Women's Suffrage Movement Lesson for Kids: Definitions, Facts & Timeline

Instructor: Andrea Miller

Andrea is currently a social studies middle school teacher in Ohio. She has a BA in history as well as a MEd in education. She has taught workshops including OGT Success and Writing for Life. Andrea has also been a middle school debate team coach for several years.

Women didn't always have the right to vote in America. This right was earned over several years of protest and discrimination. In this lesson you will learn about the Women's Suffrage Movement in America.

The Right to Vote

Imagine the feeling of casting your first vote. The power behind your voice being heard, knowing that you might make a difference. Right now, in America, any American citizen over the age of 18 has the right to vote--but things were not always that way.

Women in America were not granted the right to vote until the election of 1920, roughly 144 years after America became a country. It was not easy for women to gain the right to vote, either. Women had to protest, march in large numbers, and even endure arrest to receive the right to vote in America. Historians call this struggle the Women's Suffrage Movement. The word suffrage refers to the ability to vote.

Ideas of Freedom for All

The fight for women's rights really began before the Civil War in America. As the injustice of slavery was being brought to the forefront of American social issues, so was the injustice of other American social norms. Many of the social reform groups that came together during that time were run by women. The idea that women could be in charge began to squash the normal idea of the quiet, submissive woman.

In 1848 a group abolitionists, or people against slavery, held a meeting in Seneca Falls, New York to discuss women's rights. At this meeting, many of the attending women decided that all men and women were created equal and it was time to start receiving the same rights as men.

The Beginning

By 1850 the idea of women's rights was placed on the back burner due to the Civil War and the fight for the end of slavery. Once the war was over, in 1870, African American men won the right to vote with the 15th amendment. Elizabeth Stanton and Susan B. Anthony saw this as an opportunity to convince the government that women should have the right to vote as well.

By 1890 the National American Woman Suffrage Association, headed by Elizabeth Stanton, was in full swing. Women in the association began traveling the country, speaking to other women about suffrage. The idea that women should have the right to vote really stuck in the west where women took on more responsibility. The first state that allowed women to vote was Wyoming, in 1869.

Delegation of officers of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
National American Woman Suffrage Association

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