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THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE

 
 
Setanta
 
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2004 06:02 am
On today's date, in 1920, the XIXth amendment extended the franchise to women. What are your thoughts on women and the vote, on the franchise in general, on its extension to other groups, ages, etc.?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 932 • Replies: 8
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2004 06:35 am
Wow. Women have had the right to vote for 84 years. Hard to believe considering the "civilization" of mankind dates back thousands of years.

I want to thank the "liberals" of centuries past for all their steady efforts that finally bore fruit in 1920.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2004 06:40 am
I have always been amused by the christian take on the "place" of women in society. Cuchulainn, the great mythic Irish hero (whose given name was Setanta), was instructed in the arts of war by two women. I wonder what happened to the Irish women that lead them to accept christianity and its misogyny.
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J-B
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2004 06:40 am
World's first country to give women rights to vote is Nea Zealand(in 1893)-------- A country like paradise:)
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2004 06:43 am
I looked this up not long ago. New Jersey gave women the franchise (women who owned property) in the 1770's. They then revoked that in the early 1800's. When i get the time, i'll go look that up again.
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Thok
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2004 07:16 am
John-Bush wrote:
World's first country to give women rights to vote is Nea Zealand(in 1893)--


That's right. Of course any other was first, but New Zealand is accepted as the first country,which gave women the right to vote. This was a milestone.

But today, both men and women use always fewer the right to vote. stupid!
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2004 07:19 am
This is a list of dates upon which nations accorded the franchise to women, and/or allowed them to stand for public office
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Nescio
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2004 07:56 am
Debra_Law wrote:
Wow. Women have had the right to vote for 84 years. Hard to believe considering the "civilization" of mankind dates back thousands of years.

I want to thank the "liberals" of centuries past for all their steady efforts that finally bore fruit in 1920.

Men's voting rights don't predate that day by centuries. Democracy in its modern form, is a 19th century excercise. Power had been delegated top down in most countries and regions. Perhaps with the exception of Switserland and 17th century Dutch republic (no, I am not forgetting the Mayflower).

Also, I dare to say, democracy predating the 18th century was neither possible nor essentially desirable.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2004 08:30 am
The franchise in the Massachusetts Bay Colony was based upon special circumstances and conditions. In order to understand the narrative i am about to give, you must understand that the Massachusetts Bay Company was a chartered company which had authority over the territory in which the colony was located. Commonly, such charters provided for the nomination by the investors of a Governor, a Lieutenant Governor to act as assistant to or in the absence of the Governor, and Selectmen (i.e., members of the company selected for membership in the board). The charters also provided for the meeting of Governor and/or Lt. Governor and the Selectment in London. For whatever reason, and it was probably simply clerical omission, the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company did not specify meeting in London. When, therefore, King Charles prorogued Parliament in 1628, the Puritan investors in the MBC decided to establish "a godly republic in the Wilderness." John Winthrop, a lawyer then practicing in the Court of Wards and Liveries (a royal institution for fleecing the minor heritors of lucrative estates), was chosen as Governor, and sent to the colony with the charter in his possession. Arriving in 1630, Winthrop, of his own accord and exercising his considerable powers with the aid of his considerable influence, extended the franchise to make selectmen of all adult males in good standing in recognized congregation. This is the first example of which i know of the extension of the franchise to a "universal" state (given that in those days, no one considered extending the franchise to women, who were legally the chattels of men).

Just prior to the American Revolution, politics in Massachusetts dissolved into a furious game of charge and countercharge between the supporters of Thomas Hutchinson and of James Otis. In the lacuna of united political power, the small holders of western Massachusetts set out to destroy the power of "the River Gods." The families of the first settlers in the Connecticutt valley in western Massachusetts had engrossed most of the land, and made fortunes selling the land, or taking on new settlers as tenant farmers. With the legislature in Boston in an uproar, the locals felt the time was right to defy established authority. After the revolution, many of these small holders came back to find that their land had been siezed for non-payment of taxes, and the upshot was that Daniel Shays lead an armed insurrection.

In Massachusetts, and in the Hudson River valley of New York (where tenant farmers opposed the power of the "Patroons," the descendants of the original Dutch settlers) and on the "frontier" of Virginia, which was then the Shenandoah valley, insurrections were threatened, and the state legislatures obviated the problem by coopting the insurrectionists--they introduced "universal" suffrage (what they considered universal, no women, of course, and no blacks of aboriginals).

In England, there was no effective extension of the franchise until the Reform Bill of 1832. Parliament was full of "rotten boroughs" (those boroughs for which the original justification had expired with the death of the town) and "pocket boroughs" (boroughs in which there were two or three, or only a handful of electors, and one powerful man for whom the electors worked or were tenants). In 1819, workers in Manchester organized a "monster meeting" to hear Henry Hunt, who advocated annual Parliaments, universal suffrage and the ballot (electors commonly literally approached the hustings and voted by publicly stating their choice of candidate--even at the time of the reform bill, William IV, who worked with Lord Grey, despite his personal disinclinations, was opposed to "secret ballots"). On August 16th, as these men and women assembled with their families, they were fired upon and ridden down by dragoons, in an event which became infamous as the Peterloo massacre (it occurred in St. Peter's Fields, and "Peterloo" was a slur against the arch-conservative leader, the Duke of Wellington, the victor at Waterloo). Nothing was done so long as George IV was king--he was, if possible, even more of a conservative "divine right" monarch than his father George III. When he died in 1830, he was succeeded by his brother, William IV. The Prime Minister, Lord Grey, played a very canny political game, appointing a committe to redraw the electoral districts, and giving it into the control of the Tories (conservatives). As both liberals and conservatives are usually men of good will and at least some personal integrity, the Tories were obliged to make a list, which while incomplete in the eyes of many in England, nevertheless put many of their number out of Parliament. At the last moment, William IV attempted to block the passage of the reform bill (it is amazing that an extremely conservative son of George III had gone as far as he did), and he asked Wellington to form a government. Wellington failed to do so, however, and the threat of repeats of the Peterloo debacle finally convinced Tories they had to give in. William himself was the object of an attack at the racecourse on Darby Day, and might have been seriously injured by the heavy rock thrown at him, had his top hat not been lined by a large handkerchief.

Later efforts to extend the franchise were frustrated by Tories and Liberals alike. Lord Palmerston basically said that reform would only take place over his dead body. He died in 1865, the next reform act was not passed until 1867.

Fascinatin' topic . . .
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