Timeline of women's suffrage in the United States
This is a timeline of white women's suffrage in the United States.
1838: Kentucky passed the first statewide woman suffrage law allowing female heads of household in rural areas to vote in elections deciding on taxes and local boards for the new county “common school” system.
1848: The Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention, is held in Seneca Falls, New York. Women's suffrage is proposed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and agreed to after an impassioned argument from Frederick Douglass.
1867: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone address a subcommittee of the New York State Constitutional Convention requesting that the revised constitution include woman suffrage. Their efforts fail.
1867: Kansas holds a state referendum on whether to enfranchise women and/or black males. Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton traverse the state speaking in favor of women suffrage. Both women and black male suffrage is voted down.
1868: The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, introducing the word "male" into the Constitution for the first time, in Section 2 of the amendment.
1869: The suffrage movement splits into the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association. The NWSA is formed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony after their accusing abolitionist and Republican supporters of emphasizing black civil rights at the expense of women's rights. The AWSA is formed by Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, and it protests the confrontational tactics of the NWSA and tied itself closely to the Republican Party while concentrating solely on securing the vote for women state by state. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the first president of the National Woman Suffrage Association, a position she held until 1893. Julia Ward Howe was the first president of the American Woman Suffrage Association.
1870: The 15th amendment to the U. S. Constitution is adopted. The amendment holds that neither the United States nor any State can deny the right to vote "on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude," leaving open the right of States to deny the right to vote on account of sex. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton oppose the amendment. Many of their former allies in the abolitionist movement, including Lucy Stone, support the amendment.
1871: Victoria Woodhull speaks to the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, arguing that women have the right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but the committee does not agree.
1872: Susan B. Anthony registers and votes in Rochester, New York, arguing that the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives her that right. However, she is arrested a few days later. Victoria Woodhull was the first female to run for President of the United States, nominated by the Equal Rights Party, with a platform supporting women's suffrage and equal rights.
1873: Susan B. Anthony is denied a trial by jury and loses her case.
1873: There is a suffrage demonstration at the Centennial of the Boston Tea Party.
1874: In the case of Minor v. Happersett, the Supreme Court rules that the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not grant women the right to vote.
1890: The National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Its first president is Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The focus turns to working at the state level. Wyoming grants general women suffrage.
1893: After a campaign led by Carrie Chapman Catt, Colorado men vote for women suffrage.
1896: The National American Woman Suffrage Association hires Ida Husted Harper to launch an expensive suffrage campaign in California, which ultimately fails.
1902: Women from 10 nations meet in Washington, D.C. to plan an international effort for suffrage. Clara Barton is among the speakers.
1904: The National American Woman Suffrage Association adopts a Declaration of Principles.
1906: Elizabeth Cady Stanton's daughter, Harriot Stanton Blatch, returns from England and disapproves of the National American Woman Suffrage Association's conservatism. She responds by forming the Equality League of Self Supporting Women, to reach out to the working class.
1910: Emma Smith DeVoe organizes a grassroots campaign in Washington State, where women win suffrage.
1910: Harriet Stanton Blatch's Equality League changes its name to the Women's Political Union.
1912: Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party includes women suffrage in its platform.
1913: Alice Paul organizes the Woman's Suffrage Procession, a parade in Washington D.C. on the eve of Woodrow Wilson's inauguration. It is the largest suffrage parade to date. The parade is attacked by a mob, and hundreds of women are injured but no arrests are made.
1913: Kate Gordon organizes the Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference, where suffragists plan to lobby state legislatures for laws that will enfranchise white women only.
1915: Anna Howard Shaw's tactical conservatism culminates in a loss of support from the National American Woman Suffrage Association members. She resigns and Carrie Chapman Catt replaces her as president.
1916: Montana elects suffragist Jeannette Rankin to the House of Representatives. She is the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.
1917: Beginning in January, the National Women's Party posts silent "Sentinels of Liberty," also known as the Silent Sentinels, at the White House. The National Women's Party is the first group to picket the White House. In June, the arrests begin. Nearly 500 women are arrested, and 168 women serve jail time.
1917: The U.S. enters W.W.I. Under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, the National American Woman Suffrage Association aligns itself with the war effort in order to gain support for women's suffrage.
1918: The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which eventually granted women suffrage, passes the U.S. House with exactly a two-thirds vote but loses by two votes in the Senate. Jeannette Rankin opened debate on it in the House, and President Wilson addressed the Senate in support of it.
1919: In January, the National Women's Party lights and guards a "Watchfire for Freedom." It is maintained until the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passes the U.S. Senate on June 4.
1920: The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, stating, "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.
1920: In the case of Hawke v. Smith, anti-suffragists file suit against the Ohio legislature, but the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of Ohio's ratification process.
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