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Pros And Cons Of The Equal Rights Amendment

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The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was written in 1923 by Alice Paul. The purpose of the ERA was to ensure the equal application of the Constitution to all United States citizens, regardless of their sex. This is stated succinctly in the first section of the amendment: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”1 The ERA was proposed in every Congress between 1923 and 1972.2 In 1972, it was finally passed and sent to individual states for ratification. At the end of the ERA’s proposing clause in 1982, it had been ratified by 35 states, making it fall just short of the 38 required to put it into the constitution.3 As the political tide turned more conservative …show more content…
The debate against the ERA was two-fold: one part legal, and one part social7. The legal argument against the ERA came from congressmen that believed that the Fourteenth Amendment, which defined all citizens as ‘all persons born or naturalized in the United States’, provided women with enough guarantee of personhood, so the addition of another amendment to the constitution was unnecessary. The social argument against the Equal Rights Amendment was one that came from social conservatives who didn’t want to upset the status quo, and who considered equal right for women to be “a threat to the power structure” of the United States8. The ERA also faced significant opposition from organized labor groups. Leaders of these groups argued that an amendment like the ERA would result in the destruction of labor protections that had already been guaranteed to women, like shorter working hours and minimum wages. This divergence between groups was a symptom of the major class divide between the reformers and the female workers in the United States. It was due to these conflicts, and the financial and economic difficulties of the time, that interest in the ERA waned during the

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