Essay on History of Women Suffrage in the U.S

Published: 2021-07-19
628 words
3 pages
6 min to read
Vanderbilt University
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After the United States attained its independence, women and men were not regarded as equals. Women were not allowed to exercise their civic rights such as the right to vote. This lead the women to form a women rights movement in the year 1848 at a national convention in New York at Seneca Falls to fight for their rights to vote (Zagarri, 2011). The meeting organized by abolitionists like Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton encouraged other abolitionists such as Susan B. Antony to urge the government to allow women to vote. The efforts of the women lead the state to enact the 19th Constitution amendment thus allowing women of the United States to also exercise their civic right of voting (Zagarri, 2011). The bill stated that all the citizens of the United States should not be denied their rights to vote based on their gender identity.

The Development of Women Suffrage in the U.S

Women were viewed as incapable of taking up leadership roles and were not allowed to own property even in cases where they may have worked to earn the property. Women were viewed as people who were meant to only engage in domestic duties such as looking after children and cooking (Davis, 2011). Before women had formed their movement in the year 1848, they took active roles in various religious, anti-slavery, and temperance movements. Their experience made it easy for them to form and manage their union. Apart from fighting for equality in civic rights women under the movement also advocated for equality in employment and educational opportunities. The ideas presented by the movement attracted a lot of opposition, especially from the press. This forced many women to stop supporting the union. However, women like Stanton continued struggling for women rights despite the attacks (Davis, 2011).

The Establishment of National Suffrage Organization

The 1861 to 1865 occurrence of the civil war significantly affected the activities of the women's movements since most of them turned their efforts to assist in the war (Foner, 2013). After the war, Stanton and other female activists started to campaign against the implementation of the 15th amendment which granted African American men the right to vote and ignored the rights of women to vote regardless of their ethnic back ground. This led Anthony and Stanton to form the National Woman Suffrage Association in the year 1869. Henry Blackwell and Lucy Stone also formed the American Women Suffrage Association in the same year. The two, unlike Stanton, supported the enactment of the 15th amendment. Members of AWSA also believed that women would achieve their civil rights by ensuring that different states progressively amend their laws while NWSA focused on the national amendment of the women civil rights. The two organizations joined forces in 1890 to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) that aimed at progressively gathering support for women right to vote from one state to another (Foner, 2013).

Progress and Receiving the Vote

The organization managed to convince states such as California, Oklahoma, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and Illinois to allow women to vote under the leadership of Catt. During President Woodrow's inauguration in the year 1913, Alice Paul organized a parade that advocated for the consideration of women rights (Foner, 2013). Civilians against the movement's course violently attacked members of the group, but this did not stop them from fighting for their rights. After the First World War, President Woodrow's started to Champaign for the granting of women rights to vote. In the year 1920, about eight million women voted for the first time.


Davis, A. Y. (2011). Women, race, & class. New York: Vintage.

Foner, E. (2013). Give Me Liberty! An American History: Seagull Fourth Edition (Vol. 1). WW Norton & Company.

The U.S. Constitution. The 19th Amendment.

Zagarri, R. (2011). Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.

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