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Womens Rights

Information and Articles About Women’s Rights in America, an important movement in women’s history

The women’s rights movement summary: Women’s rights is the fight for the idea that women should have equal rights with men. Over history, this has taken the form of gaining property rights, the women’s suffrage, or the right of women to vote, reproductive rights, and the right to work for for equal pay.

Women’s Rights Timeline: Here is a timeline of important events in the struggle for women’s liberation in the United States 

Pre-settlement: Iroquois women have the power to nominate—and depose—council elders and chiefs.

1647: Margaret Brent demands two votes from the Maryland Assembly: one as a landowner and one as the legal representative of the colony’s proprietor, Lord Baltimore. She is refused.

1790: New Jersey gives the vote to “all free inhabitants” of the state. It is revoked from women in 1807.

1838: Kentucky allows widows to vote in local school elections, but only if they have no children enrolled.

1840: Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton meet in London, where they are among the women delegates refused credentials to the World Anti-Slavery Convention. Women are very active abolitionists but are rarely in leadership positions.

1848: Mott and Stanton organize the Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and take a cue from the Founding Fathers in issuing the Declaration of Sentiments: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.”

1868: The 14th Amendment guarantees civil rights to all citizens but gives the vote to men only.

1869: Wyoming Territory gives women the right to vote. The national suffrage movement splits into two factions: one that supports the 14th Amendment and the franchise for black men and one that calls for woman suffrage above all else.

1887: Federal legislation to end polygamy in Utah contains a measure to disenfranchise women, who had won the vote there in 1870. They wouldn’t get it back until 1895.

 

Western women bear the suffrage torch for their Eastern sisters in “The Awakening,” a 1915 cartoon from Puck magazine. (Library of Congress)
Western women bear the suffrage torch for their Eastern sisters in “The Awakening,” a 1915 cartoon from Puck magazine. (Library of Congress)
1890: Congress threatens to withhold statehood from Wyoming because of woman suffrage. Wyoming threatens to remain a territory rather than give up women’s votes. Congress backs down, and Western states take the lead in giving women full voting rights.

Not every woman supported suffrage. The “Anti” in this 1915 Puck cartoon is backed by morally corrupt interests (“Procurer,” “Child Labor Employer”) and others who supposedly would benefit from denying women the vote. (Library of Congress)
Not every woman supported suffrage. The “Anti” in this 1915 Puck cartoon is backed by morally corrupt interests (“Procurer,” “Child Labor Employer”) and others who supposedly would benefit from denying women the vote. (Library of Congress)
1912: With 4 million women eligible to vote in the West, presidential candidates vie for their attention for the first time. Democrat Woodrow Wilson wins.

1913: Some 8,000 marchers turn out for the first national suffrage parade in Washington, D.C., the day before Wilson’s inauguration.

1915: Suffrage referendums are defeated in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

1916: Jeannette Rankin of Montana is the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

1917: Suffragists picket the newly reelected Wilson in front of the White House, the first time a public demonstration has targeted the presidential home. Throughout the summer, activists are arrested and imprisoned in the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia where they were kept in isolation, beaten and force-fed.

1918: Wilson endorses the 19th Amendment to the Constitution mandating woman suffrage. It narrowly passes in the House, but fails by two votes in the Senate.

1919: On May 21, the Senate defeats the suffrage amendment for a second time by one vote. On June 4, the Senate passes the 19th Amendment by a two-vote margin and sends it to the states for ratification.

1920: On August 18, Tennessee is the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, and “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” becomes the law of the land.

 


 

Articles Featuring Women’s Rights From History Net Magazines

American Experience: The Abolitionists"American Experience: The Abolitionists" is a compelling, 3-part series on the rise, fracturing, decline, resurgence and ultimate triumph of the movement to make all Americans free.
Daily Quiz for November 23, 2011Of the original 63 female signers of the Declaration of Sentiments at the Woman’s Rights Convention in 1848, this is the total number who lived to see women achieve the right to vote.
'Prohibition' - A Review of Ken Burns' New PBS DocumentaryDocumentary filmmaker Ken Burns explores the Prohibition years in a new PBS special that begins Sunday.
Alice PaulCourageous or reckless, Alice Paul spearheaded a new suffrage campaign for American women
National Woman Suffrage ProcessionThe 1913 National Woman Suffrage Procession was a turning point for American women seeking the right to vote
American women's long road to political powerA brief timeline of American women’s long road to political power
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? U. S. Coins as Pop CultureJust when it seemed U. S. coins were going the way of the dinosaur, the State Quarters Program introduced a whole new category of coin collectors.
Slave to Soldier: Fighting for Freedom‘We Must Make Free Men of Them’ Confederate General Patrick Cleburne wanted to enlist slaves to fight for the Rebel cause
Women's History ResourcesA list of books and Websites for information on Women's History.
Heroines of Women's HistoryFive rules-breaking heroines of women's history who asked "How can I do that?" instead of "Can I do that?"
Women's History - Beyond the Famous NamesWomen's history gives all of us, female and male, stories we can easily relate to our own lives; it isn't just about the intermittent monarch, the suffrage movement, or the trailblazing aviatrix.
Women's History Articles - Suggested Online ReadingDescriptions of some online articles related to Women's History, with links; includes Irena Sendler, Queen Elizabeth I, and women of the Wild West!
Matilda Josyln Gage - the Unlikely Inspiration for the Wizard of OzSuffragist Matilda Josyln Gage was the unlikely inspiration for L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Safety in Numbers - The "New World Order" [Point of View]Casualty and other war statistics suggest that despite terrorism’s terrible toll, the New World Order really has created a more secure world.
Belva Lockwood: 'I cannot vote, but can be voted for'Belva Lockwood was the first woman to become a candidate for the American presidency. Her 1884 campaign stimulated media attention and social controversy.
Bartholomew Gosnold: The Man Who Was Responsible for England's Settling the New WorldThe vision, enthusiasm and organization of Bartholomew Gosnold, of Otley, Suffolk, resulted in the Virginia Company and the settlement of Jamestown now 400 years ago.
1st Louisiana Special Battalion at the First Battle of ManassasRecruited from New Orleans' teeming waterfront by soldier of fortune Roberdeau Wheat, the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion more than lived up to its pugnacious nickname--Wheat's Tigers--at the First Battle of Manassas.
The Fox Sisters: Spiritualism's Unlikely FoundersOut of the pranks of precocious sisters in upstate New York in 1847 grew a religious and social movement that swept across America. Often associated with abolition, suffrage and the brotherhood of all souls, spiritualism continued to evolve and flourish through the 20th century.
Jerrie Mock: Record-Breaking American Female PilotIn 1964 an Ohio woman took up the challenge that had led to Amelia Earhart's disappearance.
American History: Transformation of the U.S. Supreme CourtThe last four decades have witnessed a fundamental transformation in the types of men, and now women, who exercise the broad and untrammeled judicial power of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Molly MacGuires in Pennsylvania Coal RegionsA series of violent crimes was plaguing Pennsylvania's coal country. Mine owners placed the blame on a secret society of Irishmen--and took steps to wipe it out.
America's Civil War: Missouri and KansasFor half a decade before the Civil War, residents of the neighboring states of Missouri and Kansas waged their own civil war. It was a conflict whose scars were a long time in healing.
Picture of the Day: June 18


Women Can't Vote
On June 18, 1873 Susan B. Anthony (shown here standing next to Elizabeth Cady Stanton) is fined $100 for attempting to vote for president.

Photo: Library of Congress…

Picture of the Day: November 6


Jeanette Rankin

On November 6, 1916, lifelong feminist and pacifist Jeanette Rankin of Montana became the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. As legislative secretary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Rankin helped the women of …

Picture of the Day: October 23


The hunger strike was one of the most formidable weapons in the arsenal of suffragettes in Britain and America. In July 1909, imprisoned English suffragette Marion Dunlop refused to eat. Prison officials, afraid that she might die and become a …

American Experience: The Abolitionists"American Experience: The Abolitionists" is a compelling, 3-part series on the rise, fracturing, decline, resurgence and ultimate triumph of the movement to make all Americans free.
Daily Quiz for November 23, 2011Of the original 63 female signers of the Declaration of Sentiments at the Woman’s Rights Convention in 1848, this is the total number who lived to see women achieve the right to vote.
'Prohibition' - A Review of Ken Burns' New PBS DocumentaryDocumentary filmmaker Ken Burns explores the Prohibition years in a new PBS special that begins Sunday.
Alice PaulCourageous or reckless, Alice Paul spearheaded a new suffrage campaign for American women
National Woman Suffrage ProcessionThe 1913 National Woman Suffrage Procession was a turning point for American women seeking the right to vote
American women's long road to political powerA brief timeline of American women’s long road to political power
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? U. S. Coins as Pop CultureJust when it seemed U. S. coins were going the way of the dinosaur, the State Quarters Program introduced a whole new category of coin collectors.
Slave to Soldier: Fighting for Freedom‘We Must Make Free Men of Them’ Confederate General Patrick Cleburne wanted to enlist slaves to fight for the Rebel cause
Women's History ResourcesA list of books and Websites for information on Women's History.
Heroines of Women's HistoryFive rules-breaking heroines of women's history who asked "How can I do that?" instead of "Can I do that?"
Women's History - Beyond the Famous NamesWomen's history gives all of us, female and male, stories we can easily relate to our own lives; it isn't just about the intermittent monarch, the suffrage movement, or the trailblazing aviatrix.
Women's History Articles - Suggested Online ReadingDescriptions of some online articles related to Women's History, with links; includes Irena Sendler, Queen Elizabeth I, and women of the Wild West!
Matilda Josyln Gage - the Unlikely Inspiration for the Wizard of OzSuffragist Matilda Josyln Gage was the unlikely inspiration for L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Safety in Numbers - The "New World Order" [Point of View]Casualty and other war statistics suggest that despite terrorism’s terrible toll, the New World Order really has created a more secure world.
Belva Lockwood: 'I cannot vote, but can be voted for'Belva Lockwood was the first woman to become a candidate for the American presidency. Her 1884 campaign stimulated media attention and social controversy.
Bartholomew Gosnold: The Man Who Was Responsible for England's Settling the New WorldThe vision, enthusiasm and organization of Bartholomew Gosnold, of Otley, Suffolk, resulted in the Virginia Company and the settlement of Jamestown now 400 years ago.
1st Louisiana Special Battalion at the First Battle of ManassasRecruited from New Orleans' teeming waterfront by soldier of fortune Roberdeau Wheat, the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion more than lived up to its pugnacious nickname--Wheat's Tigers--at the First Battle of Manassas.
The Fox Sisters: Spiritualism's Unlikely FoundersOut of the pranks of precocious sisters in upstate New York in 1847 grew a religious and social movement that swept across America. Often associated with abolition, suffrage and the brotherhood of all souls, spiritualism continued to evolve and flourish through the 20th century.
Jerrie Mock: Record-Breaking American Female PilotIn 1964 an Ohio woman took up the challenge that had led to Amelia Earhart's disappearance.
American History: Transformation of the U.S. Supreme CourtThe last four decades have witnessed a fundamental transformation in the types of men, and now women, who exercise the broad and untrammeled judicial power of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Molly MacGuires in Pennsylvania Coal RegionsA series of violent crimes was plaguing Pennsylvania's coal country. Mine owners placed the blame on a secret society of Irishmen--and took steps to wipe it out.
America's Civil War: Missouri and KansasFor half a decade before the Civil War, residents of the neighboring states of Missouri and Kansas waged their own civil war. It was a conflict whose scars were a long time in healing.
Picture of the Day: June 18


Women Can't Vote
On June 18, 1873 Susan B. Anthony (shown here standing next to Elizabeth Cady Stanton) is fined $100 for attempting to vote for president.

Photo: Library of Congress…

Picture of the Day: November 6


Jeanette Rankin

On November 6, 1916, lifelong feminist and pacifist Jeanette Rankin of Montana became the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. As legislative secretary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Rankin helped the women of …

Picture of the Day: October 23


The hunger strike was one of the most formidable weapons in the arsenal of suffragettes in Britain and America. In July 1909, imprisoned English suffragette Marion Dunlop refused to eat. Prison officials, afraid that she might die and become a …

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