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Suffrage organizations in Canada and the United States

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  1. Introduction
  2. The first suffrage groups in Canada
  3. Canada's suffrage movement
  4. Differences between the Canadian movement and the American movements
  5. Stowe's significant contribution to the suffrage movement
  6. The role of the suffrage organization
  7. The rebirth of the feminist and suffrage movement
  8. Conclusion
  9. Works cited

The women's suffrage movement was one that held significance all over the world, as many different nations embarked on their own paths toward getting the vote for women. Compared to other English-speaking and industrialized nations like the United States, Canada began its suffrage movement relatively late, and success was attained relatively easily, but this is not to say that it came without its struggles. Perhaps those in Canada were watching the progress down south and used the lessons there to expedite the process up in Canada when the time came. In fact, one of the early influential events in the suffrage movement in the United States occurred relatively close to the Canadian border in Seneca Falls, New York in July of 1848. This was the site of the Seneca Falls Convention which was an early and significant convention regarding women's rights and the drive toward getting women the vote. This event was significant because it marked an early step toward women in that country being awarded the franchise and effectively attaining a greater share of social, moral and civil rights. It was also significant because of the revolutionary nature of it. Never before had women organized in this way to fight for a cause that was widely believed to be against ideas of divine rights and duties. (Martin 1972). This conference did not succeed immediately in attaining the vote for women, but it was arguably significant, in Canada and the United States in terms of raising awareness in the public discourse about the growing women's rights movements, and these sentiments did make their way to Canada. (Bacchi 1983: 2-4). This essay will examine the suffrage movement in Canada while drawing parallels to the movement south of the border in the United States. From this it will be clear that the ?suffrage organization' in Canada and the United States became the mechanism that eventually led to the granting of franchise to women in both of these countries.

[...] They included organizations like the Manitoba Political Equal Franchise League which began in 1912, and the Montreal Suffrage Association which began in 1913. By the year 1916, Toronto had at least eight active suffrage associations working hard to pursue the rights of women in society. (Bacchi 1983: 31-2). This increasing number of organizations that were developing across the country served to give the cause much more credit. It did not take long before people who had previously sought to distance themselves from the cause were become involved. [...]

[...] In the years before the turn of the century, the suffrage movement in both Canada and the United States had made progress, but it was still not quite socially acceptable as there were still many people in society, women included who were against the cause. As late as 1893 the National Council of Women deliberately disassociated itself from the original American National Council because the latter was too closely associated with the suffragists. Lady Aberdeen felt it necessary to repeatedly assure Canadian men that their women were not fanatics, and that they had no intention of marching into man's territory and stripping them of their purpose. [...]

[...] Suffrage organizations were the driving force of support all across the country, in both Canada and the United States. In Nova Scotia, in 1895, a well-known novelist, Anna H. Leonowens, and Nova Scotia's first woman professor, Eliza Ritchie, organized the Halifax Suffrage Association, continuing the tradition of professional leadership. The temperance movement was also one that was lending a hand to suffrage organizations, as they had their own sphere of influence that proved to be very helpful for suffragists in Canada that were trying to expand their support network as quickly as they could. [...]

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