Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas

(Click icon for citation)
Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas
Studying history teaches us, in many ways, how to think: about the past, about the world around us, and
about how that world might look in the future.
Writing history, on the other hand, teaches us how to communicate: how to organize our thoughts, distill
our research findings into a clear thesis statement, and tailor our message to the needs of our chosen
In Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas, we’ll explore how
historians go about the business of writing history. To illustrate this
process, we’ll examine case studies involving the women’s movement
and the centuries­long fight to expand the rights of American women.
Because all good historical writing begins with good research, we’ll
look at how to assess primary and secondary sources—which ones are
appropriate for an academic research paper, and which ones aren’t—
and how best to search for them in Shapiro Library and primary
resource depositories.
We’ll also look at how historians turn their research into a coherent
written work. The process begins with a research question; based upon
research, a historian will then come up with an answer to that question,
which forms the basis of his or her thesis statement. Finally, the
historian considers the audience that he or she will be writing for—is it
other historians, or local businesspeople, or maybe high school
students?—and tailors the thesis statement into a message that’s
appropriate for that audience.
At the end of Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas, you’ll have an opportunity to begin putting these
concepts to use. You will be required to submit a writing plan that details the topic of your own historical
event analysis; the primary and secondary sources you plan to use; the audience for your analysis; and
how you plan to tailor your message to that audience.
While the writing plan represents an important element of your final course grade, in the long run it’s
even more important than that. In the “real world” outside the classroom, good writing is a valuable but
all too rare commodity. Whether you pursue a career in business or science or medicine or the arts,
you’re going to need to organize your thoughts and communicate your ideas clearly, concisely, and
forcefully. Writing history is a good way to learn how to do just that.
Course Outcomes
After completing this theme, you should be able to:
Select appropriate and relevant primary and secondary sources in investigating foundational historic
Communicate effectively to specific audiences in examining fundamental aspects of human history
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A monument to three pioneers of the woman
suffrage movement—Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott—in the U.S.
Capitol. (Click icon for citation)
Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas | Learning Block 3-1: The Long
Road to Women’s Rights
The Constitution, as originally written and ratified, had nothing to say about women’s rights—indeed, it
had nothing to say about women at all.
The Constitution’s original language was strictly
gender­neutral, referring repeatedly to “persons” or
“citizens,” rather than to “men” or “women.” Gender
distinctions did not enter the Constitution until 1868,
with the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment,
which addressed the voting rights of all
In this theme, we will look at two crucial events in the
long campaign to expand the rights of American
women. The woman suffrage movement, which fought
to extend the right to vote to all American women,
ended successfully in 1920 with ratification of the
Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. But the
effort to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which
would have guaranteed women all the same legal
rights as men, ended in defeat in 1982, when the
amendment fell three states shy of the 38 needed for ratification.
We will use these two case studies to examine the historical concept of causality and to learn more about
evaluating and searching for primary and secondary sources. Evaluating sources is important, because it
helps you make sure that whatever research you use in your academic research paper is appropriate.
Learning Objectives
In this learning block, you will:
Be introduced to the core concept of this theme: The Long Road to Women’s Rights
Explore the historical concept of causality
The Long Road to Women’s Rights
The Constitution the Founders crafted was a product of British common law and 18th­century thinking,
neither of which was particularly friendly to women. At the time of the Constitution’s ratification, for
instance, a woman’s rights depended almost entirely on her marital status: in most states, unmarried
women, including widows, could own property, enter into contracts, and live where they pleased. But the
rights of married women were totally subordinated to the rights of their husbands. (Salmon, 2016)
Moreover, by establishing a system of federalism, the Constitution left most questions of day­to­day
rights—the right to vote, to marry, to inherit property—to the states, whose policies were highly
restrictive toward women. At the time of ratification, New Jersey was the only state that allowed women
to vote—and it rescinded that right in 1807.
The long campaign to expand the rights of American women has gone on for almost two centuries, and it
has seen both victories and defeats. In Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas, we will focus on two
major goals of the women’s rights movement. The Nineteenth Amendment, which guaranteed women the
right to vote, was ratified, after decades of effort, in 1920. But the Equal Rights Amendment, which
would have ensured women “equality of rights under the law,” was defeated after a contentious national
debate that came to a close in 1982.
The women’s rights movement began in earnest in July 1848 with the Seneca Falls Convention, a twoday gathering in upstate New York that drew 300 participants “to discuss the social, civil, and religious
condition and rights of woman.” Its principal organizers, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, had
met eight years earlier at the World’s Anti­Slavery Convention in London—at which the women
delegates, including Mott, were barred from speaking and were required to sit in a segregated area.
(Wellman, 2004)
The following chart summarizes some of the major historical factors that led to the birth of the women’s
movement at the Seneca Falls Convention:
Members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, before a meeting with
President Woodrow Wilson. (Click icon for citation)
The Seneca Falls Convention was the product of a wide range of historical factors:
The rise of the abolition movement, many of whose leaders strongly encouraged the
participation of women;
The religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening, which inspired many women to
become active in social causes;
The influence of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, some of whose more progressive branches
advocated an expanded role for women in religious affairs; and
The political movement in support of Married Women’s Property Acts, state laws that accorded
married women some limited economic rights. (Wellman, 2004; Library of Congress, 2013)
The Seneca Falls Convention produced the famous “Declaration of Sentiments,” based on the
Declaration of Independence, which included the simple but radical assertion: “We hold these truths to
be self­evident: that all men and women are created equal.” The Declaration was followed by a series of
13 Resolutions calling for legal and social equality for women, including the assertion that “it is the duty
of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.” (This
link will take you to the full text of the Declaration of Sentiments.)
In its early years, the women’s movement focused on economic and social issues, including the lack of
educational opportunities for girls and women. The advent of the Civil War brought an almost exclusive
focus on the abolition of slavery, but while the end of the war meant an end to slavery, it also created
profound disappointment for many women’s­rights advocates. The failure of Congress to include women
in the guarantees of legal and voting rights, which were extended to freed slaves in the Fourteenth and
Fifteenth Amendments, caused a schism in the women’s movement.
While leaders of the movement agreed on the goal of woman suffrage—securing for women the right to
vote—they disagreed strongly over the best way to achieve that goal. In 1869, Stanton and Susan B.
Anthony created the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), which focused on changing
federal law; the NWSA opposed the Fifteenth Amendment because it excluded women. That same year,
Lucy Stone, a prominent lobbyist for women’s rights, helped form the American Woman Suffrage
Association (AWSA), which supported the Fifteenth Amendment and focused its efforts at the state
level. (U.S. House of Representatives, 2016)
While these two groups would eventually unite, more than 50 years would pass before woman suffrage
would be enshrined in the Constitution by the Nineteenth Amendment. And, with the defeat of the Equal
Rights Amendment, the larger goal envisioned by those who attended the Seneca Falls Convention in
1848—full legal equality for all American women—has yet to be realized.
Library of Congress, American Women. (2013, February 13). Married Women’s Property Laws. Retrieved from
Salmon, M. (2016). The Legal Status of Women, 1776­1830. Retrieved from­era/womens­history/essays/legal­status­women­1776%E2%80%931830, May 16, 2016.
U.S. House of Representatives, History, Art & Archives; Office of the Historian, Women in Congress, 1917 ­ 2006.
(2016). The Women’s Rights Movement, 1848 ­ 1920. Retrieved from­and­Publications/WIC/Historical­Essays/No­Lady/Womens­Rights/,
April 27, 2016.
Wellman, J. (2004). The Road to Seneca Falls: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the First Women’s Rights Convention.
Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.
Historical Causality
One purpose of history is to explain the past—and the concept of causality is fundamental to that effort.
(Munro, 2016)
Searching for the causes of a historical event means, essentially, looking for an explanation of why the
event occurred. But that search is rarely as simple as many people think.
Indeed, one of the most important things to remember about historical causality is that historical events
usually have many causes. The process of sorting out all those causes and figuring out which ones were
more important than others is rarely easy.
Back in grammar school, you may have been asked questions like “What caused the Revolutionary
War?” or “Why did the South secede from the Union?” Depending on how lenient your teacher was back
then, you might have gotten away with simple answers such as “Taxation without representation” or “To
protect slavery.” But by now, you should realize that those simplistic answers didn’t tell the whole story.
(Waring, 2010)
Historical events almost always have multiple causes. Consider a quick example: in Theme:
Communicating Historical Ideas, we are looking at the centuries­long effort to expand the rights of
American women. One important part of that effort was the campaign for woman suffrage, which we
will look at in more detail in Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas, Learning Block 3­4.
American women won the right to vote when, after more than 70 years of campaigning for suffrage, they
saw the Nineteenth Amendment ratified in 1920—but why was this Amendment finally approved? To
put it another way, what factors caused the women’s suffrage movement to succeed, after so many
decades of frustration and failure?
There are a lot of factors that led to the success of the women’s suffrage movement: strong leadership of
women such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Alice Paul;
changing attitudes toward the role of women in society and in the workplace; the role of women in
supporting the war effort during World War I and the war’s impact on the public’s conception of
“democracy”; the extension of voting rights to freed African Americans, through the Fifteenth
Amendment; political decisions by leaders such as President Woodrow Wilson; and the political
momentum from successful local campaigns to win woman suffrage in more than a dozen states before
All of these causes contributed to the passage and ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. Which was
most important? As with so much else in the study of history, there’s no definitive answer to that
question; different historians may emphasize different causes, depending on which historical lens each
applies and how each interprets the historical evidence. (Brien, 2013) As you evaluate different
secondary sources, you will see how these differences in emphasis can lead to different conclusions
about the relative importance of historical events.
Brien, J. (2013). “The Role of Causation in History” History in the Making Vol. 2, No. 1 72 ­ 81. Retrieved from
Munro, N. (2016). Pathways: Causation in History. Retrieved from, April 27, 2016.
Waring, S. (2010). “Escaping Myopia: Teaching Students about Historical Causality.” The History Teacher Volume
43, Number 2 (February, 2010), 283 ­ 288. Retrieved from
Types of Causes
In looking for the causes of a historical event, a primary consideration is chronology—that is, the order
in which key events took place. (Waring, 2010) For one event to have caused another event, it must have
taken place before the second event. But chronology does not tell us the whole story: just because one
event happened before another does not necessarily mean that it caused the second event.
In a famous example often cited by logicians, the fact that a rooster crowed before sunrise does not mean
that the rooster caused the sun to rise. This is an example of what logicians and historians call the post
hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy. (Carroll, 2015)
Historians also distinguish between proximate causes and ultimate causes. A proximate cause is an event
that immediately precedes, or is directly responsible for causing, some other event. The proximate cause
of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment was the vote by the Tennessee House of Representatives
to approve the amendment on August 18, 1920.
An ultimate cause (also known as a distal cause) is an event that, when viewed at a higher level, may be
considered to be the real reason an event occurred. One of the ultimate causes of the ratification of the
Nineteenth Amendment was the shift in American public attitudes toward the role of women in society.
At the most simplistic level, a proximate cause tells us how an event happened; an ultimate cause is more
likely to tell us why it happened. It’s important to remember that most historical events have multiple
proximate and ultimate causes. (Palazzo, 2007)
In considering the relative importance of different causes, historians often divide them into necessary
causes and contributory causes. (Waring, 2010) A necessary cause is an event or trend that is essential to
causing some other event; without the necessary cause, the second event could not take place. Approval
by 36 state legislatures was a necessary cause for ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.
By contrast, contributory causes are not essential to causing some other event, but they may make that
event more likely to occur. President Woodrow Wilson’s eventual decision to come out in favor of
woman suffrage was a contributory cause for ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, but it was not an
essential factor in the Amendment’s success.
Once again, most historical events have multiple necessary and contributory causes.
Carroll, R. (2015, November 18). The Skeptic’s Dictionary: post hoc fallacy. Retrieved from
Palazzo, A. (2007, March 30). Transcription and Translation: Proximal vs. Ultimate Causation. Retrieved from­vs­ultimate­causation/
Waring, S. (2010). “Escaping Myopia: Teaching Students about Historical Causality.” The History Teacher Volume
43, Number 2 (February, 2010), 283 ­ 288. Retrieved from
Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas | Learning Block 3-2:
Secondary Sources
As you explore the case studies in this course, it should be apparent how important source material is to
the study of history. In Theme: Approaches to History, you learned about the difference between primary
and secondary sources, as well as how to search effectively in the databases available in the Shapiro
Library. Of course, with the large amount of source material available to you, it is important to know the
best way to sift through all the information.
In this learning block, you will learn strategies for evaluating secondary sources for relevancy to your
essay, as well as their accuracy and objectivity. These skills will be essential in this course as well as
while your pursue your future studies at SNHU.
Learning Objectives
In this learning block, you will:
Learn how to assess secondary sources for accuracy, relevancy, intent, and authoritativeness using
the A.R.I.A. criteria
Understand how to critically examine historical information on websites
Become familiar with the kinds of secondary sources that are appropriate for use in your historical
analysis essay
Practice evaluating secondary sources and websites
Evaluating Secondary Sources
As you search through the databases at the Shapiro Library conducting research for your historical
analysis essay, you are probably finding that there are a lot of sources that cover your chosen historical
topic. You are expected to use scholarly sources in this course. It is important to examine all of your
sources with a critical eye in order to determine their validity.
When evaluating secondary sources, you should keep the following things in mind. You can remember
these criteria with the acronym A.R.I.A., which stands for accuracy, relevancy, intent, and
Correct information is necessary in any scholarly source.
Ask these questions:
Has the source been peer­reviewed?
Has the author supplied a list of references, and does that list include scholarly sources?
Is the source logical, organized, professional in appearance, and free of spelling and grammatical
Look for: the author’s reference list, information about the publisher or the journal, and the full text of
the source for errors and organization
Avoid: sources that do not have a reference list, sources with grammatical errors, and sources that have
not gone through an editorial process or peer review
When scrutinizing the relevancy of a source, you should consider if it answers your question or
contributes to your research. When looking at secondary sources, you should also consider if the
author’s interpretation of the topic or issue is relevant to your original research question. As you learned
in Theme: Approaches to History, there are dif erent historical lenses a historian might apply when
studying an event. Just because an article is about your topic does not mean it is necessarily relevant to
your research.
Ask these questions:
Does the source provide a general overview of your topic or does it focus on a specific aspect of
your topic?
Who is the intended audience for the source?
Does the source assume you have prior knowledge about your topic?
How many sources have you found so far? Have you searched thoroughly enough to find relevant
When was this source published?
If the source is a website, does it list the date that it was last updated?
Look for: the abstract or summary of an article, the subject and search terms associated with the source,
and scan the full text of the source; the date of publication of a print or database source; the date last
updated on a website (usually at the bottom of the page) or the date of publication on a blog
Avoid: sources that include content that is too narrow or too broad for your research; sources that
include out­of­date information and websites that do not have a “last updated date”
It’s all right to use sources that contain strong arguments or opinions, but it is necessary to acknowledge
the author’s biases.
Ask these questions:
If the author is arguing for or against something, what point of view does he or she represent?
Does the source contain mostly factual information or is it based on opinions?
Who published this piece? Is it associated with an organization that is known for promoting a certain
point of view?
Look for: the abstract, summary, or table of contents (if available), scan the full text of the source, the
author’s and publisher’s affiliations and other works
Avoid: sources that include few facts and statistics, primarily opinion­based (though these can have a
place in research), and sources from an organization known for promoting certain viewpoints
Consider the author’s level of expertise on the topic.
Ask these questions:
Who is the author?
What are the author’s credentials? Is he or she an expert on the topic?
Is the source published or sponsored by a reputable organization?
Look for: the author’s credentials and affiliation, other sources written by the author, and the publisher’s
Avoid: sources from authors who have no credentials or expertise
Evaluating Websites
There is plenty of information on the Internet, but you probably already know that it isn’t always correct.
Evaluating web resources, such as websites and blogs, requires attention to certain detail that you might
not need to think about when looking at scholarly journals in the Shapiro Library database.
In addition to using the A.R.I.A. criteria explained on page 1 of this learning block, there are certain
aspects of websites that you need to examine. Anyone can post anything online, which is why it is
necessary to be a critical consumer of information you find online.
First, ask yourself: How did you find this website? Did a reliable source recommend or cite it? Was it
linked from a reputable website? Did you find it through a search engine?
What kind of website is it? Different websites require different levels of evaluation.
Domain Used by Reliability Example
.com Commercial, business,
media outlets, or
anything else
Low reliability; needs
thorough evaluation
History Channel:
.org Organizations or nonprofits; professional and
medical organizations
usually use this domain
Low reliability; needs
thorough evaluation
American Historical
.edu Educational institutions;
information about the
institution or content
created by professionals
at the institution
Medium reliability; requires
some evaluation, because
some institutions allow nonexperts to develop content for
their websites
Shapiro Library Research
.gov Government agency or
High reliability, but as with
anything on the Internet, it
might require some
evaluation. The information
on these domains is regulated.
Library of Congress:
Last updated date
This information shows you how recent the information is. Most high quality websites, especially
from government agencies, will include this date. You can usually find an update date or publication
date at the bottom of the webpage or below the title of the article.
Functionality & design
There’s a lot to be said for a well­organized, professional­looking website. Although appearances are
not everything, if the website is easy to navigate and includes a user­friendly menu, it is a good
indication that the organization has put thought into the design and information presented. Check the
website for grammatical and spelling errors, broken links, and pop­ups and advertisements. These
might be signs that the website’s information requires more scrutiny.
Exercise: Examining Scholarly Sources
As you research sources for your historical event analysis, you will encounter many scholarly journal
articles. These might feel daunting at first. If you break them down by initially evaluating them using the
[?]A.R.I.A.[/?] criteria, they will become more approachable. In this exercise, you will examine a sample
journal article about the woman suffrage movement and answer questions about it.
The following passage is excerpted from a scholarly journal article titled “The Limits of State Suffrage
for California Women Candidates in the Progressive Era”. This reading is provided by the Shapiro
Library. Click on the link to view the full text of the article. You will have to log into Shapiro Library
with your SNHU credentials to access this article.
Examine information from the article below. You will be asked questions based on your evaluation.
The Limits of State Suffrage for California Women Candidates in the Progressive Era
Author: Linda Van Ingen
Source: Pacific Historical Review. February 2004, Vol. 73 no. 1, pp. 21­48
The author is a Professor of Women’s Studies, 20th Century United States, Race and Gender, and
Historical Methods in the history department at the University of Nebraska, Kearney.
Subject terms:
Women politicians
California women gained the right to run for the state legislature and Congress when they won the
vote in 1911. Coming nine years before the Nineteenth Amendment enfranchised women nationally
in 1920, this era of state enfranchisement appeared ripe for women’s electoral success. The ongoing
national suffrage movement, the California Progressive Party, and the extensive network of
California women’s clubs could all have worked to advance women’s candidacies. Instead, these
factors created conditions that undermined women’s political ambitions. Not until 1918, when
passage of a national suffrage amendment seemed imminent and the power of the Progressive Party
in California faded, did women find success as candidates. Their delayed victories reveal the limits
of state enfranchisement for women’s political power.
When women won the vote in California in 1911, they also won the right to run for elective office
on the state and national levels. Granted the rights of full citizenship long before the national
suffrage amendment passed in 1920, California women began to run for office at their first
opportunity in 1912, when ten women ran for their party’s nomination in the primary elections. Most of these candidates ran as third­party contenders on either the Socialist or Prohibition tickets.
Only one ran as a major­party candidate: Mary Ella Ridle, of San Luis Obispo, who ran for the
State Assembly as a Democrat. Exceptional in her bid as a major­party candidate, Ridle
nevertheless shared the experience of failure with the other women. Indeed, no California woman
won office until 1918, seven years after the state enfranchised women. Clearly, women faced
obstacles as candidates. As Ridle noted at the time, “there has never been a step taken in history that
has not received its share of derision. It is the usual fate of innovations of any kind. However,
someone has to make a start. In accepting this candidacy I feel that I am filling that want.” 1 Her
bold efforts, however, had little impact. As this article argues, possessing the rights of full suffrage
before ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment actually impeded California women’s
opportunities for electoral office. Women like Ridle had little chance of winning office on the state
and national levels.
At first glance, this era of enfranchisement for women before 1920appeared ripe for political
success. The national suffrage movement was constantly revisiting its cause as political and social
circumstances changed; it could have welcomed the advancement of women as candidates. The
Progressive Party, needing women as political workers, saw itself as inclusionary and championed
women. With California playing a critical role in its plans to become a permanent party, it could
have supported Progressive women candidates. Clubwomen understood the process of public
policymaking and the value of their leadership. They could have extended their interests to women’s
candidacies. Indeed, all these factors could have encouraged women’s candidacies. The evidence
shows they did not.
Instead, these factors worked against women running for office in the Golden State. The importance
of California suffrage to the national suffrage movement, the rise of the Progressive Party in the
state, and the critical role played by women’s clubs in both the suffrage and Progressive movements
created conditions that impeded women’s success as candidates for state or national office.2 This
article examines the dissuasive tactics of national suffragists, the obstacles placed by organized
clubwomen—including the ideals of women’s noncompetitive altruism, solidarity, and
nonpartisanship—and the impact of the California Progressive Party, as the party in power, on
women’s electoral ambitions for higher office. While these factors overlap significantly, when
considered independently they reveal the extent to which a woman’s ability to run for office in
California was thwarted during the years preceding national suffrage. Only when the burden of a
national suffrage movement eased and the power of California Progressivism faded in 1918 did
California women find some success in their bids for office. Ironically, however, state
enfranchisement had by then limited women’s political power by establishing a bias against women
as partisan candidates, a bias that would follow women into the 1920s and beyond.3
1. San Luis Obispo Daily Telegram, July 31, 1912, p. 4.
2. See Jackson K. Putnam, “The Progressive Legacy in California: Fifty Years of Politics, 1917­
1967,” in William Deverell and Tom Sitton, eds., California Progressivism Revisited (Berkeley,
1994), 248; Donna C. Schuele, “‘A Robbery to the Wife’: Culture, Gender and Marital Property in
California Law and Politics, 1850­1890” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley,
1999), 206­215.
3. While four women won State Assembly seats in 1918, only ten more would do so in the five
decades that followed, from 1920 to 1970. See Linda Van Ingen, “Campaigns for Equality: Women
Candidates for California State Office, 1912­1970” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of California,
Riverside, 2000).
Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas | Learning Block 3-3: Primary
Utilizing primary sources in your research allows you to apply your own interpretation of historical
events, rather than relying completely on the words of other historians. Examining primary sources gives
you the chance to express your own opinions about historical events. Primary sources are just a piece of
the puzzle of history, so they encourage you to look for additional evidence to understand historical
Your research will be more meaningful if you base your conclusions on evidence and original
documents, rather than other people’s interpretations and understanding of events. In this learning block,
you should plan to devote at least one hour to independent research for your sources. As you research,
take note of names, themes, events, and subjects that keep appearing in the secondary sources. These are
potential search terms for finding primary sources that apply to your project.
Learning Objectives
In this learning block, you will:
Learn how to evaluate and interpret primary sources
Understand the importance of critically examining source material in your everyday life
Practice critically examining primary sources
Conduct independent research for the writing plan for your historical analysis essay
Guidelines for Using Primary Sources
Primary sources, by their very nature, can only give you partial understanding of an event. You can think
of primary sources as a snapshot of an event: one source cannot show you what is going on behind the
camera. You need many different pictures to put together the pieces of the puzzle. As a researcher and
student of history, you will have to fill in the gaps with your own background knowledge.
This limitation is why you should begin your research with secondary sources. Once you have a basic
knowledge of the topic you are researching and a general understanding of historians’ arguments and
interpretations, you can start looking for primary sources that will contribute to your essay.
In Theme: Approaches to History, you saw examples of databases where you can find primary sources.
Shapiro Library has many suggestions for digital collections that include primary sources such as
photographs, manuscripts, and documents.
Primary Source Databases
The list below includes some suggestions of resources for you to search for primary sources. This is
not meant to be an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start.
American Memory: This database is maintained by the Library of Congress, and it has many
primary source documents related to American history.
David Rumsey Map Collection: This collection has over 67,000 maps and images from around
the world.
Primary Source Sets: This collection from the Library of Congress provides primary source
sets for selected key topics in American History.
Searching for Primary Sources
Searching for primary sources will probably be a little different from searching for secondary ones.
Often primary source databases will categorize documents and images by subject, time period, or event. Many of the databases listed above also offer a search function. You should utilize the keywords you
chose in Theme: Approaches to History that are related to your topic to search.
Your secondary sources can also direct you to primary sources, often listed in the footnotes or
bibliography of a source. Although some websites charge for access to their primary source databases,
many libraries and archives provide access to primary sources for free.
Analyzing Primary Sources
Our knowledge of history comes from our interpretation of sources and events. The recording of
historical events are influenced by the personal, social, or political opinions of the authors or participants
in an event. As a student of history, you will encounter conflicting viewpoints of an event. As you write
your historical analysis essay, pay attention to the different interpretations of your topic that you
100 Milestone Documents: From the National Archives, this collection includes documents that
chronicle American history from 1776 to 1965. Original and transcribed copies are both
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC): This database includes
photographs, drawings, prints, and drawings that represent close to 95% of the holdings in the
Library of Congress.
Smithsonian Source: A collection of primary sources from the Smithsonian Institute that can be
searched by keyword, topic, or type of source.
Harvard Digital Collections: These collections are grouped by time period and subject.
Center for Creative Photography: Archives of photographs from modern North America’s
Ask yourself these questions when evaluating a primary source:
When was it written or created?
Who was the intended audience?
How reliable is the information presented? Some documents are written for propaganda
purposes or an eyewitness account might be distorted. Crosscheck your source with others from
the time period. Do they contradict each other?
Who is the author or creator? Why did he or she write it? Can you detect a bias?
Are there any internal contradictions in the source? What words does the author use that might
point to his or her biases and assumptions?
What biases am I bringing to my interpretation of the source?
Assessing Sources in the Nonacademic World
You encounter sources of information daily: an article that your friend shares on social media, the
podcast you’re listening to, or the book you’re reading, for example. As a student, you should approach
information in the nonacademic world with a critical eye. You should check the references for the things
you read, especially online, just as you examine the references in scholarly journal articles you find for
use in your historical event analysis essay.
The following exercise will show you how to critically examine an article you find online. This process
will be useful in your research for this course, future courses at SNHU, and your professional life. The
subject of the article is relevant to the topic of the historical case studies in this theme: The Long Road to
Women’s Rights.
Critical Source Analysis
For example, let’s say a friend of yours on Facebook posts a link to an article about the Equal Rights
Amendment. The title of the article is “What is the Equal Rights Amendment? A Landmark Piece of
Feminist Legislation Every Feminist Should Know About”. You click on the link and start reading the
You should first notice a few things. The date it was published (August 25, 2015) and where it is
published ( Using the skills you have learned in this course, you should already be
evaluating this article for accuracy, relevancy, intent, and authoritativeness (A.R.I.A.). Some questions
you might ask yourself are: What credentials does this website have? Does this website primarily publish
scholarly research? Who is this article directed at?
A quick glance around the website will reveal that this is not a scholarly source, and the articles are not
exclusively devoted to history. There are a lot of advertisements on the site. The title of the article makes
it apparent who the author is appealing to: feminists or people who are interested in women’s issues.
You keep reading:
Since this is not a scholarly journal article, chances are there will not be an official reference section at
the end of the piece. The author has linked to a source in the text, though. You should click on that link
to see what the source is. The link directs you to a website about the history of the ERA.
Use the A.R.I.A. criteria to evaluate this source, as well as the skills you have learned to evaluate
websites. The website is The domain of this website
is .org, which means it needs thorough evaluation, since its reliability is low. However, this page does
have some primary and secondary source references, so you can check those as well.
You should read the rest of this article on your own, using the methods outlined here to evaluate the
information and sources.
This Wednesday is Women’s Equality Day, and in this case, the 95th anniversary of the 19th
Amendment, which officially gave women the right to vote. Aug. 26 was officially declared
Women’s Equality Day in 1972. Incidentally, although Women’s Equality Day was slated out to
celebrate the 19th amendment specifically, 1972 also saw the initial passage of another pretty
important amendment: the Equal Rights Amendment, or the ERA. So, what exactly is the Equal
Rights Amendment? Oh, it’s only one of the most important pieces of legislation in the history of
feminism. Women’s Equality Day might be celebrating the 19th amendment, but it’s important that
we re­familiarize ourselves with the sections and history of the equally­important ERA, which still
has yet to be passed after falling three states short for ratification in 1982.
What should you take away from a closer examination of this article? Although at face value, the article
dispenses useful information and links to accurate sources, the article itself is not a good source. This
type of source would not be appropriate to cite in your historical analysis essay. The source’s
credibility is questionable, so you should not take its contents at face value without further evaluation.
This exercise is meant to show you how to critically examine the things you read, whether you encounter
it in a newspaper editorial, on social media, or in the research for your historical analysis essay. Keep
these tips in mind as you do research for this course and future courses, and you will become a critical
consumer of information.
Cheung, K. (2015, August 25). What Is The Equal Rights Amendment? A Landmark Piece Of Legislation Every
Feminist Should Know About. Retrieved from­what­is­the­equalrights­amendment­a­landmark­piece­of­legislation­every­feminist­should­know­about
The Equal Rights Amendment. Retrieved from
Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas | Learning Block 3-4: Thesis
In your historical analysis essay, you will not only be asking a research question, but you will attempt to
answer it and argue your position with the help of historical evidence.
Your thesis statement will provide an outline for your argument, and it will work as a guide for anyone
reading your essay. Your thesis statement should be clear, specific, arguable, and defensible from the
sources that you have available to use in your research. It will give direction to the rest of your essay.
The more practice you have creating thesis statements, the better you will be at forming coherent
arguments in your writing. This is a crucial component of communicating historical ideas.
You will practice writing sample thesis statements as well your thesis statement in this learning block.
Although you will submit a working thesis to your instructor for feedback, you will have the opportunity
to revise your thesis before submitting the final draft of your historical analysis essay in Theme:
Thinking About History, Learning Block 8­4.
Learning Objectives
In this learning block, you will:
Explore the relationship between your research question and your thesis statement
Practice crafting thesis statements
Discuss your thesis statement with your classmates
Submit your working thesis statement and choice of sources to your instructor for approval
Developing a Thesis Statement
In your historical analysis essay, you will need to make an argument about the topic you are writing
about; this argument needs to be supported by evidence from your research. An argument takes a stance;
it is not simply a description or a summary of the information. Understanding how to construct an
effective thesis statement will be an important skill for writing papers in your future classes.
Furthermore, knowing how to support your claim with evidence is necessary in any argument.
In order to form a coherent argument, you will need a thesis statement. The thesis statement is the
backbone of an essay, and therefore, writers often feel a lot of pressure to come up with a final, polished
version of the statement right from the start. The problem with that method is that our perceptions and
writing changes over time, so a thesis statement that was written at the start of the writing process may
not end up aligning with ideas in the most recent draft.
Now that you have already begun the process of constructing your historical analysis essay, you are
ready to construct the claim you are making. A thesis statement is a sentence in which you state your
argument about a topic and then briefly describe how you will prove this argument. Your thesis
statement can be more than one sentence long, but it should be succinct and specific. Your thesis
statement should appear at the end of the introductory paragraph of your essay.
Forming an Argument
You have already formulated a research question, which means part of the work has been done towards
forming your thesis statement. In order to write a good thesis statement, you should focus on one aspect
of your topic. Your thesis statement should be specific, and you need to be able to support it with
specific evidence.
There are a few strategies you can use to create your thesis statement.
1. Turn your research question into an assertion and give evidence and reasons for this argument.
2. Summarize the main idea of the essay you want to write, and turn that summary into an argument.
3. Use a formula to develop an initial thesis statement. For example, you can use the following formats
to create an initial thesis:
Although most scholars of ________ have argued ________, further research
(Your historical topic) was a result of________, ________, and ________,
rather than________, as most historians have argued.
________demonstrates that (your historical topic) was a combination of
________ and ________, contrary to the argument of ________.
For example, let’s say your research question is:
In what specific ways did the Civil War affect the development of the Woman
Suffrage Movement?
A thesis statement for this paper might start as something like:
By mobilizing women behind the national abolition movement, the Civil War
introduced a generation of American women to political activism and helped
pave the way for the success of the Woman Suffrage Movement.
However, this thesis statement could be stronger. Refine your initial thesis statement to be more specific.
For example:
The right to vote had been a key goal of women’s rights activists since the
Seneca Falls Convention, but it was the Civil War—which mobilized women
behind the national abolition movement—that introduced a generation of
American women to political activism and made possible the success of the
Woman Suffrage Movement. At the same time, ironically, post­war divisions
over the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments temporarily split the
movement, and delayed the achievement of its ultimate goal.
It is clear what the writer is arguing with this thesis, and the writer makes it clear how that argument will
be supported.
A thesis statement gives you an outline to your argument, a way to focus your ideas, and a structure to
your paper. Each topic sentence of the body paragraphs of your essay should relate back to your thesis.
Your thesis statement reflects the purpose of your essay, defines the scope of your argument, and
influences what content will be included. The thesis statement is also useful for readers, since it keeps
them focused on your argument and guides them through your essay. On the next page, you will practice
creating the thesis statement for your essay.
The program for the Woman Suffrage Parade on March
3, 1913. (Click icon for citation)
Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas | Learning Block 4-1: The
Woman Suffrage Movement and the Nineteenth Amendment
The Women’s Movement: Suffrage
In 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention’s Declaration of Principles asserted women’s “sacred right to the
elective franchise.” Over the course of the next 12 years, voting rights remained a major goal for the
emerging women’s rights movement, but they were not the movement’s sole focus; economic, social, and
educational issues also occupied prominent places on the movement’s agenda. (U.S. House of
Representatives, 2016)
The Civil War interrupted the regular business of
the women’s movement. The National Women’s
Rights Convention, which had been held annually
since 1850, was suspended during the war, and
most women’s rights activists devoted themselves
to the cause of abolition. In 1863, Elizabeth Cady
Stanton and Susan B. Anthony organized the
Women’s National Loyal League to campaign for
a constitutional amendment to ban slavery.
(DuBois, 1978)
Following the war, the right to vote became the
central focus of the women’s rights movement,
but this issue precipitated a sharp division in the
movement’s leadership. It would take another five
decades before women’s right to vote would
finally be enshrined in the Constitution.
This learning block uses the woman suffrage movement as a way to look at the issue of causality and to
develop expertise in assessing and locating primary and secondary sources, in support of developing a
research paper.
Learning Objectives
In this learning block, you will:
Analyze the causes of historical events
Understand causality as it relates to the Woman Suffrage Movement
Practice examining a scholarly journal article for information about causality
DuBois, E. (1978). Feminism and Suf rage: The Emergence of an Independent Women’s Movement in America,
1848­1869. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
U.S. House of Representatives, History, Art & Archives; Office of the Historian, Women in Congress, 1917 ­ 2006.
(2016). The Women’s Rights Movement, 1848 ­ 1920. Retrieved from­and­Publications/WIC/Historical­Essays/No­Lady/Womens­Rights/,
April 27, 2016.
Julia Ward Howe (Click icon for
Winning the Right to Vote
At the close of the Civil War, the push to insure equal rights for former slaves ironically divided the
women’s movement, most of whose members had ardently supported abolition. That’s because the
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which guaranteed citizenship and voting rights, did not explicitly
include women in their provisions. Some women’s rights leaders, including Susan B. Anthony and
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, lobbied unsuccessfully against the two amendments.
In 1869, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the
National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), devoted to passing a
Constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote, as
well as promoting other women’s rights issues, such as liberalizing
divorce laws and ending pay discrimination. That same year Lucy
Stone and Julia Ward Howe formed the American Woman Suffrage
Association (AWSA), which focused on a state­by­state strategy for
winning the right to vote, and did not address the other issues
championed by the NWSA.
The two groups would eventually merge in 1890 to form the National
American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), which focused
solely on the right to vote, to the exclusion of other women’s rights
issues. This narrowed focus alienated some of the more radical
women’s activists, including Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage, who
favored a broader social agenda and a more militant approach.
The suffrage movement suffered a major setback in 1875, when the
Supreme Court ruled, effectively, that a woman’s right to vote was nowhere to be found in the
Constitution as it was then written. Women’s rights advocates had argued that the Fourteenth
Amendment forbade the states from denying them a fundamental right of citizenship. But the Supreme
Court rejected this argument, ruling in Minor v. Happersett that although women are citizens, voting is
not one of the “privileges and immunities of citizenship” protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.
In the early years of the 20th century, the woman suffrage movement began to employ unconventional
tactics to generate publicity and build public support for its cause. Suffragists Alice Paul and Lucy
Burns, who had worked with the more militant woman suffrage movement in Great Britain, organized a
huge pro­suffrage parade in Washington, DC in 1913 that attracted widespread attention after many of
the marchers were heckled and mistreated by anti­suffrage male onlookers.
Paul went on to form the National Women’s Party, which staged disruptive protests outside the White
House and organized prison hunger strikes among the arrested protesters.
While these tactics offended some leaders of the more conservative NAWSA, they kept the spotlight of
public attention firmly focused on the issue of woman suffrage. (Adams, 2008) As such, they were
significant contributory causes to the ultimate success of the woman suffrage movement.
President Woodrow Wilson, who took office one day after the parade and who was the object of frequent
protests by woman suffrage activists outside the White House, finally lent his support to the cause in
1918. While his endorsement was hardly critical, it symbolized the acceptance of woman suffrage as
inevitable by the national Democratic Party.
Congress subsequently approved the Nineteenth Amendment—which guaranteed women the right to
vote at both the state and federal levels—in 1919. A year later, on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became
the 36th state to ratify the amendment, finally enshrining women’s right to vote in the Constitution of the
United States.
Christina Kulich­Vamvakas, instructor in Government at Suffolk University, explains the eventual
success of the Woman Suffrage Movement in this video:
Video Transcript: The Nineteenth Amendment
Christina Kulich-Vamvakas
The women’s suffrage movement is really a hallmark movement in American politics for a number
of different reasons.
First, it is the first significant national rights movement and it was unique in that…in its length,
actually, and in the size of its organization. By the time that the 19th Amendment passed, women’s
suffrage organizations were by far better resourced, better organized, than any other national
political movement, the national parties included, which were simply skeletons. And we’re talking
about, essentially, doubling…well, half…increasing significantly the size of the citizen pool, the
number of available boats. Right?
So: time, organization, and resources led absolutely to the ultimate success. It was a long haul
battle, right, for upwards of 80 years, but the growth of the organization and the capacity of the
organization actually, I think, is probably the single most important recipe item in success.
Adams, K. (2008). Alice Paul and the American Woman Suf rage Campaign. Champaign, IL:: University of Illinois
DuBois, E. (1978). Feminism and Suf rage: The Emergence of an Independent Women’s Movement in America,
1848­1869. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Sheridan, H. (2001) “Marching for the Vote: Remembering the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913” American Women:
A Library of Congress Guide for the Study of Women’s History and Culture in the United States. Washington, DC: Library of Congress.
Zahniser, J. and Fry, A. (2014) Alice Paul: Claiming Power. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Exercise: Further Readings
The following passage is from a scholarly journal article that looks at the importance of funding—
specifically, large amounts of money donated to the woman suffrage movement by a relatively small
number of wealthy women—in winning the right to vote for American women. In so doing, it suggests
the importance of class—that is, socioeconomic status—as a factor in the history of the woman suffrage
In general, the leaders of the American woman suffrage movement came from the upper classes of
society, meaning that they tended to be more affluent and better­educated than most American women.
Looking at the role of socioeconomic class in the leadership of the woman suffrage movement could
involve such varying lenses as social history, economic history, and Marxist history.
Read the passage below and then answer the question following it, keeping in mind the historical concept
of causality as it relates to the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which guaranteed women the
right to vote.
The passage below is excerpted from “Following the Money: Wealthy Women, Feminism, and the
American Suffrage Movement”, pages 65 to 66. Click on the title of the article to read, download, and
print a copy of the text. These readings are provided by the Shapiro Library. This reading is required.
You will have to log into Shapiro Library with your SNHU credentials to access this article.
Susan B. Anthony (right) and
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (left) (Click
icon for citation)
Salaries, State Campaigns, and the “Winning Plan”
The need for money drove the women’s suffrage movement from its early days, leading [Elizabeth
Cady] Stanton and [Susan B.] Anthony to compromise over whom they associated with during the
1860s. Wendell Phillips controlled two important bequests and allowed only a small amount to go
to women’s rights. “Nearly driven to desperation,” Anthony needed money to pay for speakers,
travel expenses, and tracts. She and Stanton thus accepted an offer by George Train, the notoriously
racist Democrat, to pay for a speaking tour and newspaper.
Burned by her experience with Phillips, Anthony wanted
wealthy women to prioritize giving to the movement.
Suffragists understood that they could not depend on men; it
would take the financial support of women to make change
for women. It was only after Anthony’s death in 1906,
however, that they began to contribute enough money to turn
the tide toward victory.
Staffing, one of the two major expenses identified by Stanton
and Anthony, remained paramount until the vote was won in
1920. Lucy Stone’s observation that “there would be plenty of
helpers if there was plenty of money to pay” rang true. The
suffrage movement from the 1880s through the early 1910s
focused on winning the right to vote state by state, which
depended on local and national traveling organizers
barnstorming the states, drumming up publicity, and lobbying
local politicians. Traveling organizers and national officers
worked full time, giving public speeches, planning rallies, and
helping to organize local suffrage associations. They brought
experience and the ability to draw a crowd.
Neither local nor national suffrage organizations had enough
funding to pay the significant salaries required. The situation
was exacerbated, according to Lisa Tetrault, because women could earn a living through the lyceum
lecture circuit in the 1870s ­ 1880s, a popular form of entertainment and adult education featuring
traveling lecturers and performers. They came to expect similar payment, typically between $10
and $100 per lecture, for an appearance at a suffrage meeting. Suffrage organizations thus had to
compete with the lecture circuit when they paid speakers appearing at meetings or at their annual
conventions at the state or national level.
The lack of money available to pay speakers was complicated by the unrealistic but idealistic idea
that suffragists should volunteer their time for the cause. Quoting Wendell Phillips, Stanton claimed
that “a reformer, to be conscientious, must be free from bread­winning.” Suffrage associations were
traditionally willing to hire paid organizers but usually did not pay their officers, who were
expected to cover the costs of their correspondence and travel. [Only] well­off officers could do so.
If you’re interested in reading more about the woman suffrage movement on your own, you might also be
interested in these optional readings:
Wilson, Women and War: A brief article about President Wilson’s decision to back woman
suffrage, and the political links between the suffrage movement and Prohibition. You can read it at
this link.
Out of the Parlors and into the Streets: The Changing Tactical Repertoire of the U.S. Women’s Suffrage Movements: An analysis of the development of new tactics, including suffrage
parades, by the woman suffrage movement. You can read it at this link.
Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas | Learning Block 4-2:
Communicating to Specific Audiences
When you are talking to someone in person, chances are, you probably adjust your manner of speaking
to match whomever you are speaking with. When writing, you should make the same considerations for
those who will be reading your paper. As you prepare to write anything—whether it is an email, cover
letter, or college essay—you want to first consider your audience. Simply put, when writing, your
audience is your intended reader.
In order to communicate effectively and clearly, you need to understand that different audiences respond
to and understand different messages. In this course, you need to choose an intended audience for your
historical analysis essay and cater your writing to that audience.
Learning Objectives
In this learning block, you will:
Be introduced to the concept of audience in academic writing
Learn about the different types of audiences you might tailor your historical analysis essay toward
Practice catering to certain audiences in your writing
Understand the role of research and analysis in developing message
Consider your choice of audience for your historical analysis essay
Types of Audiences
Who is the audience for your essay? Although the obvious answer might be “my instructor,” that’s not
the only thing that audience means for the purposes of this assignment. Your instructor will read and
grade your essay, but the audience of the essay is who you decide to speak to or cater to. Sometimes, it is
not always clear who your audience might be, as you may have multiple audiences. You will need to
choose an audience to write for in your historical analysis essay.
The audience you choose to write for is a group of people who might be attracted to or interested in your
writing. Knowing who they are will help you understand their expectations for the content and format of
your paper.
The content and tone of an essay on the impact of the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment in
Congress in 1923 will be different if you are writing for students or for professionals, for instance. Your
choice of audience will influence how much background information you include about anti­ERA
movements, for example. Writing for a specific audience will help you narrow the focus of your
historical event analysis.
Analyzing Your Audience
By analyzing your audience, you will be able to write and argue more effectively. Some things to
consider about your audience are who they are, how much they know about the topic, and the context in
which they will be reading the writing (such as a journal or a magazine).
In general, you can think of your audience as being either academic or nonacademic. Knowing this
about your audience will help you tailor your message and content of your essay and other writing. Of
course, an audience can be a combination of the two.
An academic audience includes your instructors, other people in the field, and fellow students. An
academic audience will be reading your paper for a grade or to evaluate the strength of your thesis and
argument. They will probably have a critical eye toward the structure and details of your essay. When
writing for this audience, you should consider what they might expect, such as well­supported argument.
A nonacademic audience will be reading the paper to gain information and use the information they
The graphic below shows what you should consider when thinking about the audience you are writing
for. Reflecting on the following questions may help you think more clearly about your audience in this
course and future courses at SNHU.
Familiarity With Your Audience
In a classroom setting, you know your audience is your instructor and, often, your classmates. In this
case, you know your intended audience (your instructor and your classmates), but your relationship with
them is more formal and less familiar. As such, you cannot assume what level of familiarity they can
expect in your writing.
Therefore, you should err on the side of formality any time your audience is unfamiliar and/or when the
level of formality they expect from you may be unknown. When you write for a classroom assignment,
you should always assume your instructor will expect a level of formality—unless the assignment
explicitly asks you to be informal—regardless of how well you might know him or her.
It is, therefore, important to understand if your audience is:
familiar and known: a family member, a close friend, your partner or spouse
unfamiliar and known: an audience who has come to listen to you talk about a shared interest (you
share knowledge of the interest but do not known them personally), your college instructor (you
know your instructor and are familiar with her but you do not know what she knows and does not
know about any given topic), a new colleague, your boss, a distant relative, museum attendees
unfamiliar and unknown: your new classmates, a random group of people listening to a public
speech, blog readers
Types of Audiences
The graphic below elaborates on the different types of audiences. These three categories of audiences can
be combined; for instance, your audience may be academic and known, but unfamiliar to you.

Audience and Message
By now you should have a beginning idea of what your thesis statement and argument will be in your
essay. Once you analyze and get to know the audience you are writing for (or choose to be writing for),
you will have a clearer understanding of what message to convey in your essay, which is closely related
to your thesis. Knowing your audience allows you to select which details to include and which to leave
out. Understanding their level of knowledge on the topic will help you decide how much information to
include, how formal or informal your writing should be, and how subjective you should be in your
When considering your audience, also remember why you are writing. The purpose of your writing is
tied to the audience you are writing for. You should think about what you are trying to accomplish in
your writing. For example, in your historical event analysis essay, you will be attempting to answer your
research question by making an argument that ties back to your thesis statement.
As the writer of your essay, you need to communicate your message in a way that is tailored to your
specific audience. You could consider your vocabulary, your audience’s potential current knowledge of
historical events, or lack thereof, and what is specifically important to the audience. Will your audience
understand historical terminology and principles associated with your event, or will you need to explain
these? All of these questions should be considerations when forming the message of your historical
analysis essay. Crafting a succinct and clear message will make you a better writer in future courses, and
in your day­to­day life as well.
Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas | Learning Block 4-3: The
Equal Rights Amendment
The Women’s Movement: The ERA
In July 1923, just before the 75th anniversary of Seneca Falls Convention, Alice Paul announced that she
would propose a new amendment to the Constitution that would guarantee the same legal rights to
women and men. Originally known as Mott’s Amendment in honor of Lucretia Mott, one of the
organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention, Paul’s proposed amendment led to a sharp division in the
feminist movement.
Supporters of the amendment, led by Paul’s National Women’s Party, argued that women should be
legally equal with men in all respects. Opponents argued that strict equality would require the repeal of
protective labor legislation designed to benefit women workers by, for example, requiring them to work
shorter hours or exempting them from night work. In general, middle­class feminists tended to favor
Paul’s amendment while working­class feminists—and organized labor in general—tended to oppose it.
(Cott, 1990)
Some things to consider about your audience when writing your paper:
Will the audience expect you to cite scholarly sources? (In this course, the answer is yes!)
Will the audience understand technical terms or jargon?
How much background information will the audience know about the topic?
Will the audience expect a particular format or point of view? (When writing for a class, it is
usually best to check what formatting the instructor prefers.)
Lucretia Mott, by Joseph Kyle. (Click
icon for citation)
A pro­ERA march in Florida. (Click icon for citation)
Congress was not quick to embrace Paul’s amendment. Indeed, it
took nearly 50 years before a version of the proposal—by then
known as the Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA—won
Congressional passage in 1972. And, while the path to ratification
initially looked clear, opposition by social conservatives quickly
surfaced; ten years later, the ratification deadline expired and the
Equal Rights Amendment had been defeated. (Burris, 1983)
This learning block uses the debate over the Equal Rights
Amendment as the vehicle to sharpen your skills of historical
analysis and to help you think about tailoring your message for
different audiences.
Learning Objectives
In this learning block, you will:
Develop a thesis statement for the analysis of a historical
Practice crafting and identifying messages for different audiences
Practice examining a scholarly journal article
Continue to work on your writing plan
Burris, V. (1983). “Who Opposed the ERA? An Analysis of the Social Bases of Antifeminism” Social Science
Quarterly Vol. 64, Number 2 (June 1, 1983), 305 ­ 317.
Cott, N. (1990) “Historical Perspectives: The Equal Rights Amendment Conflict in the 1920s.” in Hirsch, M. and
Keller, E. eds., Conflicts in Feminism Abingdon­on­Thames, UK: Routledge, Chapter 2.
The Fight for Equal Rights, 1923-1972
The ERA, in varying forms, was introduced in every session of Congress from 1923 until 1971, but it
was routinely bottled up in committees and never even received a floor vote until after World War II.
In the early 1950s, the division among feminists
became apparent when the “Hayden rider” was
attached to the ERA. This provision would have
preserved the protective labor legislation deemed
so important by many labor unions, and many
working­class women, at the time. Such
legislation included laws that mandated a
minimum wage, or prohibited long hours or night
shifts, for women workers.
Because these laws assumed that women were
“different” from men—in the sense of being
“weaker” or more in need of special protection—
they were vehemently opposed by the National
Women’s Party. As long as the ERA included the
Hayden rider, Paul and the NWP opposed its passage.
Betty Friedan, author of The
Feminine Mystique (Click icon
for citation)
The Republican Party was the first to embrace the ERA. The GOP national platform first included a
plank in support of the ERA in 1940, and President Dwight Eisenhower publicly called for the
amendment’s passage in 1958. But the combination of firm opposition from organized labor, and
feminist opposition to the Hayden rider, continued to block the amendment’s passage. (Frum, 2000)
Democrats, with closer ties to organized labor, were slower to embrace the ERA. Although John F.
Kennedy endorsed the amendment late in the 1960 campaign, he did not push for its passage after
winning the White House.
Kennedy did take a number of steps favored by women’s rights activists: he appointed a blue­ribbon
national Commission on the Status of Women, which lobbied successfully for passage of the Equal Pay
Act of 1963, which banned sex discrimination in pay for many professions. He also issued an executive
order banning gender discrimination in the civil service. But most of his women appointees, including
Commission chair and feminist icon Eleanor Roosevelt, had ties to the labor movement and opposed the
ERA. (Wolbrecht, 2000)
The amendment’s prospects improved considerably in the mid­1960s, as women’s rights activists began
to make common cause with civil rights activists, and the rise of a new and more activist “women’s
liberation movement” focused on a wider range of issues of concern to women.
In 1964, Congress banned workplace discrimination based on gender (as well as race, religion and
national origin), in the Civil Rights Act; the inclusion of women in the Act reflected, among other
factors, the concerted lobbying of Coretta Scott King, wife of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and the
NWP’s Alice Paul. While the women’s rights movement and the civil rights movement did not always
see eye­to­eye—and tensions between the two would become evident in the late 1960s—their
cooperation during the debate over the Civil Rights Act was a critical moment for both.
In 1966 feminist author Betty Friedan—whose 1963 book, The
Feminine Mystique, had given voice to the frustrations of millions of
American women—helped found the National Organization for
Women (NOW) and co­wrote the organization’s Statement of Purpose.
NOW, she wrote, would lead “a new movement toward true equality
for all women in America, and toward a fully equal partnership of the
sexes,” and would ” confront, with concrete action, the conditions that
now prevent women from enjoying the equality of opportunity and
freedom of which is their right.”
NOW, which would formally endorse the ERA in 1967, became the
driving force in the second wave of American feminism (discussed on
the next page). Along with several other feminist organizations, NOW
focused on “consciousness raising”—using highly publicized (and
sometimes confrontational) events to increase public awareness of
gender inequality—coupled with old­fashioned, hard­nosed lobbying
to advance its legislative agenda.
In early 1970 NOW disrupted a Senate hearing on a proposed Constitutional amendment to lower the
voting age to 18, and demanded a hearing on the ERA. The following August, on the 50th anniversary of
the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, it organized the Women’s Strike for Equality, a protest of
more than 20,000 women that highlighted the need for social, political, and economic equality. (Gourley,
Coming at a time of profound social and political change in America—a convergence of the civil rights
movement, protests against the war in Vietnam, the rise of the counterculture, and the so­called “sexual
revolution”—the demand for equal rights for women suddenly seemed less radical than it had, only a few
Representative Martha Griffiths
of Michigan (Click icon for
ERA opponents at a legislative hearing in
Tallahassee, Florida. (Click icon for citation)
years earlier. (Frum, 2000) Organized labor, for the most part, dropped
its opposition, and political leaders of both parties, including President
Richard M. Nixon, publicly embraced the ERA.
In 1970 Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan spearheaded a
movement to “discharge” the ERA from the House Judiciary
Committee, where it had languished for years. Once given the
opportunity to vote on the ERA the full House of Representatives
approved it overwhelmingly in 1971. The Senate followed suit in 1972
and before the year was out, 22 states had approved it—more than half
the total of 38 states needed for formal ratification. The ERA, it
seemed, would soon be enshrined in the Constitution.
Frum, D. (2000). How We Got Here: The ’70s. New York: Basic Books.
Gourley, C.(2008) Ms. and the Material Girl: Perceptions of Women from the 1970s to the 1990s. Minneapolis, MN:
Twenty­First Century Books, 2008.
National Archives (2016) Martha Griffiths and the Equal Rights Amendment. Retrieved from, May 2, 2016.
Wolbrecht, C. (2000) The Politics of Women’s Rights : Parties, Positions, and Change Princeton, N.J. : Princeton
University Press.
The Fight for Equal Rights, 1972-1982
The ERA’s apparently smooth glide­path to ratification hit severe turbulence in the mid­1970s. In 1972
Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative activist and former Republican Congressional candidate from Illinois,
founded the STOP ERA campaign, an effort by socially conservative women to derail the amendment.
STOP was an acronym for “Stop Taking Our Privileges,” and Schlafly frequently focused on the impact
that the ERA would have on laws designed to benefit women: protective labor laws, alimony and childcustody laws, and the exemption of women from the military draft.
Opponents of the amendment often cited the labor
movement’s primary criticism: that the ERA would take
away protective labor laws that women, especially
working­class women, badly needed. But they did not
address just working women; indeed, STOP ERA made the
case that the amendment was essentially designed to
benefit younger career women, while stripping away
protections that older women—housewives and mothers
without marketable job skills—could not do without.
The emphasis on alimony, as well as on the ERA’s impact
on Social Security benefits, was a direct appeal to the
economic insecurity of many older housewives. More
generally, Schlafly and her supporters argued that the ERA,
by equalizing the treatment of both sexes, would economically benefit men at the expense of older,
unskilled women. (Levenstein, 2014)
But economic arguments were only one element of the larger public campaign against the ERA. The
assertion that ERA would expose women to the perils of the military draft resonated strongly—not just
among younger women but among their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers—in the immediate aftermath
of the Vietnam War. Opponents also focused on what they portrayed as traditional values, arguing that
mandating equality between the sexes would disrupt families and upset the social order. These arguments
were frequently cited by ERA’s opponents in the U.S. Senate, a vocal majority of mostly Southern social
conservatives led by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina. Ervin, who successfully lobbied the North
Carolina legislature to vote against ratification, argued that it would be the “height of folly to command
legislative bodies to ignore sex in making laws”. (Ervin, 1977)
ERA opponents showed a flair for political symbolism: they presented state legislators with apple pies
while declaring themselves “for Mom and apple pie,” and they pinned signs reading “Don’t Draft Me” on
the onesies of baby girls. And their efforts quickly had an impact: as conservative opposition to the ERA
grew, the pace of ratification slowed dramatically. After 1973 only five more states approved the
amendment, leaving it three states short of the required 38.
With the deadline for ratification approaching, Congress in 1978 approved a three­year extension of the
process, but it was not enough: the clock ran out on the ERA in 1982.
As the following video suggests, the inability of ERA supporters to win quick ratification of the
amendment gave opponents time to organize an effective opposition campaign against it. The STOP
ERA campaign took the amendment’s supposedly simple and uncontroversial goal—”Equality”—and
showed it to be more complex and controversial than many people had previously imagined.
While Phyllis Schlafly’s opposition was a major factor in the defeat of the ERA, there were larger forces
at work, as well. Less than a year after the amendment was approved by Congress the Supreme Court, in
Roe v. Wade (1973), legalized abortion in many cases. While Roe was seen as a victory for the women’s
rights movement it was a highly polarizing one, galvanizing strong opposition among social
conservatives. Frustrated by the Court’s ruling, many of those conservatives set their sights on the ERA
as a means of attacking the women’s rights movement in general. (Greenhouse and Siegel, 2011)
Christina Kulich­Vamvakas, instructor in Government at Suffolk University, discusses the defeat of the
Equal Rights Amendment in this video:
Video Transcript: The Equal Rights Amendment
Christina Kulich-Vamvakas
Ironically, time or length of time is a key factor contributing to the ultimate defeat of the ERA. In
comparison to the success of the 19th Amendment, it took women’s organizations and pro­suffrage
organization upwards of 80 years to win passage of the 19th Amendment.
However, the time that it took from 1970 to when the ERA passed through Congress to ratification
was too long. It allowed for effective counter­mobilization of anti­ERA forces, and it also didn’t
take advantage of the initial wave of consensus about a broad American principle, namely that of
And the ten years that it languished, essentially, trying to get ratification through the states, allowed
people to start to begin to parse what equality actually would mean. Would it mean gender neutral
bathrooms? Right? This is an issue that speaks very much to contemporary politics. Would it mean
women in combat? Right?
So, the beauty of the bumper sticker principle of equality that everyone could get behind was
something that was contentious and debated the longer it took for ratification battles to be
fought…and ultimately led to defeat.
Simone de Beauvoir (Click
icon for citation)
In a larger sense, the reaction to Roe was an early skirmish in what has come to be known as the “culture
wars.” The phrase, coined by sociologist James Davison Hunter and popularized by conservative
commentator and politician Pat Buchanan, refers to the continuing conflict in American politics between
traditionalists and progressives over issues—such as gay rights, gun control, and prayer in school—that
speak to personal values rather than economic self­interest. (Hunter, 1991)
The term “culture wars” first came to prominence in the early 1990s, and in many ways this conflict
continues to influence American politics, on issues from gay marriage to health care to immigration
policy. But the social conflicts that would give rise to the culture wars had their roots in the 1970s; in the
eyes of many historians, the ERA may have been the first casualty of this long­simmering battle.
Second-Wave Feminism and “Women’s Liberation”
If the first wave of American feminism was devoted to the idea of political equality—most specifically,
winning for women the right to vote—the second wave had a much more expansive agenda.
Formative Influences
It’s impossible to say exactly when or where the second wave of American
feminism began, but there is general agreement among historians as to its
formative influences. The publication of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second
Sex in 1949 provided a historical and critical analysis of the causes of
women’s inequality, and inspired a generation of feminist writers and
activists including Betty Friedan, Kate Millett, and Germaine Greer. (Bauer,
Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, published in 1963, in turn gave voice to a
generation of American women—most of whom, like Friedan, were
college­educated, middle­class, and white—who felt unhappy and
constrained in their roles as suburban housewives and mothers. Frustrated
by society’s expectations, they came to feel, in Friedan’s words, ” that
something is very wrong with the way American women are trying to live
their lives today.” (New York Times, 2006)
NOW and the “Younger Branch”
The National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded in 1966, largely to represent the concerns of
that generation of women. With Friedan as its founding president, NOW in 1968 issued a Bill of Rights
that called for passage of the ERA; enforcement of the federal prohibition of sex discrimination in
employment; maternity leave benefits for workers; non­gender­segregated education; a tax deduction for
child care expenses; and reproductive freedom, including the right to choose abortion, among other
demands. (National Organization for Women, 1968) Similar women’s groups were formed in this same
time period, including the Professional Women’s Caucus and the Women’s Equity Action League.
At the same time, a “younger branch” of the women’s movement was also taking shape. While members
of this branch also tended to be white, college­educated, and middle­class, these women were mostly
under the age of 30 and came to the women’s rights movement from the New Left and the civil rights
movement, both of which were largely male­dominated. The Chicago Women’s Liberation Union was
among the first of these groups, and similar organizations were formed in Boston, Seattle, New York,
and other cities. (Freeman, 1971)
Supporters of Women’s Liberation march in
Washington, 1970. (Click icon for citation)
“Women’s Lib”
Together, these two branches loosely coalesced
into the women’s liberation movement, known
colloquially as “women’s lib.” Advocating not
only for the specific demands in NOW’s Bill of
Rights but for a more general agenda
encompassing political and social equality, the
women’s liberation movement emerged as a
major force on the political and social landscape
in the 1960s and 1970s. While there was no
formal division of labor between the two
branches of the movement, feminist historian Jo
Freeman wrote in 1971 that “[t]he older branch
has used the traditional forms of political action
often with great skill, while the younger branch
has been experimental.” (Freeman, 1971)
Changing Times
The women’s liberation movement was the product of a unique moment in American history. It was a
time of roiling social change, as the civil rights movement, the anti­war movement, and the Hippie
movement all challenged long­established social norms. At the same time, the introduction of the birthcontrol pill in 1960, and the gradual erosion of state laws banning contraception, helped usher in the
sexual revolution. (Escoffier, 2004) And a major realignment in the American workforce was just
beginning to take place, as more women began to move out of “traditional” women’s professions, such as
teaching and nursing, and started to compete with men in the legal, corporate, and medical worlds.
(Donnelly et al, 2016)
Successes and Criticisms
Against this backdrop, the women’s liberation movement helped bring about enormous changes: Title IX,
mandating equal opportunities for women in higher education; enforcement of the prohibition against
gender discrimination under the Civil Rights Act; the integration of women into the armed forces and the
U.S. military academies; the expansion of reproductive rights in the 1970s and 1980s; and the entry of
far more women into the highest ranks of the corporate, legal, and academic worlds, among many others.
Fifty years after the start of the women’s liberation movement, all­male clubs and restaurants are things
of the past, it is against the law for employers to specify whether a job should go to a man or a woman,
and more women are earning bachelor’s degrees than men. (National Center for Education Statistics,
Second­wave feminism and the women’s liberation movement have, however, been criticized for
focusing more on the concerns of middle­class white women than on those of women of color. (Brenner, M. and Luce, S. 2015) And the Equal Rights Amendment, the centerpiece of the movement’s agenda in
the 1970s, remains an unfulfilled goal.
Bauer, N. (2004) [2004]. “Must We Read Simone de Beauvoir?” in Grosholz, E. The Legacy of Simone de Beauvoir.
Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press (2006).
Brenner, M. and Luce, S. (2006) “Women and Class: What Has Happened in Forty Years?” Monthly Review Vol. 58,
No. 03 (July­August, 2006), 45 ­ 57.
Donnelly, K. et al (2015) “Attitudes Toward Women’s Work and Family Roles in the United States, 1976—2013” in
Psychology of Women Quarterly Vol. 40(1) (2016), 41­54.
Ervin, S. “The Question Of Ratification Of The Equal Rights Amendment CON.” Congressional Digest Vol. 56
(June/July 1977), 171.
Escoffier, J. (2004) The Sexual Revolution, 1960­1980. Retrieved from, May 3, 2016.
Fox, M. (2006) “Betty Friedan, Who Ignited Cause in ‘Feminine Mystique,’ Dies at 85.” The New York Times,
February 5, 2006.
Freeman, J. (1971) The Women’s Movement: Its Origins, Structures, and Ideas. Retrieved from, May 3, 2016.
Greenhouse, L. and Siegel, R. (2011) “Before (and After) Roe v. Wade: New Questions About Backlash.” The Yale
Law Journal Vol. 120, No. 8 (June 2011). 2028­2087.
Hunter, J. (1991) Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America New York: Basic Books
Lisa L. (2014) “‘Don’t Agonize, Organize!’: The Displaced Homemakers Campaign and the Contested Goals of
Postwar Feminism.” Journal of American History Vol. 100 No. 4 (2014), 1114­1138.
National Center for Education Statistics (2012). Fast Facts: Degrees conferred by sex and race. Retrieved from, May 3, 2016.
National Organization for Women (1968). NOW Bill of Rights. Retrieved from, May 3, 2016.
Rosenberg, R. (2008) Divided Lives: American Women in the Twentieth Century. New York: Macmillan.
Gourley, C. (2007). Ms. and the Material Girl: Perceptions of Women from the 1970s to the 1990s. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty­First Century Books, 2008.
National Archives (2016). Martha Griffiths and the Equal Rights Amendment. Retrieved from, May 2, 2016.
Wolbrecht, C. (2000). The Politics of Women’s Rights: Parties, Positions, and Change Princeton, N.J.: Princeton
University Press.
Exercise: Further Readings
The following passage is from a scholarly journal article that looks at the strategic mistakes—which
stemmed from a misunderstanding of the critical importance of Southern support during the amendment
process—that led to the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment.
The passage below is excerpted from “Historical Misunderstandings and the Defeat of the Equal Rights
Amendment”, pages 51 to 54. Click on the title of the article to read, download, and print a copy of the
text. These readings are provided by the Shapiro Library. This reading is required. You will have to log
into Shapiro Library with your SNHU credentials to access this article.
“The Second Half of the Amendment V Process”
Congressional champions of ERA in the early 1970s simply did not expect problems securing state
approval. Neither Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana nor Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan,
the measure’s principal congressional sponsors, anticipated any difficulty in winning ratification for
the ERA. “Maybe some other folks thought of it,” Bayh later recalled, “I didn’t.”
If you’re interested in reading more about the Equal Rights Amendment on your own, you might also be
interested in these optional readings:
The Equal Rights Amendment, Public Opinion, & American Constitutionalism: An article that
analyzes public­opinion polling results to assess the strength of public support for the ERA during
the debate over ratification—and the place of the ERA in the history of the America constitution.
You can read it at this link.
The Rights Revolution: An essay that looks at the fight over the ERA in the context of others
“rights movements” in the 1970s, including the movements to expand the rights of gays and
lesbians, and those of people with disabilities. This essay makes up a chapter in Something
Happened: A Political and Cultural Overview of the Seventies, by Edward D. Horowitz. You can
read it at this link; just click through to Chapter 7.
…A prime reason for such inattention was a misreading of the history of constitutional amending.
Here again ERA supporters focused on the limited data of recent experience rather than the much
larger body of evidence available from taking a longer view. Since 1960, in addition to ERA, there
had been no fewer than eight major efforts to amend the Constitution. Four amendments were
added to the Constitution to deal with poll taxes, participation of the District of Columbia in
presidential elections, presidential death or disability, and suffrage for 18 to 21 year olds. At the
same time, other amendments failed that would have limited the power of the Supreme Court,
overturned its rulings regarding legislative apportionment and school prayers, and provided direct
popular election of the president. In every one of these cases, a notable struggle occurred in
Congress. Four times when the battle was won, states quickly ratified the amendments, all in less
than twenty months. In the other four instances, good reason existed to believe that states would
have ratified if Congress had approved an amendment. Thus little attention was given to the second
half of the Amendment V process [i.e., ratification by the state legislatures]. As a result neither
congressional sponsors, supporters such as NOW, nor anyone else prepared to campaign vigorously
for ERA ratification in the states.
…Following a century largely devoid of serious amending activity, save for the three Civil War
amendments forced on the South, the twentieth century had already produced twenty substantial
and often lengthy attempts at constitutional reform. The southern response had shaped the fate of
these amendment efforts. Only one of the eleven former Confederate states had ratified the Twentythird, or District of Columbia Presidential Voting Amendment, only two the Twenty­fourth or AntiPoll Tax Amendment. Earlier all but three held out against the Nineteenth, or Woman Suffrage
Amendment, and none ratified the Child Labor Amendment. Each of these amendments was
achieved with difficulty or, in the case of the Child Labor Amendment, not attained at all. But when
five of the southern states accepted the Seventeenth Amendment for direct election of senators, it
had more easily won adoption. Moreover, throughout the twentieth century, amendments sailed
through ratification when embraced by a majority of the southern states, as had been the case with
every other amendment from the Sixteenth in 1913 authorizing the income tax to the Twenty­sixth
in 1971 permitting eighteen­year­old suffrage. Furthermore, questionable amendment proposals,
such as Representative Louis Ludlow’s war referendum plan of the late 1930s as well as budget
balancing requirements and Senator John Bricker’s proposal to restrict presidential foreign policy
authority in the early 1950s, gained serious attention in no small measure due to southern support.
Every constitutional amendment proposal with southern backing had to be taken seriously; without
such underpinning any amendment became problematic and required almost universal endorsement
from non­southern states for adoption.
Theme: Communicating Historical Ideas | Learning Block 4-4: Final
Writing Plan
Up until now, you have been learning about the different components of your writing plan (and eventual
historical analysis essay) through the frame of historical case studies. Breaking down the paper into these
various components should make the final assessment seem less daunting when you submit the final
essay in Theme: Thinking About History, Learning Block 8­4.
A major step toward that final essay is your writing plan. Between the draft of your writing plan,
discussions with your classmates, and feedback from you instructor, you should have a writing plan that
is almost complete. You will finish it during this learning block, which will require outside, independent
work. You should plan to devote at least one hour to your writing plan in this learning block, and
possibly more, depending on how many revisions you need to make.
You will submit your final writing plan at the end of this learning block.
Learning Objectives
In this learning block, you will:
Study a sample writing plan
Work on your writing plan
Submit your final writing plan to your instructor
Sample Writing Plan
It is time to put the finishing touches on the writing plan for your historical event analysis essay.
Either way, the first step is to delete the section headings (e.g., Sources or Audience and Message).
Next, use transitional language—transitional words, phrases, or sentences—to guide the reader from one
section to the next. Transitions help smooth out your writing, by helping readers see the logical
connection between two sentences, paragraphs or sections; when readers see how the pieces of your
essay fit together logically, it’s easier for them to make the jump from one piece to another.
Your writing plan will consist of:
1. A brief description of your topic—that is, the historical event you have chosen to analyze
2. The research question you will attempt to answer in your essay
3. Some primary and secondary sources you plan to utilize
4. A working thesis statement and the message of your essay
5. The audience for your essay and a description of how you plan to communicate your ideas to
the chosen audience
Consider the following excerpt from a preliminary writing plan for an essay about the passage of the
Nineteenth Amendment:
One important secondary source is How the Vote Was Won: Woman Suf rage in
the Western United States, 1868 – 1914, by Rebecca J. Mead (New York: NYU
Press, 2004).
Another good secondary source is New Women of the New South: The Leaders
of the Woman Suf rage Movement in the Southern States, by Marjorie Wheeler
(Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1993).
A good transition will show the reader how these two sources relate to each other logically. For instance,
do they both tell similar stories, or do they deal with two different sets of circumstances? Note the
transitional sentence in bold italics:
One important secondary source is How the Vote Was Won: Woman Suf rage in
the Western United States, 1868 – 1914, by Rebecca J. Mead (New York: NYU
Press, 2004). While this valuable book explains the reasons for the suffrage
movement’s success in the Western states, it’s equally important to
understand why the cause of suffrage met such determined resistance in the
South. Another good secondary source, then, is New Women of the New South:
The Leaders of the Woman Suf rage Movement in the Southern States, by
Marjorie Wheeler (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1993).
Finally, add context and explanatory information. What makes your topic historically significant? Why
did you choose to use these particular sources—what unique insights do they provide? And how do they
help you to present your argument?
When you are done, you should have a document that looks something like the sample below—a sample
writing plan on the debate over ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Read it over as a reminder
of what’s expected in your own writing plan; pay particular attention to the sections on thesis statement,
audience, and message.
Jane Doe
HIS 200: Applied History
Southern New Hampshire University
April 12, 2016
Final Writing Plan
For my historical event analysis, I have chosen to focus on the
failure of the Equal Rights Amendment to win strong support from
Republican women during the mid­1970s.1 Despite decades of
institutional backing from the Republican Party and the strong and vocal
support of First Lady Betty Ford, the ERA was unable to attract clear­cut
support from GOP women, many of whom sided with ERA critic Phyllis
In looking at efforts by the national Republican leadership to
promote ratification of the ERA, I will pay particular attention to the highprofile advocacy many of the party’s “stars,” including Mrs. Ford.
Specifically, I will try to answer the following research question: Why
didn’t more Republican women respond to their party’s concerted ef orts
to build support for passage of the ERA?
The debate over the ERA highlighted the sharp differences between
the Republican Party’s conservative and moderate wings. And probably no
public figure of the time more clearly personified moderate Republicanism
than Betty Ford, whose controversial comments about marijuana,
contraception, and premarital sex attracted considerable media attention
during her husband’s presidency.
Did Mrs. Ford’s progressive attitudes on these issues, which
endeared her to many Democrats and liberals, affect her credibility with
Republicans and conservatives? Was the emergence of Phyllis Schlafly as
the ERA’s most visible opponent a reflection of grass­roots dissatisfaction
with the perceived moderate image of the Ford White House? How did the
Republican debate over the ERA reflect the larger Republican fight for the
1976 Presidential nomination between President Gerald Ford and
conservative challenger Ronald Reagan?
In researching the impact of Mrs. Ford’s public comments, the first
step is to look at the comments themselves. While Mrs. Ford spoke out
frequently on controversial topics, her October 1975 interview on 60
Minutes, the widely viewed CBS newsmagazine program, caused a real
sensation. A vital primary source, then, would be the transcript of her
August 10, 1975 interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer,
on file at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
In this interview, Mrs. Ford’s comments about abortion and premarital sex
generated widespread public commentary.
A fuller picture of Mrs. Schlafly’s emergence as the principal
opponent of the ERA—and the philosophical and ideological rationale for
her decision to take on the amendment—can be found in her own words.
Another important primary source, then, is Schlafly’s critique of modern
feminism, The Power of the Positive Woman (1977; New York: Arlington
While these primary sources illustrate the public and private
thinking of Betty Ford and Phyllis Schlafly, understanding the reaction to
their statements and private efforts requires scholarly analysis. One
valuable secondary source, then, is ” Competing conceptions of the first
ladyship: Public responses to Betty Ford’s 60 Minutes interview” a
detailed analysis of the reaction to the 60 Minutes interview by Maryanne
Borrelli (2001; Presidential Studies Quarterly Vol. 31, No. 3 (September
2001); 397­414).4 This scholarly article analyzes more than 1,400 letters
that Mrs. Ford received after the interview, almost 67 percent of which
expressed negative reactions.
Another extremely valuable secondary source is Republican
Women: Feminism and Conservatism From Suf rage Through the Rise of
the New Right, by Catherine Rymph (2006; Chapel Hill, NC: University of
North Carolina Press). This book includes an account of Phyllis Schlafly’s
decision not to make a public issue of Mrs. Ford’s comments, even as the
primary battle between Gerald Ford and Reagan was showing the
divisions in the Republican Party.
Based on my research to date, I will try to support the following
thesis: Even with the strong support of an extremely popular Republican
First Lady, the ERA could overcome neither the divisions within the
Republican Party, nor the conservative appeals of Phyllis Schlafly. 5
I plan to write this historical analysis for > an audience that is
already familiar with the history of the ERA, such as a seminar conducted
by the National Organization for Women.6 This is an audience that does
not need a great deal of background about the ERA itself, but one that
would be interested in new insights into the factors the ultimately led to its
In writing for this audience, I plan to focus on the larger political
divisions within the Republican Party that Mrs. Ford was not able to
bridge—but which Mrs. Schlafly was able to take advantage of. Without
devoting much time to the specifics of the ERA debate, with which my
audience is already quite familiar, I will attempt to place this debate within
the larger context of the Ford­Reagan contest, and the ongoing “culture
wars” within the Republican Party and the public­at­large.7
For this audience, my message will be a clear but perhaps
disappointing one: The problem was not that Betty Ford was too
controversial to rally Republican women to the cause; it’s that the
Republican Party was already too divided to come together behind this or
any other issue.8
1 The student describes her topic choice.
2 The student explains what research question she hopes to answer in her essay.
3 The student identifies some primary sources she plans to examine for her essay.
4 The student identifies some of the secondary sources she plans to use in the essay.
5 The student sets forth her working thesis statement. This statement could change, based on
subsequent research.
6 The student identifies the intended audience for her paper.
7 The student explains how she will communicate her message to her chosen audience.
8 The student lays out the message, tailored to her audience. Like her thesis statement, the
message could change, based on subsequent research.

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What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

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