Reaction Paper: Women First Wave Susan B. Anthony

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¶ … Women

First Wave

Susan B. Anthony was born in 1820 on February 15 in Adams, Massachusetts. Her family followed the Quaker tradition, and was also involved in activism. This affected her deeply, and her sense of justice and moral zeal were developed early in life. When Susan grew up, she entered the teaching profession, in which she worked for fifteen years before becoming active in temperance. This led to her involvement with the women's rights movement and the suffrage in 1852. In 1900, she successfully campaigned for the admission of women to the University of Rochester. Throughout her life, she remained an active force of inspiration for many. Susan died on March 13, 1906.

Alice Paul was born on January 11, 1886, also to a Quaker family in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. Like Anthony, her life was also infused with a sense of equality and justice for both men and women from a very young age. Finding that this was not so in the wider social setting, Alice was inspired to securing equal rights for all women. When studying in England, Alice became inspired by the militant suffrage movement she found there. She brought her new inspiration back to the United States to re-energize the American campaign for women's rights. After the 19th Amendment was enacted, Alice continued to work for the true equality of women, which she felt had not yet been achieved. Alice Paul died on July 9, 1977, but still inspires all who read and learn about her extraordinary life.

Lucy Burns was born on Brooklyn, New Jersey in 1879 to an Irish Catholic family. She studied at Vassar and Yale Graduation School, after which she became a teacher of high school English. In 1906, Lucy continued her studies at the University of Berlin, the University of Bonn, and Oxford University. It was during her study in England that Burns became involved with the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). When she was arrested and imprisoned for her activities within the Union, Lucy met Alice Paul. The two formed the Congressional Union for Women Suffrage (CUWS) when they returned to the United States. An interesting fact about Lucy Burns is that she spent more time in prison than any other American suffragist. When women were allowed to vote in the United States, Lucy retired from political life. She died on December 22, 1966.

Ida B. Wells was born in 1862 in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Her parents were slaves, and she herself was also born into slavery, as the eldest of four boys and four girls. In 1887 the siblings were left without parents by an outbreak of yellow fever. This left Ida with the responsibility of caring for her brothers and sisters. Her lawsuit against Chesapeake Railroad in 1884 made her famous as the first Southern black to appeal to a state court since the Civil Rights case in 1883. Ida told her story in the black church weekly, the Living Way. In 1887 she became the secretary of the Afro-American Press Association, and was also the first woman representative to attend conclave. Ida Wells died in 1931. She remains memorialized as a black American leader of the nineteenth and twentieth century.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born on November 12, 1815 in Johnstown, New York. She advocated suffrage for women, and also constructed the philosophy that supported it in the form of the "Declaration of Sentiments." She did not limit her demands only to the vote, but also insisted upon the right of women to higher education, a professional life, and a legal identity. The last-mentioned was to include the right to own property and obtain a divorce.

Elizabeth married Henry Stanton, an anti-slavery activist, in 1840. She had seven children and continued lecturing not only on women's rights issues, but also on family matters, until her death at eighty-seven.

Second Wave

Esther Peterson was born on December 9, 1906, and spent her childhood years in Provo, Utah. She had both an intellectual and family life, with a Master's degree from Columbia Teachers College in New York City, a husband and four children, as well as an illustrious career in politics. She served under president Johnson and President Carter. Her position as advisor in consumer affairs was considerably facilitated by her involvement with trade unions, consumer groups and government officials, as she was trusted for her professional capacity by all three groups. Her work culminated in important benefits such as the Consumer Protection Guidelines by the United Nations and the increase of knowledge and power for senior citizens. Esther Peterson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981. She passed away on December 20, 1997.

Betty Friedan was born on February 4, 1921 in Peoria, Illinois. She developed her writing talent throughout high school and college. After obtaining her master's degree in psychology at Berkeley, she moved to New York and married Carl Friedan in 1947. Her first book, the Feminine Mystique, was published in 1963 and caused considerable debate across the country. She followed this with numerous lectures and writings regarding the issues addressed in the book. She was part of founding the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966, and served as its president until 1970. She continued to work for women's rights and for cultivating a better understanding of feminism. Betty also continued writing. One of her relatively recent works is Beyond Gender: The New Politics of Work and Family (1997).

Bella Abzug was the daughter of Russian immigrants, and was born in 1920. She was poor during her childhood years in the Bronx. She started playing an active role in her society at an early age and was giving speeches at the age of thirteen already. When she grew up, she received a scholarship and became one of very few women law students across the American nation. From here, her accomplishments continued unabated throughout the 20th century. In addition to her family responsibilities, she played a prominent role in the nationwide Women Strike for Peace (WSP) during the 1960s. She ran for and gained a seat in congress in her 50s. She presided over the first National Women's Conference in Houston. Bella founded Women USA and co-founded the Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO). She died at 77 years old.

Gloria Steinem was born in 1934 to a relatively unstable household. Her mother was emotionally disturbed and her father travelled constantly in search of work. She was engaged and pregnant when she finished college, but decided against the commitment to family life. She aborted the baby and broke off the engagement. Two years in India provided her with first-hand experience of human suffering and female oppression. This inspired her to effect change. When she moved to New York City, her writing was instrumental in helping women become more vocal in 1969. She became an activist and spokesperson for the feminist movement and founded Ms. Magazine in 1971. This was the first magazine to offer the female viewpoint on important issues of the day. Since then, Gloria has worked tirelessly as a spokesperson and activist for various women's groups, in addition to writing several books.

Myrlie Evers-Williams was born in 1933 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. She was the first full-time chairman of the NAACP. Her first husband, civil rights leader Medgar Evers, was murdered in 1963. She then went on to graduate from Pomona College with a sociology degree. After this, she held several positions that provided her with the power to effect change. She was the director of consumer affairs for Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), ran for Congress twice, and helped found the National Women's Political Caucus.

Third Wave

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1933. In 1954, she married Martin D. Ginsburg and had two children with him. Meanwhile, she continued her studies, and received a B.A. from Cornell University and an LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She started her career in law as a law clerk for the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri. After this, she became a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project in International Procedure. While working on her academic career, Ruth also actively worked to promote women's rights and helped to launch the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. She was nominated as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton and took the seat on August 10, 1993.

Hillary Clinton was born Hillary Diane Rodham on October 26, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois. Her most influential years began when her husband, Bill Clinton, took the presidency and she became the First Lady. As such, she was active in fighting for causes such as women's and children's rights. Despite negative media perceptions and comments, Hillary Clinton remained a strong player in the political arena after her husband's presidency. She is currently a Senator and remains a prominent face in the world of politics.

Rebecca Walker was born in 1969 as Rebecca… [END OF PREVIEW]

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