Browse Social Movements

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Name Description Founding year Related works
Age of Consent Movement As part of a larger social purity campaign in the late nineteenth-century, women and men reformers initiated a movement in 1885 to petition legislators to raise the legal age at which girls could consent to sexual i... As part of a larger social purity campaign in the late nineteenth-century, women and men reformers initiated a movement in 1885 to petition legislators to raise the legal age at which girls could consent to sexual intercourse. Their goal was to prevent the sexual exploitation of young women by criminalizing sexual intercourse with them. By 1920 most states had raised the legal age of consent to either sixteen or eighteen. Reformers were mostly white middle-class women and the campaign drew support from the suffrage movement and women's groups including the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Show more Show less 1885 6
American Anti-Slavery Society Radical abolitionist organization committed to the immediate emancipation of slaves. Led by William Lloyd Garrison, the organization split in 1839 over the participation of women at antislavery conventions. Women co... Radical abolitionist organization committed to the immediate emancipation of slaves. Led by William Lloyd Garrison, the organization split in 1839 over the participation of women at antislavery conventions. Women continued to play a leading role in the Society until it disbanded in 1870, following the abolition of slavery and the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment providing suffrage for black men. Show more Show less 1833 9
American Association of University Women The American Association of University Women (AAUW) was founded in 1881 and today numbers over 100,000 members in the U. S. Local branches at the turn of the twentieth century focused on improving educational opport... The American Association of University Women (AAUW) was founded in 1881 and today numbers over 100,000 members in the U. S. Local branches at the turn of the twentieth century focused on improving educational opportunities. Today the association continues to promote education, address current political issues, and work with with similar international organizations. Show more Show less 1881 5
American Birth Control League Formed in 1921 at the First National Birth Control Conference, the ABCL was headed by Margaret Sanger until 1928. In its efforts to make contraception widely available, the ABCL allied with physicians in promoting b... Formed in 1921 at the First National Birth Control Conference, the ABCL was headed by Margaret Sanger until 1928. In its efforts to make contraception widely available, the ABCL allied with physicians in promoting bills at the state and federal levels that gave doctors the exclusive right to prescribe contraceptive devices. The ABCL opened the nation’s first legal birth control clinic in 1923. In 1926 membership was around 37,000. In 1939 the ABCL merged with an organization that in the 1940s became Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Show more Show less 1921 3
American Civil Liberties Union The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded in 1920 to protect personal freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. It grew out of a group that opposed U.S. participation in World War I and defended the rig... The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded in 1920 to protect personal freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. It grew out of a group that opposed U.S. participation in World War I and defended the rights of immigrants. Show more Show less 1920 9
American Equal Rights Association Equal Rights organization that lobbied for black and woman's suffrage and paid particular attention to the plight of black women. The Association's leaders worked to expand the attention paid to black male suffrage... Equal Rights organization that lobbied for black and woman's suffrage and paid particular attention to the plight of black women. The Association's leaders worked to expand the attention paid to black male suffrage in this period to women. The Association found that many abolitionists were willing to abandon woman suffrage on strategic grounds and focus their efforts entirely on winning the vote for black men. Show more Show less 1866 8
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations Founded in 1886, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) was a national organization that brought together skilled workers in a variety of crafts. The AFL's first president was Samuel Gompers who held the position fr... Founded in 1886, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) was a national organization that brought together skilled workers in a variety of crafts. The AFL's first president was Samuel Gompers who held the position from 1886 to 1924. In 1903 the Women’s Trade Union League was formed to organize women’s unions and encourage their affiliation with the AFL. In 1955 the AFL merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Show more Show less 1886 6
American Female Moral Reform Society The Society emerged in 1839 out of the New York Female Moral Reform Society and organized women to reform sexual mores and behavior. The organization published the Advocate of Moral Reform and sought to reform prost... The Society emerged in 1839 out of the New York Female Moral Reform Society and organized women to reform sexual mores and behavior. The organization published the Advocate of Moral Reform and sought to reform prostitutes and provide them training and occupational options. The group attacked the sexual double standard by exposing men who seduced women or frequented brothels. The Society was one of the leading organizations within the Female Moral Reform Movement (see below). In 1849 it was charted by the New York state legislature as the American Female Guardian Society and Home for the Friendless and continues in existence, though with a name change, as a neighborhood social service organization in the Bronx, New York. Show more Show less 1839 2
American Missionary Association Founded in 1839, the American Missionary Association (AMA) emerged from efforts to aid African slaves who mutinied on the Cuban slave vessel, the Amistad. The AMA was involved in a variety of programs including fore... Founded in 1839, the American Missionary Association (AMA) emerged from efforts to aid African slaves who mutinied on the Cuban slave vessel, the Amistad. The AMA was involved in a variety of programs including foreign missions for freedpeople before 1860, abolitionism, and the provision of teachers for post-civil war schools for freedpeople. Today it continues to provide education and social welfare for African Americans and other minority groups. Show more Show less 1839 4
American Woman Suffrage Association This wing of the woman suffrage movement was formed by New England women opposed to the policies of Stanton and Anthony. Led by Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe, the Association worked for the passage of the Fifteenth... This wing of the woman suffrage movement was formed by New England women opposed to the policies of Stanton and Anthony. Led by Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe, the Association worked for the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and aligned itself closely with the Republican party. The American and the National Woman Suffrage Association (see below) merged in 1890 to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (see entry below). Show more Show less 1869 10
Anti-Feminist Movement After Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, which gave women the right to vote, female anti-suffragists did not fade into political obscurity. Instead, a coalition of anti-suffragists organized a broad p... After Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, which gave women the right to vote, female anti-suffragists did not fade into political obscurity. Instead, a coalition of anti-suffragists organized a broad political movement to oppose expansion of social welfare programs and women's peace efforts, and to foster a political culture hostile to progressive female activists. Antifeminists sought to limit the social reform movements energized by progressive and feminist women in the 1920s. Show more Show less 1920 3
Anti-Lynching Crusaders The Anti-Lynching Crusaders, founded in 1922 under the aegis of the NAACP was largely a black women's organization that aimed to raise money to promote the passage of the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill and to prevent lynch... The Anti-Lynching Crusaders, founded in 1922 under the aegis of the NAACP was largely a black women's organization that aimed to raise money to promote the passage of the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill and to prevent lynching generally. The Dyer Bill was the first anti-lynching bill to be voted upon by the Senate, despite many earlier attempts by anti-lynching groups. Lynching did not become a federal offense until the passage of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1965. Show more Show less 1922 1
Anti-Lynching Movement Between 1880 and 1930 more than 3,200 African Americans were lynched in the South. Opposition to lynching grew after 1890 with black women like Ida B. Wells and Mary Church Terrell among the first Southerners to spe... Between 1880 and 1930 more than 3,200 African Americans were lynched in the South. Opposition to lynching grew after 1890 with black women like Ida B. Wells and Mary Church Terrell among the first Southerners to speak out. Women’s groups, including the largely Black Anti-Lynching Crusaders and the white Association of Southern Women to Prevent Lynching, played significant roles in the movement against lynching. Show more Show less 1890 8
Anti-Slavery Movement From the second decade of the nineteenth century until the abolition of black slavery in the United States in the 1860s, black and white women were significant actors in the anti-slavery movement. Women helped found... From the second decade of the nineteenth century until the abolition of black slavery in the United States in the 1860s, black and white women were significant actors in the anti-slavery movement. Women helped found the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) in 1833 as well as their own societies, such as the Oberlin Female Anti-Slavery Society. The status of women in the movement was often contentious and in 1839 the AASS divided in part because of the election of a woman, Abby Kelley Foster, to its business committee. The anti-slavery movement provided the setting for the emergence of the women’s rights movement as women abolitionists created new public spaces for themselves as public speakers. Notable women abolitionists include Lucretia Mott, Sarah and Angela Grimké, Abby Kelley Foster, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Show more Show less 1820 47
Anti-Sweatshop Movement From 1890 to 1915 reformers in every American city sought to eliminate the low wages, long hours and unsanitary working conditions of home-based tenement industries and crowded workshops called “sweatshops.” Pro... From 1890 to 1915 reformers in every American city sought to eliminate the low wages, long hours and unsanitary working conditions of home-based tenement industries and crowded workshops called “sweatshops.” Prominent in this movement were trade unionists and middle-class women’s organizations including the National Consumers’ Leagues founded in the 1890s, and women reformers like Florence Kelley who sought to encourage consumers, through their purchasing power, employers, through their work practices, and the government, through protective labor legislation, to eliminate sweating. Government responses to the anti-sweatshop campaign included the U.S. House of Representatives’ decision in 1893 to authorize the Committee on Manufactures to investigate “the effect of the so-called ‘sweating system’ of tenement-house labor.” Show more Show less 1890 5
Anti-Vietnam War Movement The movement against the American war in-Vietnam was particularly strong among college students who opposed the military draft that forced young men to fight in the war. Others opposed the claims that the U.S. was... The movement against the American war in-Vietnam was particularly strong among college students who opposed the military draft that forced young men to fight in the war. Others opposed the claims that the U.S. was involved in a democratic war to prevent the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia. After the U.S. increased the bombing of North Vietnam in 1965, others opposed the war’s brutal effects on civilians. The New Left created a popular base for the anti-war movement in organizations like the Students for Democratic Society (SDS), but religious groups carried the movement into middle America. Public dissatisfaction with the war pressed President Nixon to negotiate the Paris Peace Accords and end U.S. involvement in Vietnam in 1973. Show more Show less 1963 1
Association of Collegiate Alumnae The Association brought together college-educated women to advance the cause of higher education for women. Its goals included educational equity for women, equality for women, and internationalism. In 1921, its mer... The Association brought together college-educated women to advance the cause of higher education for women. Its goals included educational equity for women, equality for women, and internationalism. In 1921, its merger with the Southern Association of College Women led to the formation of the American Association of University Women [qv]. Show more Show less 1882 3
Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching Jessie Daniel Ames, head of the Woman’s Department in the Commission for Interracial Cooperation, called a meeting in November of 1930 that led to the formation of the Association of Southern Women to Prevent Lync... Jessie Daniel Ames, head of the Woman’s Department in the Commission for Interracial Cooperation, called a meeting in November of 1930 that led to the formation of the Association of Southern Women to Prevent Lynching. The Association organized middle- and upper-class white women to oppose lynching in their communities and throughout the South, often by congregating in large numbers where a lynching was rumored to be planned. In this organization white women created new places for themselves in Southern society. Membership in 1939 is said to have reached 40,000. Show more Show less 1930 2