Feminists’ Liberal Rights in the 19th Century

Subject: History
Pages: 4
Words: 854
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College


The first wave feminists and activists of this period define feminism as women who fought for their deprived liberal rights in the society. They believed that everyone should be treated as being free and equal. These first wave feminists also formed the Early Women Movement. They advocated for their rights which they observed were violated by the men in the society. The men believed that if the women were granted their rights, then that would break up their families’ unity. Men believed that the women’s place was only at the kitchen and the cradle.

Women were regarded to be inferior and were not allowed to vote at the polls. Women were also not permitted to preach from the podium. Men believed that if women did what was deemed to be the men’s jobs, then they would not be able to focus on the responsibilities of their own specialties. They also believed that women were contented and pleased with the inferior position they had in the society. These were ignorant and tentative assumptions with no proof from the men.

The Women’s Grievances Concerning their Rights

Gender greatly drew a big line between the men’s and women’s rights. Women protested that husbands should not receive consent but assent from their wives. They argued that men may be the head of the house but not the head of their wives, because women had God given minds of their own. Most women were excluded from the World Anti-Slavery Convention.

Women primarily wanted to be granted the right to vote. This was a fundamental demand that aided in initiating the Women’s Suffrage Movement. This eventually led to the recognition of women’s voting rights in the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Women argued that no portion of human beings in the world had the right to attain a dissimilar position the rest due to their gender differences. They argued that under the laws of God’s nature, everybody was born equal and their Creator bestowed them with specific absolute fundamental rights. These civil liberties included the right to life, possessions, and contentment (Zinn & Arnove, 2004).

The women claimed that men caused absolute tyranny and continuous usurpations towards them. The women verified this when the facts became revealed to their real society. Governments were established to safeguard the fundamental human rights and they drew their powers from the approval of those administered to. Women grieved that it was the men who dominated the government. Men never permitted the women to exercise their absolute rights in voting. Men coerced women to be submissive to their laws with no objection. They also denied women the rights which were granted to the most ignorant and corrupted men both indigenous and alien. Men made married women in the eye of the law amicably useless. They took all the absolute property rights and earnings from the women.

They also deprived the women of their citizenship rights, thus leaving them with no representation in parliament. Men made the laws to grant them authority to deprive women of their independence and to administer chastisement on them. They also structured the laws of marriage so that in the case of a divorce, the men could get the ultimate power of the custody of the children due to their supremacy. Men monopolized almost every lucrative job and women received insufficient payment from the odd jobs. Women were not permitted to be in the fields of law, theology, or medicine. Men denied women the opportunities to prosperity and distinction which they considered most worthy to themselves (Zinn & Arnove, 2004).

Women retaliated and fought for their rights. They were against laws that granted the widowers hefty and permanent interests in the possessions of their deceased wives, instead of doing so to the widows of the deceased husbands as well. They were also against the entire scheme in which the lawful existence of the wife was ignored during marriage. This ensured that women neither had a legal preference of their residence nor could they make a will and sue under their own names and inherit their possessions.

Women were also against the idea to have a different moral code from the men. This implied that unethical criminal behavior excluded the women from the society. Women were also against how men in all their powers destroyed the women’s confidence, lessened the women’s own self respect and made them subject to live dependent and hopeless lives. Women were against men denying them the opportunities to obtain a good education for example how colleges declined the women. They were also against the social and religious degradation from the men. Women were against being distressed, disfranchisement, demoralized, and unfairly deprived of their most consecrated rights and privileges as American citizens (Zinn & Arnove, 2004).


Women used conventions, movements and protests to meet their goals. They were successful because today, there has been a big improvement in the provision of liberal rights to the women. In the twenty first century, women have received an accomplishment of social, economical, civil, political, intellectual, and liberal rights largely within the context of the United States (Zinn & Arnove, 2004).


Zinn, H., & Arnove, A. (2004). Voices of a people’s history of the United States. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press.