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Women Suffrage in the US

Gaining suffrage for women was a long and difficult process. It started with one conference in Seneca Falls, New York and bloomed into a revolution that changed the future. 


Who was involved?

Though the women's suffrage movement included millions of women, some of its leaders were especially influential and became household names. Below are some of these women.


  • Lucy Stone (1818- 1893) Stone  graduated from Oberlin, the only college that admitted women at the time, in 1847,  just 10 years after the college accepted its first class of women. In 1868 she  became president of the State Woman's Suffrage Association of New Jersey. Stone disagreed with fellow suffragettes Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in her support of the 15th amendment, which prohibited denying voting rights to anyone based on "race, color, or previous condition of servitude" (US constitution).


  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902) Stanton graduated from Emma Willard's Troy Female Seminary in 1832.  Stanton helped organize the Seneca Falls conventions in 1848. During the Civil War, she argued for the abolition of slavery.  She work from 1881 to 1886 with Susan B. Anthony the write the first three  volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage. Stanton was president of the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1869 to 1890, when it merged with the  the American Woman Suffrage Association to become the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NWASA). She became its first president in 1890. 


  • Susan B Anthony (1820-1906) In 1868, Anthony worked  with Elizabeth Cady Stanton to produce The Revolution, a women's rights publication in New York City.  Anthony helped to create the National Women Suffrage Association in 1869.  She worked much of her life for the cause; she even illegally voted in the 1872 presidential election. She died only 14 years before women in the US gained the right to vote. In 1979, her face was put on US dollar coins, making her first woman ever to be put on US currency.



The Beginnings

Women suffrage began through gatherings and conversations at a series of conferences. 

From the beginning of the United States, women were denied the right to vote. In the 1800s, interest in women suffrage began to grow among Abolitionists.  On July 19-20, 1848 people interested in women suffrage gathered in Seneca Falls in New York for a conference lead by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. At the convention, the women read a Declaration of Sentiments, which was a list of problems and demands regarding women's civil rights. particularly the right to vote. This convention was followed in 1850 by the first National Women Suffrage conference, led by Lucy Stone in Massachusetts. In 1852, another conference was held in New York by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony about the same issue.


Women Suffrage Organizations

Four Organizations -- Four Methods -- One Goal


Wyoming gave women the right to vote in 1869, but in order for equal voting rights for women to be established, the Federal constitution had to be changed. Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the Nation Women Suffrage Association in that same year for that very purpose. Also in 1869, Lucy Stone formed the American Women Suffrage Association. The organizations joined together in 1890 to become the National American Woman Suffrage Association . The main objective of this organization was to pressure congress to approve an Amendment to the constitution to allow women the right to vote. The organization threw all of its energy into gaining new members and support for women suffrage .In 1914,  a group split from the NAWSA and became the National Women's Party (NWP) . Led by Alice Paul, this party adopted more radical measures to gain the right to vote. Pushed by their belief in direct confrontation of the issue of Women Suffrage, the NWP participated in more violent rallies and protests. Many members of the NWP were arrested during the 1910s. The NWP denounced Woodrow Wilson and all Democrats, despite their stance on Women Suffrage.



A Slow Change in the Tide

Starting in 1890 when Wyoming joined the union and gave women the full right to vote, many states began to give women full or partial voting rights.  Women's rights activists continued to march and demonstrate their support of an amendment to the constitution to give women suffrage. Women suffrage bills were introduced and failed in congress in 1878 and in 1914. By 1918, 15 states had given women equal voting rights as men. Both political parties supported women suffrage by 1918 and the House of Representatives approved the amendment to the constitution. In 1919, the Senate approved it as well. In 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed, enfranchising women. It states as follows:

"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. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

(US constitution)




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  • I'm pretty sure i've been to a Seneca falls women's history museum and to the church where they held that revolution with my aunt.
    • Me too!
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