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.
Illinois Places of Women's Suffrage:
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.
Last updated: April 11, 2019