Test Your Knowledge of U.S. Women’s Suffrage

Do you know:

  • Which states or territories allowed women to vote in the 1700s… and then revoked that right?
  • Which territory was the first to grant unrestricted voting rights to women (and not revoke them)?
  • Who registered to vote in 1872, citing the 14th Amendment, but was arrested for it?
  • What year the first woman was elected to Congress?
  • What year the U.S. Constitution was amended to ensure voting rights regardless of sex?

You can find the answers in the following (abbreviated) timeline provided by Lynne Belluscio in a 2016 article in ALHFAM’s Bulletin. How many did you already know? Which events are new to you?

1776: Abigail Adams – “Remember the Ladies” – writes: “If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

1777: Women lose the right to vote in New York.

1780: Women lose the right to vote in Massachusetts.

1784: Women lose the right to vote in New Hampshire.

1787: The U.S. Constitution places voting qualifications in the hands of the states.

1790: New Jersey grants the vote to all free inhabitants, including women, which is revoked in 1807.

1848: Three hundred people attend the Seneca Falls Convention, July 19 & 20, and ratify the Declaration of Sentiments.

1869: The Territory of Wyoming is the first to grant unrestricted suffrage to women. The suffrage movement is split into the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association. The division is the result of disagreement over the emphasis of Black civil rights.

1870: The Utah Territory grants suffrage to women only to be rescinded in 1887. The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is adopted, which grants suffrage to former male African-American slaves, but denies suffrage to women.

1872: The Dakota Territory legislature rejects a suffrage proposal by one vote. Susan B. Anthony registers and votes in Rochester, NY, arguing that the 14th Amendment gives her the right. She is arrested a few days later.

1874: The Supreme Court rules that the 14th Amendment does not grant women suffrage.

1878: Senator Sargent of California introduces the first federal amendment to grant women suffrage.

1886: The suffrage amendment is defeated two to one in the U.S. Senate.

1887: Women win the right to vote in municipal elections in Kansas. Rhode Island defeats a referendum on women’s suffrage.

1890: Wyoming grants women suffrage. A suffrage campaign in South Dakota is defeated.

1893: On November 7, Colorado becomes the first state to enact women’s suffrage by popular referendum.

1894: A petition for women’s suffrage is ignored in New York.

1896: National Association of Colored Women (NACW) is formed to promote the rights of African-American women, including suffrage. Mary Church Terrell is its first president.

Mary Church Terrell, Library of Congress

1902: New Hampshire defeats a women’s suffrage referendum.

1911: California grants women suffrage.

1913: Alice Paul organizes the largest suffrage parade to date on the eve of Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. 10,000 people march down Fifth Avenue in New York City on May 10. Hundreds of women are injured when the parade is attacked by a mob.

1914: Montana and Nevada grant women suffrage.

Jeannette Ranking, Library of Congress

1916: Jeannette Rankin from Montana is the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

1917: Suffrage proponents picket the White House. Nearly 500 women are arrested and 168 serve time in jail. Suffragist prisoners are beaten and abused at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia.

1918: The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passes the U.S. House with two-thirds vote, but loses by two votes in the Senate.

1920: The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, stating, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Suffrage Farmers, 1917, Library of Congress

Want to read the rest of this article? ALHFAM members can access the full text of this and thousands more though the A.S.K. database. Not a member? Join today!

This is an excerpt of an article that first appeared as: Lynne Belluscio, “History is Her-story” in ALHFAM Bulletin, Summer 2016, 26-29.

Excerpt edited by Katie Cannon.

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