"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." - Amendment XIX
Timeline of Women's Suffrage in the United States
During the early decades of America’s history, few states allowed women the right to vote or participate in politics. Denied suffrage, most women were not considered full citizens.
In 1848, the first women’s rights convention met at Seneca Falls, New York, where they adopted the “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions,” which outlined the importance of women’s suffrage. Prior to the Civil War, many suffragists partnered with abolitionists to fight for universal voting rights, but these movements splintered after the war. Suffragists, including Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, felt betrayed that the Fourteenth Amendment did not provide for universal suffrage and instead defined voters as “male.” Simultaneously, the suffrage movement itself split over whether to focus on gaining federal or state laws guaranteeing their right to vote.
In 1890, the national suffrage movement reformed when Stanton created the National American Women Suffrage Association, an organization committed to securing a federal amendment. In 1919, Congress passed the “Susan B. Anthony Amendment” and sent it to the states for ratification. Tennessee became the thirty-sixth state to ratify the amendment and, on August 26, 1920, the U.S. Secretary of State proclaimed it to be a part of the Constitution.
For more information and resources on the National Movement, please see:
National Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission
2020 Women's Vote Centennial Initiative
National Park Service Women’s Suffrage Timeline
Library of Congress: National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection