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A history of the womans suffrage movement in the 19th and 20th century

That reform effort evolved during the 19th century, initially emphasizing a broad spectrum of goals before focusing solely on securing the franchise for women. They are holding a banner emblazoned with a quote from suffragist Susan B. Stanton and Susan B. Like many other women reformers of the era, they both had been active in the abolitionist movement.

For much of the 1850s they agitated against the denial of basic economic freedoms to women. Later they unsuccessfully lobbied Congress to include women in the provisions of the 14th and 15th Amendments extending citizenship rights and granting voting rights to African-American men, respectively.

Capitol is in background. Stanton and Anthony created the National Woman Suffrage Association NWSAwhich directed its efforts toward changing federal law and opposed the 15th Amendment on the basis that it excluded women. Eventually, the NWSA also shifted its efforts to the individual states where reformers hoped to start a ripple effect to win voting rights at the federal level.

The AWSA was better funded and the larger of the two groups, but it had only a regional reach. The NWSA, which was based in New York, relied on its statewide network, but also drew recruits from around the nation largely on the basis of the extensive speaking circuits of Stanton and Anthony. Neither group attracted broad support from women or persuaded male politicians or voters to adopt its cause.

For instance, suffrage movement leaders knew that this was a significant impediment to achieving their goal.

Progressive Era Reformers

Anthony and Ida H. The determination of these women to expand their sphere of activities further outside the home helped legitimize the suffrage movement and provided new momentum for the NWSA and the AWSA. Senate, poses at her desk in the Senate Office Building. For the next two decades the NAWSA worked as a nonpartisan organization focused on gaining the vote in states, although managerial problems and a lack of coordination initially limited its success.

The first state to grant women complete voting rights was Wyoming in 1869. But before 1910 only these four states allowed women to vote.

Some scholars suggest that the West proved to be more progressive in extending the vote to women, in part, because there were so few of them on the frontier. Granting women political rights was intended to bring more women westward and to boost the population. Others suggest that women had long played nontraditional roles on the hardscrabble frontier and were accorded a more equal status by men. Still others find that political expediency by territorial officials played a role.

They do, however, agree that western women also organized themselves effectively to win the right. Between 1910 and 1914, the NAWSA intensified its lobbying efforts and additional states extended the franchise to women: Washington, California, Arizona, Kansas, and Oregon.

Women’s Rights Movement Begins

In Illinois, future Congresswoman Ruth Hanna McCormick of Illinois helped lead the fight for suffrage as a lobbyist in Springfield when the state legislature granted women the right to vote in 1913. This marked the first such victory for women in a state east of the Mississippi River. A year later Montana granted women the right to vote, thanks in part to the efforts of another future Congresswoman, Jeannette Rankin.

Despite the new momentum, however, some reformers were impatient with the pace of change. Embracing a more confrontational style, Paul drew a younger generation of women to her movement, helped resuscitate the push for a federal equal rights amendment, and relentlessly attacked the Democratic administration of President Woodrow Wilson for obstructing the extension of the vote to women. Beginning in 1917, President Wilson a convert to the suffrage cause urged Congress to pass a voting rights amendment.

The Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States

Elected two years after her state enfranchised women, Rankin became the first woman to serve in the national legislature. Unveiled in 1921, the monument is featured prominently in the Rotunda of the U. Moreover, they insisted, the failure to extend the vote to women might impede their participation in the war effort just when they were most needed to play a greater role as workers and volunteers outside the home.

Responding to these overtures, the House of Representatives initially passed a voting rights amendment on January 10, 1918, but the Senate did not follow suit before the end of the 65th Congress. It was not until after the war, however, that the measure finally cleared Congress with the House again voting its approval by a wide margin on May 21, 1919, and the Senate concurring on June 4, 1919.

Women’s Suffrage Movement

A year later, on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to approve the 19th Amendment. Official ratification occurred on August 26, 1920, when U. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the approval of the Tennessee state legislature.

  • Stone, Blackwell, Stanton, and Anthony all actively participated, but the growing rift among suffragists soon became evident;
  • The AWSA was better funded and the larger of the two groups, but it had only a regional reach;
  • She led the final push toward a constitutional amendment, setting up a publicity bureau in Washington, D.

Banner, Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Cornell University Press, 1978. Rutgers University Press, 1992.

  1. In the mid-19th century, women in several countries—most notably, the U.
  2. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.
  3. Cornell University Press, 1978. Ideas that had seemed too radical or regional when articulated by Populists in the 1890s now found mainstream support among middle-class urbanites involved in the Progressive reform movement.

Northeastern University Press, 1986. Office of the Historian: