The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this
milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle;
victory took decades of agitation
and protest.
Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman
suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil
disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change
of the Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920.

Beginning in the 1800s, women organized, petitioned, and picketed to win
the right to vote, but it took them decades to accomplish their purpose.
Between 1878, when the amendment was first introduced in Congress, and August 18,
1920, when it was ratified, champions of voting rights for women worked tirelessly, but
strategies for achieving their goal varied.

Some pursued a strategy of passing suffrage acts in each state—
nine western states adopted woman suffrage legislation by 1912.
Others challenged male-only voting laws in the courts.

Militant suffragists used tactics such as parades, silent vigils, and hunger
strikes. Often supporters met fierce resistance. Opponents heckled, jailed,
and sometimes physically abused them.

By 1916, almost all of the major suffrage organizations were united behind the goal of a
constitutional amendment. When New York adopted woman suffrage in 1917 and
President Wilson changed his position to support an amendment in 1918, the political
balance began to shift.

On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment, and 2 weeks
later, the Senate followed. When Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the
amendment on August 18, 1920, the amendment passed its final hurdle of obtaining the
agreement of three-fourths of the states. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified
the ratification on August 26, 1920, changing the face of the American electorate forever.
Statistics on Women Voter Turnout

U.S. Voter Turnout Up in 2004, Census Bureau Reports

Sixty-four percent of U.S. citizens age 18 and over voted in the 2004 presidential election, up from
60 percent in 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. Tables from a November survey also
show that of 197 million citizens, 72 percent (142 million) reported they were registered to vote.
Among those registered, 89 percent (126 million) said they voted. In the 2000 election, 70 percent
of citizens were registered; and among them, 86 percent voted.

Other highlights from the Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004 online tables
pertaining to the voting-age citizen population:

In 2004, turnout rates for citizens were 67 percent for non-Hispanic whites, 60 percent for blacks, 44
percent for Asians and 47 percent for Hispanics (of any race). These rates were higher than the
previous presidential election by 5 percentage points for non-Hispanic whites and 3 points for
blacks. By contrast, the voting rates for Asian and Hispanic citizens did not change. These data
pertain to those who identified themselves as being of a single race. (See Table 1. [Excel])

Minnesota had the highest citizen-voting rate at 79 percent, and North Dakota the highest citizen-
registration rate at 89 percent. (See Table 2. [Excel])

Citizens age 65 and older had the highest registration rate (79 percent) while those age 18 to 24
had the lowest (58 percent). The youngest group also had the lowest voting rate (47 percent), while
those age 45 and older had the highest turnout (about 70 percent). (See Table 1. [Excel])

Among citizens, turnout was higher for women (65 percent) than for men (62 percent).
The turnout rate for people with a bachelor’s degree or higher (80 percent) was greater than the rate
for people whose highest level of educational attainment was a high school diploma (56 percent).

Seventy-three percent of veteran citizens cast ballots, compared with 63 percent of their nonveteran

Voting rates in the online tables are calculated using the voting-age population, which includes
citizens and noncitizens.


The data are from the November 2004 Voting and Registration Supplement to the Current
Population Survey (CPS). Statistics from surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error.
The CPS estimate of overall turnout (125.7 million) differs from the “official” turnout, as reported by
the Clerk of the House (122.3 million).

For further information on the source of the data and accuracy of the estimates, including standard
errors and confidence intervals, go to
          FIFTY YEARS EARLIER . . .

The 15th Amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote
by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or
abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous
condition of servitude." Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th
Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century. Through the use of poll taxes,
literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise
African Americans. It would take the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the
majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote.

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the
United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of
Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920,
The 19th amendment
granted women the right to vote.
Don't Friggin' take it for granted!
Would You Like To Meet The Suffragists?
Today, the number of women
registered to vote exceeds
the number of registered
men by more than
eight million.
Martha Moore Allen was a member of the Memphis Equal
Suffrage Society in the early 1900s and president of the
Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association for six years beginning in
1906. Her efforts may have paid off as Tennessee cast the
deciding vote for ratification after the governor called a special
session to vote on the proposed amendment.
Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the NAWSA in the early 1900s,
harnessed the final, victorious suffrage drive. With passage of a federal
amendment still the ultimate goal, she urged members in individual states
to contintue to press for passage of state amendments. Catt organized
the League of Women Voters after seeing the 19th Amendment passed.
Alice Paul advocated a strategy used by the more "militant" British
suffragists; opposing the party in power until it adopted woman suffrage.
This strategy violated NAWSA's policy of non-partisanship. Paul and her
followers soon formed their own organization, the National Woman's Party
(NWP) and continued to employ bold tactics, including burning President
Wilson's speeches in front of the White House.
Lucy Stone, along with her husband Henry Blackwell and others formed
the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). This organization
focused on gaining voting rights for women through amendments to
individual state constitutions. The NWSA and AWSA merged in 1890 to
form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
Lucretia Mott dedicated her life to women's rights and the
abolition of slavery. She worked with Stanton to plan the first
women's rights convention in 1848 and delivered its opening and
closing addresses. Mott, unlike some of her fellow suffragists,
supported the rights of African Americans to vote.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton joined forces with Anthony to form
the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). The primary
goal of the organization was to achieve voting rights for women
by means of a Constitutional amendment. Stanton drafted "The
Declaration of Sentiments"; it was read at the first convention.
Susan B. Anthony is undoubtedly the most well known among
this elite sisterhood. Born February 15, 1820 into a Quaker
family in Adams, Massachusetts, Anthony was already active in
other social and reform movements before joining the suffrage
movement. She traveled extensively and spoke to thousands
about the need to grant all women the right to vote. A phrase
from her last suffrage speech, "Failure is Impossible," later
became the motto of young suffragists.
Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) was a newspaper editor and journalist who
went on to lead the American anti-lynching crusade. Working closely with
both African-American community leaders and American suffragists,
Wells worked to raise gender issues within the "Race Question"
and race issues within the "Woman Question."
Wells was born the daughter of slaves in Holly Springs, Mississippi.  D
uring Reconstruction, she was educated at a Missouri Freedman's School,
Rust University, and began teaching school at the age of fourteen. In 1884,
she moved to Memphis, Tennesee, where she continued to teach while
attending Fisk University during summer sessions. In Tennessee,
especially, she bristled at the poor treatment she and other
African-Americans received. After she was forcibly removed from her seat
for refusing to move to a "colored car" on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad,
her suit against the railroad for violating her civil rights was rejected by the
Tennessee Supreme Court in 1877. This event and the legal struggle which
followed it, however, encouraged Wells to continue to oppose racial
injustice toward African-Americans. She took up journalism in addition to
schoolteaching, and in 1891, after she had written several newspaper
articles critical of the educational opportunities afforded African-American
students, her teaching contract was not renewed. Effectively barred from
teaching, she invested her savings in a part-interest in the Memphis Free
Speech newspaper.
Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and feminist who, after being freed
as a slave, traveled the United States speaking at various conventions for
the equality of blacks and women. Her most famous speech was entitled
"Ain't I a Woman?" and it was delivered at the Women's Rights
Convention in Akron, Ohio. Truth displayed unparalleled courage in the
face of males who sneered and hissed while she spoke on stage. She
discarded her slave name when she finally gained her liberty and
replaced it with Sojourner. She did this because sojourn meant "to dwell
temporarily" (which she thought an apt description of one's tenure in this
life), and she chose Truth because that was the message she intended to
carry to the world. She told of the horrible treatment she and her family
endured at the hands of their owners, including many rapes and assaults.
Sojourner came to believe that the liberation of blacks and that of women
were closely related, and her antislavery lectures became infused with
arguments for women's rights. In 1850 she published her autobiography
and, with the proceeds from the book, was able to support herself
Sarah & Angelina Grimke were the first women in the United States to
publicly argue for the abolition of slavery. Cultured and well educated,
They had gone north from South Carolina with firsthand knowledge of the
condition of the slaves. In 1836 Angelina wrote a lengthy address urging
all women to actively work to free blacks. The sisters' lectures elicited
violent criticism because it was considered altogether improper for
women to speak out on political issues. This made them acutely aware of
their own oppression as women, which they soon began to address along
with abolitionism. A severe split developed in the abolition movement,
with some antislavery people arguing that it was the "Negro's hour and
women would have to wait." The Grimkes refused to accept this idea,
insisting on the importance of equality for both women and blacks.
Angelina's sister Sarah became a major theoretician of the women's
rights movement, challenging all the conventional beliefs about a woman's
place. As to men, she demanded: "All I ask of our brethren is that they will
take their feet from off our necks."
Frances Harper (1825 - 1911)  Harper's novel about the
Reconstructed South, Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted (1892), was the
first book published by a black American. Born of free parents and
self-educated, Harper worked as a nursemaid, seamstress, needlework
teacher, and writer. She produced ten volumes of poetry and many
articles, along with her novel. Advocating women's rights as well as
abolition, Harper lectured at the 1869 meeting of the Equal Rights
Association. But when the schism occurred between abolitionists and
feminists, she sided with Fredrick Douglass, who believed that the issue
of race had priority over that of gender. Harper continued her work on
behalf of black women, founding the National Association of Colored
Women and serving as its vice president until her death.
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 - 1896)
Stowe's landmark novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, has often been cited as one
of the causes of the Civil War. She became outraged by written accounts
of the injustice and cruelty of the slave system and traveled to the South to
investigate it herself. The material she gathered became the source for
Uncle Tom's Cabin; or Life Among the Lowly. The book, which was first
published in 1831 in serial form in an abolitionist newspaper, became an
immediate sensation, soon gaining worldwide popularity. Stowe was also
an ardent supporter of women's rights, and she collaborated with her
sister, Catherine Beecher, on nineteen domestic-science books.
Harriet Tubman (1826 - 1913)
Tubman, who was born into slavery, escaped North in 1849, establishing
her famous Underground Railroad, from which she reputedly "never lost a
single passenger." She rescued over three hundred men, women, and
children, risking her own freedom nineteen times on her heroic trips into
the slave states. Dubbed Moses, she became a legendary figure. A
reward of forty thousand dollars was offered for her capture, but she was
never caught. During the Civil War, she worked as a spy, scout, nurse,
and commander in the Union Army of both black and white troops.
Tubman expressed her beliefs in freedom and liberty by lecturing,
organizing, and inspiring others. In her later years, she linked her work in
the black community with feminist activities, attending women's suffrage
conventions and helping to organize the National Federation of
Afro-American Women (1895).
"There was one of two
things I had a right to,
liberty or death.
If I could not have one,
I would have the other,
for no man should take
me alive."

~ Harriet Tubman
The absence of
flaw in beauty
is itself a flaw.

Havelock Ellis
(1859 - 1939)
Our editor has one of the first
printings of this.
email us if you are interested.
Harriet looks like she is
about to open up a
frosty can of whoop-ass,
Does she not!
Excerpt from a letter
Abigail wrote to her

" If particular care and
attention is not paid to
the ladies, we are
determined to foment a
rebellion, and will not
hold ourselves bound
by any laws in which
we have no voice or
representation. "
As long as women
consent to be
unjustly governed,
they will be;
but directly
women say:

"We withhold our

we will not be
governed any
longer as long as
government is

Emmeline Pankhurst
You are brilliant just for stopping by...
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