Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Formation of The National Woman's Party and Margaret Sanger

That National Woman’s Party was formed in 1916 and was an outgrowth of the Congressional Union which was formed in 1913 by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns to fight form the equality of women in the form of the 19th amendment. Alice Paul leaded the Party and learned many of her strategies from the suffragettes in Britain who used violence to gain publicity. Her aim was to shame the president Woodrow Wilson in to supporting their cause. During World War 1 the NWP still kept their attention on their goal unlike the British suffragettes who focussed their attention on the war effort. Their argument was that it was hypocritical to fight a war for democracy in Europe while denying the nations benefits to half of the population. The protesters were accused of ignoring the war and attracting anti-war elements, the protesters in return chained themselves to the gates outside the White House and went on hunger strike in order to gain publicity. As a result of these protests authorities were abusive to the protesters and this then allowed the gain of even more support. Eventually Wilson came out in favour of the amendment and it passed the White House but not the senate. In 1918 the NWP help replace anti-suffrage senators the amendment was ratified in 1920. The NWP were instrumental in giving women the right to vote and therefore bringing women a step closer to equality.     

Margaret Sanger was born on the 14th September 1879 in New York. She founded the birth control movement at the beginning of the 20th century. She lobbied for the repeal of the Comstock laws which banned contraceptive medication and also information about contraception in the mail. As a result she distributed contraceptives despite the law. When Sanger was 19 her mother died of tuberculosis, Anne Higgins had 11 children and had seven miscarriages, Sanger believed that her mother’s pregnancies had weakened her immune system. Sanger became a nurse in New York on the impoverished lower East side, many of her patients were women suffering from botched abortions and repeated pregnancies, which shows another motive for her role in the birth control movement. Sanger eventually created a birth control clinic which she was later arrested for, creating these clinics allowed for women to improve their situation in terms of health and also financially as there were less children to be economically responsible for. The birth control movement allowed women a sense of liberal freedom and eventually in 1960 the Food and Drug administration approved the usage of an oral contraceptive pill which was named the ‘magic pill’. Birth control gave women a certain sexual freedom and allowed for a growing independence. 

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