52 Years from the 14th Amendment to the 19th Amendment – Women were NOT PERSONS !?!

52 Years from the 14th Amendment to the 19th Amendment – Women were NOT PERSONS !?!

In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott met at Seneca Falls, New York, to draw up a declaration of women’s rights. Today the idea that women have rights is somewhat taken for granted. Back then, it was not. women had few rights and certainly not the right to vote. In their declaration, Mrs. Stanton and Mrs. Mott asked for just that.

Both these women were abolitionists who worked before the Civil War for the freeing of slaves. Human rights included women’s rights, or so they thought. If slaves were freed and allowed to vote, couldn’t women expect the same? However, it didn’t work that way. After the Civil War, Congress passed the 14th Amendment to the Constitution (ratified in 1868), permitting citizens to vote, providing they were male. The women who had worked so hard for human rights and abolition were outraged.

In 1890, they formed the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Mrs. Stanton was its first president and working with her was another important woman in the suffrage movement, Susan B Anthony. Together they were determined to win votes for women.

For the next 30 Years, suffragists worked tirelessly. They collected signatures on petitions, traveled great distances to speak about suffrage, visited Congress and the president many times with their request. Over and over, they were turned down. Both President Woodrow Wilson and most members of Congress felt that women’s suffrage was a matter to be decided by the individual states and not by a change in the Constitution. They were supported by numbers of men, and many women, who opposed women’s right to vote at all. Finally, in frustration, the suffragists decided to begin picketing the White House.

The same year, 1917, the United States entered the first World War. American troops were sent to Europe to help England and France in their war with the Germans. Women’s suffrage was not the main topic on the minds of the men in government. But the suffragists worked on. In November 1917, New York finally joined other states in granting women the right to vote. this was a turning point. Members of Congress began to see that pressure for a constitutional amendment was enormous. President Wilson gave it his support, and in 1919 the Senate voted in favor.

In August 1920, the 19th amendment was finally ratified by two-thirds of the states . 52 years after the 14th amendment gave all male citizens, including freed slaves, the right to vote! Finally women had won the right to vote as well.

women's suffrage


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