- "Why is a woman to be treated differently? Woman suffrage will succeed, despite this miserable guerrilla opposition."
– Victoria Woodhull
- "Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less."
– Susan B. Anthony
The idea of extending the right to vote to more people than just the wealthy males is the basis of the first type of modern ideology, represented by its respective government: Democracy. This is by no means a new notion, of course; there are many examples of primitive republics where many citizens had the right to vote, and thus decide their own country's future. But during the Middle Ages such governments became extinct in most great empires, for various reasons.
In modern days instantaneous communications and the mass media allow people from all corners of an empire to be current on political events. This means that the old excuse - "You don't know what you're voting about" - becomes void. And the modern democracy is born.
Besides unlocking the government itself, this civic renders many Economic policies (primarily related to commerce) obsolete. It replaces them with modern ones - not only Economic, but also Diplomatic and Military - which are in all cases very powerful.
Suffrage – the odd notion that everyone in a democracy deserves to vote. Before the first of a series of reforms in 1832 AD in the United Kingdom, only 3% of the adult male population was “qualified” to vote. In general, both in the Americas and in Europe, the right to vote depended on how much one earned and the value of his property. Thus, the majority of people who could vote were both wealthy and male. Throughout the early 1800s idealists fought to extend the franchise to women, the un-wealthy, immigrants, and various minorities with some concessions won (such as the 1870 15th Amendment in the United States). But, largely, voting was still a white, middle-class, male privilege.
While the history of universal suffrage is a hodge-podge of reform movements and civil protests and editorial diatribes, the most visible (and noisy) were women’s efforts in the United States and Great Britain to get to vote. Although full female enfranchisement was still decades away in most places, there had been some brief instances of women having the vote: in Sweden-Finland 1718 to 1772, Corsica 1755 through 1769, and even in New Jersey in 1776 (it was rescinded in 1807).
In the United States, the campaign for women’s suffrage began in earnest in 1848 when a group of abolitionists, mostly women, gathered in Seneca Falls to discuss women’s rights in a democracy. The outcome, a significant – and sometimes violent – effort to gain the vote. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, following the flawed 1832 Reform Act, suffrage became a political topic, leading to the formation of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage in 1867 and the even more militant Women’s Social and Political Union in 1903. Although the process was delayed by the distraction of the First World War, in 1920 in the United States and in 1928 in the United Kingdom women were finally given full voting rights … well after New Zealand (1893) and Finland (1906).
- The Inspiration for Suffrage is likely a reference to the activism of the suffragette Kate M. Gordon, who encouraged women to vote in a 1899 New Orleans election to finance improvements to the sewage system.