HISTORY IN A HURRY!
2020 is the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment. This amendment is often thought to be simply women getting the right to vote but not all women did, and the story of the suffrage fight is a lot more than just voting rights. Each entry is in chronological order with verifiable sources, accompanied by a thematic song pick. The timeline covers the years 1776-1920 plus denouement and epilogue.
Women in New Jersey could vote then had it taken away. Several other states and territories had the right to vote before 1920.
Mary Lyons was a champion of women’s higher education. She and others founded the first colleges for women in America. Other established colleges began accepting women into their programs during this time.
The heroic Grimke sisters were southern belles turned fierce abolitionists and became prominent equal rights leaders.
The organizers of the World Anti-Slavery Conference in London did not anticipate that anyone would send women delegates. America sent eight of them. After many heated debates among the participants, a vote was taken and the women were barred from participating. This gave rise to an open discussion about women's rights among the delegates. Some historians mark this as the beginning of the American suffrage movement.
Mill work provided women a means to earn money outside of the home. The work was hard, the wages low, and working conditions were extremely dangerous. Child labor was common. Textile mill workers create the first union for working women. Strikes are held but ultimately crushed by powerful bosses who were horrified that women would act so outspoken.
Five women getting together for tea brew up a plan for an equal rights conference at a town in upstate New York called Seneca Falls.
Seneca Falls is often noted as the start of the American suffrage movement, but asking for the right to vote wasn’t part of the original agenda. It was the only resolution that did not pass unianomously.
Lucretia Mott delivers a rebuttal speech that becomes a foundational part of the suffrage movement.
The Underground Railroad, a covert operation consisting of a network of thousands of volunteers and hundreds of safe houses, goes into action. Learn the secret codes. Hear the stories.
Episode 10: The Underground Railroad https://suffragettecity100.com/10
Women convene for the first time at an organized national conference to discuss women’s rights. The majority of newspapers paint them as dangerous extremists and warn the nation about the coming “insurrection of petticoats.”
Learn the facts about the famous “Ain’t I a woman?” speech and how everything you believed about Sojourner Truth is probably wrong.
Prominent suffrage leader Lucy Stone gets married and keeps her maiden name. This is the first time in America that a woman has done so.
Women's Rights conferences become a national event and are held annually over this decade. Susan B. Anthony joins the fight for the first time.
Women writers become leaders in abolition, equal rights, and suffrage. Learn about Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Lily, and The Una.
During the Civil War, women took on many new roles which ranged from being spies, to soldiers, to founding nursing as a profession and more.
The American Equal Rights Association was created to further the cause of women getting the right to vote. Leadership positions were held by both women of color and white women.
1865 and Beyond:
Women in the South divide along racial lines. Each side takes a different approach to dealing with the aftermath of the Civil War. Repercussions are still being felt today.
“The Revolution” periodical is published by the National Woman’s Suffrage Association. It doesn’t just talk about things like suffrage or women’s education. It openly discusses taboo subjects like domestic violence, divorce, sex education and rape.
The American Equal Rights Association breaks into two factions over the passage of the 14th Amendment. The newly created National Woman’s Suffrage Association (NWSA) and American Women’s Suffrage Association (AWSA) split the efficacy of the suffrage movement as leaders take different sides.
Women in Vineland New Jersey stage a mock vote. This inspires more than 100 women around the country to try to register to vote.
A kindly little old lady becomes the first woman in the world to vote in a democratic presidential election. Find out who and where.
First woman to pass the law exam was denied entry to the Illinois State Bar. She took them to court--actually the U.S. Supreme Court in Bradwell v. State of Illinois.
The special case of Utah Territory.
Historical figures who are admirable in many ways don’t get a free pass on everything. Racism played a large part of the suffrage movement.
Women start founding anti-suffrage groups in response to the pro-suffrage movement. These anti-suffrage women are often just as educated and independent as their pro-suffrage counterparts. Many anti-suffrage women are strong supporters of women's rights in general but not in favor of getting the vote. In other words, it's complicated.
Rochester, NY, Susan B. Anthony and band of ladies registered and voted. She successfully argued on the basis of citizenship under federal law so election officials took the ballots; she will be arrested for voting illegally.
The first woman who ran for President was in jail on election night on “obscenity” charges. Also learn about the “pioneer woman suffragist of the great Northwest” who fought for women to be legally allowed to keep any money they earn!
Susan B. Anthony goes on trial for illegally voting. The judge is outrageously biased and runs a kangaroo court. Anthony wins public sympathy and respect. Suffrage starts to become a national political issue.
American faces alcoholism epidemic like our current opioid crisis. Temperance movement gets taken seriously. Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) goes national. Suffrage and temperance movements often overlap. Women learn powerful organizing skills and the importance of working together.
No docs; didn’t happen. Stanton, Anthony, and Gage start writing “History of Woman Suffrage” Had other groups documented as well as “History of Woman Suffrage,” they might not have been forgotten. You can help the Library of Congress transcribe suffrage documents.
The Susan B. Anthony Amendment introduced into Congress. Women are allowed to testify in person! Amendment is postponed indefinitely by Senate. 1882 a Select Committee is formed to address Woman’s Suffrage.Committee validates the justification of suffrage but nothing comes of it. 1887 Senate takes first official on Woman’s Suffrage; it is defeated.
Suffrage movement in Washington Territory is a roller coaster ride of being legally implied, officially denied, outright banned in 1871, finally put into law in 1883, then overturned by Territorial Supreme Court in 1887, passed again and overturned in 1888, and the next generation helped finish the fight 22 years later when suffrage passed overwhelmingly in 1910.
Belva Ann Lockwood becomes the second woman to run for President. Her Vice President pick is also a woman, Mariette Stowe. This is the first time a woman presidential candidate is officially on the ballot. (Woodhull was a write-in only.) Lockwood had a formal party platform and made a full campaign effort. Lockwood is best known as being the first female lawyer to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Suffrage leader Jane Addams opens Hull House in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Chicago. It becomes the model for community centers across the country. Even before they had the right to vote, women were finding ways to influence society and improve the lives of others. She also is the first American woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
It’s the heart of the Gilded Age and the world is changing rapidly. Second generation of suffragists grow up in a completely different world than the first suffragists.This decade alone sees the harnessing of electricity for lights and power, first car, first movie cameras, first skyscraper, rapid population growth mostly from immigration, major civil rights cases at the Supreme Court, and “official” end to Indian Wars. Improvements in production and transportation make everyday goods like shoes and oranges less expensive and available across the nation.
Alice Blackwell Stone, Lucy’s daughter, helps reunite the two main suffrage groups into the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Although there is no policy against discrimination at the national level and there were groups that were racially integrated, some state and local groups blatantly exclude women of color and the national office turns a blind eye. Wyoming Territory officially becomes a state and keeps women’s suffrage in place despite pressure to drop it from the state constitution in order to join the Union.
Horrified by the brutal lynching of a friend in Memphis TN, African-American journalist Ida B. Wells publishes articles and a pamphlet pointing to racism being the real cause of lynchings and not the “crime” itself. Her office is burnt down in retaliation. She moves to Chicago and continues to press for anti-lyching laws, civil rights and women’s suffrage.
77-year-old Elizabeth Cady Stanton delivers one last speech to Congress before she retires as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). "Solitude of Self" is considered one of the greatest speeches in American History.
Thanks to the coordinated efforts of Colorado suffrage leader Meredith Ellis and organizer Carrie Chapman Catt of NAWSA, Colorado grants women the right to vote.
New Zealand becomes the first independently governed country in the world to grant full national suffrage to women. Read the full post to learn about some of the suffrage movements around the world.
The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is created by the Jewish Women's Committee at the Chicago World's Fair. Hannah Greenbaum Solomon is the first president and becomes the prominent voice for the rights of Jewish women in America.
The "Woman’s Bible" is published to challenge the traditional position of religious orthodoxy that women should be subservient to men.
In 1895, Ida B. Wells publishes the “The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States”. Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin sends out a “Call to Confer” to every African-American women’s organization. The 1896 conference of these organizations results in the coalition of more than 100 clubs into the National Association of Colored Women (NACW)
Utah becomes a state and restores full voting rights to women. Abigail Scott Duniway continues to lead suffrage in the western states. Idaho becomes the 4th state to grant full suffrage.
Helen Kendrick Johnson goes from being an editor at the pro-suffrage publication, “American Woman’s Journal”, to leading the anti-suffrage movement in New York state. Her series of articles in “Women and the Republic” are scathing essays insisting that giving women the right to vote will lead to socialism, communism, and the downfall of America.
In order to win support for a state-by-state suffrage strategy, the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) holds national conventions in Grand Rapids, MI and New Orleans, LA. The national level of NAWSA takes the position that each state branch can choose whether or not to segregate it’s events and meetings out of respect for “states’ rights”. However, this stance allows for blatant racism towards women of color in the suffrage movement.
Women's Trade Union League is formed in Boston because most labor unions would not support or include women workers. The WTUL is instrumental in establishing an 8-hour work day, minimum wage, safer working conditions, and child labor laws.
Susan B. Anthony dies. Learn about the more human side of SBA and her two signature style items. One is even immortalized in a jump rope song.
Carrie Chapman Catt founds the Woman Suffrage Party (1909-1915) and unites smaller New York based suffrage organizations. This coalition becomes Empire State Campaign Committee dedicated to pass full suffrage in New York state.
Think one vote doesn't count? The 1911 California state referendum on suffrage passes with the narrowest of margins--an average of one vote per precinct. California becomes the 6th state to grant full suffrage.
While California was in the middle of their suffrage campaign, New York state made a push of their own. The Women’s Political Union, led by Harriot Stanton Blatch (Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s daughter) holds the first parade in New York CIty. They ask that women all wear “small hats; white shirtwaist; short skirt, preferably in white; low heel walking boots.”
Episode 53: First Suffrage Parade in New York City https://suffragettecity100.com/53
Not every woman agrees with suffrage. Anti-suffrage women create the first formal nationwide organization, the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NAOWS) in response to the growing acceptance of suffrage as a mainstream idea. Women in six states (WY, CO, UT, ID,WA, CA) now have full voting rights.
Episode 54: National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage https://suffragettecity100.com/54
Teacher and journalist, Jovita Idar, organizes the Liga Femenil Mexicanista (League of Mexican Women) in Laredo, Texas, to fight for education, suffrage and civil rights. Idar exposes the horrors of lynching of Americans of Mexican descent and her office is destroyed. Other Latina suffragists were active in California, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas, Mexico, and Cuba.
Arizona becomes the 48th state. Suffragists campaign to add suffrage as an amendment to the brand new state constitution. It passes. However Native Americans, men or women, still cannot become citizens or have voting rights.
The Women's Political Union organizes two important suffrage parades in New York City. The first one in May includes 16-year-old Mabel Ping Hua Lee as part of the horse brigade leading the parade. The second in November is the first nighttime suffrage parade. It is described as a "river of fire" by the New York Times and has over 400,000 spectators.The two new york suffrage parades
Kansas becomes a state and grants full suffrage. The women of Kansas Territory had been unusual in that they had the vote for school elections since 1861. In 1867 the territory's legislature voted on the first full suffrage bill in America. It did not pass but it was the first time that full suffrage for women was taken seriously by lawmakers. Kansas women did win the right to vote for and run in city elections in 1887 and had the first female mayor in America.
Former president Teddy Roosevelt (1901-1909) runs for president again after taking a few years off. He has a record of strong social reform, and very progressive views. He does not get a major party nomination this time and runs as a third party candidate. Roosevelt’s Progressive Party, also known as the Bull Moose Party, is the first major party to support women’s suffrage as part of their platform. 50% of the popular vote is split between moderate William Howard Taft and far left Roosevelt. Conservative Woodrow Wilson wins with only 41% of the popular vote but an Electoral College landslide.
Oregon grants the full suffrage. Abigail Scott Duniway is the top suffrage leader in the Great Northwest. Oregon suffragists endured more legislative defeats than any other state before final victory in 1912.
Episode 60: Oregon Gets the Vote https://suffragettecity100.com/60
The next generation of suffrage leaders are Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul. They will both cooperate and clash with each other over the next few years but both leadership styles were needed in the fight for suffrage. While working in D.C. as part of the NAWSA Congressional Committee, Paul founds the more radical Congressional Union for Women’s Suffrage (CU) in 1913. The CU will rebrand itself as the National Woman’s Party in 1916.
Episode 61: Suffrage: The Next Generation https://suffragettecity100.com/61
The famous 1913 suffrage parade in Washington D.C. is actually an entire three part civil art project composed of the parade itself, an allegory play, and the finale to a suffrage hike. Learn about what happened using original sources. It’s different from the versions often heard today.
Episode 62: The 1913 Suffrage Parade in Washington D.C. (Abridged) https://suffragettecity100.com/62a
Episode 62: The 1913 Suffrage Parade in Washington D.C.(Unabridged)
Militant British suffrage leader Emmeline Pankhurst gives a second lecture tour of American. She delivers her famous “Freedom or Death” speech in Hartford, Connecticut.
Episode 63: Emmeline Pankhurst Visits America https://suffragettecity100.com/63
Illinois grants partial suffrage. Ida B. Wells forms the Alpha Suffrage Club, the first suffrage organization focused solely on getting the vote for African-American women.
Progressive suffragists break away from the more moderate National American Women’s Suffrage Association. Alice Paul and Lucy Burns form the Congressional Union for Women’s Suffrage. Episode 65: Progressive vs. Moderates
Alaska, Montana, and Nevada pass suffrage.
Suffrage campaigns in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania fail at the ballot box.
Women drive cross country to promote suffrage. Sara Bard Field delivers a petition to the White House with over 500,000 signatures. Alice Burke, Nell Richardson, and their mascot “Saxon” the kitten are media celebrities in their 10,000 mile cross country suffrage tour.
Carrie Chapman Catt creates her “Winning Plan”. Alice Paul’s Congressional Union rebrands itself as the National Woman’s Party (NWP) and suffragists throw leaflets from airplanes.
Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first female Congresswoman. Her first vote will be against going to war.