In 1848 women and men met in Seneca Falls, New York to advance the cause for women’s rights. The convention, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony, marked the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement. They made speeches and petitioned Congress, pressuring government officials to recognize the woman’s right to vote. Stanton, Mott, and Anthony did not live to see women get the right to vote, but they paved the way for future suffragists like Alice Paul, Ida B. Wells, and Mabel Ping-Hua Lee.
But the women’s suffrage movement was not always unified. Some suffragists thought only white women should exercise their right to vote. Others like Charlotte Forten Grimke, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, and Mary Church Terrell knew women of color also had a right to participate in electing government officials.
In 1920, Congress and the states ratified the 19th Amendment recognizing women’s right to vote. While many women were able to head to the polls, the amendment did not give voting rights to all women. Native American women, for example, were not considered US citizens until 1924 and could not vote. Women who were convicted of a crime were also unable to vote, even if they completed their sentence.
Explore the stories associated with the struggle for suffrage rights and learn about how women continued to demand greater civil liberties even after the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920.