Hard One, Not Done


A commemoration of the 100-Year Anniversary of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment from an Iowa Perspective


1787  Constitution - States determine who is eligible to vote in elections

1867  14th Amendment - Grants citizenship for freed slaves...equal protection of the law

1869  15th Amendment - Grants African-American men the right to vote

1878  Women’s Suffrage Amendment presented to U.S. Senate

1887  Senate defeats Amendment

1918  Wilson announces support for Amendment the evening before House vote

1918  House passes - Senate rejects

1919  House passes - Senate passes

1920  Tennessee 36th State to ratify - Amendment ratified

1920  Amendment certified


1787  US Constitutional Convention leaves voting qualifications up to the states.

1867  The 14th Amendment passed in Congress - citizenship for slaves, the 1st use of “male” in the U.S. Constitution.

1868  Senator Pomeroy (KS) introduces the 1st federal woman suffrage amendment in Congress.

1869  The 15th Amendment passed in Congress, reinforcing the voting rights of black men.

1874  The Supreme Court rules in Minor v. Happersett - (The 14th Amendment did not grant women the right to vote).

1878  Senator Sargent (CA) introduces the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. (The wording remains unchanged until it is finally passed by Congress in 1919.)

1884  The House debates woman suffrage.

1887  The U.S. Senate defeats the suffrage amendment by two to one.

1918  President Wilson declares support for suffrage and addresses the Senate in support of it.

1918  The amendment passed the House with a 2/3 vote but loses by 2 votes in the Senate.

1919  The House passes the woman suffrage amendment over the required 2/3 majority.

1919  The Senate passes the 19th Amendment with 2 votes to spare. (It goes to the states for ratification. At least 36 states are needed.)

1920  Tennessee becomes the 36th state to ratify the amendment.

1920  Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certifies the 19th Amendment.

Remember the Ladies; Celebrating Those Who fought for Freedom at the Ballot Box, Angela P. Dodson, Center Street / Hatchett Book Group, 2017

Suffrage Movement Key Events

1840  Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are barred from attending the World Anti- Slavery Convention in London. This prompts them to hold a Women’s Rights Convention in the U.S.

1848  Seneca Falls, New York, is the location for the first Women’s Rights Convention. Elizabeth Cady Stanton writes “The Declaration of Sentiments” creating the agenda of Women’s activism for decades to come...

1850  Worcester, Massachusetts, hosts the first National Women’s Rights Convention. At a women’s rights convention in Akron, Ohio, Sojourner Truth, a former slave, delivers her now memorable speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?”

1853  Women delegates, Antoinette Brown and Susan B. Anthony, are not allowed to speak at The World’s Temperance Convention held in New York City.

1861-1865  During the Civil War, efforts for the suffrage movement come to a halt. Women put their energies toward the war effort.

1866  Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the American Equal Rights Association , an organization dedicated to the goal of suffrage for all regardless of gender or race.

1868  Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Parker Pillsbury publish the first Edition of The Revolution. This publication carries the motto “Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less!” In Vineland, New Jersey, 172 women cast ballots in a separate box during the presidential election. Senator S.C. Pomeroy of Kansas introduces the federal woman’s suffrage amendment in Congress. The 14th Amendment is ratified, “citizens” and “voters” are defined as exclusively male.

1869  The American Equal Rights Association is wrecked by disagreements over the 14th Amendment and the question of whether to support the proposed 15th Amendment which would enfranchise African-American males while avoiding the question of women’s suffrage entirely.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony found the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), a more radical institution, to achieve the vote through a Constitutional amendment as well as push for other woman’s rights issues. NWSA was based in New York.

Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe and other more conservative activists form the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) to work for woman suffrage through amending individual state constitutions. AWSA was based in Boston.

1870  The 15th Amendment gave black men the right to vote. NWSA refused to work for its ratification and instead the members advocate for a 16th Amendment that would dictate universal suffrage. Frederick Douglass broke with Stanton and Anthony over the position of NWSA.

The Woman’s Journal is founded and edited by Mary Livermore, Lucy Stone, and Henry Blackwell.

1871  Victoria Woodhull addresses the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, arguing woman’s right to vote under the 14th Amendment.

The Anti-Suffrage Party is founded.

1872  Susan B. Anthony casts her ballot for Ulysses S. Grant in the presidential election and is arrested and brought to trial in Rochester, New York. Fifteen other women are arrested for illegally voting. Sojourner Truth appears at a polling booth in Battle Creek, Michigan, demanding to vote; she is turned away.

1874  The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) is founded by Annie Wittenmyer. With Frances Willard at its head (1876), the WCTU became an important proponent in the fight for woman suffrage. As a result, one of the strongest opponents to women’s enfranchisement was the liquor lobby, which feared women might use their vote to prohibit the sale of liquor.

1876  Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage disrupt the official Centennial program at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, presenting a “Declaration of Rights for Women” to the Vice President.

1878  A Woman’s Suffrage Amendment is proposed by the U.S. Congress. When the 19th Amendment passed 41 years later, it is worded exactly the same as when the amendment was first introduced in 1878.

1887  The first vote on woman suffrage is taken in the Senate and is defeated.

1890  NWSA and AWSA merge and the National American Woman Suffrage Association Is formed. The movement focuses on securing suffrage at the state level. Wyoming is admitted to the Union with a state constitution granting women’s suffrage. The American Federation of Labor declares support for woman’s suffrage.

1896  Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Frances E.W. Harper, among others, founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.

1903  The Women’s Trade Union League of New York, an organization of middle- and working-class women is formed dedicated to unionization for working women and to woman’s suffrage.

1910  The Women’s Political Union organizes the first suffrage parade in New York City.

1911  The National Association Opposed to Woman suffrage (NAOWS) is organized. Led by Mrs. Arthur Dodge, its members included wealthy, influential women, some Catholic clergymen, distillers and brewers, urban political machines, Southern congressmen, and corporate capitalists.

1912  Woman’s Suffrage is supported for the first time at the national level by a major political party, Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party.

Twenty thousand suffrage supporters join a New York City suffrage parade.

1913  In 1913, suffragists organized a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. The parade was the first major suffrage spectacle organized by the National American Woman Suffrage Association. (NAWSA).

Alice Paul and Lucy Burns formed the Congressional Union , later known as the National Women’s Party (1916 ). They borrowed strategies from the radical Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in England.

1915  Forty thousand march in a NYC suffrage parade. Many women are dressed in white and carry placards with the names of the states they represent.

1916  Jeannette Rankin of Montana is the first woman elected to the U.S.House of Representatives. Woodrow Wilson states that the Democratic Party platform will support suffrage.

1917  National Woman’s Party picketers appear in front of the White House holding two banners, “Mr. President, What Will You Do For Woman Suffrage?” and “How Long Must Women Wait For Liberty?”

Alice Paul, leader of the National Woman’s Party, was put in solitary confinement in the mental ward of the prison as a way to “break” her will and to undermine her credibility with the public.

In June, arrests of the National Woman’s Party picketers begin on charges of obstructing sidewalk traffic. Subsequent picketers are sentenced to up to six months in jail. In November, the government unconditionally releases the picketers in response to public outcry and an inability to stop the National Woman’s Party pickets’ hunger strike.

1918  Representative Rankin opens debate on a suffrage amendment in the House. The amendment passes. The amendment fails to win the required two thirds majority in the Senate.

President Woodrow Wilson states his support for a federal woman suffrage amendment. President Wilson addresses the Senate about adopting woman suffrage at the end of World War I.

1919  The Senate finally passes the 19th Amendment and the ratification process begins.

August 18, 1920  Tennessee becomes the 36th required state to ratify the 19th Amendment.

August 26, 1920  The 19th Amendment is signed into law by the U.S. Secretary of State.

Selections from the National Women’s History Museum, “Crusade for the Vote” Site

The full timeline can be found at http://www.crusadeforthevote.org/woman-suffrage-timeline-18401920