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Word Count: 928
Women were a poor unarmed and disenfranchised class when they first organized to gain political power in the mid-1800s The struggle for the ballot took over 70 years of constant determined campaigning yet it didnt take a single life and its achievement has lasted Compare this with male-led independence movements such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars Without firing a shot throwing a rock or issuing a personal threat women won for themselves rights that men have launched violent rebellions to achieve But it should not deceive us this struggle was waged every bit as seriously as any struggle for equality and we would do well to consider how women were able to do what men have rarely even tried changing society in a positive and lasting way without violence and death Women won the vote They were not given it granted it or anything else They won it as truly as any political campaign is ultimately won or lost And they won it repeatedly by the slimmest of margins which only underscores the difficulty and magnitude of their victories In the successful California referendum of 1911 the margin was one vote per precinct In the House suffrage passed the first time by exactly the number needed In the Senate it passed by two votes The ratification in Tennessee the last state passed the legislature in 1920 by a single vote at the very last minute during a recount The movements many nonviolent strategies deserve closer inspection particularly because they repeatedly offered suffragists the way out of strategic binds dead ends discouragements and immobility Like the now-celebrated civil rights movement women suffrage records the recent and useful experiences of ordinary citizens forced to fight for their own rights against tremendous odds and social inequities The suffrage movement was not a united movement It was a coalition of different people and organizations that worked together for a few intense years around the common goal
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