Primary tabs

Winning the Vote at Last: Passage of the 19th Amendment

Carrie Chapman Catt

Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt

In 1916, National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) president Carrie Chapman Catt presented what she called the “Winning Plan;” a renewed push to get the vote for women.

Her strategy was a disciplined, focused, political lobbying Advocating for certain changes in government by working directly with officials campaign that mobilized state and local suffrage organizations all over the country.

Setting the Stage

World War I (1914-1918) caused a labor shortage that allowed women to take on greater roles outside the home, including jobs that men were no longer available to do, and volunteering for organizations that supported soldiers and their families.

Women made large contributions to workforce stability and took on leadership roles in organizations and community government, making it hard for anyone to argue that women were “unqualified to vote”.

Despite women proving their qualifications outside the home, much of the public and many politicians opposed women’s right to vote because of widespread individual and institutionalized sexism.

The economic and political concerns surrounding World War I gave many politicians at the time an excuse to ignore or place women’s suffrage as a lower priority. This situation posed challenges for suffragists and led to their continued efforts and restrategizing so that the issue could not be ignored.

As the war was coming to an end, the women’s suffrage movement gained incredible momentum. During this time, President Woodrow Wilson, who was known to have supported women’s voting at the state level, could no longer ignore women’s calls for suffrage on a federal level.

Voting Rights for Women in Minnesota

Minnesota ratified the 19th Amendment in 1919; it was the fifteenth state to do so.

Minnesota suffragists worked on local levels to pursue women’s right to vote. However, the organizations were often small and fragmented.

The Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association was the most notable state-level suffrage organization, and was successful in encouraging the legislature to support women’s suffrage on the state and federal levels.