By this November, thousands of Americans will have exercised their right to vote for the next president of the United States. With just over half of that population as female (50.8%), women have a huge say in how that election turns out. But as we all know, that wasn’t always an option. Who has had the right to vote has changed over time, including those of different races, genders, and those who had certain assets.
Go back in time with us as we look at some of the most important events that led to women’s voting rights.
1776: The New Jersey Constitution Grants Women the Right to Vote
These trailblazers provided women with the right to vote via their state constitution through 1807.
1838: “School suffrage” voted into effect in Kentucky
This special amendment was created for widows who had school-age children, it allowed them to vote on school-related issues.
1848: First convention to discuss women’s rights
After a two day meeting held in New York, a convention was called for women to talk about their rights. Held in Seneca Falls, New York, the event was considered successful with signatures from 68 women and 32 men on the “Declaration of Sentiments.” It included the country’s first “formal” demand for women’s voting rights, with:
“It is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.”
1850: The first National Woman’s Rights Convention takes place
After taking over conventions for themselves — men were kicked out of planning or helping with events — this largest event to-date took place in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was attended by more than 1,000 people.
National conferences were held annually through 1860, with the exclusion of 1857.
1853: The first feminist newspaper is printed
The Una, “A paper devoted to the elevation of woman” was printed in Providence, Rhode Island.
1861: Kansas allows school election votes
The state of Kansas allowed women to start voting in school board elections.
1866: Documents are presented to Congress
After receiving 10,000 signatures, suffragist leaders presented the document to Congress, requesting women’s votes.
1868: The 14th amendment is ratified
With the 14th amendment, more Americans are given the right to vote, but it includes the word “male,” prohibiting females from securing their rights.
1870: Wyoming grants female votes
Citing territorial status, Wyoming is the first state — or future state — to allow women to vote. When it became a state in 1890, it was the first official state to grant female votes.
1871: The Anti-Suffrage Party was created
Wives of prominent men, including those of Civil War generals, gather to found this movement.
1872: Women head to both sides of the ballot
The first female presidential candidate, Victoria Woodhull runs for president. Later that year, 16 women voted in New York, including Susan B. Anthony. She was arrested and fined, but refused to pay.
1878: A suffrage movement is introduced
An amendment addressing women’s suffrage was first brought to congress. It wasn’t passed until 1920 as the 19th amendment.
1910: Washington state grants women’s rights
In its third attempt, the amendment was passed, granting rights to Washington women. Washington is followed in subsequent years by many states.
1915: The largest women’s suffrage parade
The year hosted the largest suffrage parade of its kind. Some 40,000 women marched down Fifth Avenue to as much as a half-million viewers. It’s still known as the largest parade in NYC.
1918: President Wilson addresses Congress
After having personal petitions dropped on him, President Wilson personally stands up to Congress for women’s votes?
1920: The 19th amendment is passed
After being sent to the states for ratification in 1919, the amendment granting women’s rights was finally passed into law.