Women first organized and collectively fought for suffrage at the national level in July of 1848. Suffragists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott convened a meeting of over 300 people in Seneca Falls, New York. In the following decades, women marched, protested, lobbied, and even went to jail. By the 1870s, women pressured Congress to vote on an amendment that would recognize their suffrage rights. This amendment became known as the 19th Amendment.
Delaware played an important role in the struggle for suffrage. Notable suffragists from the state include Mabel Vernon and Florence Bayard Hilles. Vernon met suffragist Alice Paul while attending college. Together, the two helped found the National Woman’s Party and organized national protests for women’s suffrage. Vernon also traveled around delivering speeches about the importance of women’ suffrage. Florence Bayard Hilles attended one of these meetings and was inspired by Vernon’s words. The two became friends and worked with the National Woman’s Party to advocate for women’s rights. Hilles led groups of Delaware women to the US Capitol in Washington, DC to protest. During one protest in 1917, Hilles and seven other Delaware women were arrested and imprisoned in the Occoquan Virginia Workhouse. President Woodrow Wilson pardoned Hilles after 3 days.