Frances Willard

By: Jessica Jasitt


I was born in September of 1839 in Churchville, New York. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, my family relocated to several different states. Before women started having many rights, such as the right to vote, they basically stayed at home and took care of their house and family. Women were always considered "the weaker sex." In America in the 1870s there was tons of violence. Many people were having their wages cut and worked in poor conditions. In fact, there were many violent strikes and battles breaking out everywhere. I heard that in Pennsylvania some miners were going around setting buildings on fire! There was also a huge railroad strike in some states. Although most women stayed at home during the day, some did work in sweatshops. They had to work long and hard hours and then go home and take care of their family. One good thing that came out of the 1870s was the Married Women's Property Act. Before this law, the woman's husband would be allowed to have the money that she made or got through inheritance. With this act, women were now allowed to keep their own money and it didn't have to go directly to their husband.

Frances Willard
Frances Willard
This is a picture of a woman cooking in her kitchen in the 1800s
This is a picture of a woman cooking in her kitchen in the 1800s

Women working in a factory
Women working in a factory

This is a commical picture showing who really is the weaker sex
This is a commical picture showing who really is the weaker sex

The railroad strike that happened in the 1870s
The railroad strike that happened in the 1870s

1873 Miners strike
1873 Miners strike

I was very involved with women's suffrage and the Temperance Movement. The Temperance Movement was to try to eliminate alcohol consumption. This was a major cause of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Finally, the WCTU took on women's suffrage as another cause. An important event in my life was when I became the president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. My reasoning was that local elections reguarding alcohol would impact women so they should be able to vote in these elections. My tactic for getting change was saying "We will make the world more home-like." This was instead of using moral tactics like some women leaders did before me. I also transformed the Woman's Christian Temperance Union from being a small group into a national and international organization.
Votes for Women
Votes for Women
Women's suffrage march
Women's suffrage march
Women's suffrage movement
Women's suffrage movement

Woman's Christian Temperance Union Pledge
Woman's Christian Temperance Union Pledge
Women's_suffrage.jpg
Another women's suffrage march


I have had many successes and failures in my life. One of my successes was becoming the president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. This union did many things to help women gain more rights and even get the right to vote. Also, I was one of the many people to fought to pass the 18th amendment- prohibition. I helped pass the 19th amendment as well. This gave women the right to vote. Although I have had many successes, I have had many failures as well. I tried to join the Prohibition Party, the People's Party, and Bellamy's Nationalists. Unfortunately, this did not work out. Also, a few decades after my death, the 18th amendment was repealed. The 19th amendment still holds true though. I think that I have caused a great amount of change in America. I may have even changed the way that some men view women. The next decade to come after my death was the roaring 20s. In the 20s there were women called flappers who cut their hair short, wore more "revealing" clothing, and decided that they were tired of just being at home all the time. Hopefully in the generations to come, women won't be considered "the weaker sex" and women will be able to step up and hold political positions in office.

Frances Willard on a postage stamp
Frances Willard on a postage stamp
A Flapper from the 1920s
A Flapper from the 1920s
Bahrain-women.jpg
Women in another country who got to vote for the first time