The history of the women’s suffrage movement is long and complex. From the earliest colonies to the passage of the 19th Amendment, women fought for 80 years to gain the right to vote.
The women’s suffrage movement was diverse, but it was not often inclusive. Black women were involved at all levels, but the mainstream campaigns were primarily led by and for white middle-class women.
Explore the layered history of the women’s suffrage movement: read about the women who worked tirelessly and who sometimes risked their lives for the cause, and examine the importance of women gaining the right to vote.
Honor the achievements, reflect on the imperfections.
Women in Early America
Centuries of religious, philosophical and political Western European thought taught that women were inferior to men and not intelligent enough to vote. These beliefs kept white women from being able to vote in early America. Colonialism and slavery kept Indigenous and Black women out of the political and social system completely. Read More »
The Women's Suffrage Campaign Begins, then Divides
The fight for women’s political rights gained momentum in the mid-19th century. Read More »
Division in the Progressive Campaign for Suffrage
After disagreements over the 14th and 15th amendments that addressed African American men’s citizenship and voting rights, the mainstream campaign split in 1869 to form two organizations: the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). Read More »
Winning the Vote at Last: Passage of the 19th Amendment