Learn American History through 50 pop songs

Women’s Suffrage

Synopsis

Suffrage is the right to vote and historically includes the reform movement aimed at extending suffrage to women in the United States in the early part of the 20th century.

Scholastic Teacher Express

Lyrics

© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

In Rochester, New York, 1872
Susan B. Anthony
Acting most defiantly
Broke the law, by casting a vote
And to her judge, Miss Anthony spoke
Of natural, civil, and political rights
Trampled underfoot, and of women’s long plight
To be treated as equal citizens
Not doomed to political and social subjection

Pushing strollers, cooking dinner
Darning clothes with pinpricked fingers
In factories and in fields
Fundamental spokes of the American wheel
Women had come into their own
Now they demanded the right to vote
The 19th Amendment gave it to them
American women, American women

In Seneca Falls, New York, 1848
A suffrage fight
For women’s voting rights
Had been born at a convention
Led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton
And more than 50 years later in 1919
Suffragists realized Stanton and Anthony’s dream
The 19th Amendment let women vote
And the first glass ceiling for women was broke

Pushing strollers, cooking dinner
Darning clothes with pinpricked fingers
In factories and in fields
Fundamental spokes of the American wheel
Women had come into their own
Now they demanded the right to vote
The 19th Amendment gave it to them
American women, American women

Vocabulary

Suffrage— Suffrage means the right to vote. At the turn of the century, many reform movements included fighting for this right for women in America.

Susan B. Anthony— Susan Brownell Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was a prominent American civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the 19th century women's rights movement to introduce women's suffrage into the United States.

19th Amendment— The Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits denying any citizen the right to vote because of that citizen's sex. It gives women the right to vote.

Seneca Falls— The Seneca Falls Convention was an early and influential women's rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York over two days, July 19–20, 1848.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton— Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12, 1815 – October 26, 1902) was an American social activist and leading figure of the early woman's movement.

Tiered Questions

Tier 1 Questions

What is suffrage?

Name 2 suffrage leaders.

Tier 2 Questions

Compare and contrast black activists and women suffragists.

Tier 3 Questions

Pretend you are a woman in the early part of the century fighting for your right to vote. Write a one page detailed letter explaining your feelings about this issue.

Test Prep Questions

1) Which 19th-century event supported the movement for women’s rights?

  • (1) Seneca Falls Convention
  • (2) Dred Scott decision
  • (3) formation of the Republican Party
  • (4) Lincoln-Douglas debates

2) The Declaration of Sentiments, adopted at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, was significant because it

  • (1) promoted the idea of equal rights for women
  • (2) demanded the immediate abolition of slavery
  • (3) called for the prohibition of alcoholic beverages
  • (4) asked government to restrict harmful business practices

3) The Declaration of Sentiments, adopted during the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, is most closely associated with the rights of

  • (1) immigrants
  • (2) enslaved persons
  • (3) Native American Indians
  • (4) women

4) The Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 was mainly concerned with

  • (1) ending slavery in all the states
  • (2) reducing consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • (3) improving treatment of the mentally ill
  • (4) expanding women’s rights

5) The Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 is often viewed as the beginning of the

  • (1) temperance movement
  • (2) women’s rights movement
  • (3) antislavery movement
  • (4) Native American Indian movement

6) The Declaration of Sentiments from the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 proclaimed that

  • (1) the abolition of slavery was necessary
  • (2) all men and women are created equal
  • (3) California should be admitted as a free state
  • (4) the sale of alcoholic beverages should be illegal

7) “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 sex. . . .”

— 19th Amendment, United States Constitution

Which group of women worked for the passage of this amendment?

  • (1) Harriet Tubman, Jane Addams, and Dorothea Dix
  • (2) Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  • (3) Madeline Albright, Geraldine Ferraro, and Sandra Day O’Connor
  • (4) Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, and Eleanor Roosevelt

8) This resolution illustrates the constitutional right to

  • (1) petition for redress of grievances
  • (2) protection against ureasonable search and seizure
  • (3) a speedy and public trial
  • (4) freedom of religion

9) “Resolved, That all laws which prevent woman from occupying such a station in society as her conscience shall dictate, or which place her in a position inferior to that of man, are contrary to the great precept of nature and therefore of no force or authority.”

Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, Seneca Falls Convention, 1848

The writers of this passage were protesting

  • (1) British treatment of American colonists
  • (2) the absence of a bill of rights in the Constitution
  • (3) gender discrimination against women
  • (4) lack of legal protection for African Americans

10) When Susan B. Anthony refused to pay a fine for voting illegally in the election of 1872, she stated: “Not a penny shall go to this unjust claim.” Her action was an example of

  • (1) anarchy
  • (2) judicial review
  • (3) civil disobedience
  • (4) vigilante justice

11) The Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 was primarily concerned with

  • (1) carrying out Reconstruction in the South
  • (2) limiting immigration to the United States
  • (3) bringing about equal rights for women
  • (4) promoting the settlement of western territories

12) Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were best known for their struggle to

  • (1) prohibit the manufacture and sale of alcohol
  • (2) form labor unions
  • (3) secure the right of women to vote
  • (4) expose government corruption

DBQ 1

Historical Context: The woman’s suffrage movement of the 1800s and early 1900s and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s had many similar goals and used similar methods to achieve these goals. Yet these movements also had many different goals and used different methods to achieve them.

Task: Using information from the documents and your knowledge of United States history, answer the questions that follow each document.

  • Discuss the similarities and/or the differences between the woman’s suffrage movement of the 1800s and early 1900s and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s in terms of

— the goals of the movements and
— the methods used by the movements to achieve these goals

On November 5, 1872, Susan B. Anthony, along with sixteen other women, went to the local polling booth in Rochester to vote in the general election. She was arrested and made this statement during her trial. In the trial, she was convicted and fined.

. . . Miss Anthony.[speaking] — May it please your honor, I will never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty. All the stock in trade I possess is a debt of $10,000, incurred by publishing my paper— The Revolution—the sole object of which was to educate all women to do precisely as I have done, rebel against your man-made, unjust, unconstitutional forms of law, which tax, fine, imprison and hang women, while denying them the right of representation in the government; and I will work on with might and main to pay every dollar of that honest debt, but not a penny shall go to this unjust claim. And I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old Revolutionary maxim, “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”. . .

Source: Ida Husted Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, Vol. I, The Hollenbeck Press, 1898

According to Susan B. Anthony, why did she refuse to pay a fine?

According to this New York Times article, what was one way that the National American Suffrage Association drew attention to its cause?

What was a goal of the women shown in these photographs?

As shown in these photographs, what was one method being used by women to achieve their goal?

According to this document, what were two arguments suffragists used in this 1915 flier in support of their goal?

DBQ 2

Historical Context: The Progressive movement that began in the late 1800s was an attempt to bring about governmental reforms and to correct injustices in American life.

Task: Using information from the documents and your knowledge of United States history, answer the questions that follow each document.

  • Discuss specific problems or injustices that were present in American life during the late 1800s and early 1900s
  • Explain how reforms proposed during the Progressive Era attempted to address these problems

The preamble of the Federal Constitution says: “We, the people of the United States. . . .” It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people — women as well as men.”

— Susan B. Anthony

What argument was used by Susan B. Anthony to support the demand that women be given the right to vote?

Thematic Essay 1

Theme: Constitutional Change
Amendments to the United States Constitution have changed our government and our society.

Task: Identify two amendments to the United States Constitution and for each:

  • Discuss the historical circumstances that led to the adoption of the amendment
  • Discuss how the amendment changed the United States government and/or American society

You may use any constitutional amendment from your study of United States history. Some suggestions you might wish to consider include the 1st Amendment — personal freedoms (1791), 15th amendment — right to vote (1870), 16th Amendment — income tax (1913), 17th Amendment — election of senators (1913), 18th Amendment — Prohibition (1919), 19th Amendment — suffrage (1920), or 22nd Amendment — term limits (1951).