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Women's Suffrage

The history of women's struggle for the right to vote.Well into the 20th century, women in many countries did not have the right to vote. It wasn't until 1920 that women had the right to vote in the United States. This is a visual history of women's struggle to obtain voting rights. Read more >>

The Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, and ratified by the states on August 18, 1920 (3/4 of states are required to ratify), simply says "Section 1. The right of the 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. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." It took more than 40 years for several states to finally ratify it: Maryland (1941), Virginia (1952), Alabama (1953), Florida (1969, although not certified until 1973), Georgia (1970), Louisiana (1970), North Carolina (1971), and Mississippi (1984). Such a simple principle but decades of struggle went into the creation and passing of the Amendment: It was first proposed and rejected in 1878 and reintroduced every year for the next 41 years.

In the United States, the women's rights movement and the abolitionist movement were at first united. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, an abolutionist and women's rights advocate, wrote a "Declaration of Sentiments" in 1848, based on the Constitution. In part, this read:

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.”

Married women are legally dead in the eyes of the law
Women are not allowed to vote
Women have to submit to laws when they had no voice in their formation
Married women have no property rights
Husbands have legal power over and responsibility for their wives to the extent that they can imprison or beat them with impunity
Divorce and child custody laws favor men, giving no rights to women
Women have to pay property taxes although they have no representation in the levying of these taxes
Most occupations are closed to women and when women do work they are paid only a fraction of what men earn
Women are not allowed to enter professions such as medicine or law
Women have no means to gain an education since no college or university will accept women students
With only a few exceptions, women are not allowed to participate in the affairs of the church
Women are robbed of their self-confidence and self-respect, and are made totally dependent on men

This Declaration and the efforts of abolitionists and suffragists lead to regular meetings and large protests, up until the beginning of the Civil War. After the War, many abolitionists felt that their goals had been achieved and it was left to the suffragists (both men and women) to continue the cause. The focus became the right for women to vote as it was felt that voting would change the other issues (such as a woman, especially a married women, having no legal rights). Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony. Matilda Joslyn Gage, Lucy Stone, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mary Church Terrell, Harriot Stanton Blatch, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Stone Blackwell, Lucy Stone’s daughter . . . the list of heroic women who fought for the rights of all goes on and on - and for generations.

Today, three women sit on the Supreme Court. One of those women, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has said “I think about how much we owe to the women who went before us – legions of women, some known but many more unknown. I applaud the bravery and resilience of those who helped all of us – you and me – to be here today.”

These are some of their photos and photos their activities. << Read less

"Calm about it." At Fifty-sixth and Lexington Avenue, the women voters showed no ignorance or trepidation, but cast their ballots in a businesslike way that bespoke study of suffrage
Lawyer Inez Milholland Boissevain riding astride in the March 3, 1913, suffrage parade in Washington, D.C., as the first of four mounted heralds. In her short life Milholland shared with many of her fellow marchers a commitment to social reform. She joined organizations striving to improve the working conditions of children and the lives of African Americans. She was also a strong supporter of the shirtwaist and laundry workers. Three years after the parade, she collapsed and died at age thirty during a western suffrage lecture tour.
People in this photo:
Inez (Milholland) Boissevain
Aug 6, 1886 - Nov 25, 1916
A suffragette holding a sign that says "Help us to win the vote" - men and boys just looking on. They don't look very helpful!
A photo of Elizabeth Cady Stanton (seated) and Susan B. Anthony, partners in the fight for women's rights. They were both active in the abolitionist movement as well.
People in this photo:
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Oct 11, 1902 - Oct 26, 1902
A photo of (not young) unknown suffragettes bicycling to a suffrage meeting.
Women in the 1910's picketing for women's suffrage - the right to vote.
A photo of a drawing of Martha Coffin Wright. An abolitionist and a suffragette, she fought tirelessly for the rights of all human beings.
People in this photo:
Martha Coffin Wright
Dec 25, 1806 - 1875
A photo of Margaretta Van Rensellaer Schuyler (1894-1976) aka 'Margot Schulyer' a reporter, suffragette and college professor. She was born in Montreal, Canada to parents Reverend Philip Pieterse Schuyler (1861-1930) and Marie Louise Nelson (1865-1923). She died in Bennington, Vermont 1976 age 82.
People in this photo:
Margaretta Schuyler
Feb 16, 1894 - November 1976
Bennington, VT
Alice Paul, leader of the National Woman’s Party, unfurled the completed Ratification Flag in Washington D.C. in August 1920 to celebrate passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing women nationally the right to vote.
People in this photo:
Alice Paul
Born: Jan 11, 1885
This is a photo of Suffragette group, 7/13/20 added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
This is a photo of Suffragettes, 7/20/20 added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
This is a photo of Raising the Suffrage flag when terms ratified added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
This is a photo of Suffragette card index added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
This is a photo of Suffrage Memorial added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
Local suffragettes are taking up in earnest the fight to obtain equal smoking rights for men and women in public places. Even the famous Capitol dining room has not escaped the fumes of the ladies cigarettes. Photo shows Miss Sarah Anderson, a Washington Suffragist who advocated the equal smoking privilege, enjoying a "Puff" at the Chevy Chase Club Washingtons most exclusive Country Club.
People in this photo:
This is a photo of Miss Alice Paul added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
A photo of Alice Paul, with her fellow suffragettes, sewing stars on the suffrage flag
People in this photo:
Alice Paul
1885 - 1977
This is a photo of Suffragette group added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
Cartoon showing clownish looking women wearing garish clothing at a meeting. "The only way we can gain women's suffrage is by making our appeal through our charm, our grace, and our beauty."
Political cartoon entitled "Making the polls attractive to the anti-suffragists". They were suggesting that most women were too busy having fun to vote.
This is a photo of The awakening / Hy Mayer. added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
This is a photo of A female suffrage fancy / J. Keppler. added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
This is a photo of Breaking in suffrage speakers - Mrs. E.R. Smith added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
Illustration shows Iroquois women on a rock overlooking women marching with a banner labeled "Woman Suffrage". Includes brief text about the rights of Iroquois women. Caption: "The Indian Women, We whom you pity as drudges, reached centuries ago the goal that you are now nearing."
This is a photo of The first picket line - College day in the picket line added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
In the days of "Old Dobbin" and Derby hats Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch exhorted the Wall Street crowds (She was the daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton)
People in this photo:
Harriot Eaton Stanton Stanton Blatch
Jan 20, 1856 - Nov 20, 1940
Woman suffrage headquarters in Upper Euclid Avenue, Cleveland--A. (at extreme right) is Miss Belle Sherwin, President, National League of Women Voters; B. is Judge Florence E. Allen (holding the flag); C. is Mrs. Malcolm McBride
This is a photo of Suffragists marching, probably in New York City in 1913 added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
This is a photo of Head of suffrage parade, Washington, D.C. added by Ancient Faces on January 11, 2012.
A photo of Mme. Jane Brigode, Belgian suffragist
People in this photo:
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