Suffrage timeline

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.”

Women lose the right to vote in New York.

Women lose the right to vote in Massachusetts

Women lose the right to vote in New Hampshire.

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

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

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

Women Join the Abolitionist Movement

Formation of the female anti-slavery associations.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

Suffrage Movement Divides Over Black vs. Woman Suffrage

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.

Frederick Douglass and others back down from woman suffrage to concentrate on fight for black male suffrage. National Woman Suffrage Association formed in May with Elizabeth Cady Stanton as president. American Woman Suffrage Association 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.

Civil Disobedience Is Tried


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.

The Anti-Suffrage Society is formed.

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.

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.

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

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.

Woman suffrage amendment first introduced in US Congress.

Lucretia Mott, born in 1793, dies.

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

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

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

Utah women lose right to vote.

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

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

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

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

Idaho grants woman suffrage.

Suffrage Activism Enters the 20th Century

Carrie Chapman Catt takes over the reins of the NASWA.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, born in 1815, dies.

Susan Brownell Anthony, born in 1820, dies.

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.

Washington (state) grants woman suffrage.

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

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

Women’s 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.

Alice Paul and others break away from the NASWA and form the National Women’s Party.

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.

The jailed suffragists 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.

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

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

This timeline was originally built from:
© 1995, Brooks and Gonzalez. The Women’s History Project of Lexington Area National Organization for Women. This timeline may be distributed freely under the following conditions: that the use is not for profit; that it is distributed in complete, unchanged form; that this complete notice is intact and included in the distribution. Contact for additional information

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