American Women Suffrage Anniversary!

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One Hundred Years toward Suffrage: An Overview

Compiled by E. Susan Barber


1776
Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John, who is attending the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, asking that he and the other men–who were at work on the Declaration of Independence–“Remember the Ladies.” John responds with humor. The Declaration’s wording specifies that “all men are created equal.”
1820 to 1880
Evidence from a variety of printed sources published during this period–advice manuals, poetry and literature, sermons, medical texts–reveals that Americans, in general, held highly stereotypical notions about women’s and men’s roles in society. Historians would later term this phenomenon “The Cult of Domesticity.”
1821
Emma Hart Willard founds the Troy Female Seminary in New York–the first endowed school for girls.
1833
Oberlin College becomes the first coeducational college in the United States. In 1841, Oberlin awards the first academic degrees to three women. Early graduates include Lucy Stone and Antoinette Brown.
1836
Sarah Grimké begins her speaking career as an abolitionist and a women’s rights advocate. She is eventually silenced by male abolitionists who consider her public speaking a liability.
1837
The first National Female Anti-Slavery Society convention meets in New York City. Eighty-one delegates from twelve states attend.
1837
Mary Lyon founds Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, eventually the first four-year college exclusively for women in the United States. Mt. Holyoke was followed by Vassar in 1861, and Wellesley and Smith Colleges, both in 1875. In 1873, the School Sisters of Notre Dame found a school in Baltimore, Maryland, which would eventually become the nation’s first college for Catholic women.
1839
Mississippi passes the first Married Woman’s Property Act.
1844
Female textile workers in Massachusetts organize the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA) and demand a 10-hour workday. This was one of the first permanent labor associations for working women in the United States.
1848
The first women’s rights convention in the United States is held in Seneca Falls, New York. Many participants sign a “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” that outlines the main issues and goals for the emerging women’s movement. Thereafter, women’s rights meetings are held on a regular basis.
1849
Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery. Over the next ten years she leads many slaves to freedom by the Underground Railroad.
1850
Amelia Jenks Bloomer launches the dress reform movement with a costume bearing her name. The Bloomer costume was later abandoned by many suffragists who feared it detracted attention from more serious women’s rights issues.
1851
Former slave Sojourner Truth delivers her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech before a spellbound audience at a women’s rights convention in Akron, Ohio.
1852
Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which rapidly becomes a bestseller.
1859
The successful vulcanization of rubber provides women with reliable condoms for the first time. The birth rate in the United States continues its downward, century-long spiral. By the late 1900s, women will raise an average of only two to three children, in contrast to the five or six children they raised at the beginning of the century.
1861 to 65
The American Civil War disrupts suffrage activity as women, North and South, divert their energies to “war work.” The War itself, however, serves as a “training ground,” as women gain important organizational and occupational skills they will later use in postbellum organizational activity.
1865 to 1880
Southern white women create Confederate memorial societies to help preserve the memory of the “Lost Cause.” This activity propels many white Southern women into the public sphere for the first time. During this same period, newly emancipated Southern black women form thousands of organizations aimed at “uplifting the race.”
1866
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the American Equal Rights Association, an organization for white and black women and men dedicated to the goal of universal suffrage.
1868
The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified, which extends to all citizens the protections of the Constitution against unjust state laws. This Amendment was the first to define “citizens” and “voters” as “male.”
1869
The women’s rights movement splits into two factions as a result of disagreements over the Fourteenth and soon-to-be-passed Fifteenth Amendments. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the 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 centered in Boston. In this same year, the Wyoming territory is organized with a woman suffrage provision. In 1890, Wyoming was admitted to the Union with its suffrage provision intact.
1870
The Fifteenth Amendment enfranchises black men. NWSA refuses to work for its ratification, arguing, instead, that it be “scrapped” in favor of a Sixteenth Amendment providing universal suffrage. Frederick Douglass breaks with Stanton and Anthony over NWSA’s position.
1870 to 1875
Several women–including Virginia Louisa Minor, Victoria Woodhull, and Myra Bradwell–attempt to use the Fourteenth Amendment in the courts to secure the vote (Minor and Woodhull) or the right to practice law (Bradwell). They all are unsuccessful.
1872
Susan B. Anthony is arrested and brought to trial in Rochester, New York, for attempting to vote for Ulysses S. Grant in the presidential election. At the same time, Sojourner Truth appears at a polling booth in Battle Creek, Michigan, demanding a ballot; she is turned away.
1874
The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) is founded by Annie Wittenmyer. With Frances Willard at its head (1876), the WCTU became an important force in the fight for woman suffrage. Not surprisingly, one of the most vehement opponents to women’s enfranchisement was the liquor lobby, which feared women might use the franchise to prohibit the sale of liquor.
1878
A Woman Suffrage Amendment is introduced in the United States Congress. The wording is unchanged in 1919, when the amendment finally passes both houses.
1890
The NWSA and the AWSA are reunited as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) under the leadership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. During this same year, Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr found 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 propelled thousands of college-educated white women and a number of women of color into lifetime careers in social work. It also made women an important voice to be reckoned with in American politics.
1891
Ida B. Wells launches her nation-wide anti-lynching campaign after the murder of three black businessmen in Memphis, Tennessee.
1893
Hannah Greenbaum Solomon founds the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) after a meeting of the Jewish Women’s Congress at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. In that same year, Colorado becomes the first state to adopt a state amendment enfranchising women.
1895
Elizabeth Cady Stanton publishes The Woman’s Bible. After its publication, NAWSA moves to distance itself from this venerable suffrage pioneer because many conservative suffragists considered her to be too radical and, thus, potentially damaging to the suffrage campaign. From this time, Stanton–who had resigned as NAWSA president in 1892–was no longer invited to sit on the stage at NAWSA conventions.
1896
Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Margaret Murray Washington, Fanny Jackson Coppin, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Charlotte Forten Grimké, and former slave Harriet Tubman meet in Washington, D.C. to form the National Association of Colored Women (NACW).
1903
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. This group later became a nucleus of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU).
1911
The National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NAOWS) is organized. Led by Mrs. Arthur Dodge, its members included wealthy, influential women and some Catholic clergymen–including Cardinal Gibbons who, in 1916, sent an address to NAOWS’s convention in Washington, D.C. In addition to the distillers and brewers, who worked largely behind the scenes, the “antis” also drew support from urban political machines, Southern congressmen, and corporate capitalists–like railroad magnates and meatpackers–who supported the “antis” by contributing to their “war chests.”
1912
Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive (Bull Moose/Republican) Party becomes the first national political party to adopt a woman suffrage plank.
1913
Alice Paul and Lucy Burns organize the Congressional Union, later known as the National Women’s Party (1916). 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 civil disobedience to publicize the suffrage cause.
1914
The National Federation of Women’s Clubs–which by this time included more than two million white women and women of color throughout the United States–formally endorses the suffrage campaign.
1916
NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt unveils her “winning plan” for suffrage victory at a convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Catt’s plan required the coordination of activities by a vast cadre of suffrage workers in both state and local associations.
1916
Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first American woman elected to represent her state in the U.S. House of Representatives.
1918 to 1920
The Great War (World War I) intervenes to slow down the suffrage campaign as some–but not all–suffragists decide to shelve their suffrage activism in favor of “war work.” In the long run, however, this decision proves to be a prudent one as it adds yet another reason to why women deserve the vote.
August 26, 1920
The Nineteenth Amendment is ratified. Its victory accomplished, NAWSA ceases to exist, but its organization becomes the nucleus of the League of Women Voters.
1923
The National Woman’s Party first proposes the Equal Rights Amendment to eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender. It has never been ratified.

Sources:
William H. Chafe, The American Woman: Her Changing Social, Economic, and Political Roles, 1920-1970; Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism; Thomas Dublin, Women at Work: The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Massachusetts, 1826-1860; Sara M. Evans, Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America; Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States, rev. ed.; Debra Franklin, The Heritage We Claim: College of Notre Dame of Maryland, 1896-1996; National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) Collection, Rare Books Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Anne Firor Scott and Andrew Scott, One Half the People: The Fight for Woman Suffrage; “From Parlor to Politics,” permanent exhibit at the Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and Dorothy Sterling, ed. We Are Your Sisters: Black Women in the Nineteenth Century. Zophy, Angela Howard and Frances M. Kavenik, eds. Handbook of American Women’s History.

Published in: on August 26, 2009 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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International Women’s Suffrage

International Women's Day rally, Melbourne1_11410104_tcm11-17964Some countries in this list will make you proud, and some, very very angry. Switzerland did not allow women to vote in national elections until 1971! But in a very wonderful way, look at Massachusetts! 1756. How disappointing that our nation’s revolution took that right away. And sadly, there are still countries where women cannot vote today. See the list below. [And one very big disclaimer: this list did come from Wiki. I looked all over for a comprehensive list and came up empty handed. I have verified as much as possible and listed references below. And do feel free to look further into this topic on your own.]

18th century

19th century

  • 1838
  • 1861
    • South Australia (Only property-owning women for local elections, universal franchise in 1894)
  • 1862
    • Sweden (only in local elections, votes graded after taxation, universal franchise in 1918, which went into effect at the 1921 elections)
  • 1864
    • Flag of Victoria (Australia) Women in Victoria, Australia were unintentionally enfranchised by the Electoral Act (1863), and proceeded to vote in the following year’s elections. The Act was amended in 1865 to correct the error.[3]
  • 1869
    • Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom (only in local elections, universal franchise in 1928)
  • 18691920
    • Flag of Wyoming States and territories of the USA, progressively, starting with the Wyoming Territory in 1869 and the Utah Territory in 1870, though the latter was repealed by the Edmunds-Tucker Act in 1887. Wyoming acquired statehood in 1890 (Utah in 1896), allowing women to cast votes in federal elections. The United States as a whole acquired women’s suffrage in 1920 (see below) through the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; voting qualifications in the U.S., even in federal elections, are set by the states, and this amendment prohibited states from discriminating on the basis of sex.

Statue of Esther Hobart Morris in front of the Wyoming State Capitol

  • 1881
    • Isle of Man (only property-owners until 1913, universal franchise in 1919.)
  • 1884
    • Canada Widows and spinsters granted the right to vote within municipalities in Ontario (later to other provinces).[4]
  • 1886
  • 1889
    • Franceville grants universal suffrage.[7] Loses self-rule within months.
  • 1893
  • 1894
    • South Australia grants universal suffrage, extending the franchise to all women (property-owners could vote in local elections from 1861), the first in Australia to do so. Women are also granted the right to stand for parliament, making South Australia the first in the world to do so.
    • Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom extends right to vote in local elections to married women.
  • 1899

20th century

1900s

The argument over women’s rights in Victoria was lampooned in this Melbourne Punch cartoon of 1887

1910s

1920s

1930s

1940s

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

21st century

Countries where women have limited or no voting rights today:

* Bhutan – One vote per house. Although this applies to both men and women, in practice it currently prevents many more women from voting than men. If the new proposed constitution is voted and ratified, then no restrictions will apply by 2008.

* Lebanon – Partial suffrage. Proof of elementary education is required for women but not for men. Voting is compulsory for men but optional for women.

* Brunei – No suffrage for women. Neither men nor women have had the right to vote or to stand for election since 1962 because the country is governed by an absolute monarchy.

* Saudi Arabia – No suffrage for women. The first local elections ever held in the country occurred in 2005. Women were not given the right to vote or to stand for election.

* United Arab Emirates – Limited, but will be fully expanded by 2010.

* Vatican City – No suffrage for women; while most men in the Vatican also lack the vote, all persons with suffrage in Papal conclaves (the Cardinals) are male.

References

  1. ^ * Åsa Karlsson-Sjögren: “Männen, kvinnorna och rösträtten : medborgarskap och representation 1723-1866” (Men, women and the vote: citizenship and representation 1723-1866) (in Swedish)
  2. ^ * Åsa Karlsson-Sjögren: “Männen, kvinnorna och rösträtten : medborgarskap och representation 1723-1866” (Men, women and the vote: citizenship and representation 1723-1866) (in Swedish)
  3. ^ Women in Parliament – Parliament of Victoria
  4. ^ Canada-WomensVote-WomenSuffrage
  5. ^ “Smallest State in the World,” New York Times, June 19, 1896, p 6
  6. ^ “Tiny Nation to Vote: Smallest Republic in the World to Hold a Presidential Election,” Lowell Daily Sun, Sep 17, 1896
  7. ^ “Wee, Small Republics: A Few Examples of Popular Government,” Hawaiian Gazette, Nov 1, 1895, p 1
  8. ^ Bourdiol, Julien (1908), Condition internationale des Nouvelles-Hebrides, p 106
  9. ^ (Italian) Extension to the women of the right to vote
  10. ^ Woman Suffrage Timeline International – Winning the Vote Around the World
  11. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/bahrain/1411264/Bahrains-women-vote-for-first-time.html
Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 10:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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