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100 Years of the Nineteenth AmendmentAn Appraisal of Women's Political Activism$
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Holly J. McCammon and Lee Ann Banaszak

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190265144

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190265144.001.0001

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After Suffrage Comes Equal Rights?

After Suffrage Comes Equal Rights?

ERA as the Next Logical Step

(p.227) 10 After Suffrage Comes Equal Rights?
100 Years of the Nineteenth Amendment

Tracey Jean Boisseau

Tracy A. Thomas

Oxford University Press

A politicized culture and century-long debate over women’s nature and role may turn out to be the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)’s principal contribution to American feminism. Despite perceptions that an equal rights amendment was the next logical step following the Nineteenth Amendment, arguments broke out among feminist activists over whether an equal rights amendment would menace important legal victories, such as protective legislation for women’s employment. Yet even after other federal legislation quieted labor advocates’ concerns, virulent disagreement over an equal rights amendment among politicized women continued for years. Only in the late 1960s did politically active women come to embrace the ERA as a strategic goal. Even then the question of women’s differences from men—whether physical, psychological, or social—did not evaporate. Instead, new battle lines between progressive and newly organized conservative women were drawn in ways that doomed the amendment’s ratification chances.

Keywords:   legal history, women’s history, feminism, Muller v. Oregon, Lochner, Progressive labor legislation, Equal Rights Amendment, Alice Paul, National Woman’s Party, National Organization for Women

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