The Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution barred states from excluding women from the ballot based solely on the basis of their sex. Signed into law on August 26, 1920, the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment was the result of decades of work by tens of thousands across the country who worked for change. Not everyone followed the same path in fighting for women's equal access to the vote, and the history of the Nineteenth Amendment is frought with competing agendas and betrayals. But it is also the story of cooperation and alliances across movements and across the United States and globally.
Well before the Nineteenth Amendment was passed, women could vote in state and local elections in some US states and territories, especially in the West. After it became law, many women across the US were still excluded from voting because they were not citizens or because of state restrictions on certain populations voting.
This essay series was commissioned by the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and the National Park Service in recognition of the centennial of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Focusing on the Nineteenth Amendment, the series examines the history of woman suffrage across the United States, including early adopters, international influences, anti-suffragists, depiction in popular culture, and its lasting influence.
Introducing the Nineteenth AmendmentLooking for a Right to Vote
An introduction to this series of 14 essays.
The Necessity of Other Social Movements
Learn about the key role of other social movements to the US struggle for woman suffrage.
Strategies and ConflictsFlexing Feminine Muscles
Learn about the strategies and conflicts that shaped the American suffrage movement.
Anti-Suffrage in the United States
Learn about the anti-suffrage movement in the United States.
African American Women and the 19th
Learn about the important role of African American women in the struggle for the 19th Amendment.
Suffragists in Popular CultureFrom Mannish Radicals to Feminist Heroes
Learn about the role of popular culture in the fight for woman suffrage.
Woman Suffrage in the West
Learn about the early history of woman suffrage in the American West.
Woman Suffrage in the Midwest
Learn about the fight for woman suffrage in the Midwest.
Woman Suffrage in New England
Learn about the history of woman suffrage in New England.
Woman Suffrage in the Mid-Atlantic
Learn about the battle for woman suffrage in the Mid-Atlantic.
Woman Suffrage in the Southern States
Learn about the battle for woman suffrage in the Southern states.
International Connections to US Suffrage
Learn about the international history of the US suffrage movement.
Historic Sites and Woman SuffrageCommemorating Suffrage
Learn about the historic sites where woman suffrage is commemorated and remembered.
Legacies of Woman SuffrageBeyond 1920
Learn about the legacies of the woman suffrage movement in the US.
Last updated: August 6, 2019