- from Suffragists
When this country began more than 200 years ago, almost everyone thought that a white woman’s job was to take care of her home and family.
Enslaved African-American women were expected to work in the fields or in plantation homes and take care of their own families.
Married women couldn’t own land or buildings. They couldn’t keep any money they made, either. If a couple got divorced, the father got to keep the children. Women couldn’t be on juries. They couldn’t defend themselves in court. They also couldn’t run for political office. They weren’t seen as smart enough to vote.
Many poor women had just come to America. They usually had to work outside the home. Even rich women often took care of their husbands’ businesses when the men were away. In the 1800s, more women began to see that they were just as skilled as men. They felt they should have the same legal rights. They realized that being able to vote was a big step toward getting other rights. They also knew that women themselves would have to lead the movement to win their suffrage—the right to vote. These women became the suffragists.