The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing all American women the right to vote, was introduced in January of 1878 but took until 1920 to be passed by Congress and ratified. Teach your students about the women at the forefront of the suffrage movement. We have gathered the following resources to help you plan your lessons:
Illinois suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt, who became the president of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association, had it written into her marriage contract that she be allowed a certain number of days each year to campaign for suffrage. Learn more about Chapman Catt and women’s suffrage in A Biography of America, program 19, “A Vital Progressivism.” Start at 21:41 in the video.
Place yourself in 1851 at the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio when you read Frances Gage’s account of a speech given by Sojourner Truth, abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Go to America’s History in the Making, resource archive to read the speech.
Examine why it was so difficult to amend the Constitution to allow women the right to vote. Democracy in America, program 2, “The Constitution: Fixed or Flexible?,” discusses efforts of suffragists such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Start at 16:50 in the video.
Read Abigail Adams’s “Remember the Ladies” correspondence (1776) to her husband John Adams while he served in the Continental Congress. See America’s History in the Making, Resource Archive.
Search the archive of American Passages using the term “women’s suffrage” to find photos of the movement’s leaders and political cartoons from the era.
The Historical and Cultural Contexts interactive includes a historic news article, “Suffrage Wins in Senate; Now Goes to States.” Students become detectives as they work their way through questions about the primary source document.
Find additional related resources, including primary sources, on the Women’s Suffrage Movement Artifacts Pinterest board curated by Newseum Education and Annenberg Learner and on the National Women’s History Museum’s “African American Women and Suffrage” page.
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