The 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified August 18, 1920.  The amendment, giving women the right to vote,  was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by woman suffragists.

  • 5,000 Women March for Equality: 1913In a woman's suffrage demonstration to-day the capital saw the greatest parade of women in its history. In the allegory presented on the Treasury steps it saw a wonderful series of dramatic pictures. In the parade over 5,000 women passed down Pennsylvania Avenue. Some were riding, more were afoot. Floats throughout the procession illustrated the progress the woman's suffrage cause had made in the last seventy-five years. Scattered throughout the parade were the standards of nearly every State in the Union. It was an astonishing demonstration.
  • Brown, Mary E. (1843 — 1924)In January, 1919, Mary E. Brown was one of the suffragists who picketed the White House during President Woodrow Wilson’s Administration. She was arrested for her efforts advocating for the 19th Amendment designed to allow women the right to vote. Mrs. Brown was subsequently sentenced and spent five days in the District of Columbia’s jail.
  • Catt, Carrie ChapmanA dynamic speaker and tenacious organizer, Carrie Chapman Catt was a powerful force in the woman suffrage movement. Her relentless campaigning won President Woodrow Wilson’s respect and support, and ultimately led to passage of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote.
  • Declaration of Sentiments - July 1848
  • Dickinson, Anna (1842-1932)Anna Dickenson began her activism even earlier, when she was thirteen years old, by writing an essay for William Lloyd Garrison’s famed newspaper, The Liberator. She also was friendly with Lucretia Mott, who preached against slavery in Quaker meetinghouses for decades. Unlike others of the era’s religions, Quakers encouraged women to speak in public, and under Mott’s leadership, some eight hundred Philadelphians bought tickets for Dickinson’s first major speech early in 1861, “The Rights and Wrongs of Women.”
  • Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American HistoryNot only has disability justified the inequality of disabled people but of other groups as well. In the three great citizenship debates of the 19th century and early 20th centuries: women’s suffrage, African American freedom, and immigration restriction, disability played a substantive role.
  • Douglass, FrederickDouglass’s life spanned important decades of American history in which the contradictions of race, class and gender were debated. Douglass played a crucial role in those debates. He spoke out against Northern race prejudice as well as Southern slavery. He challenged segregated Sabbaths--either white or black and criticized the race prejudice of immigrant labor organizations which excluded black freemen. Douglass once remarked that his son could more easily become an apprentice in a Boston law firm than in any workingman’s organization.
  • Edwards, Thyra J. (1897 - 1953)America's dismal handling of child welfare concerns weighed heavily on Edwards, which led her to the International People's College in Elsinore, Denmark. There - in 1931, during a six-month fellowship awarded by the American Federation of Labor (AFL) - she studied a wide range of areas with a concentration on child welfare legislation and industrial relations. Legendary labor leader, A. Phillip Randolph, who headed the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was a mentor to Edwards and was key to her receiving the fellowship.
  • Foster, Abigail Kelley - (1811-1887)Abby Kelley spoke at the 1838 Anti-Slavery Convention in Philadelphia, breaking the cultural rules of her time by addressing a mixed audience of men and women. The meeting was highly controversial, and after it ended, protestors burned the newly built facility to the ground. Two years later, at the 1840 American Anti-Slavery Society's annual meeting, she broke another cultural rule and effectively split the anti-slavery movement by asserting woman's equality. Male abolitionists demonstrated their conservatism on women’s rights: when William Lloyd Garrison appointed Kelley to the society business committee, about half of the members resigned and formed their own rival group .
  • Frederick Douglass on Woman Suffrage: 1888Frederick Douglass was one of the few men present at the pioneer woman’s rights convention held at Seneca Falls, New York, in July 1848. His support of women’s rights never wavered although in 1869 he publicly disagreed with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony who called for women’s suffrage simultaneously with voting rights for black men, arguing that prejudice and violence against black men made their need for the franchise more pressing. Nonetheless, Douglass remained a constant champion of the right of women to vote.
  • Friedan, Betty -- (1921-2006)In 1966, Betty Friedan helped establish NOW, the National Organization for Women. She served as its first president. She led campaigns to end unfair treatment of women seeking jobs. Friedan also worked on other issues. She wanted women to have the choice to end their pregnancies. She wanted to create child-care centers for working parents. She wanted women to take part in social and political change. Betty Friedan once spoke about her great hopes for women in the 1970s: "Liberating ourselves, we will then become a major political force, perhaps the biggest political force for basic social and political change in America in the seventies."
  • Garrett, Mary Elizabeth (1854 - 1915)Mary Garrett and the “Friday Evening” group next turned their attention on ways to provide opportunities for women at the Johns Hopkins University. The women of the “Friday Evening” formed the Women’s Medical School Fund Committee in response to a nation-wide appeal for philanthropic assistance initiated by University president D.C. Gilman. Proposing to raise $100,000 for the endowment of the medical school if the trustees would agree to admit women on the same terms as men, the committee embarked upon a major public relations effort to promote medical education for women. When they finished, the Johns Hopkins University—and medical education in the United States—would never be the same.
  • Garrison, William LloydAt the age of 25, Garrison joined the anti-slavery movement, later crediting the 1826 book of Presbyterian Reverend John Rankin, Letters on Slavery, for attracting him to the cause. For a brief time he became associated with the American Colonization Society, an organization that promoted the resettlement of free blacks to a territory (now known as Liberia) on the west coast of Africa. Although some members of the society encouraged granting freedom to slaves, others considered relocation a means to reduce the number of already free blacks in the United States. Southern members thought reducing the threat of free blacks in society would help preserve the institution of slavery. By late 1829–1830, "Garrison rejected colonization of blacks in Africa, publicly apologized for his error, and then, as was typical of him, he censured all who were committed to it.
  • How To Interest Women In Voting"...Of course, no one woman has the right to say what the mass of women want to accomplish with their vote, but I can at least say what I hope the Democratic women wish to achieve. First: Honest, clean administration in party organizations, coupled with a real desire to have the people understand fundamental issues. The trouble is the means for knowing the truth are very few, and I consider that it is one of the real duties of political parties to state clearly and plainly their belief and the things for which they stand...."
  • Howe, Julia Ward (1819 - 1910)Julia Ward Howe was inspired to write “ The Battle Hymn of the Republic” after she and her husband visited Washington, D.C. and met Abraham Lincoln at the White House in November 1861. During the trip, her friend James Freeman Clarke suggested she write new words to the song “John Brown’s Body,” which she did on November 19.‪ The song was set to William Steffe’s already-existing music and Howe's version was first published in the Atlantic Monthly in February 1862. It quickly became one of the most popular songs of the Union during the American Civil War.
  • Kelley, AbbyAbigail (Abby) Kelley was an influential Quaker anti-slavery reformer and a women rights activist who provided inspiration and courage to the women who organized the 1848 Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention. Her activism in Seneca Falls led to the formation of the Wesleyan Methodist Congregation with their public anti-slavery stance and free speech commitment.
  • Livermore, Mary Ashton Rice (1820-1905)Mary Livermore was born on December 19, 1820, in Boston, Massachusetts. She was an American suffragist and social reformer who lectured and wrote for religious and reform periodicals. She served as president of the American Woman Suffrage Association, the Association for the Advancement of Women and the Massachusetts Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Livermore died in 1905.
  • National Woman Suffrage AssociationThe NWSA dealt with many issues of interest to women besides suffrage, such as the unionization of women workers. In 1872, it supported Victoria Woodhull, the first woman candidate for president of the United States. In 1890, the NWSA and AWSA overcame their previous divisions, joining as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), thereby strengthening the movement.
  • National Woman's PartyThe National Woman’s Party, representing the militant wing of the suffrage movement, utilized picketing and open public demonstrations to gain popular attention for the right of women to vote in the United States. The origin of the National Woman's Party (NWP) date from 1912, when Alice Stokes Paul and Lucy Burns, young Americans schooled in the militant tactics of the British suffrage movement, were appointed to the National American Woman Suffrage Association’s (NAWSA) Congressional Committee. Radicalized by their experiences in England–which included violent confrontations with authorities, jail sentences, hunger strikes, and force-feedings–they sought to inject a renewed militancy into the American campaign for womans suffrage?.
  • National Woman's Party's TacticsIn early 1917, Wilson rebuffed a delegation of more than 300 suffrage supporters who presented him with resolutions drafted at the memorial for Inez Milholland Boissevain. The NWP thereafter significantly shifted its strategy toward overt forms of public protest and civil disobedience. While the more formal political work of the NWP legislative committee continued, the NWP picketing campaign, its banners fully visible to the president as he came in and out of the White House gates, became its own form of lobbying. Picketing the White House also sought to influence international opinion by pointing out the irony of advocating democracy abroad while limiting the exercise of political rights at home.
  • One Hundred Years toward Suffrage: An Overview1776 - Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John, who is attending the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, asking that he and the other men–who were at work on the Declaration of Independence–“Remember the Ladies.” John responds with humor. The Declaration’s wording specifies that “all men are created equal.”
  • Roosevelt, Eleanor: The Women's MovementEleanor Roosevelt (ER) became aware of the barriers women faced while working with other women on other social justice issues. Although she did work in a settlement house and joined the National Consumers League before she married, ER's great introduction to the women's network occurred in the immediate post World War I period when she worked with the International Congress of Working Women and the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom (WILPF) to address the causes of poverty and war.
  • Rose Schneiderman: N.Y. Senators vs. Working Women"...Can it be that our Senators do not realize that we have women working in every trade but nine? We have women working in the foundries, stripped to the waist, if you please, because of the heat. Yet the Senator says nothing about these women losing their charm. They have got to retain their charm and delicacy and work in foundries. Of course, you know the reason they are employed in foundries is that they are cheaper and work longer hours than men. Women in the laundries, for instance, stand for 13 or 14 hours in the terrible steam and heat with their hands in hot starch. Surely these women won't lose any more of their beauty and charm by putting a ballot in a ballot box once a year than they are likely to lose standing in foundries or laundries all year round...."
  • Seneca Falls Convention, July 1848Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation, - in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of these United States. In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and national Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country.
  • Solitude of Self: An Address by E.C. Stanton January, 1892Shakespeare's play of Titus and Andronicus contains a terrible satire on woman's position in the nineteenth century--"Rude men" (the play tells us) "seized the king's daughter, cut out her tongue, cut off her hands, and then bade her go call for water and wash her hands." What a picture of woman's position. Robbed of her natural rights, handicapped by law and custom at every turn, yet compelled to fight her own battles, and in the emergencies of life to fall back on herself for protection.
  • Stanton, Elizabeth CadyElizabeth Cady Stanton was a very prominent proponent of a woman's legal and social equality during the nineteenth century. In 1848, she and others organized the first national woman's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. She co-authored that meeting's Declaration of Sentiments, a document modeled on the Declaration of Independence, and introduced the most radical demand: for womens suffrage.
  • Stewart, Maria MillerMaria W. Stewart (1803-1880) was one of the first American women to leave copies of her speeches. The address below is her second public lecture. It was given on September 21, 1832 in Franklin Hall in Boston, the meeting site of the new England Anti-Slavery Society. Although as an abolitionist, she usually attacked slavery, in this address she condemns the attitude that denied black women education and prohibited their occupational advancement. In fact she argues that Northern African American women, in term of treatment, were only slightly better off than slaves.
  • The 19th AmendmentThe 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest.
  • The Declaration of SentimentsThis resolution calling for woman suffrage had passed, after much debate, at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, convened by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. In The Declaration of Sentiments, a document based upon the Declaration of Independence, the numerous demands of these early activists were elucidated.
  • What Ten Million Women Want"...My fourth point is the woman's desire to see government lighten her burdens. The first of these burdens is the taxes. On the whole when women see that taxes which they pay bring direct returns in benefits to the community, I do not think that they are averse to paying them, but I do think that our ten million women want much more careful accounting for how their taxes are expended in the local, state or national government. They want to see the actual good which comes to them from these expenditures. They feel very strongly that governments should not add to their burdens but should lighten them. They are gradually coming to grasp the relation of legislation to the lightening of these burdens, for instance, in such questions as the regulation of public utilities and the development of the water power of our nation. They realize now that cheaper electricity means less work in the home, more time to give to their children, more time for recreation and greater educational opportunities....
  • Why A Woman's Rights Convention?Determined to overcome the social, civil, and religious disabilities that crippled women of their day, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the first woman's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, on 19 July 1848. It drew over 300. Stanton drafted the "Declaration of Sentiments," a document that stated "men and women are created equal"
  • Willard, Frances Elizabeth Caroline (1839-1898)Frances Willard promoted the cause of women and reform as a pioneer educator and especially as the most prominent leader of the nineteenth century movement to end alcohol abuse. One of the most influential women of the nineteenth century, Frances Willard’s name is inseparable from that of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), but her life embodied little of the conservatism that came to be associated with the WCTU after her death.
  • Woman Suffrage: History and Time LineA resolution calling for woman suffrage had passed, after much debate, at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, convened by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. In The Declaration of Sentiments, a document based upon the Declaration of Independence, the numerous demands of these early activists were elucidated. The 1848 convention had challenged America to a social revolution that would touch every aspect of life. Early women's rights leaders believed suffrage to be the most effective means to change an unjust system.
  • Woman's Place After the War"Will women want to keep their jobs after the war is over?" When I asked Miss Mary Anderson of the Bureau of Women in Industry, she told me it all boils down to economic necessity. Married women usually keep their jobs only when they have real need for money at home. This, of course, does not mean that women who take up some kind of work as a career will not stay in that work if they like it, whether they are married or single.
  • Women and Nineteenth-Century ReformThe problem for Dix and other women reformers of the nineteenth century was how to engage in social causes without losing their femininity. Opponents of women’s suffrage argued that political engagement would make women “mannish” and thereby undermine the social order. Even Catharine Beecher argued that women should not receive the right to vote because it would destroy their feminine virtues. Instead, Beecher believed that women could best exert their moral influence through their roles in the Christian home and neighborhood.
  • Women and Nineteenth-Century ReformThe work of Dorothea Dix to improve the treatment of persons with mental illness illustrates the gendered nature of nineteenth-century reform activity. Like many women of her generation, Dix began her career as a teacher, a profession that many women and men believed ideally suited to women as it both mirrored and prepared them for their roles within the home. Dix’ tireless activism within the Unitarian church and sense of moral religious duty was also common for women of her day. Eventually Dix felt that school teaching was insufficiently rewarding and in 1831 left the United States for a tour of England and Scotland. There, she became acquainted with a number of leading reformers who worked to improve the conditions for the poor and the mentally ill. On her return to the United States, Dix accepted a position to teach Sunday School to women prisoners at the East Cambridge jail. Thus, her life’s purpose grew out of a very common role for women at this time, that of educator and moral guide.
  • Women and the VoteWomen are thinking and that is the first step toward an increased and more intelligent use of the ballot. Then they will demand of their political parties clear statements of principles and they will scrutinize their party’s candidates, watch their records, listen to their promises and expect them to live up to them and to have their party’s backing, and occasionally when the need arises, women will reject their party and its candidates. This will not be disloyalty but will show that as members of a party they are loyal first to the fine things for which the party stands and when it rejects those things or forgets the legitimate objects for which political parties exist, then as a party it cannot command the honest loyalty of its members.
  • Women In Nineteenth-Century AmericaAs household production by women declined and the traditional economic role of women diminished, the "home" appeared as a topic to be discussed and an ideal to be lauded. Less a place of production than a spiritually sanctified retreat from the hurly-burly of economic life, the home was where women nurtured men and children into becoming morally elevated beings. It could be said that what we think of as the traditional "home" was actually an invention of nineteenth-century Americans.
  • Women In PoliticsWe are about to have a collective coming of age! The women in the United States have been participants in government for nearly twenty years. I think it behooves us to look back on this period in which we have been serving our apprenticeship and decide what our accomplishments have been, how much good our education has done us, and whether we really are able to consider ourselves full-fledged citizens.
  • Women Must Learn to Play the Game as Men Do"...To many women who fought so long and so valiantly for suffrage, what has happened has been most discouraging. For one reason or another, most of the leaders who carried the early fight to success have dropped out of politics. This has been in many ways unfortunate. Among them were women with gifts of real leadership. They were exceptional and high types of women, idealists concerned in carrying a cause to victory, with no idea of personal advancement or gain. In fact, attaining the vote was only part of a program for equal rights--an external gesture toward economic independence, and social and spiritual equality with men...".
  • Women's Suffrage: The MovementIn 2005, the passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote, celebrated its 85th anniversary. The resolution calling for woman suffrage had passed, after much debate, at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, convened by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. In The Declaration of Sentiments, a document based upon the Declaration of Independence, the numerous demands of these early activists were elucidated.
  • Women, Settlements and PovertyThis article uses primary source documents from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s to discuss women’s roles in the reconceptualization of poverty in America. It studies the belief drawn from colonial religion that poverty was a result of personal immorality and traces the changing public perception through the turn of the 20th century. The view of poverty that evolved, a conceptualization based in the social research of women settlement house leaders, was one that also considered environmental contributors to individual poverty, thus redefining poverty as a multi-dimensional social problem.