National American Woman Suffrage Association – Assignment Example

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The paper "National American Woman Suffrage Association" is a wonderful example of a history assignment. During the progressive movement, Americans attempted to resolve some of the problems born of industrialisation at the end of the 19th Century. One of the most notable achievements of this movement was winning female suffrage. In 1920 women were allowed to vote for the first time, gaining political equality with men for the first time in American history. Women were able to be so influential in this movement because they successfully argued that the traditional role of women in the home – as moral educators of children – could be usefully transferred to the public domain.

Well educated middle class women were therefore able to organise themselves together with working women to confront the moral problems in society. Suffrage for women was brought about by two groups, the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) led by Carrie Chapman Catt and the National Woman’ s Party (NWP), led by Alice Paul. Catt’ s approach was through campaigning and lobbying, while Paul and her group were more militant, picketing the White House to get their voices heard.

The combined efforts of both women saw the 19th Amendment ratified which gave women the vote. The US entered World War 1 on the side of the Allies, Russia, France, and Britain, in 1917. The reason for this intervention was partly due to German attacks on US shipping. German submarines had been illegally circulating around the East coast of America and disrupting transport ships sailing between the US and the UK in order to weaken the UK and force it, through lack of resources, to surrender.

Things came to a head when the ship the Lusitania, departed from New York and headed for Liverpool was sunk by a German submarine killing 128 Americans on board. However, this took place in 1915 and American did not declare war until 1917. There were, therefore, other reasons. The US had invested huge amounts of money in the UK and France, helping to fund their campaigns against Germany with loans from US banks. It was therefore very much in American interests to ensure that the Allies prevailed since it had considerably fewer loans to collect from Germany.

The final thing which pushed the US into World War 1, however, was the Zimmerman note. In this message, intercepted by the British Intelligence Services, Germany proposed an alliance with Mexico, which was to fight along the border if the US went to war. The Germans were luring Mexico in with promises of taking back some southern US states. The leaking of this document to the US officials finally led the Americans to declare war. National prohibition existed from 1920 to 1933 and saw alcohol become illegal in the US.

The advantages that this brought included a decline in alcohol-related violent crime and a huge decrease in the prison population during this period. Conversely, savings on a national scale increased as did house prices and church attendances as families became close. However, the banning of alcohol also had very negatives consequences. Bootleg liquor production along with illegal smuggling increased, bringing with it a strengthening of the gangs and gangsters who dealt in an illegal drink. Al Capone is said to have made millions of dollars in this illegal trade.

Modern drugs laws are based on the same ideas as prohibition. The state is responsible for the moral well-being of its people and must, therefore, remove from their grasp anything which is harmful to their health or minds. However, as during the years of prohibition, there is a significant illegal drugs trade which has grown up to meet market demand.

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