VOICES, THE KANSAS COLLECTION ONLINE MAGAZINE



Timeline: History of Woman
Suffrage in the United States


1776

Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John Adams, asking him to "remember the ladies" in the new code of laws. Adams replies the men will fight the "despotism of the petticoat."

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

U. S. Constitutional Convention places voting qualifications in the hands of the states. Women in all states except New Jersey lose the right to vote.
1792

Mary Wollstonecraft publishes Vindication of the Rights of Women in England.

1807

Women lose the right to vote in New Jersey, the last state to revoke the right.


Women Join the Abolitionist Movement

1830s

Formation of the female anti-slavery associations.

1836

Angelina Grimke appeals to Southern women to speak out against slavery.

1837

The "Pastoral Letter of the General Association of Massachusetts to the Congregational Churches Under Their Care" is promulgated against women speaking in public against slavery, it is mainly directed against the Grimke sisters.

1840

World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and other women barred from participating on account of their sex.


Women Begin to Organize For Their Own Rights

1848

First Women's Rights convention in Seneca Fall, New York. Equal suffrage proposed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. After debate of so radical a notion, it is adopted.

1850

Women's rights convention held in April in Salem, Ohio. First national women's rights convention held in October in Worcester, Massachusetts.

1850-1861

Annual Women's Rights conventions held. The last, in 1861, in Albany, New York lobbies for a liberalized divorce bill. Horace Greely opposes the bill, which loses.

1859

Three feminists, Clarina Nichols, Mother Armstrong and Mary Tenney Gray, attend the Wyandotte constitutional convention in Kansas, representing Shawnee and Douglas County women's groups, to seek equal suffrage's inclusion in the new state's constitution. They are not allowed to speak, but are granted the unprecedented right to acquire and possess property and to retain the equal custody of their children.


1861

The first Kansas state legislature gives women the right to vote in school elections.


1861-1865

Civil War. Over the objections of Susan B. Anthony, women put aside suffrage activities to help the war effort.

1867

Fourteenth Amendment passes Congress, defining citizens as "male;" this is the first use of the word male in the Constitution. Campaign in Kansas for black and woman suffrage; both lose. Susan B. Anthony forms the Equal Rights Association, working for universal suffrage.

1867

Equal suffrage becomes a statewide controversy in Kansas, with the legislature submitting an amendment to the electorate to enfranchise white women. This makes Kansas the first state in the Union to consider woman's suffrage, although the women's amendment is defeated.



Suffrage Movement Divides Over Black vs. Woman Suffrage

1868

Fourteenth Amendment ratified. Fifteenth amendment passes Congress, giving the vote to black men. Women petition to be included but are turned down. Formation of New England Woman Suffrage Association. In New Jersey, 172 women attempt to vote; their ballots are ignored.

1869

Frederick Douglass and others back down from woman suffrage to concentrate on fight for black male suffrage. The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) is formed in May with Elizabeth Cady Stanton as president. The American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) is formed in November with Henry Ward Beecher as president. In England, John Stuart Mill, economist and husband of suffragist Harriet Taylor, publishes On the Subjugation of Women. Wyoming territory grants first woman suffrage since 1807.

1869

A women's convention is held in Topeka, Kansas, to revive the cause.



Civil Disobedience Is Tried

1870

Fifteenth Amendment ratified. The Grimke sisters, now quite aged, and 42 other women attempt to vote in Massachusetts, their ballots are cast but ignored. Utah territory grants woman suffrage.

1871

The Anti-Suffrage Society is formed.

1872

Susan B. Anthony and supporters arrested for voting. Anthony's sisters and 11 other women held for $500 bail. Anthony herself is held for $1000 bail.

1873

Denied a trial by jury, Anthony loses her case in June and is fined $100 plus costs. Suffrage demonstration at the Centennial of the Boston Tea Party.

1874

Protest at a commemoration of the Battle of Lexington. In Myner v. Happerstett, the U. S. Supreme Court decides that being a citizen does not guarantee suffrage. Women's Christian Temperance Union formed.

1874

The Prohibition Party in Kansas endorses women suffrage.


1876

On July 4, in Philadelphia, Susan B. Anthony reads The Declaration for the Rights of Women from a podium in front of the Liberty Bell. The crowd cheers. Later, the suffragists meet in the historic First Unitarian Church.

1878

Woman suffrage amendment first introduced in U. S. Congress.

1879

In Lincoln, the first woman suffrage organization in Kansas, the Equal Suffrage Association (ESA), is established.


1880

Lucretia Mott, born in 1793, dies.

1882

The House and Senate appoint committees on woman suffrage, both report favorably.

1884

Belva Lockwood runs for president. The U. S. House of Representatives debates woman suffrage.

1884

A statewide ESA is founded in Kansas.


1885

A bill is introduced in Kansas to grant women municipal voting rights.


1886

Women protest being excluded from the dedication ceremonies for the Statue of Liberty. Suffrage amendment reaches the US Senate floor, and is defeated two to one.

1887

Utah women lose right to vote.

1887

"Municipal suffrage" is won in Kansas, allowing women to run for office in all city elections.


April 4, 1887

Susannah Medora Salter was elected mayor in Argonia (Sumner County), Kansas, becoming the first woman mayor in the nation.


1888-89

Oskaloosa, Cottonwood Falls, Rossville, Elk Falls, and Baldwin -- all in Kansas -- have women mayors in that order.


1890

The NWSA and the AWSA merge to form NAWSA. The focus turns to working at the state level. Campaign loses in South Dakota.

1890-99

In Kansas, Canton, Edgerton, Kiowa, Haddam, Pleasanton, Gaylord, Ellis, Jamestown, and Beattie have women mayors in that order.


1893

Matilda Joslyn Gage publishes Woman, Church and State. After a vigorous campaign led by Carrie Chapman Catt, Colorado men vote for woman suffrage.

1894

Despite 600,000 signatures, a petition for woman suffrage is ignored in New York. Lucy Stone, born in 1818, dies.

1895

Elizabeth Cady Stanton publishes The Woman's Bible. Utah women regain suffrage.

1896

Idaho grants woman suffrage.


Suffrage Activism Enters the 20th Century

1900

Carrie Chapman Catt takes over the reins of the NASWA.

1902

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, born in 1815, dies.

1906

Susan Brownell Anthony, born in 1820, dies.

1907

Harriet Stanton Blatch, Elizabeth's daughter, forms the Equality League of Self Supporting Women which becomes the Women's Political Union in 1910. She introduces the English suffragists' tactics of parades, street speakers, and pickets.

1910

Washington (state) grants woman suffrage.

1911

California grants woman suffrage. In New York City, 3,000 march for suffrage.

1911

The Kansas suffrage amendment is resubmitted to the legislature and passes by a vote of 94 to 28.


1912

Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party includes woman suffrage in their platform. Oregon, Arizona, and Kansas grant woman suffrage.

1913

Woman suffrage parade on the eve of Wilson's inauguration is attacked by a mob. Hundreds of women are injured, no arrests are made. Alaskan Territory grants suffrage. Illinois grants municipal and presidential but not state suffrage to women.

1916

Alice Paul and others break away from the NASWA and form the National Women's Party (NWP).

1917

Beginning in January, NWP posts silent "Sentinels of Liberty" at the White House. In June, the arrests begin. Nearly 500 women are arrested, 168 women serve jail time, some are brutalized by their jailers. North Dakota, Indiana, Nebraska, and Michigan grant presidential suffrage; Arkansas grants primary suffrage. New York, South Dakota, and Oklahoma state constitutions grant suffrage.

1918

The jailed suffragettes are released from prison. Appellate court rules all the arrests were illegal. President Wilson declares support for suffrage. Suffrage Amendment passes US House with exactly a two-thirds vote but loses by two votes in the Senate.

1919

In January, the NWP lights and guards a "Watchfire for Freedom." It is maintained until the Suffrage Amendment passes the U. S. Senate on June 4. The battle for ratification by at least 36 states begins.

1920

The Nineteenth Amendment, called the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, is ratified by Tennessee on August 18. It becomes law on August 26.


(Information for the Kansas timeline is based on
Pioneer Woman by Joanna L. Stratton, Touchstone Books, 1981.)



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