Some new information about the first wave of the women’s rights movement in the United States doesn’t appear to be earth shattering at first glance. That’s why cradle rockers, writers and bloggers are following The key to an application today is buried in the text but it’s there nonetheless.

Work by researchers such as Brooke Kroeger in The Suffragents: How Women Used Men to Get the Vote (2017) trace the history of men’s involvement in the women’s rights movement. This has been buried for decades, according to the author. The men’s allies joined and participated on the request of women and worked closely with them for years. They didn’t take over the movement, but rather worked in support of it. In the beginning, the men allies had social and political clout. Over time this support became broader and extremely helpful, especially behind the scenes.

One of those following this trend on the local and personal level is Marguerite Kearns when writing about her grandfather, Wilmer R. Kearns. He marched in the men’s division of suffrage parades in NYC and Washington, DC. In addition, he devoted years after his wife Edna Buckman Kearns’ death in 1934 to preserve the “Spirit of 1776” wagon she used to preserve this important freedom symbol.

Brooke Kroeger notes in her study of the men allies or suffragents that such public support by men of women’s concerns and issues is unprecedented in US history, then as well as now. This is something to consider today as the women’s movement is encountering road blocks in its struggle to put equal rights as a guarantee in the US Constitution. Where are the men supporters? A quick study of the men’s movements today shows both opposition and support. Those covering or writing about 2020, the 100th anniversary of the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, will find numerous occasions to raise this issue. is a public service in preparation for 2020 when women presidential candidates, men’s support, and the centennial of women voting and other issues to the center stage.


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