The United States Constitution is quite possibly the worlds most famous social contract. The contract was created to be a living document with the ability to adjust it as the nation grew. It is a good thing too because one of the most powerful social contracts created did not take into consideration women or black men and women.
In 1920 the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote in the United States. For democracy to do what it is intended to do Govern the consented. A vote is a form of consent. When you vote for a certain policy or a leader with policies you are consenting to that leaders will and policies. If that leader pulls a “180” you can wait till the next voting cycle and vote against that leader and for a leader that better aligns with your world view.
Part of the reason the United States constitution works as well as it does is the right to consent to government. The Constitution was signed and adopted in 1787 that means women were governed in an unconsented manner for 133 years! The women’s suffrage movement worked tirelessly to make the 19th amendment happen. You can read about some of the heroes of the suffrage movement here. I remember when the U.S. Mint struck a coin with the image of Susan B. Anthony on it. Seeing that image made me read more about the woman and the movement. This is why history is so important. Our children need to understand that a social contract only works when all of society is involved in the contract and there were and are brave women out there fighting to secure and protect rights of everyone.
Today access to voting is being denied in the United States and the social contract is in danger again and there are women who are fighting for the right and opportunity to vote. When I think about the right to vote today in the United States I think about Stacey Abrams and her work to protect the vote. Stacey Abrams and her work to protect the vote in the United States is a Susan B. Anthony type of figure that we can point our children to and another role model to spotlight in March which is Women’s History Month.