'Now we can begin': Woman and the Vote

This timeline brings to life the history of the long struggle for women's suffrage* in the United States. It is commonly said that the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution "gave" women the right to vote. While it is true that this amendment prohibited states from denying the right to vote on account of sex, the right to vote was hardly a "gift" nor was it "given" to "all" women. Hundreds of thousands of women as well as many men supporters labored hard and long to extend the basic right to vote in the United States to women. Further, this history is intertwined with struggles for the right to vote for African-Americans, the poor, immigrants, Hispanics, American Indians, and others. It has been a history marked by successes and setbacks, cooperation as well as conflict, sexism as well as racism. The history of the struggle for suffrage is still unfolding. As suffragist Crystal Eastman reminded her sisters following the passage of the 19th Amendment, "Now we can begin." * From the Latin word suffragium.meaning the right to vote.

1773-09-01 00:00:00

Wheatley Publishes Poetry

Phillis Wheatley publishes her first book of poetry and becomes the most famous African American woman poet: One of her first works recalls being brought from Africa to America: "Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land, Taught my benighted soul to understand That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too: Once I redemption neither sought nor knew. Some view our sable race with scornful eye, 'Their colour is a diabolic dye.' Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain, May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train."

1776-03-31 12:06:51

"Remember the Ladies"

Abigail Adams exhorts husband John to "Remember the Ladies . . .Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands." when he attends a meeting of the Continental Congress.

1789-09-17 19:01:43

Ratification of US Constitution

The "first" Constitution left it to the states to determine who could vote.

1833-12-01 04:53:42

Am I not a woman and a sister?

18 women founded the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society including Lucretia Mott, a number of other Quakers, and members of the free black Forten family. It is a sister organization of the all-male American Anti-slavery Society.

1840-06-12 00:00:00

Mott & Stanton meet at Anti-Slavery Convention

Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton meet at the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. Leaving the convention, Mott and Stanton commit to holding a convention on women's rights; the Seneca Falls meeting is held 8 years later.

1848-07-20 00:00:00

"All men and women are created equal"

In Seneca Falls, NY, at the first Woman's Rights Convention, attendees sign the Declaration of Sentiments patterned on the Declaration of Independence, but promoting women's rights, including suffrage.

1848-07-28 01:50:35

The Rights of Women

Frederick Douglass—ardent abolitionist and suffragist—speaks on behalf of women's suffrage at Seneca Falls: "In this denial of the right to participate in government, not merely the degradation of woman and the perpetuation of a great injustice happens, but the maiming and repudiation of one-half of the moral and intellectual power of the government of the world." Both Douglass and Elizabeth Cadt Stanton successfully pushed to include the vote as one of the fundamental rghts in the Declaration of Sentiments.

1848-08-01 00:00:00

Account of the Seneca

Lucretia Mott writes in The Liberator about her visit to the Seneca Nation where she was impressed with the prominent leadership roles that the women played.

1849-01-01 00:00:00

First Women's Newspaper

Amelia Bloomer founds The Lily—the first newspaper for women, dedicated to temperance and women's rights.

1850-10-23 00:00:00

Women from across the Country Convene

Following Seneca Falls, Lucy Stone organized the First National Woman's Rights Convention which was held in Worcester, MA.

'Now we can begin': Woman and the Vote

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