Prior to the Constitutional Convention, women in three colonies: Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire had the right to vote. In 1807, women in New Jersey lost the right to vote which was granted to them in 1797. While women had discussed equality and the right to vote since the founding of the nation, the Suffrage Movement began in 1848 at the Seneca Falls convention held July 19-20, in Seneca Falls, New York. The meeting was not the first in support of women’s rights, but suffragists viewed it as the meeting that launched a national movement and cause. For the next 70 years, suffrage supporters worked to educate the public and lawmakers about the legitimate right of women to vote. Under the leadership of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Sojurner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and other women’s rights pioneers; suffragists circulated petitions and lobbied Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to enfranchise women. Continue reading from National Women's History Museum
The 19th Amendment guarantees American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation. Beginning in the mid-19th century, woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered radical change.
Between 1878, when the amendment was first introduced in Congress, and 1920, when it was ratified, champions of voting rights for women worked tirelessly, but their strategies varied. Some tried to pass suffrage acts in each state—nine western states adopted woman suffrage legislation by 1912. Others challenged male-only voting laws in the courts. More public tactics included parades, silent vigils, and hunger strikes. Supporters were heckled, jailed, and sometimes physically abused. Continue reading from US National Archives