Saturday, October 28, 2023

Lessons Learned from the Suffrage Movement By Donna Schlachter with Giveaway

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis -- Courtesy Wikipedia

In writing the second in my Suffrage Spinsters” series, Theresa’s Talent, I did plenty of research about the suffrage movement. I thought I’d share some lessons we might all take to heart, and that can be useful today:

1. Settle in for the long haul: the suffrage movement in America began in the 1850s and ended in 1920 with the ratification of Article 19, giving women the right to vote. That right had been extended by many states prior to this, including Colorado in 1893, Wyoming in 1869, and Utah in 1870. However, women couldn’t vote federally until much later. The Bible tells us to settle in for the long haul (1 Peter 5:10) and we see in the Old Testament that the prophet Jeremiah told the people that they should build houses, plant gardens, because it would be 70 years before they returned to Israel (Jeremiah 29:4-14) From this, we can find peace in knowing that whatever is in store, God has us safely in His hands.

2. Count the cost: The women who began campaigning for suffrage never dreamed it would take more than sixty years to accomplish their goal. Many of those who started in the 1850s were dead and gone before their sisters won that right. God also reminds us to count the cost before we begin any project, and even to count the cost of following Jesus (Luke 14:28-29). If we aren’t willing to invest whatever is needed to accomplish our goal, we should rethink our actions. Nobody wants to start and run out of money or steam before seeing the accomplishment of our goal.

3. Choose your companions wisely: Not every woman who said she stood for suffrage was truly supportive of women getting the right to vote. Many were planted in organizations and trade associations to spy on the movement. The Bible also tells us to choose wisely (Proverbs 16:28) because most often, we become like those we spend time with, to our detriment. We must also remember that the enemy comes disguised as an angel of light, seeking to deceive us.

4. Don’t dismiss small beginnings: The movement in the US to win suffrage began small, and moved at a snail’s pace. In fact, by the early 1900s, at the federal level, many members of the various unions and associations of suffragettes were tired of how long it was taking. They decided to employ civil disobedience to push the movement along faster, believing men would cave in. Instead, men dug in their heels all the more, and the movement lost many of their financial supporters, women in high society, who had provided money and influence in secret. The Bible also tells us that we are not to despise what might seem like small advances (Zechariah 4:10) but instead to focus on what the Lord is doing.

5. Consider how to help another along their path: Women began their fight for suffrage before the Civil War frees tens of thousands of Black Americans, of which about half were men. Before their emancipation, these folks were not considered worthy of voting. In fact, in the 1860s, before seeing success to get suffrage for white women, the movement was encouraged to step aside and allow the focus to fall on colored (non-white) men to achieve the same rights their white brothers did. This happened in 1870. The Bible also tells us we should think of others before ourselves (Philippians 2:3-5) This deference to bring success to their colored brothers resulted in a stronger unity among the women, as well as a grateful category of voters who understood what it meant to be oppressed and downtrodden.

The Preamble of the Wyoming Territory 1869 Grant for Women's Suffrage

As you can see, the Suffrage Movement provides many life lessons that we can apply even today, as all positive changes should.

Leave a comment to enter a random drawing for an ebook copy of Theresa's Talent. Cleverly disguise your email address so the 'bots don't get you. For example, donna AT livebytheword DOT com

You can purchase Theresa’s Talent here:

1970 USPS Stamp -- Wikipedia

About Theresa’s Talent:

Theresa, a former slave, wants two things: to own a business, and to vote. She excels at cooking and baking, so the first should be easy. The second? Already suffragettes had been working for twenty years—would she see it the law of the land in her lifetime?

Toby, a freeman now working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, loves the sense of adventure and justice that being a private investigator brings. But when he sees justice failing for a white man, he can’t stand idly by and do nothing. Even if it means putting himself in danger.

But, is he willing to put another in the same position?

About Donna:

A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than 60 times in books; is a member of several writers groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both, and is an avid oil painter. She is taking all the information she’s learned along the way about the writing and publishing process, and is coaching writers at any stage of their manuscript. Learn more at Check out her coaching group on FB:

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  1. Thank you for posting today. I have read a couple of books with the beginnings of the suffrage movement as their basis, and I find them very interesting. With so much focus on what people think they lack nowadays, we all forget how blessed we truly are. Your book sounds good! Thank you for offering it. bcrug AT twc DOTcom

  2. Hi, Donna. I enjoyed the history lesson. Thanks for the chance to win a book prize.