The Nudge and Tie Breaker That Took Women’s Suffrage from Nay to Yea in 1920

The final step toward ratification hinged on the decision of one young man in Tennessee: State Rep. Harry T. Burn. Introduction The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified 100 years ago this week, and it comprises just 39 words: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied[…]

Suffragists and Hunger Strikes in the Early 20th Century

How suffragists first used hunger strikes as a form of resistance and protest. Introduction Asylum seekers held in detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in California have launched a series of hunger strikes to demand personal protective equipment, medical care and provisional release as COVID-19 cases surge among incarcerated populations. In Kentucky, four activists went[…]

Suffragist Village: Leaders in the Ballot for Women’s Right to Vote in the United States

After years of struggle, on Aug. 18, 1920, Tennessee became the final state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment. Introduction Through the mid-19th century and early 20th centuries, women from all backgrounds in the United States pushed for social reforms that affected their lives. They formed antislavery organizations, temperance unions and sparked movements for equality[…]

19 Facts about the 19th Amendment

Women’s historic struggles to vote continue to resonate as the country debates who should vote and how. The 19th Amendment enfranchised millions of women across the United States following a seven-decade campaign. The struggle to expand voting rights to women resonates today as the country continues to debate who should vote and how. As scholars[…]

How Black Suffragists Fought for the Right to Vote and a Modicum of Respect

Hallie Quinn Brown and other “homespun heroines”. Hallie Quinn Brown knew the power of black women and urged anyone who heard her to let it flourish. Read her remarks from 1889 and you might believe she saw the future or at least had the capacity to call it into being: “I believe there are as[…]

Winning the Vote: A Divided Movement and the Nineteenth Amendment

Roughly fifty years after a handful of suffragists conceived the idea, it became a hard-fought reality. Introduction In 1869, a bold new idea was born. It would have been inconceivable a few years earlier. Upending everything about the balance between state and federal power, this idea strove to remake American democracy. It proved so vexing[…]

A Tale of Two Suffragists: Hazel Hunkins and Maud Wood Park

Thousands of women took different paths and pursued multiple strategies to win the goal of securing the right to vote. Two suffragists arrived in Washington, D.C. in late 1916, one from Billings, Montana and the other from Boston. Born twenty years apart, they spent the next three years in the nation’s capital working for the[…]

The Pankhurst Sisters: Bitter Divisions behind Their Fight for Women’s Votes

Sylvia Pankhurst’s book is the dominant narrative of the time, but was she unfair to her sister Christabel? Emmeline Pankhurst, her eldest daughter Christabel and some local socialist women founded, in 1903, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Their goal was to campaign for the parliamentary vote for women. The women-only WSPU, whose members were called[…]

An Overview of the Woman Suffrage Movement, 1848-1920

It was the single largest extension of voting rights in our nation’s history. The woman suffrage movement actually began in 1848, when a women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. The Seneca Falls meeting was not the first in support of women’s rights, but suffragists later viewed it as the meeting that[…]