Political Participation | Women’s Suffrage

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Whole assignment worth 50 points)

INTRODUCTION: As with many debates, those who have fought for and against women’s rights have expressed their views in cartoons and other forms of popular culture. In this lesson, we will be looking at a number of popular images that artists have used to express their views about women’s rights. Before you begin reviewing the history of the Equal Rights Amendment, analyze the 1909 cartoon on the next page, which illustrates one of the central points of contention between those in favor of the women’s rights movement and those opposed to it.


Analyze the cartoon and answer the questions that follow


  1. Describe this cartoon. What is happening in it? (Worth 5 points)




  1. What message does this cartoon send about women going to vote on Election Day? Use details from the cartoon to support your answer. (Worth 5 points)



  1. Whose perspective do you think the cartoon represents? (worth 5 points)




Justifying Inequality

The passage below can help us to understand why many people believed women should not have been given rights equal to those possessed by men. United States Supreme Court Justice Joseph Philo Bradley wrote the passage in 1872, when he concurred with the Supreme Court’s ruling that women could not, among other things, become lawyers.

Here are Justice Bradley’s comments:

“Man is, or should be, woman’s protector and defender. The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life. The constitution of the family organization, which is founded in the divine ordinance, as well as in the nature of things, indicates the domestic sphere as that which properly belongs to the domain and functions of womanhood…The paramount destiny and mission of woman are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator. And the rules of civil society must be adapted to the general constitution of things,and cannot be based upon exceptional cases.”

After you have read the above passage carefully, fill out the Primary Source Analysis Worksheet on the next page. Use the chart to help you identify the message, or thesis, of the passage and what it can tell us about the history of women’s rights in the nineteenth-century United States.

**Glossary concur: to express agreement. ordinance: regulation; an authoritative command or order. paramount: of chief concern or importance. benign: kind and gentle; showing mildness. office: a duty or function assigned to or taken on by someone. justify: to demonstrate or prove to be just, right, or valid.


  1. How does the author describe the subject of this document? In other words, what is the author’s perspective? (If you have trouble getting started, look for four or five adjectives that the author uses to talk about the subject of the document). (Worth 5 points)
  2. Why do you think the author described the subject of the document in this way? (Worth 5 points)
  3. How might the author have been trying to influence how you, the reader, feel about the subject of the document? Refer to specific language that he uses in answering this question. (Worth 5 points)
  4. What does the author mean when he writes that “the rules of civil society must be adapted to the general constitution of things”? How does this phrase help him gain authority for his perspective? (worth 5 points)


  1. What was happening around the time when this document was created that might have affected its content? (Worth 5 points)

Conclusion: (Worth 10 points)

Now that you have used the questions above to help you decode the primary-source document, summarize, in your own words, why Justice Bradley did not believe that women should have equal rights. Also, make sure to explain, according to Justice Bradley, what role women were meant to fulfill and why he believed this. How did he try to justify his opinion?

Last Updated on October 18, 2019 by EssayPro