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Register to Vote by War or Convention Essay

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Updated: Dec 29th, 2021

Introduction

America’s physical, economic, and demographic growth and its religious changes led to such attempts at reforming society as the temperance movement, abolition movement, prison reform, women suffrage movements, and civil right reforms. These occurrences led to different actions that took place at different times in the history of the nation with different implications.

Body

The Declaration of Independence the first document that emanated from activism that sought freedom. It was signed by American revolutionaries and it focused on breaking political rule from England, which would allow the colonies to create a whole new independent country. Part of the document’s preamble written by Thomas Jefferson, noted that all men are created equal by God making neither masters nor slaves (Fink 12). The colonial rule by the British King had become oppressive and the only way to freedom was demanding for independence. The Declaration of Independence was the culmination of this activism.

The Declaration of Sentiments was authored two centuries after America had attained freedom from colonial rule. For these two centuries, women were set apart from the rights in which the turning of the revolutionary war bestowed upon men. This eventually led to the rationale and creation of the Declaration of Sentiments, a document that focused on the particular rights and equality for women and their economic freedoms (Stanton 17). This document was written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a female feminist and leader of the American suffrage movement which helped ratify a woman’s right to vote in 1920.

The Declaration of Sentiments was a product of the efforts of a special interest group. In modern civil society terms, when men come out to push for their rights as a group to the exclusion of the rest of the larger community they are considered a special interest group. They may ask for preferential treatment or ask to be treated like everyone else. The special interest group in this case was the female community. In their case, they were not pushing for better treatment but equal treatment with the rest of the society. The conditions that led to the rise of the various movements mentioned elsewhere in this paper can be described as injustices toward both females and people of different ethnic groups such as Jews and African Americans.

The Declaration of Sentiments brought about the right to vote among women. A preamble set forth in the nation’s constitution helped pass the Declaration of Sentiments which advocated for women’s suffrage movement (Stanton 21). This is what brought about a woman’s constitutional right to vote. Before the implementation of the recommendations that resulted from the Declaration of Sentiments, women were not allowed to participate in elections.

On the other hand, the Declaration of Independence pushed for the voice of the colonies in the administrative assemblies (Fink 20-22). In a negligible way, the process of realizing these rights differed in that whereas the American Colonies fought in battle during the American Revolution as a way of getting their rights, the Women’s Suffrage Convention led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, used the 15th Amendment of 1870, to ratify a women’s constitutional right to vote. But as already mentioned this was a difference of process and not substance.

The Declaration of Independence which was written by Thomas Jefferson and told by historians, include the argument that he might have believed in a literal interpretation of the phrase, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men were created equal; That they are endowed by their Creator, with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (Fink 32). It is still arguable if Jefferson really believed in equality between men and women given the fact that women were not given suffrage during his time. This gives a degree of credence to the claims of those who think that he may have had a literal meaning of equality of all men. But still there is a level of ambiguity given the usage of man to refer to all human beings.

The Declaration of Sentiments has a message that is straight forward and whichever interpretation one may adopt, it still points to the rights of all women to be treated equally and fairly with men. There is no confusion in terms literal interpretation of the Declaration of Sentiments, and had no intention of creating ambiguity in the equality of rights to women in America. Therefore there is no problem presented in the message Elisabeth Stanton.

In the Declaration of Sentiments, Elisabeth Cady Stanton argued that women were compelled to submit to laws that they had no voice in, and they were deprived as citizens of participation in the elective franchise, thereby leaving them without representation, and disenfranchising the right for her to govern others (Stanton 67). This was viewed to be having parallels with bestowing upon a group of people the mandate to make decisions on behalf of others; only to reach a certain point and decide to ignore the aspirations of the group that gave the mandate. Stanton felt that the small group that had abused the mandate was no longer fit to continue occupying such a prestigious position and therefore another had to be picked to replace it.

The freedom and equality for all women of all ages and races is captured by the phrase women’s rights as used in the Declaration of Sentiments. Although these rights may be included in our social structure, it is possible that they may still be ignored or suppressed by our legal system and customs in specific areas around the United States. It is important to note that these liberties are grouped together and felt differently in regards to human rights, because they often differ from the freedoms inherently possessed by or recognized for men (Stanton 41). As our historical background changes, the ideas of freedom and liberty change with it.

Apart from the above, freedom and liberty will always be left open to interpretation. The Declaration of Sentiments was written during a time when freedom meant equality for both men and women. The major issues that rose were commonly associated with the idea that part of a woman’s right was to own the political franchise to vote, hold public office, earn a fair wage, to own property, access education, serve in the military, and to have legal, marital, parental, and religious rights(Stanton 31).. Women and their supporters continue to campaign just as forceful today as they did in the late 1800s, for the same rights as men.

As shown by what was achieved through the Declaration of Independence, the progress in the conceptualization of freedoms and rights is important in the creation of a harmonious society. The fallacious arguments by which the British Crown sought to oppress the populations in the colonies are not any different from the baseless propositions made by those who sought to subject the Declaration of Independence to narrow interpretation as a way of serving selfish interests. The denial of the rights of others on the basis of gender or race is socially untenable, scientifically indefensible, and politically expensive and economically suicidal. Time has shown that no race is superior and no gender is inferior. The fact that someone is different is not equal to being unable. Time has produced intelligent white men and intelligent black men. The same time has produced intelligent men and intelligent women. The same goes for those who lack the ability to perform certain tasks. They come from all corners of the world, and from all genders.

The Declaration of Sentiments has equally made a better world through the push for equal rights between men and women. As noted above, women can be as capable as men. As the world appreciates the unique abilities of women in development, an extra workforce is getting generated and the world is being made a better place.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Declaration of Sentiments had many similarities with the Declaration of Independence. For instance both were for a certain form of equality and fairness. They had differences too whereby the Declaration of Independence as a result of agitation of rights for everyone in the colonies while the Declaration of Sentiments was done later to push for fairness between men and women. Both these documents point in the direction of a fair society characterized by equality for everyone. The cause for the authorship of the documents was the denial of rights and the effect was freedom.

Works Cited

Fink, Sam.The Declaration of Independence (1st ed.).New York: Scholastic Reference, 2002.Print.

Stanton, Elizabeth. Declaration of Sentiments. New York: Applewood Books, 2002.Print.

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IvyPanda. (2021, December 29). Register to Vote by War or Convention. https://ivypanda.com/essays/register-to-vote-by-war-or-convention/

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"Register to Vote by War or Convention." IvyPanda, 29 Dec. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/register-to-vote-by-war-or-convention/.

1. IvyPanda. "Register to Vote by War or Convention." December 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/register-to-vote-by-war-or-convention/.


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IvyPanda. "Register to Vote by War or Convention." December 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/register-to-vote-by-war-or-convention/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Register to Vote by War or Convention." December 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/register-to-vote-by-war-or-convention/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Register to Vote by War or Convention'. 29 December.

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