Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Presentations and Activities > Elections

Introduction   African Americans    Women    Native Americans    Voters Today

Unlike African Americans, who were enfranchised by the Constitution but denied the vote by individual states, women found no help in the Constitution. In fact, the Fourteenth Amendment (1868) defined citizens and voters as "male" - a setback for suffragists. Conflict over how to win the vote in light of Amendments Fourteen and Fifteen split the women's rights movement in two.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the more radical National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) that tried to win suffrage at the Constitutional level. NWSA argued that the Fifteenth Amendment, which enfranchised blacks, should be abandoned in favor of a universal suffrage amendment. Anthony herself was arrested in 1872 for trying to vote for Ulysses S. Grant for president.

Lucy Stone, her husband Henry Blackwell, and Julia Ward Howe founded the more moderate American Woman's Suffrage Association (AWSA). They fought for suffrage on a state by state level. AWSA supported the Fifteenth Amendment and succeeded in winning suffrage for women in several individual states.

previous page