Timeline of The Fight for Women’s Suffrage

By Nupur Kudapkar 

Suffrage is defined as the right to vote in public, political elections, and referendums, and for quite a long time, women did not have that right because they were thought to take care of the home and children, leaving them no place in politics (or that’s what the men thought). 

  • 1648- Margaret Brent (an unmarried woman with property and an English immigrant to the colony of Maryland) asked for the right to vote and is denied by the colonial assembly. 
  • 1756- Lydia Taft is the first woman (by proxy of her husband) to vote in colonial America after becoming a recent widow to her husband Josiah Taft.
  • 1847- The first women’s rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York. Over 300 men and women attended the convention, and 68 women and 32 men signed the Declaration of Sentiments. 
  • 1849- Over a thousand people attend Worcester, Massachusetts’s inaugural National Women’s Rights Conference.
  • 1860- Women’s rights activism comes to an abrupt halt as the American Civil War breaks out, lasting until 1865.
  • 1865- Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton create the American Equal Rights Association, an organization for white and black women and men dedicated to the cause of universal suffrage. They implement “universal suffrage” and encourage Congress to do the same.
  • 1867- The 14th amendment is ratified: “…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” A Federal Women’s Suffrage Amendment is introduced by Senator S.C. Pomeroy of Kansas but it is rejected. 
  • 1868- The National Woman Suffrage Association is started by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The organization’s main objective is to give women the right to vote via amending the U.S. Constitution. The American Woman Suffrage Association, founded by Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and others, is dedicated only to securing the right for women to vote at the state level.
  • 1869- The 15th amendment is ratified: “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 race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
  • 1870- The Anti-Suffrage party is founded; these individuals believed that women’s political engagement endangered their significant responsibilities as mothers, spouses, teachers, and philanthropists. 
  • 1871- After registering to vote for Ulysses S. Grant in the presidential election, Susan B. Anthony is detained; nevertheless, the 14th Amendment is not successful at her trial.
  • 1873- According to the ruling in Minor v. Happersett, state laws excluding women from voting are legally lawful, even if women and men are both citizens and citizenship does not provide them the right to vote.
  • 1877- The Woman Suffrage Amendment is introduced into Congress by California Senator A.A. Sargeant. It contains the words that would later be included in the U.S. Constitution’s 19th Amendment.
  • 1890- The National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
  • 1896- To achieve equality for women of color, the National Organization of Colored Women is founded.
  • 1912- The Bull Moose Party, founded by Theodore Roosevelt, becomes the first significant political party in the country to support women’s suffrage.
  • 1915- Almost 500,000 signatures are collected during a transcontinental trip led by Mabel Vernon and Sara Bard Field in support of petitions to Congress.
  • 1916- The first woman to be elected to the House of Representatives is Jeannette Rankin of Montana. The Democratic Party platform will promote suffrage, according to Woodrow Wilson.
  • 1919- The House of Representatives and Senate approve the Woman Suffrage Amendment, which was first proposed by Susan B. Anthony and brought to Congress in 1878. 
  • 1920- In accordance with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or curtailed by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” is guaranteed. The National American Woman Suffrage Association also disbands.
  • 1924- Native Americans are granted full citizenship and the right to vote due to the Snyder Act of 1924.
  • 1952- All Asian Americans now have the right to citizenship and the ability to cast a ballot because of the McCarran-Walter Act.