Prof: Andrew Mattson
American People II
Women in the Progressive Era
It wasn't the first time that women fought for equal rights in the society and in the progressive era women continued to fight but with and for the nineteenth amendment now called Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Elsie Hill who supported the Equal Rights Amendment fought for women to gain complete freedom economically, politically, and socially and Florence Kelley who brought important contributions to social reform.
What was the status in the progressive era? They were bound once married to only be real housewives, especially middle-class women. They had to stay home and give birth to children. The second thing that bounded women in the progressive era was the absence of the right to vote. Women had no right choose their own president. That was the reason the nineteenth amendment proposal was supported by so many women.
Voices of Freedom talks about two important figures one fought for the Equal Rights Amendment, Elsie Hill and Florence Kelley. Elsie Hill, daughter of Republican Congressman Ebenezer J. Hill, was born in 1883. She was a graduate student of Vassar College, Hill taught French at a Washington, D.C., high school. Hill was a leader of the D.C. Branch of the College Equal Suffrage League. She led a delegation from the League to meet with President Woodrow Wilson on the suffrage issue shortly after the Congressional Committee of NAWSA staged its huge suffrage parade in the nation's capital in March 1913.Elsie was a ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Hill joined the Congressional Union of Woman Suffrage's executive committee in 1914-15. In August 1918 Hill was arrested for speaking at a Lafayette Square meeting and served a 15-day sentence. She was arrested in Boston in February 1919, where she was picketing Woodrow Wilson upon his return from Europe.
Elsie Hill believed in the Equal Rights Amendment. She wanted to “remove the discriminations against women in the laws of the United States”. She focused on the legal the legal side of the women’s fight. She didn’t agree how the law allowed the men to have more control over children than women, how men would go unpunished for certain things while women would get punish. She was trying to get rid of old traditions that oppressed women.
Among the many famous and powerful women whose names are associated with the Settlement House movement and the Progressive movement of the early 20th Century, one of the most remarkable was Florence Kelley. Florence Kelley was born in 1859 (1932). She was an American social and political reformer. Kelley brought important contributions to social reform used in challenging the status quo of social ills. She married science to moral zeal by developing detailed, scientific studies of child labor in factories, stockyards and sweatshops, and then reporting her solid findings with fiery style and vivid detail of the horrendous abuse of children. For example, she proposed and fought for legal requirements for states to register births, and for employers (rather than desperately poor parents) to document workers’ ages, as steps toward ending exploitative child labor. Enforcement of mandatory school attendance was also a part of the strategy to end child labor.
The victory of the movement of women in the progressive era brought many benefits all the results we are benefiting today; for example, playgrounds for children, women’s voting, minimum wages and more.
Voices of Freedom