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Lesson Plan Women's Suffrage: Their Rights and Nothing Less

Women obtained the right to vote nationwide in 1920. The modern woman's suffrage movement began in the 1840s with the Seneca Falls Convention. How did it happen and why?


Students will be able to:

  • understand the importance of primary sources in historical inquiry;
  • use keyword searching strategies;
  • understand the societal role of women from 1840 to 1920 and reforms women wanted;
  • describe and compare methods used by suffragists to pass the 19th amendment at the national level;
  • understand the importance of altering methods for achieving reforms in response to changing times and barriers; and
  • compare the states' methods for achieving suffrage with the national methods; analyzing reasons for their differences.

Lesson Preparation


  • Primary Source Analysis Tool
  • Analysis of the Woman's Suffrage Movement

    Anaylsis of the Women's Suffrage Movement

    On January 3, 1870, Territorial Governor General Edward McCook, in his message to the Legislature, recommended an extension of the franchise to women, in the following language: "Our higher civilization has recognized woman's equality with man in all other respects save one-suffrage. It has been said that no great reform was ever made without passing through three states-ridicule, argument and adoption." The History of Equal Suffrage in Colorado, 1868-1898, by Joseph G. Brown

    Explanation/examples of terms:

    • Reforms Demanded - What did women want? (e.g., laws, opportunities, changes in societal attitudes)
    • Arguments and Strategies - What methods did women use to attain the reforms demanded? (e.g., speeches, demonstrations, civil disobedience, marches, sermons, published materials)
    • Societal Diversions - What events in the time period impeded the suffrage movement? (Check Suffrage Timeline)
    • Increased Opportunities - List the new vocations and opportunities available to them. (Check Suffrage Timeline)
    Reforms Demanded Arguments and Strategies
    Societal Diversions Increased Opportunities


Lesson Procedure

Lesson One - Analyzing Primary Sources

After discussing the definition and value of primary sources in analyzing an historical time period, students, divided into groups by time period, analyze sources using the Primary Source Analysis Tool to determine a woman's role in society.


  1. Read definitions of primary and secondary sources in Using Primary Sources and discuss with students as necessary examples of primary sources that you produce during a routine day.
  2. As a group, use the Primary Source Analysis Tool and examine the primary source documents of your time period. Your teacher might have additional questions to guide your analysis.

1840-1869 (Group 1)

  • Clark Sisters
  • Song of the Shirt (1845) (excerpt)

    Song of the Shirt (excerpt)

    by Thomas Hood

    For Lesson One

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from The rights and condition of women: a sermon, preached in Syracuse, Nov., 1845, by Samuel J. May found in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection .

    {Excerpt Begins}

    {Page no.14}

    With fingers weary and worn,
    With eyelids heavy and red,
    A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
    Plying her needle and thread-
    Stitch! stitch! stitch! stitch!
    In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
    And still, with a voice of dolorous pitch,
    She sang the "Song of the Shirt!"
    "Work! work! work!
    While the cock is crowing aloof!
    And work-work-work!
    Till the stars shine through the roof!
    It's oh! to be a slave
    along with the barbarous Turk,
    Where woman has never a soul to save If THIS is Christian work!

    Till the brain begins to swim;
    Till the eyes are heavy and dim!
    Seam, and gusset, and band,
    Band, and gusset, and seam,
    Till over thee buttons I fall asleep,
    And sew them on in my dream!

    "Oh! men with sister dear!
    Oh! men with mothers and wives!
    It is not linen you're wearing out,
    But human creatures lives!

    In poverty, hunger and dirt,
    Sewing at once, with a double thread,
    A SHROUD as well as a shirt!

    "But why do I talk of death,
    That platform of grisly bone;
    I hardly fear his terrible shape,
    It seems so like my own-
    It seems so like my own,
    Because of the fast I keep;
    Oh God! that bread should be so dear,
    and flesh and blood so cheap!

    My labor never flags;
    And what are its wages? A bed of straw,
    A crust of bread-and rags;
    A shattered roof-and this naked floor-
    A table-a broken chair-
    And a wall so blank my shadow I thank
    For sometimes falling there!

    From weary chime to chime;
    As prisoners work, for crime!
    Band, and gusset, and seam,
    Seam, and gusset, and band,
    Till the heart is sick and the brain benumbed,
    As well as the weary hand!

    In the dull December light;
    And work-work-work!
    When the weather is warm and bright;

    While underneath the eaves
    The brooding swallows cling,
    As if to show me their sunny backs,
    And twit me with the Spring!

    "Oh! but to breathe the breath
    Of the cowslip and primrose sweet;
    With the sky above my head,
    And the grass beneath my feet;
    For one short hour
    To feel as I used to feel,
    Before I knew the woes of want,
    And the walk that costs a meal!

    "Oh! but for one short hour!
    A respite, however brief!
    No blessed leisure for love or hope,
    But only time for grief!
    A little weeping would ease my heart-
    But in their briny bed
    My tears must stop, for every drop
    Hinders needle and thread!"

    With fingers weary and worn,
    With eyelids heavy and red,
    A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
    Plying her needle and thread;
    In poverty, hunger and dirt;
    And still with a voice of dolorous pitch-
    Would that its tone could reach the rich!
    She sung this "Song of the Shirt!"

    {Excerpt Ends}

  • On Dancing: Its Uses and Abuses (excerpt)

    On Dancing: Its Uses and Abuses (excerpt)

    By Mrs. Alfred Webster

    For Lesson One

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from Dancing, as means of physical education; with remarks on deformities, and their prevention and cure by Mrs. Alfred Webster, found in An American Ballroom Companion, 1490-1920.

    {Excerpt Begins}

    The object of this little book is to point out the many advantages of Dancing as an educational exercise--to endeavour to rescue it from the censure cast upon it in consequence of its abuses--to show that, properly taught and practised, it is the very best safeguard against the evils of over mental education, to which young ladies are so subject--to describe its advantages in harmonising the motions of the body, so as to produce habits of graceful ease upon all occasions--and to prove that it has very decided effects, directly and indirectly, upon the mind; by, firstly, making the body a healthy and vigorous organ for the mind's development; and, secondly, by inculcating the practice of courtesy and politeness (with which it should ever be attended), indirectly inducing its votaries to adopt those habits of self-denial and self-restraint which are so necessary to civilised society, and the best definition of which is to be found in the precept, "Do unto others as ye would be done unto."

    Taking higher views of the utility of Dancing than is usual, my remarks on it in my lessons have repeatedly elicited a wish that they might be reduced to a more tangible form. This request has latterly become so frequent, that it must serve as my apology, if an apology be necessary, for thus making my appearance before the public.

    {Excerpt Ends}

  • The Husband's Commandments
  • Advice to Young Ladies

1870-1899 (Group 2)

  • The apotheosis of suffrage
  • Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell, October 5, 1875
  • Letter from Mabel Hubbard Bell to Alexander Graham Bell, October 13, 1875
  • Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell, October 18, 1875 (excerpt)

    Transcription of a Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell, October 18, 1875 (excerpt)

    For Lesson Two

    NOTE: Transcription of Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell, October 18, 1875 found in Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers, 1862-1939.

    {Transcription Begins}

    Salem, Mass.

    Oct. 18th, 1875

    Dear Miss Mabel,

    I wonder if you know what it is to have more correspondence upon your hands than you can possibly attend to.

    It is with a despairing countenance that I sometimes open letters to find that I am expected to write volumes in reply.

    I have been so buy lately writing upon the subjects of Telebraphym Visible Speech, and Orthöepy that I have allowed quite a number of letters to accumulate on my hands unanswered.

    This evening feeling some premonitory twinges of conscience I sat down to write--and have just accomplished a feat of which I really fell quite proud. I have written nine letters at one sitting--most of them quite lengthy epistles too!!

    And now--having eased my conscience in regard to these letters--I shall rest myself by writing a few lines to you in answer to your kind not. I fear I must have left you last night about as much puzzled as you were at first in regard to my real feelings on the subject of "Woman's Rights". To tell the truth I am somewhat puzzled in the matter myself!

    I have a vague sort of feeling that there has been-and-is-injustice somewhere in the position that woman holds in the world--but where to locate that injustice--or how to define its boundaries--I know not.

    The fact is that my mind has been so occupied with scientific matters that I have given very little attention to the question at all.

    I am quite at sea in the matter--in a fog--and I do not even know the latitude and longitude of the port for which I am bound!

    When I heard from Mrs. Hubbard that you were interested in the subject--I felt curious to ascertain what your ideas were. On the spur of the moment I strung a few disjointed thoughts together and forwarded them to you in Bethel hoping to rouse your indignation to a reply!

    It was a dangerous experiment and I am glad I did not succeed. You were not angry with me. Indeed I do not know whether you are ever angry with anybody!

    All is well that ends well and I am glad that I have escaped this time. One of my latest resolves has been to keep my letters for a day before posting them. Had I done so in that instance the letter would not have been posted at all. As I stated to you yesterday I am a passive advocate of Woman's Rights and not an active one--although you would scarcely believe it could you hear the debates that sometimes arise between Mr. Sanders and myself upon the subject. In Salem I come out strongly for the plaintiff in the action "Woman versus Man"--because Mr. Sanders will take the other side. In Cambridge however I suspect I shall have to plead for the defendant in the suit! if you are such a Woman's Rightist as I take you to be. The true way to look at a subject is to look at it from all sides--to view it in its totality with impartial eye. I confess that I am unable to as yet to do this with Woman's Rights as I have thought too little upon the subject.

    I recognize that women have many just grounds of complaint against society--and yet I think that there is much to be thankful for in the position accorded to them in this nineteenth century. The evils of this life obtrude themselves upon our notice--the blessings have to be sought for to be appreciated. It is always much more easy to find fault with established usages than to propose remedies that will be above criticism. An illustration occurs to me at this moment.

    I remember in England having my attention called to the case of a very good, honest worthy woman who had married unhappily. Her husband was a great drunkard and at last she was obliged to open a millinery store in order to support herself and her little child. The man left her but returned every now and then for the purpose of carrying off what money she had in the house!

    The poor woman lived in continual dread of his visits--but, as she believed the marriage tie to be too sacred a one to be broken by human hands, she could obtain no redress.

    It was not "robbery" for a husband to take from his wife--for what belonged to the one belonged to the other! Now here was a manifest injustice! And yet I would not hold that the law should be laid on one side because it may be unjust in certain cases. It is easy to find fault with it--but very difficult to frame a better one.

    There is to me something extremely beautiful in the idea of marriage--as the union and complete identity of two beings--so perfect a union that what belongs to the one belongs to the other and that each becomes to the other a second self.

    And yet how hard does that law become which recognizes and compels a union that does not exist in heart.

    My best wishes go with those who try to reform the world--and I should like to help them out--even though they are women!

    When I look out upon the world of real life I see much to deplore--much that needs rightin--but I think there is much also that is good. Indeed the good and evil are pretty evenly balanced. I do not think we should open our eyes to the one and close them to the other. In the rough contacts of life the rocks seem very hard and angular--huge stones encumber the ground--Still--viewed from a lofty point--the details of the landscape melt into a harmonious whole. The blessing of this life stand out all the more brightly that they are contrasted with evils. The brightest picture--we know--would seem tame without its shadows. There are lights and shadows in our own lives. There is a bright and a dark side to the world itself. I do not approve of the plan of looking at one side and ignoring the other--but if I must look at one side more than the other--give me that which is brightest and best.

    Were we to spend a winter in the Arctic Regions we might become sceptical of the existence of warmth and sunshine upon earth. ? We live in the Tropics ice and snow would be matters of faith. The African and the Hindoo [sic] laugh at the Englishman who tells them that water becomes solid in his country--and that white rain falls from the sky!

    Give me the temperate regions of the earth where Spring and Summer, Autumn and Winter succeed each other in every-pleasing variety.

    We do not appreciate those blessings that we possess continually--half as much as those which we are still to come--or which we have lost.

    I think that women have a brighter and freer future before them, but I must say that I cannot fully sympathize with or appreciate sudden revolutions. The mightiest physical changes upon the face of the earth have been accomplished by silent and gentle upheavals of the crust continued through long periods of time. Sudden movements are always destructive in their tendencies. I believe in Woman's Rights as a matter sure to be accomplished in the future.

    For ages past there have been a steady and continuous improvement in the condition of the sex--but I cannot feel that exztremists are right. Were everything granted at once there would be a sudden and disastrous change in the condition of society--and a catastrophe would ensue.

    But I must bring this epistle to a close or I fear I should have Mr. Sanders ? upon me for breaking my promise about sitting up at night.

    I hope that you are not going to New York on Friday but if you are--I trust you may have a pleasant visit.

    With kindest regards

    Believe me

    Yours very sincerely

    A. Graham Bell

    {Transcription Ends}

  • Letter from Mabel Hubbard Bell to Alexander Graham Bell, October 23, 1875
  • Woman's Rights (excerpt)

    Women's Rights (excerpt)

    by Rev. John Todd D.D.

    For Lesson One

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from Woman's Rights by Rev. John Todd... found in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection .

    {Excerpt Begins}

    {Page no.7}

    On this question I shall waste no words. Nobody pretends that the sexes are equal in weight, in height, or in bodily strength. The bodies of the two sexes seem to have been planned for different ends. As to the mind, I have no difficulty in admitting that the mind of woman is equal to ours,-nay, if you please, superior. It is quicker, more flexible, more elastic. I certainly have never seen boys learn languages or mathematics, up to a certain point, as fast or as easy as some girls. Woman's intuitions also are far better than ours. She reads character quicker, comes to conclusions quicker, and if I must make a decision on the moment, I had much rather have the woman's decision than man's. She has intuitions given her for her own protection which we have not. She has a delicacy of taste to which we can lay no claim. "Why, then," my lady reader will say, " why can't we be independent of man? " for this is the gist of the whole subject. I reply, you can't, for two reasons; first, God never designed you should, and secondly, your own deep instincts are in the way. God never designed that woman should occupy the same sphere as man, because he has given her a physical organization so refined and delicate that it can never bear the strain which comes upon the rougher, coarser nature of man. He has hedged her in by laws which no desires or efforts can alter. We, sons of dust, move slower; we creep, where you bound to the head of the stairs at a single leap. And now bear with me, and keep good-natured, while I show you, what you, dear ladies, cannot do, and God don't ask you to do.

    * 1. You cannot invent. There are all manner of inventions in our age, steam, railroads, telegraphing, machinery of all kinds, often five hundred and fifty weekly applications for patents at the Patent Office, but among them all no female applicants. You have sewing machines almost numberless, knitting machines, washing, ironing, and churning machines-but I never heard of one that was the emanation of the female mind. Did you? Why sew, or wash, or card off your fingers, rather than to invent, if this was your gift? The old spinning-wheel and the old carding apparatus have gone by, out not by woman's invention. I suppose this power was denied you, lest it should take you out of your most important sphere-as I shall show.

    * 2. You cannot compete with men in a long course of mental labor. Your delicate organization never has and never can bear the study by which you can become Newtons, La Places, or Bowditches in mathematics or astronomy. The world never has seen, and never expects to see, woman excelling in architecture. Neither in ancient or modern times has she one monument of this kind, showing mastership. You do not find them in ancient Corinth, old Athens, great Rome, or in any city of the old or new world.

    So of painting and sculpture. You need not tell us what you are hereafter to do; but you have never yet shown a Phidias, a Raphael, a Michael Angelo, or a Canova. You cannot point to a woman who can pretend to stand by the side of Homer, Virgil, Shakspeare, or Milton. The world has never seen a female historian who came near the first rank. And even in cooking and in millinery, as is well known, men must and do stand at the head of these occupations.

    But, you will perhaps say, "we have never had a fair chance-a fair fight in the field. We have been held down by prejudice, and tyranny, and public opinion against us, and all that." Suppose it be so, fair one, there is one field you have had to yourself, and nobody has lifted against you one finger. I mean that, for the last half century, we, cruel men, have invented, manufactured, and bought, and brought home, the piano , and you have had it all to yourselves. What is the result? It is, that the master performers, and teachers, and musicians, are men, -is it not? Nay, have you never seen the girl thumping and drumming her piano for years, under the best teachers, and yet her brother come along and take it up, and without any teaching, soon go in advance of the sister? I have seen it often.

    In none of these departments can woman compete with man. Not because her immortal mind is inferior,-far from it,-but because her bodily organization cannot endure the pressure of continued and long labor as we can. We may deny this, and declare it is not so; but the history of our race, and the state of the world now, show that it is so. I don't say that here and there a woman can't endure much and long; but they are rare exceptions. Did you ever know a woman who could endure being a teacher till seventy-five, as men often do? The fact that in medical colleges, in medical books, in medical practice, woman is recognized as having a peculiar organization, requiring the most careful and gentle treatment, and the consent of the world, all go to show that her bodily powers are not able to endure like those of the other sex. The wheels and workmanship are too delicate to be driven with mainspring of the old-fashioned bull's-eye. If what I have said seems to want gallantry, I reply, it is not gallantry that I am now after, but facts-truth-the true sphere and power and glory of woman. Be patient. I have some nice and pretty things to say, some garlands to weave, after I have led you to see the great facts of your being. As to "women's rights," I hold that they have great, inalienable, and precious rights, and which I will point out and defend. But he is a poor dog that barks up the wrong tree, however, loud or earnest he may bark.

    The design of God in creating woman was to complete man-a one-sided being without her. Together they make a complete, perfect unit. She has a mission-no higher one could be given her-to be the mother, and the former of all character of the human race. For the first, most important earthly period of life, the race is committed to her, for about twelve years, almost entirely. The human family is what she makes them. She is the queen of the home, its centre, its light and glory. The home, the home is the fountain of all that is good on earth. If she desires a higher, loftier, nobler trust than this, I know not where she can find it. Mother, wife, daughter, sister, are the tenderest, most endearing words in language. Our mothers train us, and we owe everything to them. Our wives perfect all that is good in us, and no man is ashamed to say he is indebted to his wife for his happiness, his influence, and his character, if there is anything noble about him. Woman is the highest, holiest, most precious gift to man. Her mission and throne is the family, and if anything is withheld that would make her more efficient, useful, or happy in that sphere, she is wronged, and has not her "rights."

    {Text Omitted}

    A great hue and cry is set up about the right of women to vote, and the cruelty of denying them this right. Plainly this is merely a civil and not a natural right. Minors, foreigners, and idiots are denied it. The property of the world, for the most part is, and ever has been, and must be, earned by men. It is useful only to support and educate families-our own, or those of others. It would seem best, then, for those who, at any hazard or labor, earn the property, to select the rulers, and have this responsibility. The wealth of the age is expended by woman-earned by the man-for the most part. He wants rulers in reference to the industry and business of his age. Let him select them. Moreover, there is something so unseemly in having woman wading in the dirty waters of politics, draggling and wrangling around the ballot-boxes, e. g., mingling with the mobs and rowdies in New York city, that I wonder she ever thinks of it. But "she is a widow, and has property, and pays taxes,-why not vote?" Being a widow, o fatherless, is a misfortune. But the husband or father earned the property, and voted as long as he lived. It may be a misfortune that the property does not now vote, but not so great a misfortune to the world as to have the sex go out of their sphere and enter into political life. Indeed, it is allowed that voting is only the stepping-stone to civil office. But it is stepping out of her sphere, and the moment you do that, you put a few of the sex into office, but depress and degrade at least a thousand where you elevate one. If a few go up, the many go down.

    {Text Omitted}

    I lately took up a religious paper, in which no less than six "Female Colleges" were advertised and puffed. And we are getting our legislatures to charter new "Female Colleges," and we are boasting how we are about to introduce all the studies and the curriculum of the colleges for men, and we are to put our daughters through them, and educate just as we do men.

    The thing can never be done. For forty years I have been connected with female seminaries, and have carefully watched their training and results. I say deliberately, that the female has mind enough, talent enough, to go through a complete college course, but her physical organization, as a general thing, will never admit of it. I think the great danger of our day is forcing the intellect of woman beyond what her physical organization will possibly bear.

    We want to put our daughters at school at six, and have their education completed at eighteen. A girl would feel mortified not to be through schooling by the time she reaches that age. In these years the poor things has her brain crowded with history, grammar, arithmetic, geography, natural history, chemistry, physiology, botany, astronomy, rhetoric, natural and moral philosophy, metaphysics, French, often German, Latin, perhaps Greek, reading spelling, committing poetry, writing compositions, drawing, painting, c., ad infinitum. Then out of school hours, from three to six hours of severe toil at the piano. She must be on the strain all the school hours, study in the evening till her eyes ache, her brain whirls, her spine yields and gives way, and she comes through the process of education enervated, feeble, without courage or vigor, elasticity or strength.

    After a single summer's exhausting study, let sickness strike such a school, and they sink and die most fearfully. Do those who are so strenuous to educate ladies as long and as severely as men must be educated for their sphere, know what mortality awaits so many after they are educated? I wish they would examine this point. "Languid and nervous, easily dispirited, instead of feeling within themselves the freshness and buoyancy of youth, what wonder that they draw back, appalled, from their new responsibilities" at marriage. So says a lady writing to me from Minnesota.

    My unknown correspondent adds, "I have often wished for the tongue of an angel, or a pen of fire, that I might arouse parents, teachers, and school committees to a sense of the wrong they are inflicting on this generation and those to come. I glory in the opportunities for culture of American women, but I pray do not abuse them. Let the girls have time to grow as well as to study. If they are not finished scholars at eighteen, what matters it, if they are healthy in body and mind? The mania is a spreading one.

    Here even in Minnesota I see it." Alas! must we crowd education upon our daughters, and for the sake of having them "intellectual," make them puny, nervous, and their whole earthly existence a struggle between life and death? If it ministers to vanity to call a girl's school "a college," it is very harmless; but as for training young ladies through a long intellectual course, as we do young men, it can never be done-they will die in the process. Give woman all the advantages and all the education which her organization, so tender and delicate, will bear; but don't try to make the anemone into an oak, nor to turns the dove out to wrestle with storms and winds, under the idea that she may just as well be an eagle as a dove.

    We Americans belong to the Over-do family. We want to fish the brook dry if we fish at all. We mount hobbies easily because we are "spry;" and now that we have taken woman in hand, we are in danger of education her into the grave; taking her out of her own beautiful, honored sphere, and making her an hermaphrodite, instead of what God made her to be.

    The root of great error of our day is, that woman is to be made independent and self-supporting -precisely what she never can be, because God never designed she should be. Her support, her dignity, her beauty, her honor, and happiness lie in her dependence as wife, mother, and daughter. Any other theory is rebellion against God's law of the sexes, against marriage, which it assails in its fundamental principles, and against the family organization, the holiest thing that is left from Eden.

    O woman! your worst enemy if he who scouts at marriage; who tries to flatter you with honeyed words about your rights, while he sneers in his own circle, boasting that "it is cheaper to buy milk than to keep a cow; "who could cruelly lift you out of your sphere, and try to reverse the very laws of God; who tries to make you believe that you will find independence, wealth, and renown in man's sphere, when your only safety and happiness is in patiently, lovingly, and faithfully performing the duties and enacting the relations of your own sphere.

    Women of my country! beloved and honored in your own sphere, can't see that man, rough, stern, cold, almost nerveless, was made to be the head of human society; and woman, patient, quick, sensitive, loving, and gentle, is the heart of the world? where she may rule and move the world to an extent second to no human power, and where she becomes a blessing greater than we can ever acknowledge, because it is greater than we can measure!

    {Excerpt Ends}

1900-1920 (Group 3)

  • Election Day
  • Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times (excerpt)

    Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times (excerpt)

    by Alice Duer Miller

    For Lesson One

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times found in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection .

    {Excerpt Begins}

    Father, what is a Legislature?
    A representative body elected by the people of the state.
    Are women people?
    No, my son, criminals, lunatics and women are nor people.
    Do legislators legislate for nothing?
    Oh, no; they are paid a salary.
    By whom?
    By the people.
    Are women people?
    Of course, my son, just as much as men are.

    {Text Omitted}

    Our Idea of Nothing at All
    ("I am opposed to woman suffrage, but I am not opposed to woman."- Anti-suffrage speech of Mr. Webb of North Carolina.)

    O WOMEN, have you heard the news
    Of charity and grace?
    Look, look, how joy and gratitude
    Are beaming in my face!
    For Mr. Webb is not opposed
    To woman in her place!

    O Mr. Webb, how kind you are
    To let us live at all,
    To let us light the kitchen range
    And tidy up the hall;
    To tolerate the female sex
    In spite of Adam's fall.

    O girls, suppose that Mr. Webb
    Should alter his decree!
    Suppose he were opposed to us-
    Opposed to you and me.
    What would be left for us to do-
    Except to cease to be?

    {Text Omitted}

    On Not Believing all You Hear
    ("Women are angels, they are jewels, they are queens and princesses of our hearts."- Anti-suffrage speech of Mr. Carter of Oklahoma.)

    " Angel, or jewel, or princess, or queen, Tell me immediately, where have you been?"

    "I've been to ask all my slaves so devoted Why they against my enfranchisement voted."

    "Angel and princess, that action was wrong. Back to the kitchen, where angels belong."

    Home and Where It Is
    (An Indiana judge has recently ruled: As to the right of the husband to decide the location of the home that "home is where the husband is.")

    Home is where the husband is,
    Be it near or be it far,
    Office, theatre, Pullman car,
    Poolroom, polls, or corner bar-
    All good wives remember this-
    Home is where the husband is.

    Woman's place is home, I wis.
    Leave your family bacon frying,
    Leave your wash and dishes drying,
    Leave your little children crying;
    Join your husband, near or far,
    At the club or corner bar,
    For the court has taught us this;
    "Home is where the husband is."

    The Maidens's Vow
    (A speaker at the National Education Association advised girls not to study algebra. Many girls, he said, had lost their souls through this study. The idea has been taken up with enthusiasm.)

    I will avoid equations,
    And shun the naughty surd,
    I must beware the perfect square,
    Through it young girls have erred:
    And when men mention Rule of Three
    Pretend I have not heard.

    Through Sturm's delightful theorems
    Illicit joys assure,
    Though permutations and combinations
    My woman's heart allure,
    I'll never study algebra,
    But keep my spirit pure.

    {Text Omitted}

    A Suggested Campaign Song
    ("No brass bands. No speeches. Instead still, silent, effective influence."-Anti-suffrage speech.)

    We are waging-can you doubt it?
    A campaign so calm and still
    No one knows a thing about it,
    And we hope they never will.
    No one knows
    What we oppose,
    And we hope they never will.

    We are ladylike and quiet,
    Here a whisper-there a hint;
    Never speeches, bands or riot,
    Nothing suitable for print.
    No one knows
    What we oppose,
    For we never speak for print.

    Sometimes in profound seclusion,
    In some far (but homelike) spot,
    We will make a dark allusion:
    "We're opposed to you-know-what."
    No one knows
    What we oppose,

    {Text Omitted}

    The Protected Sex
    With apologies to James Whitcomb Riley.
    ("The result of taking second place to girls at school is that the boy feels a sense of inferiority that he is never afterward able entirely to shake off."- Editorial in London Globe against co-education.)

    There, little girl, don't read,
    You're fond of your books, I know,
    But Brother might mope
    If he had no hope
    Of getting ahead of you.
    It's dull for a boy who cannot lead.
    There, little girl, don't read.

    {Text Omitted}

    ("Our laws have not yet reached the point of holding that property which is the result of the husband's earnings and the wife's savings becomes their joint property. ... In this most important of all partnerships there is no partnership property."- Recent decision of the New York Supreme Court. )

    Lady, lovely lady, come and share
    All my care;
    Oh how gladly I will hurry
    To confide my every worry
    (And they're very dark and drear)
    In your ear.
    Lady, share the praise I obtain
    Now and again;
    Though I'm shy, it doesn't matter,
    I will tell you how they flatter:
    Every compliment I'll share
    Fair and square.

    Lady, I my toil will divide
    At your side;
    I outside the home, you within;
    You shall wash and cook and spin,
    I'll provide the flax and food,
    If you're good.

    Partners, lady, we shall be,
    You and me,
    Partners in the highest sense
    Looking for no recompense,
    For, the savings that we make,
    I shall take.

    What Governments Say to Women
    (The law compels a married woman to take the nationality of her husband.)

    I In Time of War

    Help us. Your country needs you;
    Show that you love her,
    Giver her your men to fight,
    Ay, even to fall;
    The fair, free land of your birth,
    Set nothing above her,
    Not husband nor son,
    She must come first of all.

    II In Time of Peace

    What's this? You've wed an alien,
    Yet you ask for legislation
    To guard your nationality?
    We're shocked at your demand.
    A woman when she marries
    Takes her husband's name and nation;
    She should love her husband only.
    What's woman's native land?

    {Text Omitted}

    Our Own Twelve Anti-suffragist Reasons

    1. Because no woman will leave her domestic duties to vote.
    2. Because no woman who may vote will attend to her domestic duties.
    3. Because it will make dissension between husband and wife.
    4. Because every woman will vote as her husband tells her to.
    5. Because bad women will corrupt politics.
    6. Because bad politics will corrupt women.
    7. Because women have no power of organization.
    8. Because women will form a solid party and outvote men.
    9. Because men and women are so different that they must stick to different duties.
    10. Because men and women are so much alike that men, with one vote each, can represent their own views and ours too.
    11. Because women cannot use force.
    12. Because the militants did use force.

    {Text Omitted}

    Why We Oppose Women Travelling in Railway Trains

    1. Because travelling in trains is not a natural right.
    2. Because our great-grandmothers never asked to travel in trains.
    3. Because woman's place is the home, not the train.
    4. Because it is unnecessary; there is no point reached by a train that cannot be reached on foot.
    5. Because it will double the work of conductors, engineers and brakemen who are already overburdened.
    6. Because me smoke and play cards in trains. Is there any reason to believe that women will behave better?

    {Text Omitted}

    Why We Oppose Schools for Children (By the Children's Anti-School League.)

    1. Because education is a burden, not a right.
    2. Because not one-tenth of one per cent. of the children of this country have demanded education.
    3. Because if we are educated we should have to behave as if we were and we don't want to.
    4. Because it is essentially against the nature of a child to be educated.
    5. Because we can't see that it has done so much for grown-ups, and there is no reason for thinking it will make children perfect.
    6. Because the time of children is already sufficiently occupied without going to school.
    7. Because it would make dissension between parent and child. Imagine the home life of a parent who turned out to be more ignorant than his (or her) child?
    8. Because we believe in the indirect education of the theatre, the baseball field and the moving picture. We believe that schools would in a great measure deprive us of this.
    9. Because our parents went to school. They love us, they take care of us, they tell us what to do. We are content that they should be educated for us.

    Why We Oppose Votes for Men

    1. Because man's place is the armory.
    2. Because no really manly man wants to settle any question otherwise than by fighting about it.
    3. Because if men should adopt peaceable methods women will no longer look up to them.
    4. Because men will lose their charm if they step out of their natural sphere and interest themselves in other matters than feats of arms, uniforms and drums.
    5. Because men are too emotional to vote. Their conduct at baseball games and political conventions shows this, while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them peculiarly unfit for the task of government.

    {Text Omitted}

    Interviews With Celebrated Anti-Suffragists

    "Woman's place is in my home."-Appius Claudius.

    "I have never felt the need of the ballot."-Cleopatra.

    "Magna Charta merely fashionable fad of ye Barons."-King John.

    "Boston Tea Party shows American colonists to be hysterical and utterly incapable of self-government."-George III.

    "Know of no really good slaves who desire emancipation."-President of the United Slaveholders' Protective Association.

    {Text Omitted}

    To the Great Dining Out Majority

    The New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage is sending out leaflets to its members urging them to "tell every man you meet, your tailor, your postman, your grocer, as well as your dinner partner, that you are opposed to woman suffrage."

    We hope that the 90,000 sewing machine operatives, the 40,000 saleswomen, the 32,000 laundry operatives, the 20,000 knitting and silk mill girls, the 17,000 women janitors and cleaners, the 12,000 cigarmakers, to say nothing of the 700,000 other women and girls in industry in New York State will remember when they have drawn off their long gloves and tasted their oysters to tell their dinner partners that they are opposed to woman suffrage because they fear it might take women out of the home.

    {Excerpt Ends}

  • Woman Suffrage Co-Equal with Man Suffrage
  • The first Picket line

Within groups, students may discuss the conditions experienced by women and how women were viewed during your time period. Share their findings with the class using the format of the Primary Source Analysis Tool.


Collect primary sources from women who lived during the 1960s. Show them to the class and explain what they reveal about the time period.

Lesson Two - Changing Methods and Reforms of the Woman's Suffrage Movement, 1840-1920

Having determined the perceptions of women's roles in each of the three time periods, students analyze primary sources that outline the methods used and reforms demanded by the woman's suffrage movement in each time period. Students then put the information into the Analysis of the Woman's Suffrage Movement. Using the timeline, students also determine what historical events affected the progress of the movement.


Each group will be assigned one of these three time periods:


  • The Rights and Conditions of Women; A Sermon (1845), Samuel J. May. (excerpt)

    The Rights and Conditions of Women: A Sermon (excerpt)

    By Samuel J. May

    For Lesson Two

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from The Rights and Conditions of Women: A Sermon, by Samuel J. May found in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection.

    {Excerpt Begins}

    {Page no. 1}


    Genesis, V: 1.- In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him, male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam.

    Galatians, III: 28.- There is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

    {Text Omitted}

    This entire disfranchisement of females is as unjust as the disfranchisement of the males would be; for there is nothing in their moral, mental or physical nature, that disqualifies them to understand correctly the true interests of the community, or to act wisely in reference to them.

    I will not now speak of the many illustrious women of ancient and modern times, who have enlightened and blessed the families and communities, with which they have been connected. I will only say, that several of the best writers, in our language, upon political economy, have been women. There was no one in his empire, of whom Bonaparte stood more in awe, (because of her discriminating judgment on the policy of his government) than Madame De Stael. Some of the ablest Sovereigns, that have ever worn crowns, either in ancient or modern times, have been women. We have, therefore, evidences enough that the female mind is competent to appreciate justly, and discharge ably the duties incumbent upon a member of the body politic; and for myself I am unable to see either justice or reason in that part of our civil Constitution which denies to women the right, if they see fit, to take part in the public counsels; and influence by their votes, if they please, public elections.

    The Father of the human family, in his infinite wisdom, made man male and female. But he made us co-ordinate, equal in rank, alike rational and moral beings. God created woman to be the companion of man, not his slave, not his menial; not subservient to his will, any further than his will is in accordance with the will of the Divine Mind. He has not given one law to men, and another law to women, but the same law to both. The true interests of each, and the high purpose, for which life was given to each, are precisely the same. I am aware that this equality of the sexes has never been recognized, until since the Reformation of the 16th century, by the Quakers and a few smaller sects of Christians. But this is only one of many facts, which show, how benighted were the ages before that epoch; and how many clouds of error remain yet to be dispelled from the human mind. The doctrine that "the people" have rights to govern themselves is modern, and almost peculiar to America. It would be, at this day, scouted in Spain, Austria and Russia, as heartily as the doctrine I am advocating. And it is indeed deserving of no more respect. For if the people have the right of self-government, them I am unable to see why a half of the people have a right to govern the whole.

    To prove, however, that woman was not intended to be the equal of man, the argument most frequently alleged is, that she is the weaker vessel-inferior in stature, and has much less physical strength. This physiological fact, of course, cannot be denied; although the disparity in these respects is very much increased by neglect or mismanagement. But allowing women generally to have less bodily power, why should this consign them to mental, moral or social dependence? Physical-force is of special value only in a savage or barbarous community. It is the avowed intention and tendency of Christianity to give the ascendancy to man's moral nature; and the promises of God, with whom is all strength and wisdom, are to the upright, the pure, the good,-not to the strong, the valiant, or the crafty.

    The more men receive of the lessons of Christianity-the more they learn to trust in God, in the might of the right and true- the less reliance will they put upon brute force. And as brute force declines in public estimation, the more will the feminine qualities of the human race rise in general regard and confidence; until the meek shall be seen to be better than the mighty, and the humble only be considered worthy of exaltation. Civilization implies the subordination of the physical in man to the mental and moral; and the progress of the melioration of the condition of our race, has been everywhere by the elevation of the female sex.

    {Text Omitted}

    Undoubtedly some of you are ready to say to me, "pray, would you have women public instructors, lecturing upon moral and political science, and haranguing the people upon their special duties as citizens?" Hear my reply. It is not for me, nor for us men, to prescribe the mode in which the women shall operate. Let us leave this to their own good sense, and taste. There is a great deal of lecturing and haranguing, that doth not profit. Would that neither men nor women should ever speak in public, unless they have somewhat to say worth hearing. But if a valuable thought is suggested to any one, I see not why that thought should be suppressed, because it was started in the mind of a female. And if she, to whom it has come, has power to utter it, and is moved so to do, I see not why she should be forbidden. To me, it is as grateful to hear words of wisdom and eloquence from a woman as a man; and quite as uninstructive and wearisome to listen to a vapid, inane discourse from the one as from the other. I know not why silly men should be encouraged to speak, more than silly women; nor why the wise of one sex should be forbidden, any more than the wise of the other, to communicate what they possess to those, who may need it, and in the manner they prefer. To whomsoever God has given the power to instruct and control others, by their learning, their eloquence or their wit, to them he has given the authority to do so. I have heard some women speak in a manner far more convincing and impressive than most men, that I have known, were able to; and so as amply to vindicate their right to stand up in the pulpit or the forum, as teachers of men.

    {Excerpt Ends}

  • Seneca Falls Declaration of Rights and Sentiments (excerpt)

    The first convention ever called to discuss the civil and political rights of women (excerpt)

    For Lesson Two

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from This is an excerpt from The first convention ever called to discuss the civil and political rights of women, Seneca Falls, N.Y., July 19, 20, 1848 found in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection.

    {Excerpt Begins}

    {Page no. 2}


    When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they were accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.

    The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.

    He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.

    He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men - both natives and foreigners.

    Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.

    He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.

    He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.

    He has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master - the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement.

    He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce; in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given; as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of women - the law, in all cases, going upon a false supposition of the supremacy of man, and giving all power into his hands.

    After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it.

    He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration.

    He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction, which he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known.

    He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education - all colleges being closed against her.

    He allows her in Church, as well as State, but a subordinate position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the Church.

    He has created a false public sentiment, by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated but deemed of little account in man.

    He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and to her God.

    He has endeavored, in every way that he could, to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.

    Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation, - in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States.

    In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the state and national legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country.

    Firmly relying upon the final triumph of the Right and the True, we do this day affix our signatures to this declaration.

    Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eunice Newton Foote, Mary Ann McClintock, Martha C. Wright, Jane C. Hunt, Amy Post, Catharine A. F. Stebbins, Mary H. Hallowell, Charlotte Woodward, Sarah Hallowell ,Richard P Hunt, Samuel D. Tilman, Elisha Foote, Frederick Douglass, Elias J. Doty, James Mott, Thomas McClintock

    This Declaration was unanimously adopted and signed by 32 men and 68 women.

    Whereas the great precept of nature is conceded to be, "that man shall pursue his own true and substantial happiness." Blackstone, in his Commentaries, remarks, that this law of Nature being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this, and such of them as are valid, derive all their force, and all their validity, and all their authority, mediately and immediately, from this original; therefore,

    Resolved, That such laws as conflict, in any way, with the true and substantial happiness of woman, are contrary to the great precept of nature, and of no validity; for this is "superior in obligation to any other."

    Resolved, That all laws which prevent woman from occupying such a station in society as her conscience shall dictate, or which place her in a position inferior to that of man, are contrary to the great precept of nature, and therefore of no force or authority.

    Resolved, That woman is man's equal - was intended to be so by the Creator - and the highest good of the race demands that she should be recognized as such.

    Resolved, That the women of this country ought to be enlightened in regard to the laws under which they live, that they may no longer publish their degradation, by declaring themselves satisfied with their present position, nor their ignorance, by asserting that they have all the rights they want.

    Resolved, That inasmuch as man, while claiming for himself intellectual superiority, does accord to woman moral superiority, it is pre-eminently his duty to encourage her to speak, and teach, as she has an opportunity, in all religious assemblies.

    Resolved, That the same amount of virtue, delicacy, and refinement of behavior, that is required of woman in the social state, should also be required of man, and the same transgressions should be visited with equal severity on both man and woman.

    Resolved, That the objection of indelicacy and impropriety, which is so often brought against woman when she addresses a public audience, comes with a very ill-grace from those who encourage, by their attendance, her appearance on the stage, in the concert, or in feats of the circus.

    Resolved, That woman has too long rested satisfied in the circumscribed limits which corrupt customs and a perverted application of the Scriptures have marked out for her, and that it is time she should move in the enlarged sphere which her great Creator has assigned her.

    Resolved, That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.

    Resolved, That the equality of human rights results necessarily from the fact of the identity of the race in capabilities and responsibilities.

    Resolved, therefore, That, being invested by the Creator with the same capabilities, and the sameconsciousness of responsibility for their exercise, it is demonstrably the right and duty of woman, equally with man, to promote every righteous cause, by every righteous means; and especially in regard to the great subjects of morals and religion, it is self-evidently her right to participate with her brother in teaching them, both in private and in public, by writing and by speaking, by any instrumentalities proper to be used, and in any assemblies proper to be held; and this being a self-evident truth, growing out of the divinely implanted principles of human nature, any custom or authority adverse to it, whether modern or wearing the hoary sanction of antiquity, is to be regarded as a self-evident falsehood, and at war with the interests of mankind.

    The only resolution which met opposition was the 9th, demanding the right of suffrage which, however, after a prolonged discussion was adopted. All of the meetings throughout the two days were largely attended, but this, like every step in progress, was ridiculed from Maine to Louisiana.

    {Excerpt Ends}

  • Discourse on Woman, Lucretia Mott. (excerpt)

    Discourse on Woman (excerpt)

    Excerpt Begins

    Page no. 7

    For Lesson Two

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from Discourse on woman, by Lucretia Mott. Delivered at the Assembly buildings, December 17, 1849. found in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection.

    {Excerpt Begins}

    Why should not woman seek to be a reformer? If she is to shrink from being such an iconoclast as shall "break the image of man's lower worship," as so long held up to view; if she is to fear to exercise her reason, and her noblest powers, lest she should be thought to "attempt to act the man," and not "acknowledge his supremacy;" if she is to be satisfied with the narrow sphere assigned her by man, nor aspire to a higher, lest she should transcend the bounds of female delicacy; truly it is a mouruful prospect for woman. We would admit all the difference, that our great and beneficent Creator has made, in the relation of man and woman, nor would we seek to disturb this relation; but we deny that the present position of woman, is her true sphere of usefulness: nor will she attain to this sphere, until the disabilities and disadvantages, religious, civil, and social, which impede her progress, are removed out of her way. These restrictions have enervated her mind and paralysed her powers. While man assumes, that the present is the original state designed for woman, that the existing "differences are not arbitrary nor the result of accident," but grounded in nature; she will not make the necessary effort to obtain her just rights, lest it should subject her to the kind of scorn and contemptuous manner in which she has been spoken of.

    So far from her "ambition leading her to attempt to act the man," she needs all the encouragement she can receive, by the removal of obstacles from her path, in order that she may become a "true woman." As it is desirable that man should act a manly and generous part, not "mannish," so let woman be urged to exercise a dignified and womanly bearing, not womanish. Let her cultivate all the graces and proper accomplishments of her sex, but let not these degenerate into a kind of effeminacy, in which she is satisfied to be the mere plaything or toy of society, content with her outward adornings, and with the tone of flattery and fulsome adulation too often addressed to her. True, nature has made a difference in her configuration, her physical strength, her voice, c. - and we ask no change, we are satisfied with nature. But how has neglect and mismanagement increased this difference! It is our duty to develope these natural powers, by suitable exercise, so that they may be strengthened "by reason of use." In the ruder state of society, woman is made to bear heavy burdens, while her "lord and master" walks idly by her side. In the civilization to which we have attained, if cultivated and refined woman would bring all her powers into use, she might engage in pursuits which she now shrinks from as beneath her proper vocation. The energies of men need not then be wholly devoted to the counting house and common business of life, in order that women in fashionable society, may be supported in their daily promenades and nightly visits to the theatre and ball room.

    {Text Omitted}

    A new generation of women is now upon the stage, improving the increased opportunities furnished for the acquirement of knowledge. Public education is coming to be regarded the right of the children of a republic. The hill of science is not so difficult of ascent as formerly represented by poets and painters; but by fact and demonstration smoothed down, so as to be accessible to the assumed weak capacity of woman. She is rising in the scale of being through this, as well as other means, and finding heightened pleasure and profit on the right hand and on the left. The study of Physiology, now introduced into our common schools, is engaging her attention, impressing the necessity of the observance of the laws of health. The intellectual Lyceum and instructive lecture room are becoming, to many, more attractive than the theatre and the ball room. The sickly and sentimental novel and pernicious romance are giving place to works, calculated to call forth the benevolent affections and higher nature. It is only by comparison that I would speak commendatory of these works of imagination. The frequent issue of them from the press is to be regretted. Their exciting contents, like stimulating drinks, when long indulged in, enervate the mind, unfitting it for the sober duties of life.

    {Text Omitted}

    The question is often asked, "What does woman want, more than she enjoys? What is she seeking to obtain? Of what rights is she deprived? What privileges are withheld from her? I answer, she asks nothing as favor, but as right, she wants to be acknowledged a moral, responsible being. She is seeking not to be governed by laws, in the making of which she has no voice. She is deprived of almost every right in civil society, and is a cypher in the nation, except in the right of presenting a petition. In religious society her disabilities, as already pointed out, have greatly retarded her progress. Her exclusion from the pulpit or ministry - her duties marked out for her by her equal brother man, subject to creeds, rules, and disciplines made for her by him - this is unworthy her true dignity. In marriage, there is assumed superiority, on the part of the husband, and admitted inferiority, with a promise of obedience, on the part of the wife. This subject calls loudly for examination, in order that the wrong may be redressed. Customs suited to darker ages in Eastern countries, are not binding upon enlightened society. The solemn covenant of marriage may be entered into without these lordly assumptions, and humiliating concessions and promises.

    {Text Omitted}

    "The law of husband and wife, as you gather it from the books, is a disgrace to any civilized nation. The theory of the law degrades the wife almost to the level of slaves. When a woman marries, we call her condition coverture, and speak of her as a femme covert . The old writers call the husband baron, and sometimes, in plain English, lord. ... The merging of her name in that of her husband is emblematic of the fate of all her legal rights. The torch of Hymen serves but to light the pile, on which these rights are offered up. The legal theory is, that marriage makes the husband and wife one person, and that person is the husband . On this subject, reform is loudly called for. There is no foundation in reason or expediency, for the absolute and slavish subjection of the wife to the husband, which forms the foundation of the present legal relations. Were woman, in point offact, the abject thing which the law, in theory, considers her to be when married, she would not be worthy the companionship of man."

    I would ask if such a code of laws does not require change? If such a condition of the wife in society does not claim redress? On no good ground can reform be delayed. Blackstone says, "The very being and legal existence of woman is suspended during marriage, - incorporated or consolidated into that of her husband, under whose protection and cover she performs every thing." Hurlbut, in his Essays upon Human Rights, says: "The laws touching the rights of woman are at variance with the laws of the Creator. rights are human rights, and pertain to human beings, without distinction of sex. Laws should not be made for man or for woman, but for mankind. Man was not born to command, nor woman to obey. .......... The law of France, Spain, and Holland, and one of our own States, Louisiana, recognizes the wife's right to property, more than the common law of England. .......... The laws depriving woman of the right of property is handed down to us from dark and feudal times, and not consistent with the wiser, better, purer spirit of the age. The wife is a mere pensioner on the bounty of her husband. Her lost rights are appropriated to himself. But justice and benevolence are abroad in our land, awakening the spirit of inquiry and innovation; and the Gothic fabric of the British law will fall before it, save where it is based upon the foundation of truth and justice."

    On no good ground can the legal existence of the wife be suspended during marriage, and her property surrendered to her husband. In the intelligent ranks of society, the wife may not in point of fact, be so degraded as the law would degrade her; because public sentiment is above the law. Still, while the law stands, she is liable to the disabilities which it imposes. Among the ignorant classes of society, woman is made to bear heavy burdens, and is degraded almost to the level of the slave.

    There are many instances now in our city, where the wife suffers much from the power of the husband to claim all that she can earn with her own hands. In my intercourse with the poorer class of people, I have known cases of extreme cruelty, from the hard earnings of the wife being thus robbed by the husband, and no redress at law.......

    In visiting the public school in London, a few years since, I noticed that the boys were employed in linear drawing, and instructed upon the black board, in the higher branches of arithmetic and mathematics; while the girls, after a short exercise in the mere elements of arithmetic, were seated, during the bright hours of the morning, stitching wristbands . I asked, Why there should be this difference made; why they too should not have the black board? The answer was, that they would not probably fill any station in society requiring such knowledge.

    But the demand for a more extended education will not cease, until girls and boys have equal instruction, in all the departments of useful knowledge. We have as yet no high school for girls in this state. The normal school may be a preparation for such an establishment. In the late convention for general education, it was cheering to hear the testimony borne to woman's capabilities for head teachers of the public schools. A resolution there offered for equal salaries to male and female teachers, when equally qualified, as practised in Louisiana, I regret to say was checked in its passage, by Bishop Potter; by him who has done so much for the encouragement of education, and who gave his countenance and influence to that convention. Still the fact of such a resolution being offered, augurs a time coming for woman, which she may well hail. At the last examination of the public schools in this city, one of the alumni delivered an address on Woman, not as is too common, in eulogistic strains, but directing the attention to the injustice done to woman in her position in society, in a variety of ways.

    {Excerpt Ends}


  • Legal Status of Women. Jessie J. Cassidy, comp. (excerpt)

    comp. by Jessie J. Cassidy

    For Lesson Two

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from The legal status of women, comp. by Jessie J. Cassidy (1897) found in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection.

    {Excerpt Begins}

    {Page no. 12}


    Property Rights. -A realization of the abstract injustice of the laws governing the property of married women, as well as the moral awakening that accompanied the anti-slavery agitation, led to the first organized effort, in the history of the race, among women, to improve their legal status. This was part of the result of the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Previously to this Judge Hertell, of New York, in 1836, made an effort in the state legislature to alter the law. It was twelve years afterward that the first changes were made in these laws in New York. But the agitation was begun in nearly every state. It was carried on mainly by women, but also by some men, who, as fathers, were dissatisfied to let the property designed for the daughter hazard the monopoly or dissipation of a son-in-law. The changes came gradually. Freedom from liability for her husband's debts, power to lease, mortgage and sell, to make contracts, to sue and be sued independently of her husband, and various other conditions were generally embodied in different acts, until now in nearly every state and territory a married woman has as independent control of her property as has her husband of his, except for his right of curtesy, which partially corresponds to the wife's right of dower. The right to make a will or personal property was often granted before any other property right; the right to control her own wages often last, and this has not been granted in every state yet. The changes thus secured in fifty years by organized effort, compare most advantageously with the gains secured by women during centuries of the slow growth. It is undeniable,however, that many men opposed vigorously all efforts to enlarge the property rights of married women. The official journals of legislative debates on these amendments are surprising reading to-day. Some women, also, indignantly protested against the proposed changes as indicating distrust of their husbands.

    Support. -In the matter of the wife's right to support, some states have recently passed statutes making non-support a misdemeanor, and establishing means whereby if a man has property a portion can be secured for the support of his wife and children, or giving the court power to compel the husband to pay a reasonable amount regularly to his wife. In some states also, a wife, in case of non-support, can sue for alimony without divorce.

    Guardianship.-Equal guardianship with the father of the minor children is one of the rights of women that is not yet generally secured. Though the power vested in the father was not uniformly abused, many cases of cruelty to mothers as well as children have occurred, especially through forced apprenticeship and testamentary disposition.

    Education.-Increased opportunities for educational has been a most important element in contributing to the position of social equality now being generally accorded women. This has been noticed by Mr. Bryce in his "American Commonwealth," vol. 2, p. 594, as more marked and general in the United States than even in England. In the United States, high schools were not open to girls until about the beginning of this century. In 1790 girls were permitted to go for two hours in the afternoons in summer, providing there was room by the absence of boys. The higher education for women began by the foundation of Oberlin College in 1833, which was opened for men and women, both white and colored. Mt. Holyoke Seminary was founded in 1837, and since then wider and wider opportunities for study and investigation have been steadily accorded to women. In Europe, the gymnasia, or high schools, of Germany are still closed to girls, excepting three recently opened for girls exclusively. Some universities in almost every country admit women, though they do not all yet grant women degrees. As in the case of the laws governing the property rights of married women, the gain has been most rapid since women themselves have claimed opportunities for education.

    Age of Consent. -The laws referring to the age of protection for girls show marked progress in the last twelve years. The common law of England established that a girl of ten, or sometimes twelve, had sufficient maturity and experience to be able to fully protect herself, and this was originally the law of our states. In 1885 Mr. William T. Stead published an article in the Pall Mall Gasette, on the crimes committed against young girls in London. At that time Oregon was the only state where the age was over twelve. Gladstone and others in England secured the passage of a law raising the age there to sixteen. In this country the New York Committee for the Prevention of State Regulation of Vice, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the White Cross Society, different Suffrage Association, and many individual workers turned their attention to these laws, and by vigorous work secured amendments in many states, raising the age two or more years.

    Political Equality. -The idea of the political equality of men and women was reached and expressed unequivocally many times before the Convention at Seneca Falls, in 1848. .... The year 1848 marks the beginning of this organized movement. How much has been secured through organization in the short period of fifty years is shown in the two tables of America and Foreign Suffrage, and contrasts pointedly with the unnumbered centuries of legal subjection, as a physical and intellectual inferior, submitted to by women. Virtual descendants of the women who fifty years ago protested against controlling their own property, though willing to exercise that right since it is secured to them, now protest against the extension of the suffrage to women.

    {Text Omitted}

    (Characteristics of all states are listed, only Colorado's are given below)

    COLORADO.-Neither curtesy nor dower obtains. Subject to the payment of debts, the surviving husband or wife, if there are no children or descendants of children living, receives one-half of the entire estate, real and personal; if there is no child or descendants of any child living, the entire estate goes to the survivor. A homestead not exceeding two thousand dollars in value may be retained by the surviving husband or wife, or the minor children.

    COLORADO.-It shall be unlawful for any man residing in this state to wilfully neglect, fail or refuse to provide reasonable support and maintenance for his wife or minor children, and any person guilty of such neglect, failure or refusal, upon complaint of the wife, the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners or the Agent of the Humane Society, and upon conviction thereof, shall be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be committed to the County Jail for not more than a period of sixty days, unless it shall appear that, owing to physical incapacity or other good cause, he is unable to furnish such support. (Session laws of 1893, p. 126.)

    COLORADO.-Causes for divorce are adultery, bigamy, impotency, wilful desertion for one year without reasonable cause, wilful desertion and departure from the state without intention of returning, habitual drunkenness for one year, conviction of felony or other infamous crime, extreme cruelty, failure of husband for one year, being in good bodily health, to make a reasonable provision for the support of his family. The plaintiff must have resided one year in the state except when the grounds are adultery or extreme cruelty when committed within the estate, providing the suit shall be brought within the county in which such plaintiff or defendant resided or where such defendant last resided. The court may re-open the case in one year upon good reason shown by the defeated party. Neither can re-marry before the expiration of one year.

    COLORADO.-Parents are joint guardians with equal powers. (Law of 1895.)

    COLORADO.-"Confinement in the penitentiary not less than one year nor more than twenty years."

    {Text Omitted}

    The first organized demand by women for political recognition was made in the United States in 1848, at the memorable Seneca Falls Convention. That suffrage should be included had not beforehand entered the minds of those who issued the call for the convention, but it was suggested during the preparation of the Declaration of Independence and incorporated in the list of grievances submitted by the committee. It came like a bombshell upon the unprepared convention, and after long discussion was passed by only a bare majority. Lucretia Mott was one of those who at that time could not see her way to support it. The organization of different state suffrage associations followed, continuing the agitation. In 1869 Wyoming granted full political equality to women.

    Different degrees of school suffrage are now granted in twenty-two states and territories, partial suffrage for public improvements in three, municipal suffrage in one, and in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Idaho women vote for all officers, local, state and national, exactly as do men.

    It was not still 1869 that public agitation for suffrage was begun in England. In that year John Stuart Mill presented the subject in Parliament. Considerable local franchise has been secured, and the cause of the admission of women to full parliamentary suffrage steadily gains. Just as our western states are less conservative than those in the east, so the English colonies have been more ready to recognize woman's demands that has Great Britain. Full suffrage is established in New Zealand and South Australia and in the Isle of Man.

    The movement is also growing on the Continent. School and local suffrage has been granted in a number of countries and provinces. Quite generally a property qualification is required, but this is so in the case of men also. In a few cases women can vote only by proxy.

    Though all asked for by women has not been secured to them either abroad or in this country, considering the strength and obstinacy of prejudices rooted in customs of unnumbered centuries, the concessions secured in a short fifty years are phenomenal. Wider general education and the practical experience of the successful operation of woman suffrage are destined eventually to consummate the political emancipation of women

    {Excerpt Ends}

  • Transcripts of the trial of Susan B. Anthony (excerpt)

    An account of the proceedings of the trial of Susan B. Anthony, on the charge of illegal voting, at the presidential election in Nov. 1872 (excerpt)

    For Lesson Two

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from An account of the proceedings of the trial of Susan B. Anthony, on the charge of illegal voting, at the presidential election in Nov. 1872, and on the trial of Beverly W. Jones, Edwin T. Marsh and William B. Hall, the inspectors of election by whom her vote was received ... found in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection .

    {Excerpt Begins}

    At the election of President and Vice President of the United States, and members of Congress, in November, 1872, Susan B. Anthony, and several other women, offered their votes to the inspectors of election, claiming the right to vote, as among the privileges and immunities secured to them as citizens by the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The inspectors, Jones, Hall, and Marsh, by a majority, decided in favor of receiving the offered votes, against the dissent of Hall, and they were received and deposited in the ballot box. For this act, the women, fourteen in number, were arrested and held to bail, and indictments were found against them severally, under the 19th Section of the Act of Congress of May 30th, 1870, (16 St. at L. 144.) charging them with the offense of "knowingly voting without having a lawful right to vote." The three inspectors were also arrested, but only two of them were held to bail, Hall having been discharged by the Commissioner on whose warrant they were arrested. All three, however were jointly indicted under the same statute-for having "knowingly and willfully received the votes of persons not entitled to vote."

    Of the women voters, the case of Miss Anthony alone was brought to trial, a nolle prosequi having been entered upon the other indictments. Upon the trial of Miss Anthony before the U.S. Circuit Court for the Northern District of New York, at Canandaigua, in June, 1873, it was proved that before offering her vote she was advised by her counsel that she had a right to vote; and that she entertained no doubt, at the time of voting, that she was entitled to vote. It was claimed in her behalf:

    I. That she was legally entitled to vote.

    II. That if she was not so entitled, but voted in good faith in the belief that it was her right, she was guilty of no crime.

    III. That she did vote in such good faith, and with such belief.

    The court held that the defendant had no right to vote-that good faith constituted no defence-that there was nothing in the case for the jury to decide, and directed them to find a verdict of guilty; refusing to submit, at the request of the defendant's counsel, any question to the jury, or to allow the clerk to ask the jurors, severally, whether they assented to the verdict which the court had directed to be entered. The verdict of guilty was entered by the clerk, as directed by the court, without any express assent or dissent on the part of the jury. A fine of $100, and costs, was imposed upon the defendant.

    {Text Omitted}

    Judge Hunt -(Ordering the defendant to stand up), "Has the prisoner anything to say why sentence shall not be pronounced?"

    Miss Anthony- Yes, your honor, I have many things to say; for in your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject; and not only myself individually, but all of my sex, are, by your honor's verdict, doomed to political subjection under this, so-called, form of government.

    Judge Hunt- The Court cannot listen to a rehearsal of arguments the prisoner's counsel has already consumed three hours in presenting.

    Miss Anthony- May it please your honor, I am not arguing the question, but simply stating the reasons why sentence cannot, in justice, be pronounced against me. Your denial of my citizen's right to vote, is the denial of my right of consent as one of the governed, the denial of my right of representation as one of the taxed, the denial of my right to a trial by a jury of my peers as an offender against law, therefore, the denial of my sacred rights to life, liberty, property and-

    Judge Hunt- The Court cannot allow the prisoner to go on.

    Miss Anthony- But your honor will not deny me this one and only poor privilege of protest against this high-handed outrage upon my citizen's rights. May it please the Court to remember that since the day of my arrest last November, this is the first time that either myself or any person of my disfranchised class has been allowed a word of defense before judge or jury-

    Judge Hunt- The prisoner must sit down-the Court cannot allow it.

    Miss Anthony- All of my prosecutors, from the 8th ward corner grocery politician, who entered the compliant, to the United States Marshal, Commissioner, District Attorney, District Judge, your honor on the bench, not one is my peer, but each and all are my political sovereigns; and had your honor submitted my case to the jury, as was clearly your duty, even then I should have had just cause of protest, for not one of those men was my peer; but, native or foreign born, white or black, rich or poor, educated or ignorant, awake or asleep, sober or drunk, each and every man of them was my political superior; hence, in no sense, my peer. Even, under such circumstances, a commoner of England, tried before a jury of Lords, would have far less cause to complain than should I, a woman, tried before a jury of men. Even my counsel, the Hon. Henry R. Selden, who has argued my cause so ably, so earnestly, so unanswerably before your honor, is my political sovereign. Precisely as no disfranchised person is entitled to sit upon a jury, and no woman is entitled to the franchise, so, none but a regularly admitted lawyer is allowed to practice in the courts, and no woman can gain admission to the bar-hence, jury, judge, counsel, must all be of the superior class.

    Judged Hunt- The Court must insist-the prisoner has been tried according to the established forms of law.

    Miss Anthony- Yes, your honor, but by forms of law all made by men, interpreted by men, administered by men, in favor of men, and against women; and hence, your honor's ordered verdict of guilty; against a United States citizen for the exercise of "that citizen's right to vote," simply because that citizen was a woman and not a man. But, yesterday, the same man made forms of law, declared it a crime punishable with $1,000 fine and six months imprisonment, for you, or me, or you of us, to give a cup of cold water, a crust of bread, or a night's shelter to a panting fugitive as he was tracking his way to Canada. And every man or woman in whose veins coursed a drop of human sympathy violated that wicked law, reckless of consequences, and was justified in so doing. As then, the slaves who got their freedom must take it over, or under, or through the unjust forms of law, precisely so, now, must women, to get their right to a voice in this government, take it; and I have taken mine, and mean to take it at every possible opportunity.

    Judge Hunt -The Court orders the prisoner to sit down. It will not allow another word.

    Miss Anthony -When I was brought before your honor for trial, I hoped for a broad and liberal interpretation of the Constitution and its recent amendments, that should declare all United States citizens under its protecting gis-that should declare equality of rights the national guarantee to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. But failing to get this justice-failing, even, to get a trial by a jury not of my peers-I ask not leniency at your hands-but rather the full rigors of the law:

    Judge Hunt -The Court must insist-
    (Here the prisoner sat down.)

    Judge Hunt -The prisoner will stand up.
    (Here Miss Anthony arose again.)
    The sentence of the Court is that you pay a fine of one hundred dollars and the costs of the prosecution.

    Miss Anthony -May it please your honor, I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty. All the stock in trade I possess is a $10,000 debt, incurred by publishing my paper- The Revolution -four years ago, the sole object of which was to educate all women to do precisely as I have done, rebel against your manmade, unjust, unconstitutional forms of law, that tax, fine, imprison and hang women, while they deny them the right of representation in the government; and I shall work on with might and main to pay every dollar of that honest debt, but not a penny shall go to this unjust claim. And I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old revolutionary maxim, that "Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God."

    Judge Hunt -Madam, the Court will not order you committed until the fine is paid.

    {Excerpt Ends}

  • Appeal to Women by the National Woman Suffrage and Educational Committee (excerpt)

    An appeal to the women of the United States by the National woman suffrage and educational committee, Washington, D.C.... (1871) (excerpt)

    For Lesson Two

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from An appeal to the women of the United States by the National woman suffrage and educational committee, Washington, D.C.... (1871) found in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection.

    {Excerpt Begins}

    To the women of this country who are willing to unite with us in securing the full recognition of our rights, and to accept the duties and responsibilities of a full citizenship, we offer for signature the following Declaration and Pledge, in the firm belief that our children's children will with fond veneration recognize in this act our devotion to the great doctrines of liberty in their new and wider and more spiritual application, even as we regard with reverence the prophetic utterances of the Fathers of the Republic in their Declaration of Independence:

    Declaration and Fledge of the Women of the United States concerning their Right to and their Use of the Elective Franchise.

    "We, the undersigned, believing that the sacred rights and privileges of citizenship in this Republic were guaranteed to us by the original Constitution, and that these rights are confirmed and more clearly established by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, so that we can no longer refuse the solemn responsibilities thereof, do hereby pledge ourselves to accept the duties of the franchise in our several States, so soon as all legal restrictions are removed.

    "And believing that character is the best safe-guard of national liberty, we pledge ourselves to make the personal purity and integrity of candidates for public office and first test of fitness.

    "And lastly, believing in God, as the Supreme Author of the American Declaration of Independence, we pledge ourselves in the spirit of that memorable Act, to work hand in hand with our fathers, husbands, and sons, for the maintenance of those equal rights on which our Republic was originally founded, to the end that it may have, what is declared to be the first condition of just government, the consent of the governed."

    You have no new issue to make, no new grievances to set forth. You are taxed without representation, tried by a jury not of your peers, condemned and punished by judges and officers not of your choice, bound by laws you have had no voice in making, many of which are specially burdensome upon you as women; in short, your rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are daily infringed, simply because you have heretofore been denied the use of the ballot, the one weapon of protection and defense under a republican form of government. Fortunately, however, you are not compelled to resort to force in order to secure the rights of a complete citizenship. These are provided for by the original Constitution, and by the recent amendments your are recognized as citizens of the United States, whose rights, including the fundamental right to vote, may not be denied or abridged by the United States, nor by any State. The obligation is thus laid upon you to accept or reject the duties of citizenship, and to your own consciences and your God you must answer if the future legislation of this country shall fall short of the demands of justice and equality.

    In this country, which stands so specially on equal representation, it is hardly possible that the same equal suffrage would not be established by law if the matter were to be left merely to the progress of public sentiment and the ordinary course of legislation. But as we confidently believe, and as we have before stated, the right already exists in our national constitutions, and especially under the recent amendments. The interpretation of the Constitution which we maintain, we cannot doubt, will be ultimately adopted by the Courts, although, as the assertion of our right encounters a deep and prevailing prejudice, and judges are proverbially cautions and conservative, we must expect to encounter some adverse decisions. In the mean time it is of the highest importance that in every possible way we inform the public mind and educate public opinion on the whole subject of equal rights under a republican government, and that we manifest our desire for and willingness to accept all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, by asserting our right to be registered as voters and to vote at the Congressional elections. The original Constitution provides in express terms that the representatives in Congress shall be elected "by the PEOPLE of the several States"-with no restriction whatever as to the application of that term. This right, thus clearly granted to all the people, is confirmed and placed beyond reasonable question by the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments. The act of May, 1870, the very title of which, " An Act to enforce the rights of citizens of the United States to vote," is a concession of all that we claim, provides that the officers of elections throughout the United States shall give an equal opportunity to all citizens of the United States to become qualified to vote by the registry of their names or other pre-requisite; and that where upon the application of any citizen such pre-requisite is refused, such citizens may vote without performing such pre-requisite; and imposes a penalty upon the officers refusing either the application of the citizen to be qualified or his subsequent application to vote. The constitution also provides that "each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members." When therefore the election of any candidate for the lower House is effected or defeated by the admission or rejection of the votes of women, the question is brought directly before the House, and it is compelled to pass at once upon the question of the right of women to vote under the Constitution. All this may be accomplished without the necessity of bringing suits for the penalty imposed upon public officers by the act referred to: but should it be thought best to institute prosecutions where the application of women to register and to vote is refused, the question would thereby at once be brought into the Courts. If it be thought expedient to adopt the latter course, it is best that some test case be brought upon full consultation with the National Committee, that the ablest counsel may be employed and the expenses paid out of the public fund. Whatever mode of testing the question shall be adopted, we must not be in the slightest degree discourage by adverse decisions, for the final result in our favor is certain, and we have besides great reason to hope that Congress at an early day will pass a Declaratory Act affirming the interpretation of the Constitution which we claim.

    The present time is specially favorable for the earnest presentation before the public mind of the question of the political rights of women. There are very positive indications of the approaching disintegration and re-formation of political parties, and new and vital issues are needed by both the great parties of the country. As soon as the conviction possesses the public mind that women are to be voters at an early day, as they certainly are to be, the principles and the action of public parties will be shaping themselves with reference to the demands of this new constituency. Particularly in nominations for office will the moral character of candidates become a matter of greater importance.

    To carry on this great work a Board of six women has been established, called "The National Woman Suffrage and Educational Committee," whose office at Washington it is proposed to make the centre of all action upon Congress and the country, and with whom through their Secretary, resident there, it is desired that all associations and individuals interested in the cause of woman suffrage should place themselves in communication. The committee propose to circulate the very able and exhaustive Minority Report of the House Judiciary Committee on the constitutional right of woman to the suffrage, and other tracts on the general subject of woman suffrage. They also propose ultimately, and as a part of their educational work, to issue a series of tracts on subjects vitally affecting the welfare of the country, that women may become intelligent and thoughtful on such subjects, and the intelligent educators of the next generation of citizens...

    {Excerpt Ends}


  • "Blue Book" Woman Suffrage History, Arguments and Results, Frances M. Bjrkman and Annie G. Porritt, ed. (excerpt)

    The Blue Book (excerpt)

    edited by Frances M. Björkman and Annie G. Porritt (1917)

    For Lesson Two

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from "The blue book"; woman suffrage, history, arguments and results,edited by Frances M. Björkman and Annie G. Porritt (1917) found in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection.

    {Excerpt Begins}

    {Page no. 20}

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article be proposed to the legislatures of the several states as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which when ratified by three-fourths of the said legislatures, shall be valid as part of said constitution, namely:

    Article -, Section 1. 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.

    Sec. 2. Congress shall have power, by appropriate legislation, to enforce the provisions of this article.

    During the years that followed, suffragists directed their efforts towards obtaining the vote in two ways-through the states and by means of the Federal Amendment. The successes in the several states will be traced under each of the states. Miss Anthony worked as devotedly to help the women of the states to win the ballot as she worked for the favorable consideration of her amendment by Congress. Until very recently it was felt by most suffragists that the state-by-state method alone offered any good prospects of success, and only since women have been enfranchised in twelve states has hope revived of the passage of the Federal Constitutional amendment.

    Federal Constitutional Amendment.
    The first introduction of the amendment in Congress was in the Senate on January 10, 1878, by Senator Sargent. In 1878 it was reported adversely to the Senate from committee; but in the following year the adverse report of the majority was accompanied by a favorable report from the minority of the committee. Since 1878, it has been introduced by the National Woman Suffrage Association in each succeeding Congress-Miss Anthony herself undertaking the burden of the work until 1890. In 1882 it won a favorable majority report from the Senate Committee, and in 1883 it was introduced in the House, where it also obtained a favorable majority report. It did not come to a vote in the Senate, however, until 1887, when after another favorable majority report it obtained 16 votes in favor to 34 votes against. There were favorable majority reports on it in the Senate in 1890 and 1892; but it was adversely reported in 1896, and it was not again reported from the Woman Suffrage Committee of the Senate until 1913. In that year and again in 1914 and 1916, it went to the Senate with a favorable majority report.

    {Text Omitted}

    (All Western states, and some other states, as well as other countries are researched.)


    In 1898, as a result of certain misrepresentations, a statement approving equal suffrage was issued, signed by the Governor, three ex-Governors, both United States Senators, two ex-Senators, two Representatives in Congress, the Chief Justice and two Associate Justice of the Supreme, Court, three Judges of the Court of Appeals, four Judges of the District Court, the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer, the State Auditor, the Attorney-General, the Mayor of Denver, the president of the State University, the president of Colorado College and the presidents of officers of numerous women's clubs. In 1899 the Colorado Legislature passed, by a vote of 45 to 3 in the House and 30 to 1 in the Senate, a resolution declaring that during time that equal suffrage had been in operation women had used the vote as generally as men, with the result that better candidates had been selected for office, election methods had been purified, the character of legislation improved, civic intelligence increased and womanhood developed; and recommending the adoption of the measure by all the States and Territories of the Union.

    {Text Omitted}

    Effect of Women Voting Upon Legislation.
    One striking effect of woman has been the provision of clean, well-lighted and well-warmed places for polling booths, usually in private houses, churches, fire stations, guild halls or stores-never in saloons.

    The statutes of Colorado present a most imposing array of laws affecting the welfare of women, children and the home. A large number of these must unquestionably be attributed to the work of women. In this State, where the sexes are more evenly distributed than in any of the older suffrage States, the women voters have used their political power to influence legislation more consciously and deliberately and over a longer period of time than anywhere else. Women have introduced many of these laws into the Legislature, where, in most sessions, they had the advantage of women members to look after them. Every woman's club has its legislative committee, which scrutinizes every bill introduced and makes recommendations as to whether it should be supported or opposed. Among the laws most easily traceable to women's influence are the following measures:

    Making mother joint guardians with the fathers over their children.

    Raising the age of protection of young girls to 18.

    Establishing a juvenile court; making parents responsible for the offenses of delinquent children, when they have by neglect or any other cause contributed to such delinquency.

    Forbidding the employment of children in certain industries.

    Making the wife the head of the family in cases where she provides the principal support.

    Providing for supervision of lying-in hospitals and maternity homes conducted by private individuals.

    Compelling men to support their families and making wife-desertion a felony.

    Providing penalties for the punishment of male and female procurers.

    Making it a felony for any person under 18 to work as a servant or employee in any house of ill-fame.

    Making immoral solicitation a felony.

    Imposing heavy penalties upon men for living upon the earnings of immoral women.

    Forbidding the insuring of the lives of children under ten years.

    Establishing State parental schools.

    Establishing a State home for dependent children, two of the five members of the board to be women.

    Requiring that at least three of the six members of the Board of County Visitors shall be women.

    Establishing a State industrial home for girls, three of the five members of the board to be women.

    Requiring one woman physician on the board of the insane asylum.

    Providing for the care of the feeble-minded.

    Making father and mother joint heirs of a deceased child.

    Establishing a State travelling library commission, to consist of five women from the Colorado Federation of Women's Club, to be appointed by the Governor.

    Prohibiting the gift or sale of cigarettes to children.

    Prohibiting the sale of opium.

    Making employers liable for industrial accidents.

    Removing the emblems from the Australia ballot (an approach to an educational qualification for voting).

    Establishing the indeterminate sentence for prisoners.

    Making the Colorado Humane Society a State bureau of child and animal protection.

    Providing for the teaching of humanity to animals in the public schools.

    Establishing mothers pensions.

    Creating a minimum wage board to determine minimum wage for women.

    Establishing an eight-hour law for women.

    Providing for the initiative, referendum, recall, and for direct primaries.

    At the election of November, 1914, Statewide prohibition was adopted, and in the Session of 1915 a red light injunction and abatement law on the model of the Iowa law was passed. In the same session Colorado adopted a comprehensive workman's compensation act and an industrial disputes act.

    Before the franchise was granted women's property rights had already been fairly well secured, and now the last discriminations have been removed, so that, with respect to property, women are on a basis of perfect equality with men, the old laws of power and courtesy having been replaced with measures even more favorable to women.

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    Objections Answered by Alice Stone Blackwell

    Why Should Women Vote?

    The reasons why women should vote are the same as the reasons shy men should vote-the same as the reasons for having a republic rather than a monarchy. It is fair and right that the people who must obey the laws should have a voice in choosing the law-makers, and that those who must pay the taxes should have a voice as to the amount of the tax, and the way in which the money shall be spent.

    Roughly stated, the fundamental principle of a republic is this: In deciding what is to be done, we take everybody's opinion, and then go according to the wish of the majority. As we cannot suit everybody, we do what will suit the greatest number. That seems to be, on the whole, the fairest way. A vote is simply a written expression of opinion.

    In thus taking a vote to get at the wish of the majority, certain classes of persons are passed over, whose opinions for one reason or another are thought not to be worth counting. In most of our states, these classes are children, aliens, idiots, lunatics, criminals and women. There are good and obvious reasons for making all these exceptions but the last. Of course no account ought to be taken of the opinions of children, insane persons, or criminals. Is there any equally good reason why no account should be taken of the opinions of women? Let us consider the reasons commonly given, and see if they are sound.

    (For each argument she gives a compelling counter-argument)

    Are Women Represented?
    Women are represented already by their husbands, fathers and brothers. (The anti-argument)
    This so-called representation bears no proportion to numbers. Here is a man who has a wife, widowed mother, four or five unmarried sisters, and half a dozen unmarried daughters. His vote represents himself and all these women, and it counts one; while the vote of his bachelor neighbor next door, without a female relative in the world, counts for just as much. Since the object of taking a vote is to get at the wish of the majority, it is clear that the only fair and accurate way is for each grown person to have one vote, and cast it to represent himself or herself.

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    Is "Influence" Enough?
    If the laws are unjust, they can be corrected by women's indirect influence.
    Yes, but the indirect method is needlessly long and hard. If women were forbidden to use the direct route by rail across the continent and complained of the injustice, it would be no answer to tell them that it is possible to get from New York to San Francisco by going around Cape Horn.

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    The Ignorant Vote
    It would double the ignorant vote.
    Statistics published by the National Bureau of Education show that the high schools of every state in the Union are graduating more girls than boys-some of them twice and three times as many. Because of the growing tendency to take boys out of school early in order to put them into business, girls are getting more schooling than boys. Equal suffrage would increase the proportion of voters who have received more than a merely elementary education.

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    The Foreign Vote
    It would double the foreign vote.
    A little more than one-third of the immigrants coming to this country are women. According to the latest census, there are in the United States nearly three times as many native-born women as all the foreign-born men and foreign-born women put together.

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    The Criminal Vote
    To the vote of every criminal man, you would add the vote of a criminal woman.
    The vicious and criminal class is comparatively small among women. In the prisons of the United States as a whole, including those for all kinds of offenses, women constitute only five and one-half per cent. of the prisoners, and the proportion is growing smaller.

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    The Bad Women's Vote
    The bad women would outvote the good ones.
    In America, the bad women are so few compared with the good ones, that their votes could have little influence. Mrs.Helen Gilbert Ecob, wife of a prominent clergyman who was for some years a pastor in Denver, writes: "The bad women represent, in any city of the United States, but an infinitesimal proportion of its population, and the vote of the class in Denver is confined practically to three precincts out of 120."

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    Don't Understand Business
    A municipality is a great business corporation. Men, by the nature of their occupations, know more about business than women, and hence are better fitted to run a city or a state. Women have a vote in every other corporation in which they are shareholders. George William Curtis said: "A woman may vote as a stockholder upon a railroad from one end of the country to the other; but, if she sells her stock and buys a house with the money, she has no voice in the laying out of the road before her door, which her house is taxed to keep and pay for."

    Division of Labor
    The growth of civilization is marked by a increasing specialization and division of labor. Woman suffrage would therefore be a step backward.
    The growth of civilization increases the division of labor as between individuals, but lessens it as between the sexes. One woman no longer spins and weaves and manufacturers the clothing for the men of her family, at the same time carrying on all the housework and in addition making butter, cheese and candles, as our great grandmothers did. This work is now subdivided among a number of specialists. On the other hand, in the old times women were excluded from almost all the occupations of men. Housework and sewing were practically the only ways open to them to earn a living. To-day, out of more than 300 trades and professions followed by men, women are found in all but three or four.

    Would Lose Their Influence
    Women would lose their influence.
    What gives a woman influence? Beauty, goodness, tact, talent, pleasant manners, money, social position, etc. A woman who has any of these means of influence now would still have them if she has a vote and she would have this other potent means of influence besides.

    Cease to Be Respected
    Women would cease to be respected.
    Jane Addams and other prominent Chicago women testify to the marked increase of respect that came to the women of Illinois with the granting of the ballot.

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    Would Make Women Partisans
    Women can do more good now than if they had a vote, because now they are non-partisan. If they become voters, their non-partisan influence would be lost. Women continue to be non-partisan after they have the ballot, and it gives them more power to secure the good things which the women of all parties want.

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    Opposition of Women
    Women in large numbers are organizing against suffrage. The majority are opposed to it and the majority ought to rule.
    The organized opposition among women to suffrage is very small compared with the organized movement of women in its favor.

    Already OverBurdened
    Women are already overburdened. A woman would not have time to perform her political duties without neglecting higher duties.
    Mrs. Alice Freeman Palmer wrote: "How much time must she spend on her political duties? If she belongs to the well-to-do-class, and hires others to do her work, she has time for whatever interests her most-only let these interest be noble! If she does her own housework, she can take ten minutes to stop on her way to market and vote once or twice a year. She can find half an hour a day for the newspapers and other means of information. She can talk with family and friends about what she reads. She does this now; she will then do it more intelligently and will give and receive more from what she says and hears.

    Women and Office Holding
    If women vote, they must hold office.
    When we say that women would be eligible to hold office, what do we mean? Simply that if a majority of the people in any place would rather have a woman to hold a certain position than any one else, and if she is willing to serve, they shall be allowed to elect her. Women are serving as officials already; some of the women most prominent in opposing equal suffrage have been holders of public office.

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    Ballots and Bullets
    If women vote, they ought to fight and do police duty.
    If no men were allowed to vote except those who were able and willing to do military and police duty, women might consistently be debarred for that reason. But so long as the old, the infirm, the halt, the lame and the blind are freely admitted to the ballot box, some better reason must be found for excluding women than the fact that they do not fight.

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    Can Laws Be Enforced?
    Laws could not be enforced unless the majority of legal voters represented the majority of possible fighters. But thousands of male non-combatants are already admitted to the ballot box, and there is no certainly at any election that the majority of voters represents a majority of possible fighters.
    No trouble of this kind has resulted from equal suffrage in practice. The laws ar as well enforced in the enfranchised states as in adjoining states where women have no vote.

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    Will It Increase Divorce?
    It will lead to family quarrels and increase divorce.
    Full suffrage was granted to the women of Wyoming in 1896. During the twenty years from 1870 to 1890, divorce in the United States at large increased about three times as fast as the population. In the group of western states, omitting Wyoming, it increased nearly four times as fast as the population. In Wyoming it increased only about half as fast as the population. "An ounce of experiment is worth a ton of theory."

    The Question of Chivalry
    It will destroy chivalry.
    Justice would be worth more to women than chivalry, if they could not have both. A working girl put the case in a nutshell when she said: "I would gladly stand for twenty minutes in the street car going home if by doing so I could get the same pay that a man would have had for doing my day's work." But women do not have to stand in the street cars half as often in Denver as in Boston or in New York. Justice and chivalry are not in the least incompatible. Women have more freedom and equality in America than in Europe, yet American men are the most chivalrous in the world.

    Known By Its Enemies
    It would increase the corruption of politics.
    Those who thrive upon the corruption of politics do not think so. The ignorant, vicious and criminal vote is always cast solidly against equal rights for women.

    Too Emotional
    Women are too emotional and sentimental to be trusted with the ballot.
    Mrs. E. T. Brown, at a meeting of the Georgia State Federation of Women's Clubs read a paper, in which she said: "You tell us that women are not fitted for dealing with the problems of government, being too visionary and too much controlled by sentiment. "Now it is very true of women that they are largely controlled by sentiment, and, as a matter of fact, men are largely controlled by sentiment also, in spite of their protesting blushes. Was it logic that swept like a wave over this country and sent our army to protect the Cubans when their suffering grew too intense to be endured even in the hearing? Is it shrewd business calculation that sends thousands of dollars out of this country to fed a starving people during the ever-recurring famines in unhappy India?

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    What Is the Unit?
    The political unit is the family.
    The childless widower, the unmarried boy of 21, and the confirmed old bachelor of 90 have votes; the widow with minor children has none. Under our laws the political unit is not the family, but the male individual. The unequal number of grown persons in different families would make it impossible to treat the family as the political unit.

    Women's Small School Vote
    The smallness of women's school vote shows that they would not use the full ballot.
    The size of men's vote is just in proportion to the size of the election. At presidential elections it is very large, at state elections much smaller, at a municipal election smaller still, and at school elections, wherever these are held separately, only a fraction of the men turn out to vote. The smallness of the woman's school vote is regrettable, but it is only a new proof of the truth of Mrs. Poyser's immortal saying: "I am not denying that women are foolish; God Almighty made them to match the men!"

    Will Women Vote?
    Proof from Equal Suffrage States Women will not vote, or will cease to vote after the novelty has worn off.
    Women to-day have the right to vote in many different parts of the civilized world. They not only have it, but use it. In the presidential election of 1912 there were 24,773,583 men over 21 years of age in the non-suffrage states of the Union. Of these, 13,521,899 voted, or 54.5 per cent. In the six suffrage states. Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Washington and California-the only states where women could vote for President in 1912-there were 3,253,443 men and women over 21 years of age. Of these 1,514,643 voted, or 46.6 per cent. Between the proportion of men voting in the male suffrage states and the proportion of all adults voting in the equal suffrage states there was a difference of less than 8 per cent. Either the women voted almost as generally as the men, or the men in the suffrage states voted much more generally than the men in the non-suffrage states. There is no escape from this conclusion.

    A Growing Cause
    Opposition to woman suffrage is growing.
    In Kansas, the first time the equal suffrage amendment was submitted it got only 9,100 votes; the second time it got 95, 302; the third time it got 175,376, and carried.

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    The Test of Experiment
    It works badly in practice.
    Women now have the full ballot in Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Washington, California, Kansas, Oregon, Arizona,Nevada, Montana, Alaska, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, Ontario, while in Illinois, North Dakota, Indiana, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan and Nebraska, they can vote for Presidential electors. In Arkansas they can nominate all candidates at the primaries. In all these places put together, the opponents thus far have not found a score of respectable men who assert over their own names that it has had any bad results.

    Doubling the Vote
    It would only doubled the vote without changing the result.
    If women were exactly like men, equal suffrage would merely double the vote. But women are different from men; and women's voices in the State, like women's voices in the choir, would be the introduction of a new element. This is recognized even by opponents, when they express the fear that equal suffrage would lead to "sentimental legislation."

    Would Unsex Women
    It will turn women into men.
    The differences between men and women are natural; they are not the result of disfranchisement. The fact that all men have equal rights before the law does not wipe out natural differences of character and temperament between man and man. Why should it wipe out the natural differences between men and women?

    Suffrage and Marriage
    Suffragists and Feminists are the enemies of marriage and the home.
    Washington in December, 1915, passed the following resolution by a unanimous vote: "That we believe the home is the foundation of the State; we believe in the sanctity of the marriage relation; and, furthermore, we believe that woman's ballot will strengthen the power of the home, and sustain the dignity and sacredness of marriage; and we denounce as a gross slander the charges made by opponents of equal suffrage that its advocates as a class entertain opinions to the contrary."

    Suffrage and Feminism
    Suffrage is a branch of Feminism and Feminism includes free love.
    Feminism merely means the general movement for woman's rights. Mrs. Beatrice Forbes Robertson Hale (a strong opponent of free love) says in her book, "What Women Want": "Feminism is that part of the progress of democratic freedom which applies to women. It is a century-old struggle conducted by large groups of people in different parts of the world to bring about the removal of all artificial barriers to the physical, mental, moral and economic development of the female half of the race." In this sense the woman suffrage movement, of course, is a part of it.

    Suffrage and Wages
    Woman suffrage means that all women, married and single, should go out of their homes and work for wages.
    The United States Census shows that in the suffrage States the proportion of women working outside their homes for wages is smaller than in the country at large.

    Suffrage and Jury Duty
    If women vote they must do jury duty, and they might have to listen to indecent testimony.
    Suppose a mixed jury were locked up over might! Women have served on juries in Norway and in some of our own Western States for many years. No woman thus far has complained of having been subjected to hardship or impropriety.

    Women Do Not Want It
    Whenever the majority of women ask for suffrage, they will get it.
    Every improvement in the condition of women thus far has been secured not by a general demand from the majority of women, but by the arguments, entreaties and "continual coming" of a persistent few. All this merely shows that human nature is conservative, and that it is fully as conservative in women as in men. The persons who take a strong interest in any reform are generally few, whether among men or women, and they are habitually regarded with disfavor, even by those whom the proposed reform is to benefit.

    {Text Omitted}

    (There is then a list of all of the political groups and male politicians and civic leaders who support womenís suffrage, with comments.)

    Twelve Reasons Why Women Should Vote

    1. BECAUSE those who obey the laws should help to choose those who make the laws.
    2. BECAUSE laws affect women as much as men.
    3. BECAUSE laws which affect women are now passed without consulting them.
    4. BECAUSE laws affecting children should include the woman's point of view as well as the man's.
    5. BECAUSE laws affecting the home are voted on in every session of the legislature.
    6. BECAUSE women have experience which would be helpful to legislation.
    7. BECAUSE to deprive women of the vote is to lower their position in common estimation.
    8. BECAUSE having the vote would increase the sense of responsibility among
    9. BECAUSE public-spirited mothers make public-spirited sons.
    10. BECAUSE about 8,000,000 women in the United States are wage workers, and the conditions under which they work are controlled by law.
    11. BECAUSE the objections against their having the vote are based on prejudice, not on reason.
    12. BECAUSE to sum up all reasons in one- it is for the common good of all.

    Have We a Democracy?
    The Democratic spirit, the spirit of self-government, is one of slow growth. It was foreshadowed in the republic of Plato, that great philosopher whose vision extended far into the future. It raised a barely audible voice in England when the Magna Charta gave the first clearly defined rights to the English people. From that time on its tones have become louder and clearer until it thundered forth in the Declaration of Independence when a new, free nation was born.

    There are three foundation principles which embody this democratic spirit today:

    First-"No taxation without representation." This principle was recognized in the Magna Charta and was made the battle cry in our American Revolution.

    Second-"Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." This is the "self-evident truth" in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, and is the rock on which our republic is built.

    The third foundation principle was voiced by Lincoln when he said "that this nation under God should have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, should not perish from the earth."

    {Excerpt Ends}

  • Votes for Women: The Woman's Reason
  • The Woman Suffrage Yearbook, 1917. National Woman Suffrage Pub. Co., Inc. (excerpt)

    The Woman Suffrage Year Book 1917 (excerpt)

    For Lesson Two

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from The Woman Suffrage Year Book 1917 found in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection.

    {Excerpt Begins}

    In publishing the Woman Suffrage Year Book for 1917, which the editor, Miss Martha Stapler, has compiled with great care, the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company, Inc., believes that it is placing in the hands of suffrage workers and others an accurate, up-to-date reference book which has long been needed.

    It is planned to issue the Year Book in January of each year with a calendar of events of the preceding year and with statistical information brought up to date. For a compilation of this kind a mass of material is available so that the task has been largely one of selection. Both editor and publishers are conscious of many omissions but it has been necessary to continually bear in mind that if the books is to serve its purpose it must be limited in bulk and moderate in price. The selection of material for this year's issue has been in the nature of an experiment, but it is hoped that constructive criticism and suggestions will be forthcoming so that the value of the book will be enhanced with every new edition. The present volume is offered in the confident hope that it will justify itself and lead the way for an annual publication that will eventually satisfy the need for a comprehensive record of the woman suffrage movement.

    {Text Omitted}



    Full suffrage granted all women:

    • Wyoming .......... 1869
    • Colorado .......... 1893
    • Utah .......... 1896
    • Idaho .......... 1896
    • Washington .......... 1910
    • California .......... 1911
    • Kansas .......... 1912
    • Oregon .......... 1912
    • Arizona .......... 1912
    • Territory of Alaska .......... 1913
    • Montana .......... 1914
    • Nevada .......... 1914


    • Illinois .......... 1913


    Granted certain classes of women subject to various restrictions:

    • Kentucky .......... 1838
    • Michigan .......... 1875
    • Minnesota .......... 1875
    • New Hampshire .......... 1878
    • Massachusetts .......... 1879
    • Vermont .......... 1880
    • New York .......... 1880
    • Mississippi .......... 1880
    • Nebraska .......... 1883
    • New Jersey .......... 1887
    • North Dakota .......... 1887
    • South Dakota .......... 1887
    • Oklahoma .......... 1890
    • Connecticut .......... 1893
    • Ohio .......... 1894
    • Delaware .......... 1898
    • Wisconsin .......... 1900
    • New Mexico .......... 1910


    Granted certain classes of women subject to various restrictions:

    • Iowa .......... 1894
    • Louisiana .......... 1898
    • New York .......... 1901
    • Michigan .......... 1908

    {Text Omitted}


    (Known as Senate Joint Resolution No. 1 and as House Joint Resolution No. 1)


    Dec. 7, 1915 .......... Introduced by Senator Sutherland, of Utah, Senator Thomas, of Colorado, and Senator Thompson, of Kansas. Referred to the Committee on Woman Suffrage. This Committee was composed of Senators Thomas of Colorado, Owen of Oklahoma, Ransdell of Louisiana, Hollis of New Hampshire, Johnson of South Dakota, Sutherland of Utah, Jones of Washington, Clapp of Minnesota, Catron of New Mexico.

    Jan. 8, 1916 .......... Reported in the Senate with a favorable recommendation.


    Dec. 6, 1915 .......... Introduced by Representatives Raker of California, Mondell of Wyoming, Keating of Colorado, Taylor of Colorado, and Hayden of Arizona. Referred to the Judiciary Committee, and by it to sub-committee No. 1. This committee was composed of Representatives Carlin of Virginia, chairman; Gard of Ohio, Taggart of Kansas, Volstead of Minnesota and Morgan of Oklahoma.

    Feb. 9, 1916 .......... Reported to the Judiciary Committee by sub-committee No. 1, without recommendation.

    Feb. 15, 1916 .......... By a vote of 9 to 7 the Judiciary Committee returned the Amendment to sub-committee No. 1 with instructions to hold until December 14th. Those who voted against postponement were: Mr. Taggart of Kansas, Mr. Volstead of Minnesota, Mr. Nelson of Wisconsin, Mr. Chandler of New York, Mr. Thomas of Kentucky, Mr. Dale of New York, Mr. Graham of Pennsylvania. Those who voted in favor of postponement to December were: Mr. Whaley of South Carolina, Mr. Webb of North Carolina, Mr. Carlin of Virginia, Mr. Walker of Georgia, Mr. Igoe of Missouri, Mr. Gard of Ohio, Mr. Williams of Illinois, Mr. Steele of Pennsylvania, Mr. Caraway of Arkansas.

    March 14, 1916 .......... The Judiciary Committee, by unanimous consent, agreed to take final committee action on the Amendment on March 28th.

    March 28, 1916 .......... The Judiciary Committee, by a vote of 9 to 10, postponed indefinitely all Constitutional Amendments. Those who voted against postponement were: Mr. Taggart of Kansas, Mr. Thomas of Kentucky, Mr. Morgan of Oklahoma, Mr. Neely of West Virginia, Mr. Moss of West Virginia, Mr. Volstead of Minnesota, Mr. Nelson of Wisconsin, Mr. Dale of New York, Mr. Chandler of New York. Those who voted for postponement were: Mr. Webb of North Carolina, Mr. Carlin of Virginia, Mr. Igoe of Missouri, Mr. Dyer of Missouri, Mr. Gard of Ohio, Mr. Whaley of South Carolina, Mr. Caraway of Arkansas, Mr. Steele of Pennsylvania, Mr.Graham of Pennsylvania, Mr. Danforth of New York. From March 28th the Resolution remained in the Judiciary Committee. On December 14th it was reported from Committee without recommendation.


    * Excerpts from the Report-see pages 89-91.


    Jan. 24, 1916 .......... Senator Norris, of Nebraska, introduced in the Senate a resolution providing for the direct election of the President and Vice-President of the United States.


    Dec. 6, 1915 .......... Representative Raker, of California, introduced at the request of the Federal Suffrage Association a bill to protect the rights of women citizens of the United States to register and vote for Senators and Members of the House. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Election of the President, Vice-President, and Representatives in Congress.

    Dec. 19, 1915 .......... The same bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Lane, of Oregon. It was referred to the Committee on Woman suffrage.

    Feb. 3, 1916 .......... The United States Elections Bill Introduced in the Senate by Senator Owen, at the request of Miss Laura Clay, of Kentucky. This bill aims to secure to women the right to vote for Senators and Representatives in Congress. It was referred to the Committee on Privileges and Elections.

    March 3, 1916 .......... Senator Borah introduced an amendment to the Underwood amendment (to permit women as well as men to vote upon a District of Columbia prohibition measure).

    May 15, 1916 .......... A favorable committee report was given in the Senate on the District Delegate Bill. This provides for the elections of one Delegate to the House of Representatives by the citizens of the District of Columbia and establishes a system of election.

    May 22, 1916 .......... The House had under consideration the Porto Rican bill, part of which deals with the suffrage in Porto Rico.Representative Mann, of Illinois, offered an amendment giving the women of Porto Rico suffrage on the same terms as men. This amendment was carried by a vote of 60-37. The following day the bill was taken up in the House, and the women suffrage was lost by a vote of 59-80. (A detailed account of Woman Suffrage in the Sixty-fourth Congress is contained in the Report of the Congressional Committee submitted at the Forty-eighth Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.) *

    {Text Omitted}

    History of the recent movement:
    In 1890 the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association united under the name of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The object, as adopted in the Constitution, was "to secure protection in their right to vote to the women citizens of the United States by appropriate national and state legislation."

    From that time on plans for constructive educational work throughout the nation, campaigns on behalf of amendments to state constitutions, and work for the submission by Congress to the several state legislatures of an amendment to the Federal Constitution, formed the program for the Association.

    In 1890, Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was elected President and Miss Susan B. Anthony Vice-President. In 1892 Mrs. Stanton withdrew and Miss Anthony was elected President. Miss Anthony withdrew in 1900 and Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt was elected in her place. In 1904 Mrs. Catt withdrew and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw was elected President. In 1915 Dr. Shaw became Honorary President and Mrs. Catt was again elected to the Presidency.

    In 1916 the Association is a federation of sixty-three suffrage organizations in forty-five states and has to its credit the enfranchisement of women in eleven states by constitutional amendment, full suffrage for women in Alaska, presidential and municipal suffrage for women in Illinois by legislative enactment, and minor suffrage for women in twenty states.

    As a result of its unceasing educational work the sentiment throughout the nation favorable to the enfranchisement of women has now made the question a political issue and the most discussed question of the day. Campaigns have been conducted in the last twenty-five years in many states, and by common consent it is acknowledged that defeated amendments have left such an increased popular belief in the cause that later victorious campaigns are admitted as inevitable.

    The National American Woman Suffrage Association is the American Auxiliary of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, which was organized in 1904. National conventions are held annually. Until 1895 the work of the Association was carried on principally from the home of Miss Anthony, in Rochester, New York. In that year small headquarters were opened in the World Building, New York, and occupied by the newly-formed Organization Committee under the supervision of Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt. In the same year Mrs. Rachel Foster Avery, corresponding secretary for twenty-one years, under instruction of the National Board, opened a National Headquarters in Philadelphia. In 1900 these two headquarters were combined and established in the American Tract Society Building in New York. In 1903 they were removed to Warren, Ohio, and placed in charge of Mrs. Harriet Taylor Upton. National treasurer. In 1909 headquarters were again established in New York.

    From time to time branch headquarters have been conducted in the city of Washington. From 1913 a permanent branch headquarters has been maintained there. In 1916 a large house, formerly occupied by Senator Elihu Root, became branch headquarters of the National Association. State headquarters have been founded in all the better organized states, and in many of the states additional city and county headquarters are permanently maintained.

    The National American Woman Suffrage Association, since the union of the two societies in 1890, has published and distributed millions of leaflets, has maintained a National Press Department, has assisted in organization work in various states and has held thousands of meetings under its own direct auspices.

    From 1890 till 1914 there was no division of forces or difference of policy among the suffragists of the United States.

    In 1913 the Congressional Committee formed the Congressional Union for the purpose of supporting the Committee in its work for the Federal Amendment, and the Congressional Union was admitted as an auxiliary of the National Association.

    In 1914 a break with the National Association occurred because the Congressional Union refused to accede to certain established rules, and thereafter the Congressional Union became an independent body.

    In 1916 the Congressional Union caused a convention to be assembled in Chicago and formed a Woman's Party. The National Woman's Party in its platform pledges itself "to use its united vote to secure the passage of the Susan B. Anthony Amendment irrespective of the interests of any national political party, and pledges its unceasing opposition to all who oppose this amendment.

    A rift in the organized suffrage forces of the nation was thus brought about, the National Association continuing its policy of working for both federal and state amendments, the Congressional Union and its outgrowth, the Woman's Party, working for the federal amendment only. The National continues to work on strictly non-partisan lines, while the Congressional Union holds "the party in power responsible," and as that party this year is the Democratic party, it has been the object of a western campaign which aimed to defeat Mr. Wilson and Democratic Congressmen.

    {Text Omitted}


    "The Woman's Protest," organ of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, published a list of questions inviting suffragists to explain certain facts and figures. The objections were answered by Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, in "The Woman Voter" (January and February, 1915).

    Following are some of the questions and answers:

    (Q) Suffragists say women should vote because they pay taxes. On this plea the foreign corporation or individual or non-resident who pays taxes should vote. The majority of women are not taxpayers, however, and their addition to the electorate would only increase the number of voters who do not pay taxes. Do Suffragists advocate further extension of irresponsibility?

    (A) The difference between women and the foreign corporation or individual or non-resident is that when taxes become oppressive the foreign corporation or individual may become naturalized and the non-resident may become a resident and vote. There is nothing women can do to protect themselves against unjust taxation.

    (Q) If women are competent to vote on every question, why not allow them to vote on their own enfranchisement?

    (A) Suffragists would be very glad if the question could be settled by the vote of women. They oppose it because it is an unconstitutional proposition and it cannot be made constitutional.

    (Q) In view of the fact that woman suffrage proposes another duty to woman, an unnecessary duty inconsistent with her highest natural duties and functions, and furthermore, involves great risk and additional expense to the State, we have a right to ask what it can do to improve civic conditions, and where it has done so. If Suffragists cannot prove "votes for women" are worth while, how can they show any reason why woman suffrage should not be rejected?

    (A) The sole plea for woman suffrage is that women are human beings, citizens of a republic which makes its boast that its laws and institutions are based upon the will of the majority. Suffragists hold that the opinions of women are worth as much to them as men's opinions are worth to them. When it is made necessary for the vast numbers of foreigners pouring through our gates to prove that votes for foreigners are worth while; when it comes about that boys just turned twenty-one are forced to prove that votes for boys are worth while, then it will be an intelligent demand to put to women that they, too, must prove that votes for women are worth while. Meanwhile, although suffragists have proved over and over again that votes for women have accomplished great good for women, for children and for the community, yet they hold that this demand is illogical and outrageous.

    (Q) An electorate, like a standing army, is a governmental instrument to carry out the will of the people. Its extension can only be advocated as a necessity or a service to the common good. Where and when have women proved their supreme moral influence as the mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and teachers of men as "inferior" to the ballots and bullets that men must sometimes use? What reason can Suffragists give for asking women to use the weapons of men in a vain attempt to exercise political power when the wishes of women and the wisdom of the centuries teach us to rely on the moral might that women wield in the church, the school and the home where our citizens are made and molded-by women?

    (A) "An electorate is a governmental instrument to carry out the will of the people." Right, and because women from half of the people, it follows that the electorate cannot carry out the will of that people unless their voices are counted in the votes to be taken. If it be true that the wishes of women and the wisdom of the centuries teach us to rely on the moral might that women wield in the church, school and home, then it follows equally that the wishes of men and the wisdom of the centuries teach us to rely on their moral influence and not on votes. In other words, any argument, any excuse which can bar women from the electorate of this country, applies with equal wisdom and equal logic to the votes of men.

    {Text Omitted}

    [Reprinted from the "Woman's Journal", Jan. 8, 1916.]

    The World Almanac for 1916 has compiled the qualifications for voting-and for not being allowed to vote-in all of the States with the aid of the various State Attorneys-General. This compilation shows that the following classes of adult citizens are denied suffrage in the different States:

    • Alabama-Men convicted of treason or other felonies, idiots, vagrants, insane, women.
    • Alaska -Aliens and Indians.
    • Arizona -Idiots, insane, felons, soldiers, sailors, and marines in U. S. service, persons unable to read and write in English.
    • Arkansas-Idiots, insane, men convicted of felony or failing to pay poll tax, women.
    • California -Idiots, insane, embezzlers of public moneys, those convicted of infamous crime, persons unable to read and write in English.
    • Colorado -Felons and insane.
    • Connecticut-Men convicted of heinous crime, women. (a)
    • Delaware-Insane, paupers, felons, men unable to read and write in English, women.
    • Florida-Idiots, duel lists, felons, women. (d)
    • Georgia-Felons, idiots, insane, women.
    • Hawaii-Idiots, insane, felons, those unable to speak, read and write the English or Hawaiian language, women.
    • Idaho -Idiots, insane, felons, bigamists.
    • Illinois-Men convicted of crime, women. (b)
    • Indiana-Men convicted of infamous crime, soldiers, sailors, and marines in U. S. service, women.
    • Iowa-Idiots, insane, felons, womwomenen. (c)
    • Kansas -Persons convicted of treason or felony, insane.
    • Kentucky-Felons, idiots, insane, women. (a)
    • Louisiana-Idiots, insane, felons, men unable to read and write in English, women. (c)
    • Maine-Paupers, insane, men unable to read and write in English, Indians who have not severed tribal relations, women.
    • Maryland-Felons, lunatics, bribers, women.
    • Massachusetts-Paupers, men unable to read and write in English, women. (a)
    • Michigan-Indians with tribal relations, women. (a, c) (a) School suffrage granted certain classes of women subject to various restrictions. (b) Presidential and partial municipal and county suffrage granted to women. (c) Suffrage on taxation and bonding propositions granted certain classes of women subject to various restrictions. (d) Municipal suffrage in town of Fellsmere.
    • Minnesota-Felons, insane, Indians who have not severed tribal relations, women. (a)
    • Mississippi-Insane, idiots, Indians not taxed, felons, bigamists, men unable to read and write in English, women. (a)
    • Missouri-Felons, soldiers, sailors, and marines in U. S. service, women.
    • Montana -Felons, idiots, insane, Indians who have not severed tribal relations, soldiers, sailors, and marines, U. S. service.
    • Nebraska-Felons, insane, women. (a)
    • Nevada-Idiots, insane, felons.
    • New Hampshire-Paupers, insane, idiots, felons, women. (a)
    • New Jersey-Idiots, paupers, insane, felons, soldiers, sailors and marines in U. S. service, women. (a)
    • New Mexico-Idiots, insane, felons, Indians who have not severed tribal relations, women. (a)
    • New York-Offenders against elective franchise rights, guilty of bribery, betting on elections, men convicted of a felony and not restored to citizenship by the Executive, convicts in house of refuge or reformatory are not disqualified, women . (a,) (c)
    • North Carolina-Idiots, lunatics, felons, women.
    • North Dakota-Felons, insane, tribal Indians, women. (a)
    • Ohio-Idiots, insane, felons, soldiers, sailors and marines in U. S. service, women. (a)
    • Oklahoma-Felons, idiots, insane, men unable to read and write in English, Indians who have not severed tribal relations, women. (a)
    • Oregon-Idiots, insane, convicted of felony, U. S. soldiers and sailors.
    • Pennsylvania-Felons, non-tax-payers, women.
    • Porto Rico-Felons, insane, soldiers, sailors and marines in U. S. service, women.
    • Rhode Island-Paupers, lunatics, felons, women. *
    • South Carolina-Felons, insane, paupers, men who have not paid taxes or cannot read and write, women.
    • South Dakota-Insane, felons, U. S. soldiers, seamen and marines, women. (a)
    • Tennessee-Felons, men failing to pay poll tax, women.
    • Texas-Idiots, lunatics, felons, U. S. soldiers, marines and seamen women.
    • Utah-Idiots, insane, felons, soldiers, sailors and marines in U. S. service.
    • Vermont-Men lacking approbation of local board of civil authority, women. (a)
    • Virginia-Idiots, lunatics, paupers, soldiers, sailors and marines in the U. S. service, men failing to pay poll tax, women.
    • Washington -Idiots, lunatics, felons, Indians who have not severed tribal relations.
    • West Virginia-Idiots, lunatics, felons, women.
    • Wisconsin-Insane, felons, tribal Indians, women. (a)
    • Wyoming -Idiots, insane, felons, persons unable to read State Constitution. (a) School suffrage granted certain classes of women subject to various restrictions. (c) Suffrage on taxation and bonding propositions granted certain classes of women subject to various restrictions. * Non-taxpayers are required to register yearly before June 30.

    {Text Omitted}


    [Reprinted from Headquarters News Letter, Organ of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.]

    1. HOW TO ORGANIZE A STATE............
    2. HOW TO ORGANIZE A RURAL COUNTY ............

    {Excerpt Ends}

  • Woman's Suffrage by Federal Constitutional Amendment. Carrie Chapman Catt, comp. (excerpt)

    Woman suffrage by federal constitutional amendment

    comp. by Carrie Chapman Catt

    For Lesson Two

    NOTE: This is an excerpt from Woman suffrage by federal constitutional amendment, Carrie Chapman Catt found in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection.

    {Excerpt Begins}

    No effort is made in the following pages to present an argument for woman suffrage. No careful observer of the modern trend of human affairs, doubts that "governments of the people" are destined to replace the monarchies of the world. No listener will fail to hear the rumble of the rising tide of democracy. No watcher of events will deny that the women of all civilized lands will be enfranchised eventually as part of the people entitled to give consent and no American possessed of political foresight doubts woman suffrage in our land as a coming fact.

    The discussion herein is strictly confined to the reasons why an amendment to the Federal Constitution is the most appropriate method of dealing with the question. This proposed amendment was introduced into Congress in 1878 at the request of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Since 1882 the Senate Committee has reported it with a favorable majority every year except in 1890 and 1896. Twice only has it gone to vote in the Senate. The first time was on January 25, 1887; the second, March 19, 1914. In the House it has been reported from Committee seven times, twice by a favorable majority, three times by an adverse majority and twice without recommendation. The House has allowed the measure to come to vote but once, in 1915. Yet while women of the nation in large and increasing numbers have stood at doors of Congress waiting and hoping, praying and appealing for the democratic right to have their opinions counted in affairs of their government, millions of men have entered through our gates and automatically have passed into voting citizenship without cost of money, time or service, eye, without knowing what it meant or asking for the privilege. Among the enfranchised there are vast groups of totally illiterates, and others of gross ignorance, groups of men of all nations of Europe, uneducated Indians and Negroes. Among the unenfranchised are the owners of millions of dollars worth of property, college presidents and college graduates, thousands of teachers in universities, colleges and public schools, physicians, lawyers, dentists, journalists, heads of businesses, representatives of every trade and occupation and thousands of the nation's homekeepers. The former group secured its vote without the asking; the latter appeals in vain to Congress for the removal of the stigma this inexplicable contrast puts upon their sex. It is hoped this little book may gain attention where other means have failed.

    C. C. C.

    January, 1917.


    Why the Federal Amendment?
    By Carrie Chapman Catt
    There are seven reasons for Federal enfranchisement of women. Other countries have so enfranchised women. Conditions of men's enfranchisement in U. S. were easy. Many State constitution today practically impossible to amend. Election laws do not protect State amendment election from fraud. Men's right to vote protected by Federal Constitution; state by state enfranchisement would not give this protection to women. Woman Suffrage a national question. Decision on technical and abstract question of Suffrage demands different class of intelligence from election of candidates. .......... 1

    State Constitutional Obstructions
    By Mary Summer Boyd
    State Suffrage amendments defeated in recent years by technical difficulties. Ratification by Legislature and People theory of State Constitutional Amendment. So adopted in South Dakota and Missouri. In most states technicalities make amending impossible. Classes of technicalities. Limit to number of amendments. "Constitutional majority." Passage of two Legislature. More than majority of the people required for ratification. Indiana. Time requirements. New Mexico. Revision by Convention. Some states have no or infrequent Constitutional Conventions. New Hampshire. Delaware Constitution alone amended by Legislature or Convention without popular vote. Thirty states gave foundations male suffrage by this easy means .......... 12

    Election Laws and Referenda
    By Carrie Chapman Catt.
    State Election Laws defective. Many state suffrage amendments undoubtedly lost by frauds in elections. In twenty-four states election law or precedents offer no correction of returns in fraudulent amendment elections. In twenty-three states Contest on election returns probably possible. In eight states recount of votes made. A court procedure and expensive. Punishment for bribery. Relation to Contest Ohio cases. Vagueness of election laws protects corruption. Ignorant vote used by corrupt. Form of ballot often helps corruption. Only 13 states have headless ballots. Form of Suffrage amendment ballots in recent years aided in defeat of measure. Examples. Non-partisan referendum not protected from fraud like party questions. In most states women cannot be watches at polls. Aliens can vote in eight states. Illiterate can vote in most states. Rsum .......... 21

    The Story of the 1916 Referenda
    By Carrie Chapman Catt
    Three states voted on Woman Suffrage amendments. Some causes of failure. Story of Iowa election. Woman's Christian Temperance Union provers forty-seven varieties of corruption. South Dakota. Foreign vote defeated Woman Suffrage there. Figures of some countries. Relation between Prohibition and Woman Suffrage votes. West Virginia. Illiteracy and conservatism defeated Women Suffrage there. Liquor influence felt. Corruption in Berkely County, West Virginia. Special Legislative session called but investigation of frauds abandoned. Analysis of vote of certain counties. Rsum .......... 36

    Federal Action and States Rights
    By Henry Wade Rogers
    Judge of U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, N. Y. C.
    Would Federal Amendment violate local self-government or conflict with State Rights? States rights a sound doctrine, but has been perverted, misapplied and carried to extremes. Henry St. George Tucker maintains this way of gaining woman suffrage is contrary to rightful demarcation of powers of federal and state governments. Constitutional Convention 1787 provided that amendments be ratified by three-fourths State Legislatures, State Constitutions may not violate United States Constitution for this is supreme Law. Amendment to U. S. Constitution valid regardless of provisions in State Constitutions. Ratification by State Legislatures does not violate States rights for by it states act as sovereigns. Same argument for removal of sex lime in Suffrage as that on which 13th, 14th and 15th amendments were based. 15th amendment gives the sound basis for woman suffrage amendment .......... 55

    Objections to the Federal Amendment
    by Carrie Chapman Catt
    States Rights objection discussed. U. S. Constitution twice amended recently under Democratic administration. Federal Prohibition Amendment introduced by Southern Democrat. Even if all state constitutions gave woman suffrage U. S. Constitution would contain discrimination against women in work "male" Objection that woman suffrage will increase Negro vote. If true, would be objection also to State suffrage amendment. White supremacy will be strengthened by woman suffrage. Discussion of figures of Negro and white population in 15 southern states.Testimony of Chief Justice Walter E. Clark. Objection that women do not want the vote. Men of 21 and naturalized citizens become voters without being asked. Only those who wish to need use the vote. That many women do want the vote is shown by western figures in election of November, 1916. Objection that unfavorable referenda in various states show that constituency has instructed its representatives in Congress against woman suffrage. Unfavorable majority against a suffrage amendment is in reality a minority of constituency. Objection on ground of political expediency. Meaning of this argument as used by different interests. If government "by the people" is expedient, then government by all the people is expedient. If Government by certain classes is better, then basis of franchise should be morality and education, not sex. Objection that Woman Suffrage will increase corrupt vote. Woman Suffrage will increase intelligent electorate. Statistics. It will increase the moral vote. Only one in twenty criminals is a woman. Election conditions in equal suffrage states. Objection that Prohibition sentiment is stronger than Suffrage sentiment since former has spread faster. Prohibition can be established by statute and by local option and suffrage cannot .......... 69

    {Excerpt Ends}

As a group, use the Analysis of the Woman's Suffrage Movement Chart to analyze the primary source documents in your time period.

Look for additional keywords.

Search for more documents in National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection.

As a group, list the Reforms Demanded and the Arguments and Strategies Used, using the provided web links.

As a group, list the Societal Diversions and Increased Opportunities experienced by women during the time period.

Determine the reasons for the successes and failures of the suffrage movement of your time period.

Use the Analysis of the Woman's Suffrage Movement to share each group's conclusions with the class and articulate a clear understanding of the successes and failures of the suffrage movement of the time.

Lesson Three - Timeline and Reflection on Woman's Suffrage

Using the suffrage timeline, students will determine the major events and participants during each period of the suffrage movement and search the American Memory collections for sources to compile a Primary Sources Timeline. The culminating activity is a reflection paper by each individual summarizing the progression of the movement.


View Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote

Students may choose keywords, such as names of people or events, and search the following collections:

Students may select five sources (letters, plays, songs, broadsides, etc.) from their time period and place in chronological order in a timeline. Using the selected sources, students may prepare a creative presentation that illustrates the time period.

Students may create a class timeline and present each group's creative interpretation of the woman's suffrage movement during assigned time periods.

Using information gathered from lessons one, two, and three, each individual will write a reflection paper detailing the societal views, the reforms demanded, the various strategies used over time to achieve national suffrage, and theorizing why the movement was successful in 1920.

Lesson Evaluation

  • Each student will be able to answer the question: Why did it take women over 80 years to attain nationwide suffrage? The evidence will be compiled from the groups' investigations of the time period primary sources.
  • Each group will complete the Primary Source Analysis tool and the Analysis of the Woman's Suffrage Movement charts.
  • Each group will create a timeline reflecting the knowledge gained from the primary sources and present to the class its analysis of the woman's suffrage movement in its time period.
  • Each student will write a reflection paper detailing the various strategies used over time to achieve national suffrage and theorize why the movement was successful in 1920.


Eliza Hamrick & Donna Levene