|U. S. History
Iroquois women own the land and control the economy of
the Iroquois nation. The women supervise the distribution
of food, and clan mothers appoint tribal chiefs and can
demand their removal. Cherokee clan mothers select male
leaders, and have a strong voice in public policy.
Lady Deborah Moody leaves the Massachusetts colony and
helps set up a new community based on religious tolerance
in Long Island. She participates in the town council
meetings and helps select the magistrates.
Maria, a slave, is burned at the stake for attempting,
with two men, to burn down her masters house in
Massachusetts. The court condemns her the most severely,
claiming she lacks "the feare of God before her
After leading the Cherokee people to victory over the
Creek forces, Nanye-hi is given title of "Beloved
Woman." She governs the Women's Council and sits on
the Council of Chiefs. She negotiates several peace
treaties with white settlers, expressing surprise that
there are no white women negotiators. She later changes
her mind about trusting the whites enough to negotiate.
New Jersey's new constitution gives the vote to all
property owners above a certain monetary worth, so some
unmarried women are eligible. Some of the women exercise
the right until it is revoked in 1807. New York in 1777
specifically denies women voting rights in its
constitution. Other states soon repeat New York's
The Cherokee adopt a new constitution that eliminates
women's power in decision making. Forced to resign, the
last Beloved Woman, Nanye-hi, pleads with the council not
to sell any more land to the white settlers. To do so,
she said, "would be like destroying your
African American women organize the Female Anti-Slavery
Society of Salem. In nearby Boston, African American and
white women set up the Boston Female Anti-Slavery
Society, which annually published "Right and Wrong
When the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo end the Mexican War,
bringing Texas California, and most of the Southwest
under the control of the U.S. government, married Mexican
women in these areas lose their property rights and thus
economic power. They can no longer operate their own
businesses, enter into contracts, or sue, as before.
weeks after the Seneca Falls convention, another meeting
is held in Rochester, New York. The demand for women's
enfranchisement, adopted by a narrow vote in Seneca
Falls, now heads the list of resolutions. Attendees also
demand a revision of property laws and pledge to help
raise working women's wages.
The American Equal Rights Association debates whether to
push for voting rights only for Black men, or to include
the push for women's voting rights as well. Sojourner
Truth argues: "There is a great stir about colored
men getting their rights, but not a word about the
colored women; and if colored men get their rights, and
not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be
masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it
was before." (Frederick Douglass, considered a hero
by many modern day feminists because he occassionally
spoke up for women's rights, advocated leaving women
behind. He believed that inclusion of women jeopardized
the vote for Black men, and argued that women didn't need
the vote as much as Black men.)
Congress passes the 15th Amendment, which guarantees that
the right to vote "shall not be denied...on account
of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony had warned
that if "sex" were not included in the
amendment, it would take another generation to secure
women the vote. In fact, it took 50 years.
Chinese feminist Xue Jinquin, a student at Berkeley,
speaks in San Francisco's Chinatown, calling for
educational opportunities for women, and an end to
restrictive customs like foot-binding. Her words, and
those of other Chinese feminists, are reported in Chung
Sai Yat Po, a Chinese-language paper in California.
After serving as city council president, Bertha Knight
Landes is elected the first female mayor of a major city,
When Eleanor Roosevelt encounters segregated seating at a
conference on human welfare in Birmingham, Alabama, she
moves her chair to straddle the black and white sections.
She also joins the NAACP and addresses its annual
Senator Hattie Caraway becomes the first woman in
Congress to sponsor the Equal Rights Amendment, which
reads, "Equality of rights under the law shall not
be denied or abridged by the United States or by any
State on account of sex." Pro-ERA groups are soon
established in several states. Supporters point out that
some states do not allow married women to enter into
contracts, and in a few states, husbands can still claim
his wife's earnings, though she cannot claim his. About
half the states still prohibit women from serving on
juries. In some states, women are not allowed to run for
Rosa Parks, active in the local NAACP, helps ignite the
civil rights movement when she is arrested for refusing
to give up her bus seat to a white man. The Women's
Political Council swings into action. With the support of
Montgomery's Black women, who often walked miles rather
than ride the buses, the boycott continues for more than
a year, when the Supreme Court rules the segregation
The first women's liberation groups appear. Several women
start the Westside group in Chicago after a conference of
the radical left fails to take women's issues seriously.
New York Radical Women is formed.
For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court declares a law
unconstitutional for discriminating against sex. The case
was argued by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Barbara Mikulski defeats Republican candidate Linda
Chavez and becomes the first Democratic woman elected to
the Senate without succeeding her husband. Her election
doubles the number of women in the Senate--from one to
Women hold a record number of positions in state as well
as federal government. They now represent 20.4% of state
legislators--almost 40% in the state of Washington.
Congress passes the Violence Against Women Act.
Con Nuestra Vision is the first national leadership
conference for Latina lesbians.
lose five seats in the House. Seven of the eight new
Republican congresswomen oppose abortion rights.
In August, women across the country celebrate the 75th
anniversary of women's suffrage.
of American Women's History by Sue Heinemann)