Chronology of the Woman Suffrage Movement
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Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (and other women delegates) are
denied seats at the World anti-slavery convention in London.
Mott, Stanton, Jane Hunt, Martha Wright and Mary McClintock issue a public
notice for a meeting at Seneca falls, New York "to discuss the social,
civic and religious rights of women." At the convention the Declaration
of Sentiments and a set of resolutions is signed. This marks the first
formal declaration of woman's interest in the vote.
Local and national women's rights conventions are held. The first national
is in 1860 Worcester, Mass. and 1,000 people attend. The suffrage leaders
discuss both abolition and women's rights issues. In Akron, Ohio in 1851
Sojourner Truth gives her famous "Ain't I a Woman" refutation. With the
start of the civil war suffrage leaders turn their attention to the anti-slavery
fight. Concern grows over wording of the proposed Fourteenth amendment
which would put the word "male" into the U.S. Constitution for the first
Suffragists petition Congress with over 10,000 signatures asking for an
amendment prohibiting disenfranchisement on account of sex. When women
in Washington D.C. ask for the vote in local elections, the first Congressional
debate on Woman Suffrage takes place.
May 1, the first Women's Rights Convention since the Civil War is held.
The convention resolves itself into The American Equal Rights Association.
Debate in the woman's suffrage movement continues over the Fourteenth
Amendment. Stanton and Anthony oppose its ratification--which costs them
Kansas puts two proposed amendments on the ballot: one to grant suffrage
to women, the other to grant suffrage to black men. Both measures lose.
The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified.
The Fifteenth Amendment is proposed, prohibiting denial of rights on the
basis of race, color, or condition of previous servitude. Women's rights
leaders work to have the word "sex" added
The American Equal Rights Association fragments over the controversy about
the 14th and 15th amendments. Stanton and Anthony feel betrayed by male
abolitionists who refused to push for excluding the term "male" or including
the word "sex" in the amendments. They form the National Woman's Suffrage
Association (NWSA) exclusively for women and dedicate their energies
to a fight for a federal amendment granting women the vote and to fights
for broader issues of women's rights. Lucy Stone and others for the American
Woman's Suffrage Association a group that includes men and is dedicated
to securing woman's suffrage through a state by state approach. This group
is generally seen as more conservative and more single-issue focussed than
Women win the right to vote in Wyoming upon its becoming a territory.
The territory of Utah grants women the right to vote (a right they will
lose under the Edmunds-Tucker Act of Congress in 1887).
The Anti-Suffrage Society is formed, composed of wives of prominent men.
Victoria Woodhull becomes the first woman to run for President, on her
own ticket. Frederick Douglass is the vice-presidential candidate.
Susan B. Anthony registers to vote in an effort to force a court decision
on woman suffrage. She is tried, convicted and fined $100, which she refuses
to pay. Before the trial she gave speeches before so many potential jurors
that the prosecution asked and received a change of venue. Anthony enlisted
other speaker's to help and before her court date most of the people in
the community had heard her argument. The cautious judge refused to let
the jury deliberate and instructed them to find her guilty.
The Woman's Crusade begins in Ohio where women take to the streets to protest
the presence of saloons in their communities. The Woman's Christian Temperance
Union is formed a year later. Within two years the organization will begin
agitating for women to have a vote on liquor licensing policies in their
Women disrupt the Centennial in Philadelphia by issuing a Woman's Declaration.
Senator Aaron Sargent of California introduces the proposed 16th Amendment
for woman's suffrage (known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment). Stanton
appears at hearings held by the Committee on Privileges and Elections.
The committee reports against the amendment.
Select committees for both houses of Congress are appointed and both report
favorably on Woman Suffrage.
January 25, the first vote is taken on Woman Suffrage in the Senate. The
measure is defeated by a two to one margin.
The two major suffrage organizations bury the hatchet and merge forming
National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Stanton
serves as President. Because of the failure at the national level they
resolve to fight on a state by state basis.
Susan B. Anthony becomes President of NAWSA in part over controversy due
to Stanton's publication of The Woman's Bible.
Colorado grants women suffrage.
Despite petitions with 600,000 signatures New York refuses to submit the
woman suffrage amendment to the voters. Suffrage efforts to extend the
vote in Kansas fail.
The first victory under NAWSA comes in Utah, where the vote is recovered
after nine years.
Idaho grants women the vote.
Carrie Chapman Catt, a master organizer becomes President of NAWSA.
Anna Howard Shaw, one of the greatest orators of the movement becomes president
Harriet Stanton Blatch (daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton) returns from
England with new ideas about gaining public attention and support. She
founds the Women's Political Union and engages in parades and street speaking.
Women gain suffrage in the state of Washington.
A massive campaign in California pays off and women get the vote.
Three thousand march in a New York suffrage parade.
Emmeline Pankhurst, the militant British woman's leader, speaks at the
The Progressive Party, under Teddy Roosevelt, favor's woman suffrage.
Ten thousand march in a New York Temperance parade.
Oregon, Arizona, and Kansas grant full woman suffrage.
Alaskan Territory grants woman suffrage. Illinois grants limited suffrage.
Alice Paul and Lucy Burns return from London where they had been militants.
They form the Congressional Union as part of NAWSA to pressure Congress.
Eight thousand women march in Washington on the day before Woodrow Wilson's
inauguration. Police refuse protection. After women are attacked by mobs
the Secretary of War calls out troops to restore order.
The Susan B. Anthony Amendment is reintroduced in the House and Senate.
The Senate reports favorably, but all action is blocked in the House.
Nevada adopts Woman's Suffrage.
The first vote on woman's suffrage since 1887 is taken in the U.S. Senate.
The result is 35-34. The amendment is stalled again in the House by a tie
vote in the Rules committee.
The Democratic Party decides that suffrage is a state issue. Woodrow Wilson
says he must follow his party so the federal govt. cannot be involve with
the issue. The Congressional Union moves to direct political action then
against the Democratic party.
The House votes on woman's suffrage for the first time ever. The measure
is defeated 204-174.
40,000 march in a suffrage parade in New York.
Suffrage is defeated in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
Recognizing that Shaw's powers as an organizer are limited, NAWSA names
Carrie Chapman Catt president again. (Catt remains a prominent political
figure for the rest of her life and was the founder of The League of Woman
Alice Paul and the Congressional Union break from NAWSA and form the National
Woman's Party (NWP).
Both NAWSA and NWP march on the Republican National Convention and get
woman's suffrage in the platform for the first time. The suffragists are
unsuccessful at the Democratic convention. The NWP declares war on Wilson.
January 10 the first "sentinels of liberty" appear at the White House.
On inauguration day 1,000 suffragists join the pickets. In June police
begin arresting White House pickets. Eventually, 218 women are arrested.
The women institute a work strike at the prison and then a hunger strike.
The House finally sets up a Woman Suffrage Committee which takes the amendment
out of the control of the hostile House Judiciary Committee.
North Dakota, Indiana, Rhode Island, Nebraska and Michigan grant women
the right to vote in Presidential elections. Arkansas lets women vote in
Woman's suffrage is added to the constitutions of South Dakota, Oklahoma,
and finally, New York.
Woodrow Wilson declares his support for national woman's suffrage--one
day before a House vote on the issue. The amendment passes the House by
The Senate refuses to vote on the measure. The NWP transfers pickets to
In October, Wilson appears at the Senate to appeal for suffrage. It is
defeated--just 2 votes short of the two-thirds majority.
The suffrage amendment is vote on again in the Senate and is one vote short.
In Jan. a perpetual fire is built in an urn in the park across from the
White House. Every time Wilson gives a speech about democracy, the NWP
tolls a bell and burns his words. Women attend the fire all day and night.
With pressure form Wilson the final vote is secured and on June 4, 1919
the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution is passed.
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Tennessee becomes the 36th state to ratify the amendment and the amendment
is signed into law on August 26, 1920.