Between 1890 and 1920 industrialization had simulated the growth of the cities, encouraged immigrants’ flow from Southern and Eastern Europe, enhanced commercial opportunities, and created conditions for urban culture (Murrin et al., 2009). On the other hand, more than 600,000 men were killed in the Civil War and responsibility for the family forced many women to apply for low-paid textile mills or nursing jobs (Woloch, 2002). Moreover, under aged girls were leaving their homes in attempt to support their widowed mothers in the rural areas, since production of the domestic necessities shifted from homemade to store-bought items (Volo M., & Volo D., 2007). Although unmarried women had more opportunities of wage-earning, still their roles shifted from dependence of unpaid domestic support labor to the daughters, whose contribution became a crucial source for the family (Woloch, 2002). As women entered labor industry as unskilled working force, which received lower wages and performed overtime work, middle-class reforms were initiated to provide financial support, publicity and assistance, especially during strikes (Wayne, 2007). After admitting women and blacks, such unions like the Knights of Labor formulated the following specific goals: a) to establish an eight-hour working day; b) to eliminate child labor and convict labor; c) to create graduated income tax; d) to make possible equal pay for equal work (Patrick et al., 2007). Although they denounced charity in favor of political activities, women’s suffrage was mainly advocated by them (Woloch, 2002).
Natural Rights or Women Rights Corruption in the Text of the 14th Amendment
The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution was adopted in 1868, and its provision established the status of blacks as persons and citizens through a natural right simply by being born in the country (Flack, 2010). Because southern states were occupied by the federal territory, and slaves could get direct protection since their number reached 3/5 of the population, it was necessary to provide them full legislative representation (Flack, 2010). However, the radical Republicans who composed the 14th Amendment realized that with “natural rights” for blacks with full obligations and citizen rights they needed to make the same provision for the women (Flack, 2010). Women rights during that period were under limitations that restricted their legal status after marriage and placed them under full “coverage” by their husbands (Wayne, 2007). Because slavery issue was at the stake, Constitution did not want to “disfranchise” women if any gender notification was placed in the amendment (Patrick et al., 2007). Nevertheless, the working women were not released from the family obligations, legal authorities believed that domestic sphere is what should be preserved and overseen by women (Patrick et al., 2007). The 14th Amendment adoption raised anguish among women’s rights advocates, who remarked that “sex” condition was replaced by the previous notion of slavery (Flack, 2010).
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Antony and Lucy Stone were the first female representatives, who had leaded the movement for the women’s rights and suffrage (Wayne, 2007). It was in 1920, when the 19th Amendment became a law that guaranteed giving women the right to vote (Flack, 2010). Numerous strikes created the environment on which National Women’s Trade Union League was launched in 1903 with its main perspectives to limit working hours in private dangerous industry (Wayne, 2007).