Despite what some people who look at the past through those rose-colored glasses would like to think, society's ideas about democracy have changed. In the early years of the Republic, it was widely accepted that only property owners (i.e., not the poor) - and white, male, Protestant ones, at that - should have the vote. Universal suffrage - the idea that the vote is the right of every adult citizen, regardless of race, religion, class, gender, or ethnicity - has been a long time coming. You wouldn't have to look hard to find people who still don't agree that it's a good idea.
Those of us old enough to remember the 1950s and '60s can recall not only the fight for racial civil rights, but the push to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 (the 26th Amendment, enacted in 1971).
For week 13, we salute universal suffrage with Everybody's Favorite:
We've touched on week 14's theme, women's right to property, before, while discussing child custody. Once married, a woman's property normally became her husband's. It wasn't until the Married Women's Property Act of 1870 that English women retained their rights to property and money (including inheritances and wages) throughout their lives. Similar laws affected American women, as well.
While the laws may have changed in the 19th century, society took a long time to catch up. When I was a young bride in 1973, it was both uncommon and difficult for women to establish credit or obtain a mortgage without her husband's consent.
So here's the Bride's Knot: