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History Guides - Lafayette

Introduction

The Nineteenth Amendment reads as follows:

  • The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

This guide is dedicated to those individuals, both men and women, who stood up for women's suffrage. While some states allowed women to vote in local and state elections prior to the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, its passage allowed all women, in every state, to vote in local, as well as national, elections. An amendment to the Constitution means that it has become a national, or federal, concern, as opposed to something which can be controlled exclusively by the states. 

However, what must also be noted is that, while women were granted the legal right to vote by this amendment, non-white women often struggled to utilize this right. This struggle, along with that of non-white male voters, would continue and culminate in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Additionally, Native American women were denied the right to vote based on their citizenship status, which meant they had no legal basis upon which to demand voting rights. Even once citizenship was recognized, Native Americans, like other racial minorities, continued to face discrimination when attempting to vote. As noted above, it wasn't until the passing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that many of these practices (poll taxes, literacy tests, etc.) were declared illegal, making it theoretically easier for all groups, no matter their race or sex, to vote within the United States of America.

The Nineteenth Amendment was adopted on August 18, 1920. It was passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate more then a year before, but it was with Tennessee's ratification in 1920 that it became an official amendment to the United States Constitution. This was a national fight, with women from every social class and cultural background participating. Men also spoke up for the rights of women, founding the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage in 1907. 

Images of the Suffrage Movement

Suffrage parade, NYC, Oct. 23, 1915

Suffrage parade, NYC, Oct. 23, 1915

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, Bain Collection, Lot 11052

Suffrage tug, Jersey City

Suffrage tug, Jersey City

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, Bain Collection

Suffrage pageant - Long Island

Suffrage pageant - Long Island

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, Bain Collection, Lot 11052

Float in suffrage parade

Float in suffrage parade

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, Bain Collection, Lot 11052

Suffrage postcard

Suffrage postcard

Library of Congress, American Memory, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, Miller Nawsa Suffrage Scrapbooks (1897-1911), Scrapbook Number 9 (1910-1911)

Suffrage farmers

Suffrage farmers

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, Bain Collection

WOMAN SUFFRAGE. SUFFRAGE BUS

WOMAN SUFFRAGE. SUFFRAGE BUS

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, Harris & Ewing Collection

Woman suffrage in Wyoming Territory

Woman suffrage in Wyoming Territory

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division

The awakening / Hy Mayer

The awakening / Hy Mayer

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division

Handicapped! / G.

Handicapped!

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, Posters: Artist Posters

The first picket line - College day in the picket line

The first picket line - College day in the picket line

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division

[Suffrage demonstration at Park Row, New York City]

Suffrage Demonstration at Park Row, New York

Library of Congress Catalog, Prints and Photograph Division, Bain Collection, Lot 11052

"Suffrage campaign days in New Jersey"

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, Lot 5546

Woman suffrage headquarters in Upper Euclid Avenue, Cleveland

Woman suffrage headquarters in Upper Euclid Avenue, Cleveland

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, Lot 5543

Crowd breaking parade up at 9th St., Mch [i.e. March] 3, 1913 / Taylor, Wash., D.C.

Crowd breaking parade up at 9th St., Mch [i.e. March] 3, 1913 / Taylor, Wash., D.C.

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, Lot 5541

Suffrage march line--How thousands of women parade today at Capitol

Suffrage March Line

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, American Women: A Gateway to Library of Congress Resources for the Study of Women's History and Culture in the United States, Newspaper and Periodicals Reading Room

Suffrage parade, Inez Milholland

Inez Milholland

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, Bain Collection, Lot 11052

Sewing stars on suffrage flag

Sewing Stars on Suffrage Flag

Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, National Photo Company Collection

Giddap! / Gordon Grant

Giddap!

Artist: Grant, Gordon, 1875-1962 ; Library of Congress Online Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division

Head of suffrage parade in Washington, D.C., Mar. 3, 1913

Head of suffrage parade in Washington, D.C., Mar. 3, 1913

Library of Congress Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, Bain Collection, Lot 11052

Youngest parader in New York City suffragist parade

Youngest parader in New York City suffragist parade

Library of Congress Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division

Suffrage tent tour at Suffolk County Fair, Long Island, New York, 1914

Suffrage tent tour at Suffolk County Fair, Long Island, New York, 1914

Library of Congress Catalog, Prints and Photographs Division, American Women: A Gateway to Library of Congress Resources for the Study of Women's History and Culture in the United States

Print Books

Indiana Suffragists

Martha Nicholson McKay

Martha Nicholson McKay

Indiana Historical Society, Women's History Collection, Brandt and Helen McKay Steele Collection

May Wright Sewall

May Wright Sewall

Indiana Historical Society (Library of Congress), Assorted Images from IHS Collections

Ida Husted Harper

Ida Husted Harper

Library of Congress, American Memory, Manuscript Division, Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party, Records of the National Woman's Party - Aime Dupont, N.Y. (Photographer)

Indiana writers of poems and prose (Hamilton, Edward Joseph) - Helen M. (Jackson) Cougar

Helen M. (Jackson) Cougar

No photographer credited. - Hamilton, Edward Joseph, Indiana writers of poems and prose Chicago : Western Press Association 1902, page 50. via Internet Archive

Nellie Barnes suffragette

Nellie Barnes

Indianapolis Star, 19 Nov 2017, Sunday, Page A10

Indiana and Indianans : a history of aboriginal and territorial Indiana and the century of statehood - Amelia Keller

Dr. Amelia Keller

Dr. Amelia R. Keller, Jacob Piatt Dunn, Indiana and Indianans, 1855-1924, (Chicago: American Historical Society, 1919), p. 1881, via Internet Archive.

Ebooks

Well-Known Suffragists

Many individuals fought for the right of women in the United States to vote. However, some names stand out when we consider the suffrage movement. Some of these women suffered physically for suffrage, facing time in prison and being force fed when they refused to eat while there. They faced crowds of people who were far from friendly, and sometimes the police did little to stop this threatening behavior when the women marched to gain what American women now consider a basic right. Additionally, women of all walks and backgrounds promoted the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment: wealthy women, poor women, white women, Black women, Native American women, powerful women, and women who saw voting as the way to make their world better.

[Lucretia (Coffin) Mott, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing right]

Name: Lucretia Mott
Date of Birth: January 3, 1793
Date of Death: November 11, 1880
Place of Birth: Nantucket, Massachusetts
Place of Death: Chelton Hills (now part of Philadelphia), Pennsylvania

The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because, in the degradation of women, the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source

Sojourner Truth

Name: Sojourner Truth (born Isabella Baumfree)
Date of Birth: c. 1797
Date of Death: November 26, 1883
Place of Birth: Swartekill, Ulster County, New York
Place of Death: Battle Creek, Michigan

I am glad to see that men are getting their rights, but I want women to get theirs, and while the water is stirring, I will step into the pool.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Name: Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Date of Birth: November 12, 1815
Date of Death: October 26, 1902
Place of Birth: Johnstown, New York
Place of Death: New York, New York

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.

Lucy Stone

Name: Lucy Stone
Date of Birth: August 13, 1818
Date of Death: October 18, 1893
Place of Birth: West Brookfield, Massachusetts
Place of Death: Dorchester, Massachusetts

I think, with never-ending gratitude, that the young women of today do not and can never know at what price their right to free speech and to speak at all in public has been earned.

Portrait of Harriet Tubman

Name: Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross)
Date of Birth: c.1820
Date of Death: March 10, 1913
Place of Birth: Dorchester County, Maryland
Place of Death: Auburn, New York

I have heard their groans and sighs, and seen their tears, and I would give every drop of blood in my veins to free them.

Frances E. Willard

Name: Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard
Date of Birth: September 28, 1839
Date of Death: February 17, 1898
Place of Birth: Churchville, New York
Place of Death: New York, New York

The world is wide, and I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.

Carrie Chapman Catt, half-length portrait, seated, facing left, on telephone

Name: Carrie Chapman Catt (born Carrie Lane)
Date of Birth: January 9, 1859
Date of Death: March 9, 1947
Place of Birth: Ripon, Wisconsin
Place of Death: New Rochelle, New York

There are two kinds of restrictions upon human liberty — the restraint of law and that of custom. No written law has ever been more binding than unwritten custom supported by public opinion.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Name: Ida Bell Wells-Barnett
Date of Birth: July 16, 1862
Date of Death: March 25, 1931
Place of Birth: Holly Springs, Mississippi
Place of Death: Chicago, Illinois

The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.

Alice Paul

Name: Alice Stokes Paul
Date of Birth: January 11, 1885
Date of Death: July 9, 1977
Place of Birth: Moorestown, New Jersey
Place of Death: Moorestown, New Jersey

When you put your hand to the plow, you can’t put it down until you get to the end of the row.