Elizabeth Cady Stanton--one of the Seneca Falls convention leaders--reminisced, "We were but a handful..." recalling the supporters of woman suffrage at the convention, where the right to vote was their most radical demand. Between this first convention advocating the rights of women and the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment guaranteeing women's right to vote in 1920 lay a long and arduous journey. Victory was never assured until the final moments. In the intervening years, the drive for women's voting rights encompassed the lives of several generations of women. Suffrage supporters survived a series of dramatic transformations in their movement that included: fifty years of educating the public to establish the legitimacy of woman suffrage; approximately twenty years of direct lobbying as well as dramatic militant action to press their claim to the vote; the division of each generation into moderate and radical camps; and the creation of a distinct female political culture and imagery to promote "votes for women."
There will never be complete equality until women themselves help to make the laws and elect the lawmakers.
Susan B. Anthony
History of Woman Suffrage
The prevailing public perception of the drive for women's votes envisions a small, doggedly, determined group of women who persisted against the odds until men finally "gave" them the vote. Nothing could be further from the actual facts of a mass movement that encompassed the lives of several generations of American women, employed highly sophisticated political strategy and organization, and developed brilliant, politically savvy, charismatic leaders.
Educator Resources connect students to the drama and history of the woman suffrage movement. Lesson plans use primary source documents to illuminate key events and personalities. Lessons use UCLA's National Center for History in the Schools history standards and incorporate Common Core methodology. New materials are added continuously.
Primary source documents from each phase of the 72 year campaign illustrate the incremental progress towards equal voting opportunity. Explore key documents including the Declaration of Sentiments, the full text of the 19th Amendment, court documents, persuasive pamphlets, and arguments that use women’s own words to frame the struggle.