Assignment 2: First-Wave Feminism

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Gender, Law & Politics 46.320

Assignment 2: First-Wave Feminism

Due via e-mail on Tuesday, 2/3 and in class on Wed, 2/4.

Note: These questions are strictly designed to ensure that you are keeping up with the readings. Consequently, your answers need not include analysis or background information.

Instructions: Copy the questions below and paste them into the body of an email, type in your answers, and send it without attachments to

  1. From Deborah M.S. Brown, "The Long Struggle for Women's Suffrage”: "The test case for suffragists came three years later in 1875 when Virginia Louisa Minor brought suit against Reese Happersett, the registrar of St. Louis, Missouri, based on his refusal to _____________________. Minor claimed that the state constitution and registration law, limiting the right to vote to men, was a denial of her rights as a citizen __________________________ to the U.S. Constitution. Although she lost the trial in the Missouri Circuit Court, an intermediate appellate court and the Missouri State Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a review. The decision delivered by Chief Justice Morrison Waite presented the question as to whether all citizens were necessarily voters. Citing that “The Constitution ______________________________________” Chief Justice Waite added, “Women were ___________________________________ by the express provision of their Constitutions and laws.… The right of suffrage, __________, will be protected … but in order to claim protection she must first show that _____________.”

  1. From Bradwell v. Illinois: [T]he civil law, as well as nature herself, has always recognized a wide difference in the respective spheres and destinies of man and woman. Man is, or should be, ___________ ________________. The _______________________________ which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life. The constitution of the family organization, which is founded in the divine ordinance, as well as in the nature of things, indicates the domestic sphere as that which properly belongs to the domain and functions of womanhood. The harmony, not to say identity, of interest and views which belong, or should belong, to the family institution is repugnant to the idea of a woman adopting a distinct and independent career from that of her husband. So firmly fixed was this sentiment in the founders of the common law that it became a maxim of that system of jurisprudence that a ________________________________________________________________________; and, notwithstanding some recent modifications of this civil status, many of the special rules of law flowing from and dependent upon this cardinal principle still exist in full force in most States. One of these is, that ________________________________________________which shall be binding on her or him.

  1. In a few sentences, describe the conflict between Ida B. Wells and Frances Willard.

**Extra credit: What twentieth-century political scandal vividly recalled the historical tensions that developed between feminists and civil rights activists in the nineteenth century?

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