ANNE HUTCHINSON (1591-1643). - American religious leader, preaching in her House in Boston. Illustration, 1901, by Howard Pyle. Fine Art. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Accessed Apr 28, 2021. https://quest.eb.com/search/140_1656980/1/140_1656980/cite.

1491-1607: Anne Hutchinson was a religious leader who was extremely educated, intelligent and outspoken. She has been referred to as "the first feminist in the New World". This was unheard of in a time where most women were uneducated, and expected to be housewives, maintain homes and raise children. She was a pioneer for women in the New World, and gave them a voice in both religious and social aspects of life. This image depicts her "preaching in her house in Boston" to men and women alike.

Women at Governor Harvey's Jamestown industrial enclave, c. 1630. Detail from painting by Keith Rocco.

1607-1754: As the Europeans are settling into the new world, the english populated Virginia from Massachusetts, Spanish the Southwest, and the French trading with Louisiana and Canada lured by God, Glory and Gold. The English came with a desire to convert the natives into Christianas and spread their religion of christianity, as well exploiting any useful resources for the consumption of England. While the English deal with the clash of cultures between the Native Americans, they were also faced with the untamed wilderness of Virginia, and planned on surviving and returning to England after a fortune.

The picture shown above showed women’s contribution to the first settlers. Providing the stability needed for Jamestown's survival was the indispensable role played by Virginia women. Their initial arrival in 1608 and throughout the next few years contributed greatly to Jamestown's ultimate success.

LYDIA DARRAGH. - A Quaker, giving news of British troop movements to Colonel Craig, one of General George Washington's aides, near Philadelphia on Dec. 3, 1777. American engraving, 19th century.. Fine Art. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Accessed Apr 28, 2021 https://quest.eb.com/search/140_1683349/1/140_1683349/cite.

1754-1800: An image depicting Lydia Darragh, a woman who a quaker and became a Patriot spy, relaying messages to Colonel Craig, during the American Revolution. This image is important because it contradicts the societal 'expectations' that women did not participate or help in the revolution/war. In fact, they had a large and influential role since they were key in relaying communications from people to people. The date of this interaction is labelled as December 3rd, 1777, the day before a surprise attack on George Washington's army. She notified Patriot soldiers in advance so they would be prepared and ready for whatever is coming. This image is interesting as most art and illustrations from the Revolution only show men in them, and many important and revolutionary documents such as the Constitution were written in this time period, where only men are mentioned and no women were, only further reiterating the idea that women were not seen as equals.

WOMEN'S RIGHTS CONVENTION. - Elizabeth Cady Stanton addressing the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, on June 20, 1848. https://quest.eb.com/search/140_1633317/1/140_1633317/cite.

1800-1848: One of the key concepts of this time period was developing an American Identity, and along with this came change and reform in the way people thought about many things, including family and gender affairs. This change can be seen through first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848 (pictured above). This was the beginning of a decades long fight for equality, and women's suffrage was granted almost 70 years later due to the impact of their beliefs.

Dorothea Lynde Dix. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016. quest.eb.com/search/309_2915605/1/309_2915605/cite. Accessed 28 Apr 2021.

1844-1847: As the US continued its expansion to the world, population sizes grew along the increasingly intensified regional divisions of the government. Internal conflicts evolving around slavery lead to the civil war between the north and the South. The victory of the union left the South devastated, and also lead to the rebuilt of the country, and settled the issue regarding slavery. While the victory may seem like the efforts of men, women’s contribution as nurses, suppliers (of food, clothes and cash) as well as disguised soldiers. In the south, women also behaved as a strong support network for the frontline soldiers.

During this time, the thirteenth amendments abloished slavery and indentitude servants, the 14th stated the guarenteed protection of citizenship for all americans, whilst the 15th gave voting rights to all citizens. However, those rights regarding the protection of newly freedmen were not provided to women, including voting rights, which the women would fight for in a series of conventions, such as the seneca falls movement.

The image shown here is a photograph of dorothea dix, a social reformer, and humanitarian whose devotion to the welfare of the mentally ill led to widespread reforms in the United States. She also organised calls for volunteer nurses that fitted within a list of requirements including “past 30 years of age, healthy, plain almost to repulsion in dress and devoid of personal attractions.”

Melissa Strong. Women and the Temperance Movement. 2018. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America, https://dp.la/primary-source-sets?timePeriod=the-development-of-the-industrial-united-states-1870-1900&subject=women. (Accessed April 28, 2021.)

1865-1898: During this period, the US shifted from an agricultural based country to a rapidly developing industrialized country due to the Technological advances, large-scale production methods, and the opening of new markets, entering the gilded age. This change brought several dramatic changes to the society including population growth, that resulted also from the mass immigrants, the wealth divide, which existed between the clearer lifestyles of the poor laborers to the rich capitalists, as well as a series of problems stemming from the low wage laborers. Rich capitalists such as Rockefeller, Andre Carnegie, although gave back to society with their wealth, were unable to change the mass quantity of lifestyles for the immigrants and the laborers.

Women’s voices during this time should also not be ignored. While the impact of the seneca falls movement continues to be of conversation, the topic of temperance came to the public eye. The movement fought to reduce consumption of alcohol- and developed into the total eradication of sales. Women became a majority for fighting this movement as it targeted men’s alcohol abuse and how it harmed women and children. They staged peaceful demonstrations of prayer that served alcohol, and this effort was shown in the banned production and consumption of alcohol nationwide in the 19th amendment.

Labor Day Parade, Women's Suffrage, 1912. Photograph. https://quest.eb.com/ search/139_3822538/1/139_3822538/cite.

1890-1945: During this period, the US started involving in more foreign affairs, as well as continuing its expansion, seizing economic stability and growth on the less developed countries, which triggered the war against Spain, and won the US the Philippines.

The growing divide with industrialisation and migration led to a New America. The remaining effects of the industrial age, equality in terms of labor, working all day and all night with no rest, the alcohol prohibition, vast economic inequality and large amounts of political corruption developed into the progressive era. Women and children worked without rest, health insurance and education. All of these combined triggered the questioning of the government regulation economically. The National American Woman Suffrage Association, created by Elizabeth Cady, changed its strategy and is now argues that women deserve the right to vote because they are different from men and can create a purer, more moral “maternal commonwealth”, which can also be seen in the peaceful demonstration for temperance.

At the same time, women’s prominent participation in various reform groups became increasingly relevant. Jane Adams introduced the settlement movement, which focused on city slums and the amelioration of wretched living conditions, and the education reform, which aimed to provide accessible education to more children. Margaret Sanger, founder of the birth control movement, led a crusade for women health care, as well as brought birth control to African American communities. Alice Paul helped pass the 19th Amendment, where women's suffrage was granted and

Alongside with those significant contributors of women rights, women’s suffrage ended in 1920 with the 19th amendment. This was made possible by all of the significant individuals, the Seneca falls convention, women’s participation during civil war, their continued participation in relevant reforms as well as The Progressive Campaign for Suffrage.

EQUAL RIGHTS OPPONENTS. Demonstrators opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment outside the White House, 4 February 1977.. [Photograph]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. https://quest.eb.com/search/140_1807888/1/140_1807888/cite

1954-1980: By the 20th century, the US, who had been in the center of global affairs, had continued to grow in prosperity and become a leading country globally. In terms of ideals, other strong nations such as Russia stand on the other side of the spectrum, leading to an increased tension between communism and democracy, with both Russia and the US forming alliances known as NATO and the warsaw pact. As China turned into another communist country, the tension only increased. Overtime, the US entered the cold war with the soviet union. The response to anti-communism was a new type of liberalism, that rejected racism and segregation (that continued to take place in the South after the civil war.

Another attribute that started to develop out of this period is a sense of American culture with the rise of the middle class and affluence. The US allowed immigration again, which led to new cultural and ethinic diversity. Environmental regulations were set. Youth culture changed, announcing an end to the conservative thinking as of before; students stood up for riots against war, and pushed for change. The same radicality can be seen in the women’s rights movement. Betty Freidan published Feminem mystique, which focused on the dissatisfaction among women in mainstream American society in the post-World War II period as well as the assumed women’s fulfillment through housework, marriage, sexual passivity, and child rearing alone. The equal pay act is established, which amended the Fair Labor Standards Act, aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex The equal rights amendments stated equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex, and that equality should be enforced by the congress.

The picture above showed the opponents of the equal rights amendment, the stop era. It was taken in front of the whitehouse in 1977, depicting women holding up posters, rallying for the ERA to stop with smiles on their faces. Some women, as well as American Federation of Labor feared the ERA as they thought it would end protective labor and health legislation designed to aid female workers and poverty-stricken mothers.

Church, Marilyn, Artist. Sandra Day O'Connor being sworn in. Washington D.C, 1981. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2011645421/.

1980- Present: Beginning in the 1980s, the nation went through significant political, social, economic, and technological changes. The start of the 1980s was marked by a return to conservative values, which reversed the previous administration’s emphasis on more radical social and economic policies. The end of the Cold War, NAFTA, as well as the tragic events of 9/11 all drastically altered the nation’s foreign policy, leading to stronger strategic cooperation among the North American nations while triggering several military conflicts in the Eastern Hemisphere, most notably the Persian Gulf War and the Invasion of Iraq. Moreover, the US economy went through several cycles of boom and bust as it benefitted from a wave of new technologies and a growing housing market yet also suffering through three major economic depressions. Lastly, new immigration policies sharply increased the immigrant population and diversity in the US, causing heated debates between liberals and conservatives and arguably deepened the division between the two political aisles.

During this period, the women’s rights movement also saw significant progress. In 1981, Sandra Day O’Conner was sworn in by President Reagan as the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court, which marked the beginning of an new era that passed many federal laws protecting women against discrimination in the workplace and gender-related violence. In the decades following that event, the expansion of women’s rights was further bolstered by the increasing number of women holding higher public office and passing critical regulations in favor of more gender equality. The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, the Me Too movement, and the 2020 election that saw Kamala Harris becoming the first female Vice President, all indicate the progress that women’s rights activist had achieved in the modern era.

The image depicts Sandra Day O’Connor being sworn in by President Reagan as the first female Supreme Court justice in 1981. The four men surrounding her not only suggests the reality that men still held most of the positions in higher office but also amplified the significance of this event for women’s rights. Moreover, the crowd of women supporters that are visible in the back further showcases the rising awareness of women’s rights’ among the population.


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