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Women's suffrage in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Women's suffragists parade in New York City in 1917, carrying placards with the signatures of more than a million women.[1]
Women's suffragists parade in New York City in 1917, carrying placards with the signatures of more than a million women.[1]

Women's suffrage in the United States of America, the legal right of women to vote, was established over the course of more than half a century, first in various states and localities, sometimes on a limited basis, and then nationally in 1920.

The demand for women's suffrage began to gather strength in the 1840s, emerging from the broader movement for women's rights. In 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention, passed a resolution in favor of women's suffrage despite opposition from some of its organizers, who believed the idea was too extreme. By the time of the first National Women's Rights Convention in 1850, however, suffrage was becoming an increasingly important aspect of the movement's activities.

The first national suffrage organizations were established in 1869 when two competing organizations were formed, one led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the other by Lucy Stone. After years of rivalry, they merged in 1890 as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) with Anthony as its leading force. The Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), which was the largest women's organization at that time, was established in 1873 and also pursued women's suffrage, giving a huge boost to the movement.[2][3]

Hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court would rule that women had a constitutional right to vote, suffragists made several attempts to vote in the early 1870s and then filed lawsuits when they were turned away. Anthony actually succeeded in voting in 1872 but was arrested for that act and found guilty in a widely publicized trial that gave the movement fresh momentum. After the Supreme Court ruled against them in 1875 (Minor v. Happersett), suffragists began the decades-long campaign for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would enfranchise women. Much of the movement's energy, however, went toward working for suffrage on a state-by-state basis.

In 1916 Alice Paul formed the National Woman's Party (NWP), a militant group focused on the passage of a national suffrage amendment. Over 200 NWP supporters, the Silent Sentinels, were arrested in 1917 while picketing the White House, some of whom went on hunger strike and endured forced feeding after being sent to prison. Under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, the two-million-member NAWSA also made a national suffrage amendment its top priority. After a hard-fought series of votes in the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures, the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920. It states, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

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  • Women's Suffrage: Crash Course US History #31
  • Fighting for the Vote- Women's Suffrage in America Part 1
  • The fight for the right to vote in the United States - Nicki Beaman Griffin
  • Women's Suffrage in the 20th Century
  • Fighting for the Vote- Women's Suffrage in America Part 2


Episode 31: Feminism and Suffrage Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course U.S. history and today we’re going to talk about women in the progressive era. My God, that is a fantastic hat. Wait, votes for women?? So between Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson, and all those doughboys headed off to war, women in this period have sort of been footnoted shockingly.. Mr. Green, Mr. Green. I’d NEVER make a woman a footnote. She’d be the center of my world, my raison d’etre, my joie de vivre. Oh, Me from the Past. I’m reminded of why you got a C+ in French 3. Let me submit to you, Me from the Past, that your weird worship of women is a kind of misogyny because you’re imagining women as these beautiful, fragile things that you can possess. It turns out that women are not things. They are people in precisely the same way that you are a person and in the progressive era, they demanded to be seen as full citizens of the United States. In short, women don’t exist to be your joie de vivre. They get to have their own joie de vivre. intro So, it’s tempting to limit ourselves to discussion of women getting the right to vote with the passage of the 19th amendment, but if we focus too much on the constitutional history, we’re gonna miss a lot. Some historians refer to the thirty years between 1890 and 1920 as the “women’s era” because it was in that time that women started to have greater economic and political opportunities. Women were also aided by legal changes, like getting the right to own property, control their wages and make contracts and wills. By 1900 almost 5 million women worked for wages, mainly in domestic service or light manufacturing, like the garment industry. Women in America were always vital contributors to the economy as producers and consumers and they always worked, whether for wages or taking care of children and the home. And as someone who has recently returned from paternity leave, let me tell you, that ain’t no joke. And American women were also active as reformers since, like, America became a thing. And those reform movements brought women into state and national politics before the dawn of the progressive era. Unfortunately, their greatest achievement, Prohibition, was also our greatest national shame. Oh, yeah, alright, okay. It’s actually not in our top 5 national shames. But, probably women’s greatest influence indeed came through membership AND leadership in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. The WCTU was founded in 1874 and by 1890 it had 150,000 members, making it the largest female organization in the United States. Under the leadership of Frances Willard, the WCTU embraced a broad reform agenda. Like it included pushing for the right for women to vote. The feeling was that the best way to stop people from drinking was to pass local laws that made it harder to drink, and to do that it would be very helpful if women could vote. Because American men were a bunch of alcoholic scoundrels who darn well weren’t going to vote to get rid of beer hoses. In 1895 Willard boldly declared, “A wider freedom is coming to the women of America. Too long has it been held that woman has no right to enter these movements (…) Politics is the place for woman.” But the role of women in politics did greatly expand during the Progressive era. As in prior decades, many reformers were middle and upper class women, but the growing economy and the expansion of what might be called the upper-middle class meant that there were more educational opportunities and this growing group of college-educated women leaned in and became the leaders of new movements. Sorry, there was no way I was gonna get through this without one “lean in.” I love that book. So as we’ve talked about before, the 1890s saw the dawning of the American mass consumer society and many of the new products made in the second wave of industrialization were aimed at women, especially “labor-saving” devices like washing machines. If you’ve ever had an infant, you might notice that they poop and barf on everything all the time. Like, I recently called the pediatrician and I was like, “My 14-day-old daughter poops fifteen times a day.” And he was like, “If anything, that seems low.” So the washing machine is a real game-changer. And many women realized that being the primary consumers who did the shopping for the home gave them powerful leverage to bring about change. Chief among these was Florence Kelley, a college-educated woman who after participating in a number of progressive reform causes came to head the National Consumers League. The League sponsored boycotts and shaped consumption patterns encouraging consumers to buy products that were made without child or what we now would call sweatshop labor. Which at the time was often just known as “labor.” And there was also a subtle shift in gender roles as more and more women worked outside the home. African American women continued to work primarily as domestic servants or in agriculture, and immigrant women mostly did low-paying factory labor, but for native-born white women there were new opportunities, especially in office work. And this points to how technology created opportunities for women. Like, almost all the telephone operators in the U.S. were women. By 1920 office workers and telephone operators made up 25% of the female workforce, while domestic servants were only 15%. A union leader named Abraham Bisno remarked that working gave immigrant women a sense of independence: “They acquired the right to personality, something alien to the highly patriarchal family structures of the old country.” Of course this also meant that young women were often in conflict with their parents, as a job brought more freedom, money, and perhaps, if they were lucky, a room of one’s own. Oh, it’s time for the Mystery Document? Please let it be Virginia Woolf, please let it be Virginia Woolf. The rules here are simple. I guess the author of the Mystery Document. I’m either right or I get shocked. Alright, let’s see what we’ve got. “The spirit of personal independence in the women of today is sure proof that a change has come … the radical change in the economic position of women is advancing upon us… The growing individualization of democratic life brings inevitable changes to our daughters as well as to our sons … One of its most noticeable features is the demand in women not only for their own money, but for their own work for the sake of personal expression. Few girls today fail to manifest some signs of the desire for individual expression …” Well, that’s not Virginia Woolf. Stan, I’m going to be honest, I do not know the answer to this one. However, it has been Woodrow Wilson for the last two weeks. You wouldn’t do that again to me, or would you? I’m gonna guess Woodrow Wilson. Final answer. DANG IT. Charlotte Perkins Gilman in the book Women and Economics? What? Aaaaaah! The idea that having a job is valuable just for the independence that it brings and as a form of “individual expression” was pretty radical, as most women, and especially most men, were not comfortable with the idea that being a housewife was similar to being a servant to one’s husband and children. But of course that changes when staying at home becomes one of many choices rather than your only available option. And then came birth control. Huzzah! Women who needed to work wanted a way to limit the number of pregnancies. Being pregnant and having a baby can make it difficult to hold down a job and also babies are diaper-using, stuff-breaking, consumptive machines. They basically eat money. And we love them. But birth control advocates like Margaret Sanger and Emma Goldman also argued that women should be able to enjoy sex without having children. To which men said, “Women can enjoy sex?” Believe it or not, that was seen as a pretty radical idea and it lead to changes in sexual behavior including more overall skoodilypooping. Goldman was arrested more than 40 times for sharing these dangerous ideas about female sexuality and birth control and she was eventually deported. Sanger, who worked to educate working class women about birth control, was sentenced to prison in 1916 for opening a clinic in Brooklyn that distributed contraceptive devices to poor immigrant women. The fight over birth control is important for at least three reasons. First, it put women into the forefront of debates about free speech in America. I mean, some of the most ardent advocates of birth control were also associated with the IWW and the Socialist Party. Secondly, birth control is also a public health issue and many women during the progressive era entered public life to bring about changes related to public health, leading the crusade against tuberculosis, the so-called White Plague, and other diseases. Thirdly, it cut across class lines. Having or not having children is an issue for all women, regardless of whether they went to college, and the birth control movement brought upper, middle, and lower class women together in ways that other social movements never did. Another group of Progressive women took up the role of addressing the problems of the poor and spearheaded the Settlement House movement. The key figure here was Jane Addams. My God, there are still Adamses in American history? Oh, she spells it Addams-family-Addams, not like founding-fathers-Adams. Anyway, she started Hull House in Chicago in 1889. Settlement houses became the incubators of the new field of social work, a field in which women played a huge part. And Addams became one of America’s most important spokespeople for progressive ideas. And yet in many places, while all of this was happening, women could not technically vote. But their increasing involvement in social movements at the turn of the 20th century led them to electoral politics. It’s true that women were voting before the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920. Voting is a state issue, and in many western states, women were granted the right to vote in the late 19th century. States could also grant women the right to run for office, which explains how the first Congresswoman, Jeannette Rankin, could vote against America’s entry into World War I in 1917. That said, the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment is a big deal in American history. It’s also a recent deal. Like, when my grandmothers were born, women could not vote in much of the United States. The amendment says that states cannot deny people the right to vote because they are women, which isn’t as interesting as the political organization and activity that led to its passage. Alright, let’s go to the Thought Bubble. The suffrage movement was extremely fragmented. There was a first wave of suffrage, exemplified by the women at Seneca Falls, and this metamorphosed into the National American Women’s Suffrage Association, or NAWSA. Most of the leadership of NAWSA was made up of middle to upper class women, often involved in other progressive causes, who unfortunately sometimes represented the darker side of the suffrage movement. Because these upper class progressives frequently used nativist arguments to make their claims for the right to vote. They argued that if the vote could be granted to ignorant immigrants, some of whom could barely speak English, then it should also be granted to native born women. This isn’t to say that the elitist arguments won the day, but they should be acknowledged. By the early 20th century a new generation of college-educated activists had arrived on the scene. And many of these women were more radical than early suffrage supporters. They organized the National Women’s Party and, under the leadership of Alice Paul, pushed for the vote using aggressive tactics that many of the early generation of women’s rights advocates found unseemly. Paul had been studying in Britain between 1907 and 1910 where she saw the more militant women’s rights activists at work. She adopted their tactics that included protests leading to imprisonment and loud denunciations of the patriarchy that would make tumblr proud. And during World War I she compared Wilson to the Kaiser and Paul and her followers chained themselves to the White House fence. The activists then started a hunger strike during their 7-month prison sentence and had to be force-fed. Woodrow Wilson had half-heartedly endorsed women’s suffrage in 1916, but the war split the movement further. Most suffrage organizations believed that wartime service would help women earn respect and equal rights. But other activists, like many Progressives, opposed the war and regarded it as a potential threat to social reform. But, in the end, the war did sort of end up helping the cause. Patriotic support of the war by women, especially their service working in wartime industries, convinced many that it was just wrong to deny them the right to vote. And the mistreatment of Alice Paul and other women in prison for their cause created outrage that further pushed the Wilson administration to support enfranchising women. Thanks, Thought Bubble. So, women’s long fight to gain the right to vote ended with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. But, in some ways, the final granting of the franchise was a bit anti-climactic. For one thing, it was overshadowed by the 18th Amendment, Prohibition, which affected both women and men in large numbers. Also Gatsbys. You could say a lot of bad things about Prohibition, and I have, but the crusade against alcohol did galvanize and politicize many women, and organizations such as the WCTU and the Anti-Saloon League introduced yet more to political activism. But, while the passage of the 19th amendment was a huge victory, Alice Paul and the National Women’s Party were unable to muster the same support for an Equal Rights Amendment. Paul believed that women needed equal access to education and employment opportunities. And here they came into contact with other women’s groups, especially the League of Women Voters and the Women’s Trade Union League, which opposed the ERA fearing that equal rights would mean an unraveling of hard-won benefits like mother’s pensions and laws limiting women’s hours of labor. So, the ERA failed, and then another proposed amendment that would have given Congress the power to limit child labor won ratification in only 6 states. So in many ways the period between 1890 and 1920, which roughly corresponds to the Progressive Era, was the high tide of women’s rights and political activism. It culminated in the ratification of the 19th amendment, but the right to vote didn’t lead to significant legislation that actually improved the lives of women, at least not for a while. Nor were there immediate changes in the roles that women were expected to play in the social order as wives and mothers. Still, women were able to increase their autonomy and freedom in the burgeoning consumer marketplace. But it’s important to note that like other oppressed populations in American history, women weren’t given these rights, they had to fight for the rights that were said to be inalienable. And we are all better off for their fight and for their victory. Women’s liberation is to be sure a complicated phrase and it will take a new turn in the Roaring 20s, which we’ll talk about next week. I’ll see you then. Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller. Our script supervisor is Meredith Danko. The associate producer is Danica Johnson. The show is written by my high school history teacher, Raoul Meyer, Rosianna Rojas, and myself. And our graphics team is Thought Café. Every week there’s a new caption to the Libertage. You can suggest captions in comments where you can also ask questions about today’s video that will be answered by our team of historians. Thanks for watching Crash Course and as we say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome. I’m gonna go this way, Stan, just kiiidding! Suffrage -


National history

Early voting activity

Lydia Taft (1712–1778), a wealthy widow, was allowed to vote in town meetings in Uxbridge, Massachusetts in 1756.[4] No other women in the colonial era are known to have voted.

The New Jersey constitution of 1776 enfranchised all adult inhabitants who owned a specified amount of property. Laws enacted in 1790 and 1797 referred to voters as "he or she", and women regularly voted. A law passed in 1807, however, excluded women from voting in that state.[5]

Kentucky passed the first statewide woman suffrage law in the New Republic Era (since New Jersey revoked their woman suffrage rights in 1807) – allowing any widow or feme sole (legally, the head of household) over 21 who paid property taxes for the new county "common school" system. This partial suffrage rights for women was not expressed as for whites only.[6]

Emergence of the women's rights movement

Margaret Fuller
Margaret Fuller

The demand for women's suffrage[7] emerged as part of the broader movement for women's rights. In England in 1792 Mary Wollstonecraft wrote a pioneering book called A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.[8] In Boston in 1838 Sarah Grimké published The Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women, which was widely circulated.[9] In 1845 Margaret Fuller published Woman in the Nineteenth Century, a key document in American feminism that first appeared in serial form in 1839 in The Dial, a transcendentalist journal that Fuller edited.[10]

"The very truths you are now contending for, will, in fifty years, be so completely imbedded in public opinion that no one need say one word in their defense; whilst at the same time new forms of truth will arise to test the faithfulness of the pioneer minds of that age, and so on eternally."

Angela Grimké, 1851, in a letter to Elizabeth Cady Stanton[11]

Significant barriers had to be overcome, however, before a campaign for women's suffrage could develop significant strength. One barrier was strong opposition to women's involvement in public affairs, a practice that was not fully accepted even among reform activists. Only after fierce debate were women accepted as members of the American Anti-Slavery Society at its convention of 1839, and the organization split at its next convention when women were appointed to committees.[12]

Opposition was especially strong against the idea of women speaking to audiences of both men and women. Frances Wright, a Scottish woman, was subjected to sharp criticism for delivering public lectures in the U.S. in 1826 and 1827. When the Grimké sisters, who had been born into a slave-holding family in South Carolina, spoke against slavery throughout the northeast in the mid-1830s, the ministers of the Congregational Church, a major force in that region, published a statement condemning their actions. Despite the disapproval, in 1838 Angelina Grimké spoke against slavery before the Massachusetts legislature, the first woman in the U.S. to speak before a legislative body.[13]

Other women began to give public speeches, especially in opposition to slavery and in support of women's rights. Early female speakers included Ernestine Rose, a Jewish immigrant from Poland; Lucretia Mott, a Quaker minister and abolitionist; and Abby Kelley Foster, a Quaker abolitionist.[14] Toward the end of the 1840s Lucy Stone launched her career as a public speaker, soon becoming the most famous female lecturer.[15] Supporting both the abolitionist and women's rights movements, Stone played a major role in reducing the prejudice against women speaking in public.[16]

Opposition remained strong, however. A regional women's rights convention in Ohio in 1851 was disrupted by male opponents.[17] The National Women's Rights Convention in 1852 was similarly disrupted, and mob action at the 1853 convention came close to violence.[18] The World's Temperance Convention in New York City in 1853 bogged down for three days in a dispute about whether women would be allowed to speak there.[19] Susan B. Anthony, a leader of the suffrage movement, later said, "No advanced step taken by women has been so bitterly contested as that of speaking in public. For nothing which they have attempted, not even to secure the suffrage, have they been so abused, condemned and antagonized."[20]

Laws that sharply restricted the independent activity of married women also created barriers to the campaign for women's suffrage. According to William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, an authoritative commentary on the English common law on which the American legal system is modeled, "by marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage",[21] referring to the legal doctrine of coverture that was introduced to England by the Normans in the Middle Ages. In 1862 the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court denied a divorce to a woman whose husband had horsewhipped her, saying, "The law gives the husband power to use such a degree of force necessary to make the wife behave and know her place."[22] Married women in many states could not legally sign contracts, which made it difficult for them to arrange for convention halls, printed materials and other things needed by the suffrage movement.[23] Restrictions like these were overcome in part by the passage of married women's property laws in several states, supported in some cases by wealthy fathers who didn't want their daughters' inheritance to fall under the complete control of their husbands.

Sentiment in favor of women's rights was strong within the radical wing of the abolitionist movement. William Lloyd Garrison, the leader of the American Anti-Slavery Society, said "I doubt whether a more important movement has been launched touching the destiny of the race, than this in regard to the equality of the sexes".[24] The abolitionist movement, however, attracted only about one per cent of the population at that time, and radical abolitionists were only one part of that movement.[25]

Early backing for women's suffrage

The New York State Constitutional Convention of 1846 received petitions in support of women's suffrage from residents of at least three counties.[26]

Several members of the radical wing of the abolitionist movement supported suffrage. In 1846, Samuel J. May, a Unitarian minister and radical abolitionist, vigorously supported women's suffrage in a sermon that was later circulated as the first in a series of women's rights tracts.[27] In 1846, the Liberty League, an offshoot of the abolitionist Liberty Party, petitioned Congress to enfranchise women.[28] A convention of the Liberty Party in Rochester, New York in May 1848 approved a resolution calling for "universal suffrage in its broadest sense, including women as well as men."[29] Gerrit Smith, its candidate for president, delivered a speech shortly afterwards at the National Liberty Convention in Buffalo, New York that elaborated on his party's call for women's suffrage. Lucretia Mott was suggested as the party's vice-presidential candidate—the first time that a woman had been proposed for federal executive office in the U.S.—and she received five votes from delegates at that convention.[30]

Early women's rights conventions

Women's suffrage was not a major topic within the women's rights movement at that point. Many of its activists were aligned with the Garrisonian wing of the abolitionist movement, which believed that activists should avoid political activity and focus instead on convincing others of their views with "moral suasion".[31] Many were Quakers whose traditions barred both men and women from participation in secular political activity.[32] A series of women's rights conventions did much to alter these attitudes.

Seneca Falls convention

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The first women's rights convention was the Seneca Falls Convention, a regional event held on July 19 and 20, 1848, in Seneca Falls in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Five women called the convention, four of whom were Quaker social activists, including the well-known Lucretia Mott. The fifth was Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who had discussed the need to organize for women's rights with Mott several years earlier.[33] Stanton, who came from a family that was deeply involved in politics, became a major force in convincing the women's movement that political pressure was crucial to its goals, and that the right to vote was a key weapon.[34] An estimated 300 women and men attended this two-day event, which was widely noted in the press.[35] The only resolution that was not adopted unanimously by the convention was the one demanding women's right to vote, which was introduced by Stanton. When her husband, a well-known social reformer, learned that she intended to introduce this resolution, he refused to attend the convention and accused her of acting in a way that would turn the proceedings into a farce. Lucretia Mott, the main speaker, was also disturbed by the proposal. The resolution was adopted only after Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist leader and a former slave, gave it his strong support.[36] The convention's Declaration of Sentiments, which was written primarily by Stanton, expressed an intent to build a women's rights movement, and it included a list of grievances, the first two of which protested the lack of women's suffrage.[37] The grievances were aimed at the United States government "demanded government reform and changes in male roles and behaviors that promoted inequality for women."[38]

This convention was followed two weeks later by the Rochester Women's Rights Convention of 1848, which featured many of the same speakers and likewise voted to support women's suffrage. It was the first women's rights convention to be chaired by a woman, a step that was considered to be radical at the time.[39] That meeting was followed by the Ohio Women's Convention at Salem in 1850, the first women's rights convention to be organized on a statewide basis, which also endorsed women's suffrage.[40]

National conventions

The first in a series of National Women's Rights Conventions was held in Worcester, Massachusetts on October 23–24, 1850, at the initiative of Lucy Stone and Paulina Wright Davis.[41] National conventions were held afterwards almost every year through 1860, when the Civil War (1861–1865) interrupted the practice.[42] Suffrage was a preeminent goal of these conventions, no longer the controversial issue it had been at Seneca Falls only two years earlier.[43] At the first national convention Stone gave a speech that included a call to petition state legislatures for the right of suffrage.[44]

Reports of this convention reached Britain, prompting Harriet Taylor, soon to be married to philosopher John Stuart Mill, to write an essay called "The Enfranchisement of Women," which was published in the Westminster Review. Heralding the women's movement in the U.S., Taylor's essay helped to initiate a similar movement in Britain. Her essay was reprinted as a women's rights tract in the U.S. and was sold for decades.[45][46]

Lucy Stone
Lucy Stone

Wendell Phillips, a prominent abolitionist and women's rights advocate, delivered a speech at the second national convention in 1851 called "Shall Women Have the Right to Vote?" Describing women's suffrage as the cornerstone of the women's movement, it was later circulated as a women's rights tract.[47]

Several of the women who played leading roles in the national conventions, especially Stone, Anthony and Stanton, were also leaders in establishing women's suffrage organizations after the Civil War.[48] They also included the demand for suffrage as part of their activities during the 1850s. In 1852 Stanton advocated women's suffrage in a speech at the New York State Temperance Convention.[49] In 1853 Stone became the first woman to appeal for women's suffrage before a body of lawmakers when she addressed the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention.[50] In 1854 Anthony organized a petition campaign in New York State that included the demand for suffrage. It culminated in a women's rights convention in the state capitol and a speech by Stanton before the state legislature.[51] In 1857 Stone refused to pay taxes on the grounds that women were taxed without being able to vote on tax laws. The constable sold her household goods at auction until enough money had been raised to pay her tax bill.[52]

The women's rights movement was loosely structured during this period, with few state organizations and no national organization other than a coordinating committee that arranged the annual national conventions.[53] Much of the organizational work for these conventions was performed by Stone, the most visible leader of the movement during this period.[54] At the national convention in 1852, a proposal was made to form a national women's rights organization, but the idea was dropped after fears were voiced that such a move would create cumbersome machinery and lead to internal divisions.[55]

Anthony-Stanton collaboration

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton met in 1851 and soon became close friends and co-workers. Their decades-long collaboration was pivotal for the suffrage movement and contributed significantly to the broader struggle for women's rights, which Stanton called "the greatest revolution the world has ever known or ever will know."[56] They had complementary skills: Anthony excelled at organizing while Stanton had an aptitude for intellectual matters and writing. Stanton, who was homebound with several children during this period, wrote speeches that Anthony delivered to meetings that she herself organized.[57] Together they developed a sophisticated movement in New York State,[58] but their work at this time dealt with women's issues in general, not specifically suffrage. Anthony, who eventually became the person most closely associated in the public mind with women's suffrage,[59] later said "I wasn't ready to vote, didn't want to vote, but I did want equal pay for equal work."[60] In the period just before the Civil War, Anthony gave priority to anti-slavery work over her work for the women's movement.[61]

Women's Loyal National League

Over Anthony's objections, leaders of the movement agreed to suspend women's rights activities during the Civil War in order to focus on the abolition of slavery.[62] In 1863 Anthony and Stanton organized the Women's Loyal National League, the first national women's political organization in the U.S.[63] It collected nearly 400,000 signatures on petitions to abolish slavery in the largest petition drive in the nation's history up to that time.[64]

Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony

Although it was not a suffrage organization, the League made it clear that it stood for political equality for women,[65] and it indirectly advanced that cause in several ways. Stanton reminded the public that petitioning was the only political tool available to women at a time when only men were allowed to vote.[66] The League's impressive petition drive demonstrated the value of formal organization to the women's movement, which had traditionally resisted organizational structures,[67] and it marked a continuation of the shift of women's activism from moral suasion to political action.[64] Its 5000 members constituted a widespread network of women activists who gained experience that helped create a pool of talent for future forms of social activism, including suffrage.[68]

American Equal Rights Association

The Eleventh National Women's Rights Convention, the first since the Civil War, was held in 1866, helping the women's rights movement regain the momentum it had lost during the war.[69] The convention voted to transform itself into the American Equal Rights Association (AERA), whose purpose was to campaign for the equal rights of all citizens, especially the right of suffrage.[70]

In addition to Anthony and Stanton, who organized the convention, the leadership of the new organization included such prominent abolitionist and women's rights activists as Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone and Frederick Douglass. Its drive for universal suffrage, however, was resisted by some abolitionist leaders and their allies in the Republican Party, who wanted women to postpone their campaign for suffrage until it had first been achieved for male African Americans. Horace Greeley, a prominent newspaper editor, told Anthony and Stanton, "This is a critical period for the Republican Party and the life of our Nation... I conjure you to remember that this is 'the negro's hour,' and your first duty now is to go through the State and plead his claims."[71] They and others, including Lucy Stone, refused to postpone their demands, however, and continued to push for universal suffrage.

In April 1867 Stone and her husband Henry Blackwell opened the AERA campaign in Kansas in support of referenda in that state that would enfranchise both African Americans and women.[72] Wendell Phillips, an abolitionist leader who opposed mixing those two causes, surprised and angered AERA workers by blocking the funding that the AERA had expected for their campaign.[73] After an internal struggle, Kansas Republicans decided to support suffrage for black men only and formed an "Anti-Female Suffrage Committee" to oppose the AERA's efforts.[74] By the end of summer the AERA campaign had almost collapsed, and its finances were exhausted. Anthony and Stanton were harshly criticized by Stone and other AERA members for accepting help during the last days of the campaign from George Francis Train, a wealthy businessman who supported women's rights. Train antagonized many activists by attacking the Republican Party, which had won the loyalty of many reform activists, and openly disparaging the integrity and intelligence of African Americans.[75]

After the Kansas campaign, the AERA increasingly divided into two wings, both advocating universal suffrage but with different approaches. One wing, whose leading figure was Lucy Stone, was willing for black men to achieve suffrage first, if necessary, and wanted to maintain close ties with the Republican Party and the abolitionist movement. The other, whose leading figures were Anthony and Stanton, insisted that women and black men be enfranchised at the same time and worked toward a politically independent women's movement that would no longer be dependent on abolitionists for financial and other resources. The acrimonious annual meeting of the AERA in May 1869 signaled the effective demise of the organization, in the aftermath of which two competing woman suffrage organizations were created.[76]

New England Woman Suffrage Association

Petition from the citizens of Massachusetts in support of woman suffrage
Petition from the citizens of Massachusetts in support of woman suffrage

Partly as a result of the developing split in the women's movement, in 1868 the New England Woman Suffrage Association (NEWSA), the first major political organization in the U.S. with women's suffrage as its goal, was formed.[77] The planners for the NEWSA's founding convention worked to attract Republican support and seated leading Republican politicians, including a U.S. senator, on the speaker's platform.[78] Amid increasing confidence that the Fifteenth Amendment, which would in effect enfranchise black men, was assured of passage, Lucy Stone, a future president of the NEWSA, showed her preference for enfranchising both women and African Americans by unexpectedly introducing a resolution calling for the Republican Party to "drop its watchword of 'Manhood Suffrage'"[79] and to support universal suffrage instead. Despite opposition by Frederick Douglass and others, Stone convinced the meeting to approve the resolution.[80] Two months later, however, when the Fifteenth Amendment was in danger of becoming stalled in Congress, Stone backed away from that position and declared that "Woman must wait for the Negro."[81]

The Fifteenth Amendment

In May 1869, two days after the final AERA annual meeting, Anthony, Stanton and others formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). In November 1869, Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, Henry Blackwell and others, many of whom had helped to create the New England Woman Suffrage Association a year earlier, formed the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). The hostile rivalry between these two organizations created a partisan atmosphere that endured for decades, affecting even professional historians of the women's movement.[82]

Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass

The immediate cause for the split was the proposed Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a reconstruction amendment that would prohibit the denial of suffrage because of race. Stanton and Anthony opposed its passage unless it was accompanied by another amendment that would prohibit the denial of suffrage because of sex.[83] They said that by effectively enfranchising all men while excluding all women, the amendment would create an "aristocracy of sex" by giving constitutional authority to the idea that men were superior to women.[84] Male power and privilege was at the root of society's ills, Stanton argued, and nothing should be done to strengthen it.[85] Anthony and Stanton also warned that black men, who would gain voting power under the amendment, were overwhelmingly opposed to women's suffrage.[86] They were not alone in being unsure of black male support for women's suffrage. Frederick Douglass, a strong supporter of women's suffrage, said, "The race to which I belong have not generally taken the right ground on this question."[87] Douglass, however, strongly supported the amendment, saying it was a matter of life and death for former slaves. Lucy Stone, who became the AWSA's most prominent leader, supported the amendment but said she believed that suffrage for women would be more beneficial to the country than suffrage for black men.[88] The AWSA and most AERA members also supported the amendment.[89]

Both wings of the movement were strongly associated with opposition to slavery, but their leaders sometimes expressed views that reflected the racial attitudes of that era. Stanton, for example, believed that a long process of education would be needed before what she called the "lower orders" of former slaves and immigrant workers would be able to participate meaningfully as voters.[85] In an article in The Revolution, Stanton wrote, "American women of wealth, education, virtue and refinement, if you do not wish the lower orders of Chinese, Africans, Germans and Irish, with their low ideas of womanhood to make laws for you and your daughters ... demand that women too shall be represented in government."[90] In another article she made a similar statement while personifying those four ethnic groups as "Patrick and Sambo and Hans and Yung Tung".[91] Lucy Stone called a suffrage meeting in New Jersey to consider the question, "Shall women alone be omitted in the reconstruction? Shall [they] ... be ranked politically below the most ignorant and degraded men?"[92] Henry Blackwell, Stone's husband and an AWSA officer, published an open letter to Southern legislatures assuring them that if they allowed both blacks and women to vote, "the political supremacy of your white race will remain unchanged" and "the black race would gravitate by the law of nature toward the tropics."[93]

The AWSA aimed for close ties with the Republican Party, hoping that the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment would lead to a Republican push for women's suffrage.[94] The NWSA, while determined to be politically independent, was critical of the Republicans. Anthony and Stanton wrote a letter to the 1868 Democratic National Convention that criticized Republican sponsorship of the Fourteenth Amendment (which granted citizenship to black men but for the first time introduced the word "male" into the Constitution), saying, "While the dominant party has with one hand lifted up two million black men and crowned them with the honor and dignity of citizenship, with the other it has dethroned fifteen million white women—their own mothers and sisters, their own wives and daughters—and cast them under the heel of the lowest orders of manhood."[95][96] They urged liberal Democrats to convince their party, which did not have a clear direction at that point, to embrace universal suffrage.[97]

The two organizations had other differences as well. Although each campaigned for suffrage at both the state and national levels, the NWSA tended to work more at the national level and the AWSA more at the state level.[98] The NWSA initially worked on a wider range of issues than the AWSA, including divorce reform and equal pay for women. The NWSA was led by women only while the AWSA included both men and women among its leadership.[99]

Events soon removed much of the basis for the split in the movement. In 1870 debate about the Fifteenth Amendment was made irrelevant when that amendment was officially ratified. In 1872 disgust with corruption in government led to a mass defection of abolitionists and other social reformers from the Republicans to the short-lived Liberal Republican Party.[100] The rivalry between the two women's groups was so bitter, however, that a merger proved to be impossible until 1890.

New Departure

In 1869 Francis and Virginia Minor, husband and wife suffragists from Missouri, outlined a strategy that came to be known as the New Departure, which engaged the suffrage movement for several years.[101] Arguing that the U.S. Constitution implicitly enfranchised women, this strategy relied heavily on Section 1 of the recently adopted Fourteenth Amendment,[102] which reads, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Votes for Women pennant
Votes for Women pennant

In 1871 the NWSA officially adopted the New Departure strategy, encouraging women to attempt to vote and to file lawsuits if denied that right. Soon hundreds of women tried to vote in dozens of localities. In some cases, actions like these preceded the New Departure strategy: in 1868 in Vineland, New Jersey, a center for radical spiritualists, nearly 200 women placed their ballots into a separate box and attempted to have them counted, but without success. The AWSA did not officially adopt the New Departure strategy, but Lucy Stone, its leader, attempted to vote in her home town in New Jersey.[103] In one court case resulting from a lawsuit brought by women who had been prevented from voting, the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., ruled that women did not have an implicit right to vote, declaring that, "The fact that the practical working of the assumed right would be destructive of civilization is decisive that the right does not exist."[104]

In 1871 Victoria Woodhull, a stockbroker, was invited to speak before a committee of Congress, the first woman to do so. Although she had little previous connection to the women's movement, she presented a modified version of the New Departure strategy. Instead of asking the courts to declare that women had the right to vote, she asked Congress itself to declare that the Constitution implicitly enfranchised women. The committee rejected her suggestion.[105] The NWSA at first reacted enthusiastically to Woodhull's sudden appearance on the scene. Stanton in particular welcomed Woodhull's proposal to assemble a broad-based reform party that would support women's suffrage. Anthony opposed that idea, wanting the NWSA to remain politically independent. The NWSA soon had reason to regret its association with Woodhull. In 1872 she published details of a purported adulterous affair between Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, president of the AWSA, and Elizabeth Tilton, wife of a leading NWSA member.[106] Beecher's subsequent trial was reported in newspapers across the country, resulting in what one scholar has called "political theater" that badly damaged the reputation of the suffrage movement.[107]

The Supreme Court in 1875 put an end to the New Departure strategy by ruling in Minor v. Happersett that "the Constitution of the United States does not confer the right of suffrage upon anyone".[108] The NWSA decided to pursue the far more difficult strategy of campaigning for a constitutional amendment that would guarantee voting rights for women.[109]

United States v. Susan B. Anthony

In a case that generated national controversy, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting in the presidential election of 1872. The judge directed the jury to deliver a guilty verdict. When he asked Anthony, who had not been permitted to speak during the trial, if she had anything to say, she responded with what one historian has called "the most famous speech in the history of the agitation for woman suffrage".[102] She called "this high-handed outrage upon my citizen's rights", saying, "... you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored."[110] The judge sentenced Anthony to pay a fine of $100, she responded, "I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty", and she never did.[102] However the judge did not order her to be imprisoned until she paid the fine, for Anthony could have appealed her case.[108]

History of Woman Suffrage

In 1876 Anthony, Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage began working on the History of Woman Suffrage. Originally envisioned as a modest publication that would be produced quickly, the history evolved into a six-volume work of more than 5700 pages written over a period of 41 years. Its last two volumes were published in 1920, long after the deaths of the project's originators, by Ida Husted Harper, who also assisted with the fourth volume. Written by leaders of one wing of the divided women's movement (Lucy Stone, their main rival, refused to have anything to do with the project), the History of Woman Suffrage preserves an enormous amount of material that might have been lost forever, but it does not give a balanced view of events where their rivals are concerned. Because it was for years the main source of documentation about the suffrage movement, historians have had to uncover other sources to provide a more balanced view.[111]

Introduction of the women's suffrage amendment

In 1878 Senator Aaron A. Sargent, a friend of Susan B. Anthony, introduced into Congress a women's suffrage amendment. More than forty years later it would become the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution with no changes to its wording. Its text is identical to that of the Fifteenth Amendment except that it prohibits the denial of suffrage because of sex rather than "race, color, or previous condition of servitude".[112]

It Doesn't Unsex Her–a women's suffrage postcard from 1915
It Doesn't Unsex Her–a women's suffrage postcard from 1915

Early female candidates for national office

Calling attention to the irony of being legally entitled to run for office while denied the right to vote, Elizabeth Cady Stanton declared herself a candidate for the U.S. Congress in 1866, the first woman to do so.[113] In 1872 Victoria Woodhull formed her own political party and declared herself to be its candidate for President of the U.S. even though she was ineligible because she was not yet 35 years old.[114]

In 1884 Belva Ann Lockwood, the first female lawyer to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, became the first woman to conduct a viable campaign for president.[115] She was nominated, without her advance knowledge, by a California group called the Equal Rights Party. Lockwood advocated women's suffrage and other reforms during a coast-to-coast campaign that received respectful coverage from at least some major periodicals. She financed her campaign partly by charging admission to her speeches. Neither the AWSA nor the NWSA, both of whom had already endorsed the Republican candidate for president, supported Lockwood's candidacy.[116]

Initial successes

An act of the Territory of Wyoming enfranchised women on December 10, 1869, which is commemorated as Wyoming Day in the state.
An act of the Territory of Wyoming enfranchised women on December 10, 1869, which is commemorated as Wyoming Day in the state.

Women were enfranchised in frontier Wyoming Territory in 1869 and in polygamous Utah in 1870.[117][118] The short-lived Populist Party endorsed women's suffrage, contributing to the enfranchisement of women in Colorado in 1893 and Idaho in 1896.[119] In some localities, women gained various forms of partial suffrage, such as voting for school boards.[120] According to a 2018 study in The Journal of Politics, states with large suffrage movements and competitive political environments were more likely to extend voting rights to women; this is one reason why Western states were quicker to adopt women's suffrage than states in the East.[121]

In the late 1870s, the suffrage movement received a major boost when the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the largest women's organization in the country, decided to campaign for suffrage and created a Franchise Department to support that effort. Frances Willard, its pro-suffrage leader, urged WCTU members to pursue the right to vote as a means of protecting their families from alcohol and other vices.[122] In 1886 the WCTU submitted to Congress petitions with 200,000 signatures in support of a national suffrage amendment.[123] In 1885 the Grange, a large farmers' organization, officially endorsed women's suffrage.[124] In 1890 the American Federation of Labor, a large labor alliance, endorsed women's suffrage and subsequently collected 270,000 names on petitions supporting that goal.[125]


Merger of rival suffrage organizations

The AWSA, which was especially strong in New England, was initially the larger of the two rival suffrage organizations, but it declined in strength during the 1880s.[126] Stanton and Anthony, the leading figures in the competing NWSA, were more widely known as leaders of the women's suffrage movement during this period and were more influential in setting its direction.[127] They sometimes used daring tactics. Anthony, for example, interrupted the official ceremonies of the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Declaration of Independence to present the NWSA's Declaration of Rights for Women. The AWSA declined any involvement in the action.[128]

Susan B. Anthony in 1900
Susan B. Anthony in 1900

Over time, the NWSA moved into closer alignment with the AWSA, placing less emphasis on confrontational actions and more on respectability, and no longer promoting a wide range of reforms.[129] The NWSA's hopes for a federal suffrage amendment were frustrated when the Senate voted against it in 1887, after which the NWSA put more energy into campaigning at the state level, as the AWSA was already doing.[130] Work at the state level, however, also had its frustrations. Between 1870 and 1910, the suffrage movement conducted 480 campaigns in 33 states just to have the issue of women's suffrage brought before the voters, and those campaigns resulted in only 17 instances of the issue actually being placed on the ballot.[131] These efforts led to women's suffrage in two states, Colorado and Idaho.

Alice Stone Blackwell, daughter of AWSA leaders Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell, was a major influence in bringing the rival suffrage leaders together, proposing a joint meeting in 1887 to discuss a merger. Anthony and Stone favored the idea, but opposition from several NWSA veterans delayed the move. In 1890 the two organizations merged as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).[132] Stanton was president of the new organization, and Stone was chair of its executive committee, but Anthony, who had the title of vice president, was its leader in practice, becoming president herself in 1892 when Stanton retired.[133]

National American Woman Suffrage Association

Although Anthony was the leading force in the newly merged organization, it did not always follow her lead. In 1893 the NAWSA voted over Anthony's objection to alternate the site of its annual conventions between Washington and various other parts of the country. Anthony's pre-merger NWSA had always held its conventions in Washington to help maintain focus on a national suffrage amendment. Arguing against this decision, she said she feared, accurately as it turned out, that the NAWSA would engage in suffrage work at the state level at the expense of national work.[134]

Stanton, elderly but still very much a radical, did not fit comfortably into the new organization, which was becoming more conservative. In 1895 she published The Woman's Bible, a controversial best-seller that attacked the use of the Bible to relegate women to an inferior status. The NAWSA voted to disavow any connection with the book despite Anthony's objection that such a move was unnecessary and hurtful. Stanton afterwards grew increasingly alienated from the suffrage movement.[135]

Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt

The suffrage movement declined in vigor during the years immediately after the 1890 merger.[136] When Carrie Chapman Catt was appointed head of the NAWSA's Organization Committee in 1895, it wasn't clear how many local chapters the organization had or who their officers were. Catt began revitalizing the organization, establishing a plan of work with clear goals for every state every year. Anthony was impressed and arranged for Catt to succeed her when she retired from the presidency of the NAWSA in 1900. In her new post Catt continued her effort to transform the unwieldy organization into one that would be better prepared to lead a major suffrage campaign.[137]

Catt noted the rapidly growing women's club movement, which was taking up some of the slack left by the decline of the temperance movement. Local women's clubs at first were mostly reading groups focused on literature, but they increasingly evolved into civic improvement organizations of middle-class women meeting in each other's homes weekly. Their national organization was the General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC), founded in 1890. The clubs avoided controversial issues that would divide the membership, especially religion and prohibition. In the South and East, suffrage was also highly divisive, while there was little resistance to it among clubwomen in the West. In the Midwest, clubwomen had first avoided the suffrage issue out of caution, but after 1900 increasingly came to support it.[138] Catt implemented what was known as the "society plan," a successful effort to recruit wealthy members of the women's club movement whose time, money and experience could help build the suffrage movement.[139] By 1914 women's suffrage was endorsed by the national General Federation of Women's Clubs.[140]

Catt resigned her position after four years, partly because of her husband's declining health and partly to help organize the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, which was created in Germany, Berlin in 1904 with Catt as president.[141] In 1904 Anna Howard Shaw, another Anthony protégée, was elected president of the NAWSA. Shaw was an energetic worker and a talented orator but not an effective administrator. Between 1910 and 1916 the NAWSA's national board experienced a constant turmoil that endangered the existence of the organization.[142]

Although its membership and finances were at all-time highs, the NAWSA decided to replace Shaw by bringing Catt back once again as president in 1915. Authorized by the NAWSA to name her own executive board, which previously had been elected by the organization's annual convention, Catt quickly converted the loosely structured organization into one that was highly centralized.[143]

MacKenzie v. Hare

Section 3 of the Expatriation Act of 1907 provided for loss of citizenship by American women who married aliens.[144] The Supreme Court of the United States first considered the Expatriation Act of 1907 in the 1915 case MacKenzie v. Hare. The plaintiff, a suffragist named Ethel MacKenzie, was living in California, which since 1911 had extended the franchise to women. However, she had been denied voter registration by the respondent in his capacity as a Commissioner of the San Francisco Board of Election on the grounds of her marriage to a Scottish man.[145] MacKenzie contended that the Expatriation Act of 1907 "if intended to apply to her, is beyond the authority of Congress", as neither the Fourteenth Amendment nor any other part of the Constitution gave Congress the power to "denationalize a citizen without his concurrence". However, Justice Joseph McKenna, writing the majority opinion, stated that while "[i]t may be conceded that a change of citizenship cannot be arbitrarily imposed, that is, imposed without the concurrence of the citizen", but "[t]he law in controversy does not have that feature. It deals with a condition voluntarily entered into, with notice of the consequences." Justice James Clark McReynolds, in a concurring opinion, stated that the case should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.[146]

Opposition to women's suffrage

Brewers and distillers, typically rooted in the German American community, opposed women's suffrage, fearing that women voters would favor the prohibition of alcoholic beverages.[147] German Lutherans and German Catholics typically opposed prohibition and woman suffrage; they favored paternalistic families with the husband deciding the family position on public affairs.[148][149] Their opposition to women's suffrage was subsequently used as an argument in favor of suffrage when German Americans became pariahs during World War I.[150]

Defeat could lead to allegations of fraud. After the defeat of the referendum for women's suffrage in Michigan in 1912, the governor accused the brewers of complicity in widespread electoral fraud that resulted in its defeat. Evidence of vote stealing was also strong during referenda in Nebraska and Iowa.[151]

Headquarters of the National Association Opposed to  Woman Suffrage.
Headquarters of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage.

Some other businesses, such as southern cotton mills, opposed suffrage because they feared that women voters would support the drive to eliminate child labor.[152] Political machines, such as Tammany Hall in New York City, opposed it because they feared that the addition of female voters would dilute the control they had established over groups of male voters. By the time of the New York State referendum on women's suffrage in 1917, however, some wives and daughters of Tammany Hall leaders were working for suffrage, leading it to take a neutral position that was crucial to the referendum's passage.[153][154] Although the Catholic Church did not take an official position on suffrage, very few of its leaders supported it, and some of its leaders, such as Cardinal Gibbons, made their opposition clear.[155][156]

The New York Times after first supporting suffrage reversed itself and issued stern warnings. A 1912 editorial predicted that with suffrage women would make impossible demands, such as, "serving as soldiers and sailors, police patrolmen or firemen...and would serve on juries and elect themselves to executive offices and judgeships." It blamed a lack of masculinity for the failure of men to fight back, warning women would get the vote "if the men are not firm and wise enough and, it may as well be said, masculine enough to prevent them.".[157]

Women against suffrage

Anti-suffrage forces, initially called the "remonstrants", organized as early as 1870 when the Woman's Anti-Suffrage Association of Washington was formed.[158] Widely known as the "antis", they eventually created organizations in some twenty states. In 1911 the National Association Opposed to Women's Suffrage was created. It claimed 350,000 members and opposed women's suffrage, feminism, and socialism. It argued that woman suffrage "would reduce the special protections and routes of influence available to women, destroy the family, and increase the number of socialist-leaning voters."[159]

Middle and upper class anti-suffrage women were conservatives with several motivations. Society women in particular had personal access to powerful politicians, and were reluctant to surrender that advantage. Most often the antis believed that politics was dirty and that women's involvement would surrender the moral high ground that women had claimed, and that partisanship would disrupt local club work for civic betterment, as represented by the General Federation of Women's Clubs.[160] The best organized movement was the New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NYSAOWS). Its credo, as set down by its president Josephine Jewell Dodge, was:

We believe in every possible advancement to women. We believe that this advancement should be along those legitimate lines of work and endeavor for which she is best fitted and for which she has now unlimited opportunities. We believe this advancement will be better achieved through strictly non-partisan effort and without the limitations of the ballot. We believe in Progress, not in Politics for women.[161]

The NYSAOWS New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage used grass roots mobilization techniques they had learned from watching the suffragists to defeat the 1915 referendum. They were very similar to the suffragists themselves, but used a counter-crusading style warning of the evils that suffrage would bring to women. They rejected leadership by men and stressed the importance of independent women in philanthropy and social betterment. NYSAOWS was narrowly defeated in New York in 1916 and the state voted to give women the vote. The organization moved to Washington to oppose the federal constitutional amendment for suffrage, becoming the "National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage" (NAOWS), where it was taken over by men, and assumed a much harsher rhetorical tone, especially in attacking "red radicalism". After 1919 the antis adjusted smoothly to enfranchisement and became active in party affairs, especially in the Republican Party.[162]

Southern strategy

Vote for the Woman Suffrage Amendment, 1915
Vote for the Woman Suffrage Amendment, 1915
A promotional map of the woman's suffrage movement in the U.S. and Canada by 1917. The U.S. states and Canadian provinces that had adopted suffrage are colored white (or dotted and crosses, in case of partial suffrage) and the others black.
A promotional map of the woman's suffrage movement in the U.S. and Canada by 1917. The U.S. states and Canadian provinces that had adopted suffrage are colored white (or dotted and crosses, in case of partial suffrage) and the others black.

The Constitution required 34 states (three-fourths of the 45 states in 1900) to ratify an amendment, and unless the rest of the country was unanimous there had to be support from the 11 ex-Confederate states. Three more western territories became states by 1912, helping the suffragist cause; they now needed 36 states out of 48. In the end Tennessee provided the critical 36th state.[163] The South was the most conservative region and always gave the least support for suffrage. There was little or no suffrage activity in the region until the late nineteenth century.[164] Aileen S. Kraditor identifies four distinctly Southern characteristics that were in play: 1) Southern white men held to traditional values regarding women's public roles; 2) the Solid South was tightly controlled by the Democratic Party, so playing the two parties against each other was not a feasible strategy; 3) strong support for states' rights meant there was automatic opposition to a federal constitutional amendment; 4) Jim Crow attitudes meant that expansion of the black vote (to black women) was strongly opposed.[165]

Mildred Rutherford, president of the Georgia United Daughters of the Confederacy and a leaders of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage made clear the opposition of elite white women to suffrage in a 1914 speech to the state legislature:

The women who are working for this measure are striking at the principle for which their fathers fought during the Civil War. Woman's suffrage comes from the North and the West and from women who do not believe in state's rights and who wish to see negro women using the ballot. I do not believe the state of Georgia has sunk so low that her good men can not legislate for women. If this time ever comes then it will be time for women to claim the ballot.[166]

Elna Green points out that, "Suffrage rhetoric claimed that enfranchised women would outlaw child labor, pass minimum-wage and maximum-hours laws for women workers, and establish health and safety standards for factory workers." The threat of these reforms united planters, textile mill owners, railroad magnates, city machine bosses, and the liquor interest in a formidable combine against suffrage.[167]

Henry Blackwell, an officer of the AWSA before the merger and a prominent figure in the movement afterwards, urged the suffrage movement to follow a strategy of convincing southern political leaders that they could ensure white supremacy in their region without violating the Fifteenth Amendment by enfranchising educated women, who would predominantly be white. Shortly after Blackwell presented his proposal to the Mississippi delegation to the U.S. Congress, his plan was given serious consideration by the Mississippi Constitutional Convention of 1890, whose main purpose was to find legal ways of further curtailing the political power of African Americans. Although the convention adopted other measures instead, the fact that Blackwell's ideas were taken seriously drew the interest of many suffragists.[168]

Blackwell's ally in this effort was Laura Clay, who convinced the NAWSA to launch a state-by-state campaign in the South based on Blackwell's strategy. Clay was one of several southern NAWSA members who opposed the idea of a national women's suffrage amendment on the grounds that it would impinge on states' rights. (A generation later Clay campaigned against the pending national amendment during the final battle for its ratification.) Amid predictions by some proponents of this strategy that the South would lead the way in the enfranchisement of women, suffrage organizations were established throughout the region. Anthony, Catt and Blackwell campaigned for suffrage in the South in 1895, with the latter two calling for suffrage only for educated women. With Anthony's reluctant cooperation, the NAWSA maneuvered to accommodate the politics of white supremacy in that region. Anthony asked her old friend Frederick Douglass, a former slave, not to attend the NAWSA convention in Atlanta in 1895, the first to be held in a southern city. Black NAWSA members were excluded from 1903 convention in the southern city of New Orleans, which marked the peak of this strategy's influence.[169]

The leaders of the Southern movement were privileged upper-class belles with a strong position in high society and in church affairs. They tried to use their upscale connections to convince powerful men that suffrage was a good idea to purify society. They also argued that giving white women the vote would more than counterbalance giving the vote to the smaller number of black women.[170] No southern state enfranchised women as a result of this strategy, however, and most southern suffrage societies that were established during this period lapsed into inactivity. The NAWSA leadership afterwards said it would not adopt policies that "advocated the exclusion of any race or class from the right of suffrage."[171] Nonetheless NAWSA reflected its white membership's viewpoint by minimizing the role of black suffragists. At the 1913 suffrage march on Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, a leader in the African American community, was asked to march in an all-black contingent to avoid upsetting white southern marchers. When the march got underway, however, she slipped into the ranks of the contingent from Illinois, her home state, and completed the march in the company of white supporters.[172]

New Woman

Official program of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913. In the actual march, the woman on horseback was Inez Milholland.[173]
Official program of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913. In the actual march, the woman on horseback was Inez Milholland.[173]

The concept of the New Woman emerged in the late nineteenth century to characterize the increasingly independent activity of women, especially the younger generation. The move from households to public spaces was expressed in many ways. In the late 1890s, riding bicycles was a newly popular activity that increased women's mobility even as it signaled rejection of traditional teachings about women's weakness and fragility. Susan B. Anthony said bicycles had "done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world".[174] Elizabeth Cady Stanton said that "Woman is riding to suffrage on the bicycle.[175]

Film of suffragettes marching from Newark, New Jersey to Washington, DC in 1913.

Activists campaigned for suffrage in ways that were still considered by many to be "unladylike," such as marching in parades and giving street corner speeches on soap boxes. In New York in 1912, suffragists organized a twelve-day, 170-mile "Hike to Albany" to deliver suffrage petitions to the new governor. In 1913 the suffragist "Army of the Hudson" marched 250 miles from New York to Washington in sixteen days, gaining national publicity.[176]

New suffrage organizations

College Equal Suffrage League

When Maud Wood Park attended the NAWSA convention in 1900, she found herself to be virtually the only young person there. After returning to Boston, she formed the College Equal Suffrage League, which affiliated with the NAWSA. Largely through Park's efforts, similar groups were organized on campuses in 30 states, leading to the formation of the National College Equal Suffrage League in 1908.[177][178]

Women suffragists demonstrating for the right to vote in 1913
Women suffragists demonstrating for the right to vote in 1913

Equality League of Self-Supporting Women

The dramatic tactics of the militant wing of the British suffrage movement began to influence the movement in the U.S. Harriet Stanton Blatch, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, returned to the U.S. after several years in England, where she had associated with suffrage groups still in the early phases of militancy. In 1907 she founded the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women, later called the Women's Political Union, whose membership was based on working women, both professional and industrial. The Equality League initiated the practice of holding suffrage parades and organized the first open air suffrage rallies in thirty years.[179] As many as 25,000 people marched in these parades[180]

National Woman's Party

Work toward a national suffrage amendment had been sharply curtailed in favor of state suffrage campaigns after the two rival suffrage organizations merged in 1890 to form the NAWSA. Interest in a national suffrage amendment was revived primarily by Alice Paul.[130] In 1910, she returned to the U.S. from England, where she had been part of the militant wing of the suffrage movement. Paul had been jailed there and had endured forced feedings after going on a hunger strike. In January 1913 she arrived in Washington as chair of the Congressional Committee of the NAWSA, charged with reviving the drive for a constitutional amendment that would enfranchise women. She and her coworker Lucy Burns organized a suffrage parade in Washington on the day before Woodrow Wilson's inauguration as president. Opponents of the march turned the event into a near riot, which ended only when a cavalry unit of the army was brought in to restore order. Public outrage over the incident, which cost the chief of police his job, brought publicity to the movement and gave it fresh momentum.[181] In 1914 Paul and her followers began referring to the proposed suffrage amendment as the "Susan B. Anthony Amendment,"[182] a name that was widely adopted.[183]

Paul argued that because the Democrats would not act to enfranchise women even though they controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress, the suffrage movement should work for the defeat of all Democratic candidates regardless of an individual candidate's position on suffrage. She and Burns formed a separate lobbying group called the Congressional Union to act on this approach. Strongly disagreeing, the NAWSA in 1913 withdrew support from Paul's group and continued its practice of supporting any candidate who supported suffrage, regardless of political party.[184] In 1916 Blatch merged her Women's Political Union into Paul's Congressional Union.[185]

Alice Paul
Alice Paul

In 1916 Paul formed the National Woman's Party (NWP).[186] Once again the women's movement had split, but the result this time was something like a division of labor. The NAWSA burnished its image of respectability and engaged in highly organized lobbying at both the national and state levels. The smaller NWP also engaged in lobbying but became increasingly known for activities that were dramatic and confrontational, most often in the national capital.[187] One form of protest was the watchfires, which involved burning copies of President Wilson's speeches, often outside the White House or in the nearby Lafayette Park. The NWP continued to hold watchfires even as the war began, drawing criticism from the public and even other suffrage groups for being unpatriotic.[188]

Suffrage periodicals

Stanton and Anthony launched a sixteen-page weekly newspaper called The Revolution in 1868. It focused primarily on women's rights, especially suffrage, but it also covered politics, the labor movement and other topics. Its energetic and broad-ranging style gave it a lasting influence, but its debts mounted when it did not receive the funding they had expected, and they had to transfer the paper to other hands after only twenty-nine months.[189] Their organization, the NWSA, afterwards depended on other periodicals, such as The National Citizen and Ballot Box, edited by Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Women's Tribune, edited by Clara Bewick Colby, to represent its viewpoint.[190]

In 1870, shortly after the formation of the AWSA, Lucy Stone launched an eight-page weekly newspaper called the Woman's Journal to advocate for women's rights, especially suffrage. Better financed and less radical than The Revolution, it had a much longer life. By the 1880s it had become an unofficial voice of the suffrage movement as a whole.[191] In 1916 the NAWSA purchased the Woman's Journal and spent a significant amount of money to enhance it. It was renamed Woman Citizen and declared to be the official organ of the NAWSA.[192]

Alice Paul began publishing a newspaper called The Suffragist in 1913 when she was still part of the NAWSA. Editor of the eight-page weekly was Rheta Childe Dorr, an experienced journalist.[193]

Turn of the tide

New Zealand enfranchised women in 1893, the first country to do so on a nationwide basis. In the U.S. women gained the franchise in the states of Washington in 1910; in California in 1911; in Oregon, Kansas and Arizona in 1912; and in Illinois in 1913.[194] Some states allowed women to vote in school elections, municipal elections, or for members of the Electoral College. Some territories, like Washington, Utah, and Wyoming, allowed women to vote before they became states.[195] As women voted in an increasing number of states, Congressmen from those states swung to support a national suffrage amendment, and paid more attention to issues such as child labor.

The status of women's suffrage before passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920   Full suffrage   Presidential suffrage (vote only for President)   Primary suffrage (vote only in primary elections)   Municipal suffrage (vote only in city elections)   School, bond, or tax suffrage (vote only in special elections)   Municipal suffrage in some cities   Primary suffrage in some cities   No suffrage
The status of women's suffrage before passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920
  Full suffrage
  Presidential suffrage
(vote only for President)
  Primary suffrage
(vote only in primary elections)
  Municipal suffrage
(vote only in city elections)
  School, bond, or tax suffrage
(vote only in special elections)
  Municipal suffrage in some cities
  Primary suffrage in some cities
  No suffrage

The reform campaigns of the Progressive Era strengthened the suffrage movement. Beginning around 1900, this broad movement began at the grassroots level with such goals as combating corruption in government, eliminating child labor, and protecting workers and consumers. Many of its participants saw women's suffrage as yet another progressive goal, and they believed that the addition of women to the electorate would help their movement achieve its other goals. In 1912 the Progressive Party, formed by Theodore Roosevelt, endorsed women's suffrage.[196] The socialist movement supported women's suffrage in some areas.[197]

By 1916 suffrage for women had become a major national issue, and the NAWSA had become the nation's largest voluntary organization, with two million members.[198] In 1916 the conventions of both the Democratic and Republican parties endorsed women's suffrage, but only on a state-by-state basis, with the implication that the various states might implement suffrage in different ways or (in some cases) not at all. Having expected more, Catt called an emergency NAWSA convention and proposed what became known as the "Winning Plan".[199] For several years the NAWSA had focused on achieving suffrage on a state-by-state basis, partly to accommodate members from southern states who opposed the idea of a national suffrage amendment, considering it an infringement on states' rights.[200] In a strategic shift, the 1916 convention approved Catt's proposal to make a national amendment the priority for the entire organization. It authorized the executive board to specify a plan of work toward this goal for each state and to take over that work if the state organization refused to comply.[201]

In 1917 Catt received a bequest of $900,000 from Mrs. Frank (Miriam) Leslie to be used for the women's suffrage movement. Catt formed the Leslie Woman Suffrage Commission to dispense the funds, most of which supported the activities of the NAWSA at a crucial time for the suffrage movement.[202]

"Kaiser Wilson" banner held by an NWP member picketing the White House

The entry of the U.S. into World War I in April 1917 had a significant impact on the suffrage movement. To replace men who had gone into the military, women moved into workplaces that did not traditionally hire women, such as steel mills and oil refineries. The NAWSA cooperated with the war effort, with Catt and Shaw serving on the Women's Committee for the Council of National Defense. The NWP, by contrast, took no steps to cooperate with the war effort.[203] Jeannette Rankin, elected in 1916 by Montana as the first woman in Congress, was one of fifty members of Congress to vote against the declaration of war.[204]

In January 1917 the NWP stationed pickets at the White House, which had never before been picketed, with banners demanding women's suffrage.[205] Tension escalated in June as a Russian delegation drove up to the White House and NPW members unfurled a banner that read, "We, the women of America, tell you that America is not a democracy. Twenty million American women are denied the right to vote. President Wilson is the chief opponent of their national enfranchisement".[206] In August another banner referred to "Kaiser Wilson" and compared the plight of the German people with that of American women.[207]

Some of the onlookers reacted violently, tearing the banners from the picketers' hands. The police, whose actions had previously been restrained, began arresting the picketers for blocking the sidewalk. Eventually over 200 were arrested, about half of whom were sent to prison.[208] In October Alice Paul was sentenced to seven months in prison. When she and other suffragist prisoners began a hunger strike, prison authorities force-fed them. The negative publicity created by this harsh practice increased the pressure on the administration, which capitulated and released all the prisoners.[209]

In November 1917 a referendum to enfranchise women in New York - at that time the most populous state in the country - passed by a substantial margin.[210] In September 1918, President Wilson spoke before the Senate, calling for approval of the suffrage amendment as a war measure, saying "We have made partners of the women in this war; shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of privilege and right?"[211] By the end of 1919, women effectively could vote for president in states with 326 electoral votes out of a total of 531.[212] Political leaders who became convinced of the inevitability of women's suffrage began to pressure local and national legislators to support it so that their respective party could claim credit for it in future elections.[213]

The war served as a catalyst for suffrage extension in several countries, with women gaining the vote after years of campaigning partly in recognition of their support for the war effort, which further increased the pressure for suffrage in the U.S.[214] About half of the women in Britain had become enfranchised by January 1918, as had women in most Canadian provinces, with Quebec the major exception.[215]

Nineteenth Amendment

A chorus of disreputable men supports an anti-suffrage woman in this 1915 cartoon from Puck magazine. The caption "I did not raise my girl to be a voter" parodies the antiwar song "I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier".
A chorus of disreputable men supports an anti-suffrage woman in this 1915 cartoon from Puck magazine. The caption "I did not raise my girl to be a voter" parodies the antiwar song "I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier".
US Stamp from 1970 celebrating 50 years of woman suffrage
US Stamp from 1970 celebrating 50 years of woman suffrage

World War I had a profound impact on woman suffrage across the belligerents. Women played a major role on the home fronts and many countries recognized their sacrifices with the vote during or shortly after the war, including the U.S., Britain, Canada (except Quebec), Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Sweden; and Ireland introduced universal suffrage with independence. France almost did so but stopped short.[216] Despite their eventual success, groups like the National Woman's Party that continued militant protests during wartime were criticized by other suffrage groups and the public, who viewed it as unpatriotic.[217]

On January 12, 1915, a suffrage bill was brought before the House of Representatives but was defeated by a vote of 204 to 174, (Democrats 170-85 against, Republicans 81-34 for, Progressives 6-0 for).[218] President Woodrow Wilson held off until he was sure the Democratic Party was supportive; the 1917 referendum in New York State in favor of suffrage proved decisive for him. When another bill was brought before the House in January, 1918, Wilson made a strong and widely published appeal to the House to pass the bill.[219] Behn argues that:

The National American Woman Suffrage Association, not the National Woman's Party, was decisive in Wilson's conversion to the cause of the federal amendment because its approach mirrored his own conservative vision of the appropriate method of reform: win a broad consensus, develop a legitimate rationale, and make the issue politically valuable. Additionally, I contend that Wilson did have a significant role to play in the successful congressional passage and national ratification of the 19th Amendment.[220]

The Amendment passed by two-thirds of the House, with only one vote to spare. The vote was then carried into the Senate. Again President Wilson made an appeal, but on September 30, 1918, the amendment fell two votes short of the two-thirds necessary for passage, 53-31 (Republicans 27-10 for, Democrats 26-21 for).[221] On February 10, 1919, it was again voted upon, and then it was lost by only one vote, 54-30 (Republicans 30-12 for, Democrats 24-18 for).[222]

There was considerable anxiety among politicians of both parties to have the amendment passed and made effective before the general elections of 1920, so the President called a special session of Congress, and a bill, introducing the amendment, was brought before the House again. On May 21, 1919, it was passed, 304 to 89, (Republicans 200-19 for, Democrats 102-69 for, Union Labor 1-0 for, Prohibitionist 1-0 for),[223] 42 votes more than necessary being obtained. On June 4, 1919, it was brought the Senate, and after a long discussion it was passed, with 56 ayes and 25 nays (Republicans 36-8 for, Democrats 20-17 for).[224] Within a few days, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan ratified the amendment, their legislatures being then in session. Other states followed suit at a regular pace, until the amendment had been ratified by 35 of the necessary 36 state legislatures. After Washington on March 22, 1920, ratification languished for months. Finally, on August 18, 1920, Tennessee narrowly ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, making it the law throughout the United States.[225] Thus the 1920 election became the first United States presidential election in which women were permitted to vote in every state.

"To get the word male in effect out of the Constitution cost the women of the country fifty-two years of pauseless campaign...During that time they were forced to conduct fifty-six campaigns of referenda to male voters; 480 campaigns to get Legislatures to submit suffrage amendments to voters; 47 campaigns to get State constitutional conventions to write woman suffrage into State constitutions; 277 campaigns to get State party conventions to include woman suffrage planks; 30 campaigns to get presidential party conventions to adopt woman suffrage planks in party platforms, and 19 campaigns with 19 successive Congresses. Millions of dollars were raised, mainly in small sums, and expended with economic care. Hundreds of women gave the accumulated possibilities of an entire lifetime, thousands gave years of their lives, hundreds of thousands gave constant interest and such aid as they could."

Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.[226][227]

Three other states, Connecticut, Vermont and Delaware, passed the amendment by 1923. They were eventually followed by others in the south. Nearly twenty years later Maryland ratified the amendment in 1941. After another ten years, in 1952, Virginia ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, followed by Alabama in 1953.[228] After another 16 years Florida and South Carolina passed the necessary votes to ratify in 1969, followed two years later by Georgia,[229] Louisiana and North Carolina.[228]

Mississippi did not ratify the Nineteenth Amendment until 1984, sixty four years after the law was enacted nationally.[230]

Effects of the Nineteenth Amendment

Immediate effects

Women surrounded by posters in English and Yiddish supporting Franklin D. Roosevelt, Herbert H. Lehman, and the American Labor Party teach other women how to vote, 1936.
Women surrounded by posters in English and Yiddish supporting Franklin D. Roosevelt, Herbert H. Lehman, and the American Labor Party teach other women how to vote, 1936.

Politicians responded to the newly enlarged electorate by emphasizing issues of special interest to women, especially prohibition, child health, public schools, and world peace.[231] Women did respond to these issues, but in terms of general voting they shared the same outlook and the same voting behavior as men.[232]

The suffrage organization NAWSA became the League of Women Voters and Alice Paul's National Woman's Party began lobbying for full equality and the Equal Rights Amendment which would pass Congress during the second wave of the women's movement in 1972 (but it was not ratified and never took effect). The main surge of women voting came in 1928, when the big-city machines realized they needed the support of women to elect Al Smith, while rural drys mobilized women to support Prohibition and vote for Republican Herbert Hoover. Catholic women were reluctant to vote in the early 1920s, but they registered in very large numbers for the 1928 election—the first in which Catholicism was a major issue.[233] A few women were elected to office, but none became especially prominent during this time period. Overall, the women's rights movement declined noticeably during the 1920s.

Changes in the voting population

Although restricting access to the polls because of sex was made unconstitutional in 1920, women did not turn out to the polls in the same numbers as men until 1980. From 1980 until the present, women have voted in elections in at least the same percentage as have men, and often more. This difference in voting turnout and preferences between men and women is known as the voting gender gap. The voting gender gap has impacted political elections and, consequently, the way candidates campaign for office.

Changes in representation and government programs

The presence of women in Congress has gradually increased since 1920, with an especially steady increase from 1981 (23 female members) to the present (97 female members). The 113th Congress, serving from 2013-2015, includes a record 20 female senators and 77 female representatives.[234]

Notable legislation

Immediately following the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, many legislators feared a powerful women's bloc would emerge as a result of female enfranchisement. The Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921, which expanded maternity care during the 1920s, was one of the first laws passed appealing to the female vote.[235]

Socio-economic effects

A paper by John Lott and Lawrence W. Kenny, published by the Journal of Political Economy, found that women generally voted along more liberal political philosophies than men. The paper concluded that women's voting appeared to be more risk-averse than men and favored candidates or policies that supported wealth transfer, social insurance, progressive taxation, and larger government.[236]

A paper found that "exposure to women’s political empowerment during childhood leads to large increases in educational attainment for children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, in particular blacks and Southern whites. We also find improvements in employment outcomes among this group."[237]

See also


  1. ^ "Suffragists Parade Down Fifth Avenue - 1917". New York Times. 1917.
  2. ^ Marion, Nancy E.; Oliver, Willard M. (2014). Drugs in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law. ABC-CLIO. p. 963. ISBN 9781610695961.
  3. ^ Burlingame, Dwight (2004). Philanthropy in America: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 511. ISBN 9781576078600.
  4. ^ Chapin, Judge Henry (1881). Address Delivered at the Unitarian Church in Uxbridge, 1864. Worcester, Massachusetts: Charles Hamilton Press (Harvard Library; from Google Books). p. 172.
  5. ^ Wellman (2004), p. 138
  6. ^ "An Act to establish a system of Common Schools in the State of Kentucky, Chap. 898, Sec. 37". Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, December Session, 1837. Frankfort: A.G. Hodges State Printer. 1838. p. 282. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  7. ^ Early activists tended to refer to "woman suffrage," but historians usually call it "women's suffrage." See Gordon (1997), p. xxiv n. 5
  8. ^ McMillen (2008), p. 32
  9. ^ Flexner (1959), pp. 43, 348 n.19. Flexner refers to it a pamphlet, but it has 128 pages. See The Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women by Sarah Grimké, 1838, Boston: Isaac Knapp.
  10. ^ Joan Von Mehren (1996). Minerva and the Muse: A Life of Margaret Fuller, p. 166. University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 0-87023-941-4.
  11. ^ Quoted in DuBois, ed. (1992), epigraph, prior to p. 1
  12. ^ Million (2003), pp. 40, 45
  13. ^ Flexner (1959), pp. 25–26, 42, 45–46
  14. ^ Flexner (1959), p. 40
  15. ^ McMillen (2008), p. 120
  16. ^ Million (2003), pp. 1, 91–92
  17. ^ Flexner (1959), p. 85
  18. ^ McMillen (2008), pp. 117–18
  19. ^ Harper (1898–1908), Vol. 1, pp. 101–03
  20. ^ Susan B. Anthony, "Fifty Years of Work for Woman," Independent, 52 (February 15, 1900), pp. 414–17. Quoted in Sherr, Lynn (1995), Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words, p.134. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-8129-2430-4
  21. ^ Quoted in Gordon (2000), p. 41
  22. ^ Victoria E. Bynum (1992). Unruly Women: The Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South. University of North Carolina Press, p. 61, 171 n. 8. ISBN 0-8078-2016-4
  23. ^ Barry (1988), p. 259
  24. ^ Scott and Scott (1982), p. 9
  25. ^ McMillen (2008), p. 57
  26. ^ Wellman (2004), p. 150
  27. ^ Wellman (2004), pp. 151–52. May condemned as "all unequal, all unrighteous—this utter annihilation, politically considered, of more than one half of the whole community." See Samuel J. May, "The Rights and Conditions of Women", in Women's Rights Tract No. 1: Commensurate with her capacities and obligations, are Woman's Rights (Syracuse, N.Y.: N.M.D. Lathrop, 1853), p. 2.
  28. ^ Million (2003), p. 72
  29. ^ Quoted in Million (2003), p. 99
  30. ^ Wellman (2004), p. 176. Gerrit Smith was a cousin and close friend of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Wellman says they spurred each other to develop ideas of inclusive politics and to publicly advocate voting rights for women, which Smith did before Stanton.
  31. ^ Wellman (2004), p.45
  32. ^ Wellman (2004), p. 204
  33. ^ McMillen (2008), pp. 3, 72, 77, 84
  34. ^ Dubois, ed. (1992) p. 13
  35. ^ McMillen (2008), pp. 99–100
  36. ^ Wellman (2004), pp. 193, 195, 203
  37. ^ McMillen (2008), pp. 88–89, 238–39
  38. ^ "Seneca Falls Convention - American Memory Timeline- Classroom Presentation". Teacher Resources - Library of Congress. Library of Congress. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  39. ^ McMillen (2008), pp. 95–97
  40. ^ Wellman, Judith (2008). "The Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention and the Origin of the Women's Rights Movement", pp. 15, 84. National Park Service, Women's Rights National Historical Park. Wellman is identified as the author of this document here.
  41. ^ Million (2003), pp. 104, 106
  42. ^ McMillen (2008), p. 110
  43. ^ DuBois (1978), p. 41. The conventions also discussed a variety of other issues, including dress reform and liberalization of divorce laws.
  44. ^ Million (2003), pp. 109–10
  45. ^ McMillen (2008), p. 115
  46. ^ Flexner (1959), p. 76
  47. ^ McMillen (2008), p. 116
  48. ^ The first national convention was organized primarily by Davis. The next several conventions were organized primarily by Stone. After the birth of her daughter in 1857, Stone withdrew from most public activity for several years. Anthony shared responsibilities for the 1858 and 1859 conventions. Stanton was the primary organizer of the 1860 convention. For details, see Million (2003), pp. 105–6, 116, 174, 239, 250–52, 260, 263–69
  49. ^ McMillen (2008), p. 123
  50. ^ Million (2003), pp. 136–37.
  51. ^ Barry (1988), pp. 79–80
  52. ^ Million (2003), p. 245.
  53. ^ Million (2003), pp. 109, 121
  54. ^ Million (2003), pp. 116, 173–74, 264
  55. ^ McMillen (2008), p. 113
  56. ^ Sigerman, Harriet, Elizabeth Cady Stanton: The Right Is Ours, 2001, p. 95. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195119695
  57. ^ Ginzberg (2009), pp. 76–77
  58. ^ Gordon (1997), p. xxx
  59. ^ Dumenil, Lynn, Editor-in-Chief, The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Social History, 2012, p. 59. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199743360
  60. ^ National Woman Suffrage Association, Report of the International Council of Women, Volume 1, 1888, p. 327
  61. ^ Million (2003), pp. 234–35
  62. ^ McMillen (2008), p. 149
  63. ^ Judith E. Harper. "Biography". Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. PBS (Public Broadcasting System). Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  64. ^ a b Venet (1991), p. 148
  65. ^ Dudden (2011), p. 51
  66. ^ Venet (1991), p. 116
  67. ^ Flexner (1959), p. 105
  68. ^ For membership numbers, see Barry (1988), p. 154. For "pool of talent," see Venet (1991), p. 1.
  69. ^ Stanton, Anthony, Gage, Harper (1881–1922), Vol. 2, pp. 152–53
  70. ^ Stanton, Anthony, Gage, Harper (1881–1922), Vol. 2, pp. 171–72
  71. ^ Stanton, Anthony, Gage, Harper (1881–1922), Vol. 2, p. 270. Greeley was referring to the 1867 AERA campaign in New York State for women's suffrage and the removal of discriminatory property requirements for black voters.
  72. ^ Stanton, Anthony, Gage, Harper (1881–1922), Vol. 2, p. 232
  73. ^ Dudden (2011), p. 105
  74. ^ Dudden (2011), pp. 124, 127
  75. ^ DuBois (1978), pp. 92–94.
  76. ^ DuBois (1978), pp. 80–81, 189, 196. The AERA held no further annual meetings and went out of existence a year later. See Harper (1899), pp. 348-49
  77. ^ DuBois (1978), pp. 164, 168
  78. ^ DuBois (1978), pp. 164–66
  79. ^ "Woman Suffrage," New York Tribune, November 21, 1868; "Mrs. Lucy Stone and Woman Suffrage," cited in Dudden (2011); p. 163
  80. ^ Dudden (2011); p. 163
  81. ^ "Stones Holding Their Peace," and "Lucy Stone and the Negro's Hour," Revolution 3 (February 4, 1869):73, 89. Citied in Dudden (2011); p 165
  82. ^ DuBois (1978), pp. 173, 189, 196.
  83. ^ Rakow and Kramarae eds. (2001), p. 47
  84. ^ DuBois (1978), pp. 174–75, 185
  85. ^ a b Rakow and Kramarae eds. (2001), p. 48
  86. ^ Dudden (2011), p. 184
  87. ^ "The Anniversaries". New York Tribune. May 15, 1868. Quoted in Dudden (2011), p. 149.
  88. ^ Stanton, Anthony, Gage, Harper (1881–1922), Vol. 2, pp. 382–384. Douglass and Stone are speaking here during the final AERA convention in 1869.
  89. ^ Barry (1988), pp. 194, 208. The 1869 AERA annual meeting voted to endorse the Fifteenth Amendment.
  90. ^ Elizabeth Cady Stanton, "The Sixteenth Amendment," The Revolution, April 29, 1869, p. 266. Quoted in DuBois (1978), p. 178.
  91. ^ Elizabeth Cady Stanton, "Manhood Suffrage," The Revolution, December 24, 1868. Reproduced in Gordon (2000), p. 196
  92. ^ Quoted in Gordon (2000), p. 190
  93. ^ Henry B. Blackwell (January 15, 1867). "What the South can do". Library of Congress. Retrieved March 2, 2017. Cited in Dudden (2011), p. 93
  94. ^ DuBois (1978), pp. 199–200. That did not happen; the high point of Republican support was a non-committal reference to women's suffrage in the 1872 Republican platform.
  95. ^ Stanton, Anthony, Gage, Harper (1881–1922), Vol. 2, p. 341. This letter was signed by Anthony, who was requesting permission to present their views to the convention in person.
  96. ^ DuBois (1978), pp. 109–10, 200
  97. ^ Dudden (2011), p. 152.
  98. ^ Scott and Scott (1982), p. 17
  99. ^ DuBois (1978), pp.192, 196, 197
  100. ^ DuBois (1978), pp. 166, 200
  101. ^ DuBois (1998), pp. 98–99, 117
  102. ^ a b c Ann D. Gordon. "The Trial of Susan B. Anthony: A Short Narrative". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 2014-08-21. (The name of this article's author is here.)
  103. ^ DuBois (1998), pp. 100, 119, 120
  104. ^ Stanton, Anthony, Gage, Harper (1881–1922), Vol. 2, p. 599
  105. ^ DuBois (1998), pp. 100, 122
  106. ^ DuBois, ed. (1992), pp. 101–06
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Primary sources

Further reading

External links

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