The right of american women

This article will discuss women’s rights in America, the ways in which discrimination against women has changed over time, and how women’s rights have expanded in ways never conceivably possible in the past. What this article will evaluate is whether or not the rights granted to women are enforced or if women are still not treated completely equal. It is the purpose of this evaluation to present the way in which these laws against discrimination have been enforced and implemented.

There are two aspects in which one can evaluate this. One such way is through the popular wheel meaning the constitutional amendments that provided these rights, what circumstances lead to these rights and why they were implemented when they were, and the second is judicial power and how it played a major role in the future of women’s rights especially through privacy and abortion laws. This topic serves particular importance when looking at contemporary society and the function of women. Although it is true that women do have much more political power than ever before, and more positions in the job market, there are many hardships and struggles that women must overcome in reaching such positions, struggles that do not stand in the way of most men in America. Therefore, the main purpose of this evaluation is to deem women’s rights as it serves in American society today, efficient enough to realistically create a justifiably equal playing field for both men and women in terms of schooling, career, politics and so forth.

First, I will discuss the element of the popular wheel and its contribution to the existence of women’s rights. The concept of women’s suffrage was nothing out of the ordinary and in fact had been brewing in the minds and writings of women for decades particularly rooted in the 1700’s. One major issue was voting rights, which had begun being openly advocated by women beginning in the 1820’s. The first time a woman could vote freely was in 1756 when a colonial forerunner, Lydia Chapin Taft was granted the right by the town of Uxbridge, Massachusetts colony. After this voting rights were achieved in sparsely populated territories of Wyoming in 1869 and for a short period in Utah in 1870.

Although small progress was made, the timeline is slow. It was not until 1920, with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States of America Constitution, that women gained the right to vote. This victory only came after decades of demonstration and objection and was an extensive and complicated struggle. Between 1878 when the amendment was first presented to Congress and 1920 when it was first ratified, supporting groups of voting rights for women worked tirelessly in order to achieve their goal. One particularly influential group called the Silent Sentinels, protested in front of the White House for 18 months which in turn begun to raise vast awareness of the issue’s importance and a year later the President Woodrow Wilson announced his support for the amendment.

Of course, in order to strengthen the position and constitutionality of the Nineteenth Amendment the Supreme Court and its power must step in and reinforce it which it did by its decision in Leser v. Garnett in 1922. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide “Whether the Nineteenth Amendment has become part of the federal Constitution”. The Plaintiffs argued that it was unconstitutional based on three claims; first they stated that the power to amend the American Constitution did not cover this amendment due to its nature, second there were a number of states which ratified the amendment had Constitutions which restricted women from voting, declaring that therefore the Court was unable to ratify in a different way, and lastly they claimed that the ratifications of Tennessee and West Virginia were void since they were accepted without following the regulations of legislative procedure in place in those states.

In opposition to those claims, a unanimous decision addressed each argument. In response to the first position the court compared the Nineteenth Amendment to that of the Fifteenth, first demonstrating a distinction to discrimination rights of African-Americans to discrimination rights of women. In accordance to this they stated that since there was such similarity between the two and the Fifteenth had been accepted for more than fifty years, it would be unjust to declare the new amendment invalid.

Second, the court responded by stating that when state legislatures ratified the amendment they exercised power that was only within a federal capacity which the Constitution recognizes and deems a power which “transcends any limitations sought to be imposed by the people of a state.” In terms and Tennessee and West Virginia, the court stated that the additional ratifications were unsound because they had already been turned down in other states who attempted similar alterations. This decision, along with its extensive justifications behind its verdict, confirmed the constitutionality of the Nineteenth Amendment and it was then clear that it would be enforced. The Nineteenth Amendment became the basis of many disputes among those who held on to beliefs against women’s rights and those who sought out to confirm more rights. This ongoing struggle closely resembled that of the African-American group and their battle with discrimination in the United States of America.

The judicial power and its ability to set new precedents and influence many laws had much impact on the issue of women’s rights and suffrage. Two very central topics are of focus for this particular essay; the constitutional right to privacy, and abortion rights. Griswold v, Connecticut (1965) was the landmark case which protected a right to privacy. This was the first time such a right was protected in such a way and it made the right Constitutional, changing the very meaning of privacy to many people. In this particular case privacy was in regard to a woman’s right to use contraceptives.

In Connecticut there was a law that prohibited this which by a vote of 7-2 the Supreme Court invalidated the law on the basis that it infringed upon “the right to marital privacy.” Griswold was the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut. She, as well as the Medical Director for the League, C. Lee Buxton, would give married couples any information they requested considering birth control and the way it was used and obtained. A law which prohibited the use of any drug for use for the purpose of preventing conception was passed in 1879, however almost never enforced. Buxton and Griswold were arrested, tried in court, found guilty, and fined. Griswold appealed to the United States Supreme Court on the grounds that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment.