“A DAUGHTER WHO VOTES IS NO DAUGHTER OF MINE.”
That’s what your father said when you told him that you were going to the women’s suffrage parade. It’s December, 1918. The first World War has just ended. And many Americans – including large numbers of women – are taking to the streets to march for social and political change. Women’s suffrage – finally giving women the right to vote – is the change that you most care about. How in the world, you think, can we say that America has a representative democracy if half of all Americans – the women – aren’t even allowed to vote?
Your dad doesn’t see it that way. To him, women belong in the home. Your mother was raised to obey the men in her life and not go against the wishes of her husband. But you’re different. You’re only 14 years old – not old enough to vote right away even if women did have the right to vote – but this cause is about your future. The Great War is finally over. You think it’s time to make your own country a better, more fair place for all of its citizens.
“If you go to that parade, or whatever they’re calling that mess,” your dad said, “don’t bother coming back. I won’t have these ideas in my house.”
You love your father, but you believe in your heart that he’s wrong about this issue. People have always had to make sacrifices to gain what seem to be basic human rights. It shouldn’t have to be that way, but you know that nothing will change if people like you don’t fight.
The Declaration of Independence says “all men are created equal,” but it says nothing about women. You know that you might not be able to change your father’s mind around women’s suffrage, but you want to try. Investigate the primary sources. What evidence can you find to support your argument that American women should be able to vote? Make your case.
Have your students take this challenge and make their case! To begin, send your students to this website with this challenge’s code.
A representative democracy is a system of government where all eligible citizens vote to elect people to pass laws for them. For example, in the U.S., we elect a president and members of the Congress.