Illinois and the 19th Amendment

State of Illinois depicted in purple, white, and gold (colors of the National Woman’s Party suffrage flag) – indicating Illinois was one of the original 36 states to ratify the 19th Amendment. CC0
State of Illinois depicted in purple, white, and gold (colors of the National Woman’s Party suffrage flag) – indicating Illinois was one of the original 36 states to ratify the 19th Amendment. CC0

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.

After decades of arguments for and against women's suffrage, Congress finally voted in favor of the 19th Amendment in 1919. This is called ratification. After Congress ratified the 19th Amendment, at least 36 states needed to vote in favor of it for it to become law.


On June 10, 1919, Illinois ratified the Nineteenth Amendment. By August of 1920, 36 states (including Illinois) ratified the amendment, recognizing women's suffrage rights.

State flag of Illinois
State flag of Illinois, CC0.

Illinois Places of Women's Suffrage:
State Fairgrounds

Places throughout Illinois are associated with women’s struggle for suffrage, including the state fairgrounds. The first State Fair in Illinois was established in Springfield in 1853. The annual fair became an important social and cultural event in Illinois history. In 1907, the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association held its annual conference on the fairgrounds. Attendees voted to elect Ella S. Stewart president of the club. Stewart was also involved in organizing women’s suffrage events in Chicago, and she worked with women like Jane Addams, founder of the Hull House. The fairground is listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places and hosts both public and private events.

Black and white post card of fair in early 1900s. Public Domain.

Discover More Places of Ratification

The state fair was an important place in the story of ratification. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sources used to make these state pages include: Ida Husted Harper's History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920, Volume 6 (1922), the National American Woman Suffrage Association papers (Library of Congress), and National Register nominations from the National Park Service.

Last updated: April 11, 2019