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Monday, December 31, 2012

Essay on Success of Women's Suffrage

Essay on Success of Women's Suffrage

How would you explain the success of women’s suffrage at a time when Jim Crow legislation was disenfranchising southern citizens and progressive-era voting reforms were making it harder for
northerners to register and vote.

The long and arduous battle for women’s right to vote in the United States of America began in the 1820’s. Before that however, women in New Jersey were already able to vote in the later part of 1770’s. It was in 1776 precisely when the state constitution’s suffrage requirement stated that “all free inhabitants” meeting property requirement had the right to vote. Women with property in said state used this loophole to exercise their right to vote. This lasted until 1807, when state legislature ended the women’s right to vote ("Women’s Suffrage/ Voting Rights and Citizenship" par. 1)

In 1840, two members of the Society of Friends (both females) went to London as delegates to the World Anti-Slavery Convention. Both women, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, were deeply insulted and enraged when they were not allowed to air their thoughts. This incident strengthened the resolve of both women to hold a convention as soon as they returned home and to form an organization that would uphold the rights of women ("Women's Suffrage." par. 2)

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In 1848 both women organised the Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls. The group’s campaign focuses stemmed from Stanton’s resolve that "the duty of the women of this country is to secure to themselves the sacred right to the elective franchise" ("Women's Suffrage." par. 5).  

In 1869 a new organization, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was formed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Aside from women’s suffrage, the organization also fought for easier divorce and gender equality in employment and wage. In the same year (in Boston) another organization was formed, named the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). Unlike the first organization, AWSA was primarily concerned with women’s suffrage and did not campaign for other issues. 

In 1890 after much negotiation between the two organizations, the NWSA and AWSA decided to merge and form the National American Woman Suffrage Associations (NAWSA). The organization working with several journals such as the Women Voter, The Women’s Journal, Woman Citizen, and The Masses, campaigned relentlessly to gain women’s suffrage. Most of their efforts were concentrated on persuading state legislatures to submit to their voter’s amendments to state constitutions bestowing vote to women. In response to their efforts the states yielded to their demands one by one, starting in Colorado in 1893, then Utah and Idaho both in 1896, Washington followed suit in 1910, followed closely in 1911 by California, then Arizona, Kansan and Oregon respectively in 1912, Illinois followed in 1913 and Nevada and Montana in 1914. The women in Texas in 1918 joined females in other states such as Arkansas and Oklahoma as the first women in polling places in the south, after they won primary suffrage in that year ("WOW Museum: Western Women's Suffrage - Texas." par. 7 ). 

After the US joined WWI, in 1918 president Woodrow Wilson declared women’s suffrage important as a “war measure”. The House of Representatives then passed the federal woman suffrage amendment but was opposed in the Senate and was defeated in the same year. In February the following year (1919) another attempt was made to pass the amendment but was once again defeated ("Women's Suffrage." par. 17)

Three months after, the House of Representatives once again passed another amendment and on June 4th of the same year the amendment was finally passed. August 26th of the following year, when the state of Tennessee signed for ratification (Tennessee was the thirty-sixth and the final state the campaign needed), the nineteenth amendment was finally certified by the Secretary of State ("Women's Suffrage." par. 18).           

Cited Works

"Women's Suffrage." Spartacus Educational. Spartacus Educational Publishers Ltd, n.d. Web. 26 Dec. 2012. <>.
"Women?s Suffrage/ Voting Rights and Citizenship." Welcome to CUNY - The City University of New York. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Dec. 2012. <>.
"WOW Museum: Western Women's Suffrage - Texas." Home | Autry National Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Dec. 2012. <>.

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