.

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1. IvyPanda. "Primary Source on Women’s Voting Rights." February 25, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/primary-source-on-womens-voting-rights/.


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IvyPanda. "Primary Source on Women’s Voting Rights." February 25, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/primary-source-on-womens-voting-rights/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Primary Source on Women’s Voting Rights." February 25, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/primary-source-on-womens-voting-rights/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Primary Source on Women’s Voting Rights'. 25 February.

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