STEP BY STEP IN THE STRUGGLE
FOR WOMAN SUFFRAGE
NATIONS IN WHICH WOMEN VOTE
Isle of Man 1881
New Zealand 1893
British East Africa 1919
United States 1920
Colonial Period—Under several
colonial governments women
American Revolution — Women
demanded to be included in government. Abigail Adams wrote
to her husband, John Adams, "If
women are not represented in this
new republic, there will be another revolution."
In 1848—Woman's rights convention at Seneca Falls, New
York, arranged by Lucretia Mott
and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the
first big suffrage demonstration
in this country.
In 1872—Miss Susan B. Anthony made the test in 1872 of
voting at the polls. She was arrested, refused to pay her fine,
but was never jailed.
In 1875—Miss Anthony drafted
the Woman Suffrage amendment,
which reads: "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."
In 1878—Amendment introduced
in senate by Senator Sargent of
State Campaigns—By the end
of 1912 women had won the right
to Vote in nine states. Wyoming (1869), Colorado, Utah and
Idaho (1894), Washington (1910),
California (1911), and Kansas,
Arizona and Oregon (1912).
In 1913—The women of Illinois
won state and presidential suffrage. In 1914 the women of
Montana, and Nevada were enfranchised; in 1917 the women of
New York, and in 1918 the women
of Oklahoma, South Dakota and
Organization of the National
Wonman's Party—When the National Woman's party, then called
the Congressional Union, was organized in 1913 to concentrate on
a campaign for federal amendment, no action or even debate on
the federal amendment had taken
place in congress since 1887. Politicians were opposed and political
party platforms silent about the
Within seven years every political party had included in its
platform an equal suffrage plank.
President Wilson had publicly appealed for the passage of the
amendment as "a vitally necessary war measure," the amendment had been passed by both
houses of congress and ratified
by thirty-six states, while political leaders vied with each
other for the credit of the victory.
The National Woman's party
from the beginning adopted the
policy of holding the party in
power responsible for the fate of
the amendment and brought pressure on that party through the
political power already in the
hands of the western women.
Most spectacular of the demonstrations was the picketing of
the White House, which began in
January, 1917, and lasted until
November, 1917. During the
picketing between 400 and 500
women were arrested for the
crime of reminding the President
of his responsibility for their enfranchisement and sentenced to
prison terms ranging from three
days to seven months. These arrests were later declared by the
District Court of Appeals to have
In 1918, January 10—Two weeks
after the last pickets were re-
leased from jail, and one year
from the day the first picket line
went out, the federal amendment
passed the lower house of congress.
In 1919, June 4—The senate
passed the amendment with two
votes to spare. The house had
repassed it on May 21, 1919.
In 1919-1920—Special sessions
of twenty-nine legislatures had
to be called to secure the neces-
sary thirty-six ratifications. In
all but five of the thirty-six states
campaigns upon either the governor or the legislatures were necessary.
In the first month after the passage of the amendment by congress, nine states ratified, Wis-
onsin, Michigan, Ohio, New
York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Mas-
sachusetts and Texas.
The three states which ratified
within a few hours of each other
on June 10, Wisconsin, Illinois
and Michigan, fought for the
honor of first place on the ratification rolls.
Kansas, the first full suffrage
state to act, set a new record on
June 16. The members of its
legislature, at their own suggestion, paid their expenses and
met without salary in a special
session. Now York was the second state to meet especially for
this purpose, and then Texas,
desiring to be the first southern
state to act, met in special ses-
sion on June 28.
The half mark was passed by
the ratification on November 1 of
The most difficult campaigns
occurred in the last few states,
particularly in New Jersey, West
Virginia and Delaware. The opposition resorted to every possible device to defeat ratification
or to substitute a referendum. In
West Virginia the amendment
was saved by one vote, that of
Senator Bloch, who rushed from
California by special train to turn
"Tennessee, the thirty-sixth
state to ratify, thus completing
the requisite number to make the
nineteenth amendment effective,
acted the past week. The state
senate ratified on Friday last, by
a vote of 25 to 4, and the house of
representatives adopted the resolution on Wednesday of this
week, the final vote being 50 to
46, after which Speaker Walker
offered a motion to reconsider,
with the expectation of bringing
it up for consideration on Thursday or Friday.
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