You are browsing the archive for Mary Elliott Flannery.

by Syle

Overcoming Politics

September 17, 2010 in 1920s-30s, Political history

After reading Rebecca Hanly’s article on Cromwell and Flannery (“Emma Guy Cromwell and Mary Elliott Flannery: Pioneers for Women in Kentucky Politics,” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 99, Summer 2001, pp. 287-301) it made me stop to think about, not only how much the accomplished, but how much they had to continue to overcome throughout their successful careers and lives. To me it seems like after becoming the first two women to be elected into high political office, they would have been able to gain some respect. While to some people they might have, they never stopped having to overcome objectors, and those that as Hanly put it “not ready for women in public office”. Yet this never stopped them from achieving their goals, which shows how courageous and strong of women they really were. No matter how great of a feat they overcame, it seemed there was just another obstacle waiting for them. Flanery for example became the first woman elected to the southern state legislature, an amazing accomplishment, and was received with comments like “Flanery’s victory was mostly a feat of heredity”. This seemed to only push her harder though and make her even stronger. Not everybody was against it however, and she was named “as a possible candidate for the speakership of the lower house”. To me this shows that although Flanery (as well as Cromwell) were up against what seemed to be impossible odds at times, women were gaining political power due to the courage and leadership shown by women like Flanery and Cromwell. I do not believe they did it for themselves either, but more for all women to gain the respect that they deserved. Flanery shows this when she said “All I want to do is serve my constituents in the manner in which they wished to be served”.  While overcoming so much throughout their careers, these two women were very influential to women all over and for their rights.

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