Essay title: Women’s Rights
The struggle to achieve equal rights for women is often thought to have begun, in the English-speaking world, with the publication of Mary Wollstonecrafts A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792).
The United States
The demand for the enfranchisement of American women was first seriously formulated at the Seneca Falls Convention (1848). After the Civil War, agitation by women for the ballot became increasingly vociferous. In 1869, however, a rift developed among feminists over the proposed 15th Amendment, which gave the vote to black men. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others refused to endorse the amendment because it did not give women the ballot. Other suffragists, however, including Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe, argued that once the black man was enfranchised, women would achieve their goal. As a result of the conflict two organizations emerged. Stanton and Anthony formed the National Woman Suffrage Association to work for suffrage on the federal level and to press for more extensive institutional changes, such as the granting of property rights to married women. Stone created the American Woman Suffrage Association, which aimed to secure the ballot through state legislation. In 1890 the two groups united under the name National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). In the same year Wyoming entered the Union, becoming the first state with general womens suffrage (which it had adopted as a territory in 1869).
The first womens rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York. After 2 days of discussion and debate, 68 women and 32 men sign a Declaration of Sentiments, which outlines grievances and sets the agenda for the womens rights movement. A set of 12 resolutions is adopted calling for equal treatment of women and men under the law and voting rights for women.
The first National Womens Rights Convention takes place in Worcester, Mass., attracting more than 1,000 participants. National conventions are held yearly (except for 1857) through 1860.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association. The primary goal of the organization is to achieve voting rights for women by means of a Congressional amendment to the Constitution.
Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and others form the American Woman Suffrage Association. This group focuses exclusively on gaining voting rights for women through amendments to individual state constitutions.
The territory of Wyoming passes the first womens suffrage law. The following year, women begin serving on juries in the territory.
The National Women Suffrage Association and the American Women Suffrage Association merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). As the movements mainstream organization, NAWSA wages state-by-state campaigns to obtain voting rights for women.
Colorado is the first state to adopt an amendment granting women the right to vote. Utah and Idaho follow suit in 1896, Washington State in 1910, California in 1911, Oregon, Kansas, and Arizona in 1912, Alaska and Illinois in 1913, Montana and Nevada in 1914, New York in 1917; Michigan, South Dakota, and Oklahoma in 1918.
The National Association of Colored Women is formed, bringing together more than 100 black womens clubs. Leaders in the black womens club movement include Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, Mary Church Terrell, and Anna Julia Cooper.
The federal woman suffrage amendment, originally written by Susan B. Anthony and introduced in Congress in 1878, is passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is then sent to the states for ratification.
The Womens Bureau of the Department of Labor is formed to collect information about women in the workforce and safeguard good working conditions for women.
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, is signed into law by Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.
Margaret Sanger founds the American Birth Control League, which evolves into