Quick 5: What is the 19th Amendment and when was it ratified?


The U.S. Library of Congress details the women's rights movement leading up to passage of the Constitution's 19th Amendment.

1 What is the 19th Amendment and when was it ratified?

"The 19th Amendment was passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920 — and it was the result of centuries of struggle, culminating in the late 19th century in a burst of public activism and civil disobedience that not only secured voting rights for women, but also helped define new possibilities for women’s participation in the public sphere."

2 When did women's suffrage start?

"The first calls for women's suffrage came in July 1848 at a convention in Seneca Falls, New York. The convention started more than 70 years of parades, fundraisers, advertising and petitions leading up to passage of the 19th Amendment."

3 What were some early rights for women?

"Women could legally vote in New Jersey early in history if they met property requirements — but that changed in 1807 when the State Assembly passed a law limiting suffrage to free white males. There would not be another law explicitly giving the vote to women until 1869, when the Wyoming territory granted women over 21 years of age the right to vote in all elections.

"Some states prohibited women from voting, but New York did not in 1872. That led Susan B. Anthony and a small group of suffragists to register and vote — being arrested three weeks later on a charge of “criminal voting.” Anthony was found guilty and fined $100 plus court costs."

4 What were some highlights of the fight for women's rights?

"The first large gathering of women’s rights activists occurred in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention — where they drafted and signed the Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on the Declaration of Independence that called for civil, social, political and religious rights for women."

"That led to the formation of the National Woman Suffrage Association and other groups that lobbied for local and state voting rights in addition to working at the national level. The Congressional Union was formed in 1913 to accelerate and intensify the fight with more radical protest methods as had been done in Britain. The National Women’s Party, formed in 1916, was an outgrowth of this organization."

5 Who were Susan B. Anthony and Cady Stanton?

"Susan B. Anthony, an outspoken advocate for suffrage, and other suffragists got their start by speaking on the anti-slavery circuit. Suffragists were also interested in the dress reform movement and temperance. Additionally, Elizabeth Cady Stanton saw suffrage as a way for women to access more equal marriages through divorce rights and property rights. For suffragists, these many causes fit together. With access to the ballot came an unprecedented power to affect change for these other social issues."

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