Below is a letter written in 1865 by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucy Stone asking friends to sign a petition for women’s suffrage and send it to their representatives in congress. When reviewing this documents remember that the 19th amendment was not ratified until August 18, 1920.
Transcript of the letter above:
New York, December 26, 1865.
As the question of Suffrage is now agitating the public mind, it is the hour for Woman to make her demand.
Propositions have already been made on the floor of Congress to so amend the Constitution as to exclude Women from a voice in the Government. As this would be to turn the wheels of legislation backward, let the Women of the Nation now unitedly protest against such a desecration of the Constitution, and petition for that right which is at the foundation of all Government, the right of representation
Send your petition, when signed, to your representative in Congress, at your earliest convenience.
Address all communications to:
Standard Office. 48 Beekman St., New York.
In behalf of the National W. R. Com.
E. Cady Stanton
- Is this a primary or secondary source? How do you know?
- Who wrote this letter?
- What year was this letter written?
- What do you think the goal of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucy Stone was when writing this letter?
- Why was it important that multiple women (and men) take a signed petition advocating for women’s suffrage to their representatives?
Below is an anti-suffrage postcard sent by Wallace Ellis in November of 1915: This postcard, along with many others, was sent out in attempt to halt women receiving voting rights and inform the government that many citizens opposed women’s suffrage. The cursive writing at the top of the postcard says: “We have sent you many hundreds like this. [signed] Anti-Suffrage Association.”
- When was this postcard signed?
- What group sent out these postcards?
- What was the purpose of the postcard? Do you think that it was effective? Explain.
- Even after letters, speeches, and protests, Americans were still very hesitant to support women’s right to vote. Why do you think that many American citizens (both women and men) were against giving women the right to vote?
The photographs below are of Suffragettes protesting for their right to vote in 1917. Led by Alice Paul, women silently protested and endured all forms of weather as well as mental and physical abuse when people disagreed with their message. The actions of the women were incredibly controversial for many reasons. Three of the main reasons being that: women were protesting, women held signs that referred to President Wilson as Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, and this was the first time that any group had ever protested right outside of the White House.
- Who are these women?
- What do their signs say?
- What are they doing?
- Where is this event happening? Do you think that the location played a significant role when deciding how many women would attend the protest?
- Put yourself in their shoes, would you have endured all types of weather or abuse from other people in order to fight for your right to vote? Explain.
Video: Woman Suffrage
The video above discusses the protesting that you just read about and viewed in the pictures above. The video goes into detail about what happened on the days that the women protested as well as what happened to the women afterwards. Click the link above titled “Woman Suffrage” to watch the video.
- Where was the term Suffragette coined? What was it used for?
- How did Lucy Burns, Alice Paul and many other women protest while serving time in prison?
- Why were the women in prison?
- What did the prison guards do to the women when the protested while in prison? How would you have reacted to this treatment?