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Historical Exploration of Woman’s Suffrage

My name is Stephanie Lotzman and I am very interested in gaining suffrage for women. Suffrage is officially taken away from us in 1868 when the Fourteenth Amendment defines “citizens” and “voters” as “male.” This amendment gives all citizens protection by the constitution against unjust State laws. It also causes the Women’s Rights Movement to be split into two factions. One is a more radical New York-based National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA).

Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and Julia Ward Howe organize the more conservative American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), which is centred in Boston. In this same year, the Wyoming territory is organized with a woman suffrage provision. In 1890, Wyoming is admitted to the Union with its suffrage provision still standing. The best thing for me to do is support whichever group I feel has the most chance of winning our battle.

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In 1874 Annie Wittenmyer founds the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). With Frances Willard at its head in 1876, the WCTU becomes an important force in the fight for woman suffrage. Our group finally gets a woman suffrage amendment introduced in the United States Congress in 1878.

The NWSA and the AWSA reunite in 1890 as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) under the leadership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. During this same year, Jane Adams and Ellen Gates Starr found the Hull House, a settlement house project in Chicago’s 19th Ward. Within one year, there are more than a hundred settlement houses, largely operated by women, throughout the United States.

The settlement house movement and the Progressive campaign of which it was a part cause thousands of college-educated white women to partake in lifetime careers in social work. It also made women an important voice to be reckoned with in American politics.

Some women find that writing books helps their cause. In 1895 Elizabeth Cady Stanton publishes The Woman’s Bible. After its publication, NAWSA moves to distance itself from this suffrage leader because many conservative suffragists consider her to be too radical and potentially damaging to the suffrage campaign. From this time, Stanton, who had resigned as NAWSA president in 1892, is no longer invited to sit on the stage at NAWSA conventions.

Soon after this Mary Dreier, Rheta Childe Dorr, Leonora O’Reilly, and others form the Women’s Trade Union League of New York, an organization of middle and working-class women dedicated to unionization for working women and to woman suffrage. The problem still is that although many organizations and such have been formed, nothing has truly been accomplished yet.

In 1912 the first sign of light is seen when Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party becomes the first national political party to adopt a woman suffrage platform. Next year Alice Paul and Lucy Burns organize the Congressional Union, later known as the National Women’s Party.

Borrowing the tactics of the radical, militant Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in England, members of the Woman’s Party participate in hunger strikes, picket the White House, and engage in other forms of protest to publicize the suffrage cause. Furthermore, the National Federation of Women’s Clubs, which by this time included more than two million white women and women of colour throughout the United States, formally endorses the suffrage campaign. We begin to feel like we see some light at the end of the tunnel.

From 1918 to 1920 World War One intervenes to slow down the suffrage campaign as some, but not all, suffragists decide to slow down their activism in favour of “war work.” In the long run, however, this decision proves to be a healthy one as it adds yet another reason why women deserve the vote.

Finally, on August 26, 1920, The Nineteenth Amendment is ratified. Its victory accomplished, NAWSA ceases to exist, but its organization becomes the core of the League of Women Voters. I feel like we had a realistic goal and we did all we could in our power to succeed on our mission. Now the opinions and ideas of women will finally be heard and have an effect on what goes on in our country. Since we have the right to vote, why not keep going until we have total equality with men.

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Historical Exploration of Woman's Suffrage. (2021, Feb 14). Retrieved June 19, 2021, from