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The Art of Mort Künstler / The American Spirit / Coming of Age

Here you will find a pictorial chronicle of the drama and excitement of American History. These paintings give the viewer an insight into the tumultuous life of this young nation that mere words cannot achieve.

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Historical Information
When in 1840 two intrepid American young women, Lucrecia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, went to London to participate in a World Anti-Slavery Convention only to find that they were not allowed to speak or even to sit in the convention itself, but were relegated to the gallery. Outraged, they returned to America, determined not only to free Blacks from slavery, but women from semi-slavery.

Their first step in that direction came in 1848 when they organized the famous Seneca Falls, New York, convention, which in the language of the Declaration of Independence arraigned the tyranny of men over women, and called for "immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States."

That immediate recognition was a long time coming. Finally, in 1869, the Territory of Wyoming led the way by granting women suffrage; gradually, other states followed, mostly those in the West. By the time for the First World War, thirteen states had adopted women's suffrage. Clearly the demand for equality could no longer be denied: women served alongside men as nurses during the war and, even more importantly, took over many jobs - in both industry and the office - left untended when the men to war. By 1917, New York joined the roster of states embracing women's suffrage, and victory was in sight.

Confronting a reluctant Congress, women followed the example set by the suffragettes of England. They paraded, agitated, demonstrated, went on hunger strikes, and chained themselves to the White House fences. Belatedly - and even reluctantly - President Wilson came out on their side "as a war measure," and in the summer of 1919 Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which stated that "the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied by the United States, or by any State on account of sex."

Thereafter, notwithstanding implacable hostility in most of the southern states, the amendment was ratified by three-fourths of the states in record time; on August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the Constitution.

Date Created: 1987

Medium: Oil on canvas

Image Size: 19" x 25"


All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2020. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.