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The Suffrage Movement

Photo from The Library of Congress

The Women’s Right’s Movement that grew from the First Woman’s Rights Convention of 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY. was closely tied to the Abolitionist Movement in the years preceding the Civil War.

With Union Victory, there was support for a Constitutional Amendment to give freed slaves the right to vote. Many Suffragists — as supporters of women’s voting rights were called – assumed that they would be granted voting rights with the newly freed slaves.

The Fifteenth Amendment made no mention of women’s voting rights however and it would be another half century – 72 years after the First Women’s Rights Convention – before the Nineteenth Amendment granted women the right to vote.

The 72 year struggle for the vote was led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and her friend Susan B. Anthony who traveled the country to rally support for women’s rights.

Photo from The Library of Congress

In 1872 Anthony and several other women actually voted and made headlines for doing it. She was arrested on Thanksgiving Day for her unlawful vote. She was convicted in 1873 at the United States Court House in Canandaigua, NY. She refused to pay her fine of $100, but Justice Ward Hunt allowed her to go free. Anthony called it, “The greatest judicial outrage history ever recorded.”

As time went on, many other women joined the effort. Lucy Stone, Ida Wells-Barnett, Anna Howard Shaw, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul among many others all played a role.