Women’s Suffrage and Voting in the U.S.

“Elections belong to the people.” Abraham Lincoln

“Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.” – Susan B. Anthony

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Marian Wright Edelman

“If you don’t vote, you lose the right to complain.” George Carlin

When We All Vote – From the website: “When We All Vote is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that is on a mission to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American. Launched in 2018 by co-chairs Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, When We All Vote is changing the culture around voting using a data-driven and multifaceted approach to increase participation in elections.”

Rock the Vote – A nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to building the political power of young people.

The League of Women Voters now also open to men – The League of Women Voters (LWV) is non-partisan. It provides information on voter registration and polling place locations. It also makes available election guides with profiles of political candidates and their answers to a question on the issues so voters can make an informed decision.

Vote411.org – The League was founded in 1920 just six months before the 19th amendment was ratified and women won the vote. It was formed by Carrie Chapman Catt and the suffragists of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

Women Running for the Top Jobs: U.S. President and Vice President

Women Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates: a Selected List – Rutgers University, Eagleton Institute of Politics
CAWP Center for American Women and Politics

Where They Took a Stand

The Seneca Falls Convention
The Seneca Falls Convention, first known as the Woman’s Rights Convention, was the first such convention in the United States. It was held in Seneca Falls, New York July 19 to 20, 1848 at the Wesleyan Chapel. The Declaration of Sentiments written at the Seneca Falls Convention detailed women’s grievances and demands. It called on women to fight for their Constitutionally guaranteed right to equality.

 

The Great Suffrage Parade of 1913
The Woman Suffrage Procession was the first suffragist parade in Washington, D.C. was held March 3, 1913. This was held the day before Woodrow Wilson’s first inaugural parade. It was also the first large, organized political march on Washington. The parade was the brainchild of Alice Paul while she was still with the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The parade was led by suffragist Inez Milholland riding a white horse. Police did not try to maintain crowd control and the marchers were blocked and attacked by onlookers.

 

  • Inez by Linda J. Lumsden 
  • ISBN: 9780253110961
  • Publication Date: 2004-07-08
  • Inez Milholland was the most glamorous suffragist of the 1910s and a fearless crusader for women’s rights. Lumsden’s study of this colourful and influential figure restores to history an important link between the homebound women of the 19th century and the iconoclastic feminists of the 1970s.
  • Women’s Suffrage Parade: Fearless Marching at the Back of the Line 
  • POSTED BY JAE JONES from Blackthen.com
  • MAY 21, 2018
    In a misguided attempt to avoid what they thought would be controversial parade planners told the twenty-two founders of the African-American Delta Sigma Theta Sorority to march at the back of the parade with other African-Americans. Ida B. Wells-Barnett, also a member of Delta Sigma Theta refused to walk at the back of the parade and marched with her state of Illinois’s white women.

The Silent Sentinels
The Silent Sentinels were organized by Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party. This group of women protested in front of the White House during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency starting on January 10, 1917. They were arrested regularly during these protests. Suffragists suffered horrific treatment in prison at the Occoquan Workhouse.

 

The Occoquan Workhouse
The Occoquan Workhouse (later named Lorton Reformatory and also Lorton Correctional Complex) in Lorton, Virginia was a jail facility used by the District of Columbia. (Washington D.C.)
Suffragists from the National Woman’s Party including Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Florence Bayard Hilles and Dora Lewis (from Philadelphia) were arrested while protesting outside the White House and experienced brutal treatment including forced feedings through tubes during their prison hunger strikes at the Occoquan Workhouse in 1917. Located there today is the Lucy Burns Museum and also the Workhouse Arts Center.

Some Prominent American Suffragists

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
Woman’s suffrage pioneer
Abolitionist
A Founder and President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association
Arrested for voting in 1872

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)
Leading figure of the early women’s rights movement
Abolitionist A Founder and President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association

  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton 
  • by Harriet Sigerman
  •  ISBN: 9780198028154
  • Publication Date: 2001-11-01
  • Brilliant, stubborn, and astonishingly far-sighted, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the chief architect of the American women’s movement. Here, Harriet Sigerman presents a fascinating profile of the woman who courageously campaigned for women’s absolute right to social and political equality in the 1800s. Her stands on issues such as birth control, divorce reform, greater employment opportunities, and equal wages were revolutionary and controversial then and are still debated in the political arena today.

Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898)
Leader in the Women’s Rights Movement
Abolitionist
Native American Rights Activist
Anthony and Stanton were displeased when she established her own less conservative group by the name of Woman’s National Liberal Union (WNLU)
Encouraged her son-in-law L. Frank Baum to write The Wonderful Wizard of OZ

Sojourner Truth (approx.1797-1883)
Born enslaved, obtained her freedom in 1826
Public speaker for reform
Abolitionist
Women’s Rights Activist
Delivered her famous speech “Ain’t I A Woman” at the Women’s Convention, Akron, Ohio in 1851

  • African American Women and the Vote, 1837-1965 
  • by Ann D. Gordon; Bettye Collier-Thomas 
  • ISBN: 9780585083520
  • Publication Date: 1997-01-01
  • Written by leading scholars of African American and women’s history, the essays in this volume seek to reconceptualize the political history of black women in the United States by placing them “at the center of our thinking.” The book explores how slavery, racial discrimination, and gender shaped the goals that African American women set for themselves, their families, and their race and looks at the political tools at their disposal.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931)
Anti-lynching activist
Journalist
Educator
Women’s rights advocate
Founded the Alpha Suffrage Club
In 2020 was posthumously honored with a Pulitzer Prize special citation

 

Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954)
Civil Rights Activist
Journalist
Women’s Rights Activist

 

Alice Paul (1885-1977)
Women’s Rights Activist
Founded the National Woman’s Party with Lucy Burns
Wrote the wording of the proposed Equal Right’s Amendment

  • Alice Paul by J. D. Zahniser; Amelia R. Fry 
  • ISBN: 9780199958436
  • Publication Date: 2014-06-01
  • This biography of Alice Paul, long an elusive figure in the political history of American women, offers the first in-depth examination of the sources of Paul’s ambition and the development of her political consciousness.

Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947)
1900-1904 President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association
1915-1920 Founded The League of Women Voters