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    The Tragedy and Triumphs in Womens Suffrage

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    The subject of Women and how they are treated is a sensitive issue in today’s society. It may even be one of the main social issues that society faces as a whole. This issue, however, started becoming prevalent around the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Philosophers will prove to be an important factor in persuading society on why women deserve to be equal to men. John Stuart Mill, an advocate of women’s rights, is a British philosopher and liberal whose interest in the subject of women was sparked by Harriet Taylor. Another advocate of women’s rights was a female by the name of Emmeline Pankhurst. While some enlighten people with words, Pankhurst takes a more proactive approach such as disrupting political meetings and organizing hunger strikes. Whenever there is a discussion, there will always be two sides. One philosopher who opposed women’s rights are Edmund and Jules Goncourt (The Goncourt Brothers). They were French writers who produced novels, plays, art, and literary criticism.

    Women have always been suppressed. Their subjection to this treatment becomes more prevalent as they age. This is only seen as an issue through the eyes of a woman. Ever since women can anonymously share their attitudes on women inferiority, Mills explains how “an increasing number of them have recorded protests” (Mills 216) against their present social condition. The idea that women were actively fighting for rights was reinforced by Emmeline Pankhurst when she claims that “More meetings were held, and larger, for Woman Suffrage than were held for votes for men, and yet the women did not get it.” (Pankhurst 218). This illustrates how much more men are valued when compared to women. The two of these authors want to highlight the helplessness of women when trying to fight for a louder voice. Their arguments are more often than not shut down by illegitimate claims attacking their biology. Pankhurst would go on to say that “The women did not get it (the vote) because they were constitutional and law-abiding.” (Pankhurst 218). This is in comparison to the men that were voting against women suffrage. She is stating that men don’t typically win with reason. Rather they win with their brute strength and violence. In comparison, Mills has a similar idea in that women are brought up to believe “…in the belief that their ideal of character is the very opposite to that of men…” (Mill 216). People don’t want to see women as another human being. They want to separate genders and make it seem like gender is a species.

    The separation of men and women depicts women to be slaves rather than free citizens of the country. As Mill states, “woman most nearly connected with them, not a forced slave but a willing one; not a slave merely, but a favourite.” (Mill 216). Similarities spark when compared to when Pankhurst explains, “…he may even bring a strange woman into the house, bring his mistress into the house to live with her, and she cannot get legal relief from such a marriage as that…” (Pankhurst 219). When rights are taken away from anyone they feel like slaves. Women can’t express freedoms granted by her country. She is repressed and as a result stays silent. Going back to having basic rights that are given to you by your country, Pankhurst goes on to state: “words, liberty, fraternity, and equality, don’t you think that we appreciate the meaning of those words?” (Pankhurst 220). When women read this they know it is not for them but it is for the men of the country. And in fact Mills knows this very well claiming that women have “to make complete abnegation of themselves, and to have no life but in the affections.” (Mill 216). This idea stems from the fact that women are told what to do from the very start of their lives. Men put the ideas in their head and men control them.

    In conclusion, these ideas and themes help enlighten people on the subject of women’s rights. You really feel and understand how women felt back then when reading through these documents. When you compare two different writers you can start to grasp the concept and their thought process on women. The author is either a women or has been influenced by a women in taking this stance. Writers, such as Emmeline Pankhurst, can write with emotion and provide anecdotal stories to support her ideals but instead chooses to provide facts and examples of outside sources to support her claims. This makes her argument harder to attack because the writing is focused on her emotions. John Stuart Mill believes that the suppression of women hinders evolution and will cause a divide in society. This would be one of the main reasons he becomes an advocate for women.

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    The Tragedy and Triumphs in Womens Suffrage. (2022, May 12). Retrieved from

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