Why Can’t I Vote? The long battle and ultimate victory to obtain the right to vote for American women. At the end of this activity you will: • Write an essay describing the cultural changes in American society associated with the fight for and passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution giving women the right to vote. Why women weren’t allowed to vote. • Married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law • Women were not allowed to go to college • Married women could not own property Writing Assignment • As we begin to see the changes in the way women are treated in the 19th century, pay close attention to the METHODS the women used to change society and earn the right to vote. • Women decided that they should be allowed to vote just like anyone else. Many women worked together to encourage the government to change the law and pass the 19th amendment to the Constitution. 19th Amendment • The amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. 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. Strategies Protests • Many women participated in protest marches to bring attention to their cause. • This picture shows a protest march in New York in 1913. This protest was in Washington, D.C. in 1913. Methods of 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 in the Constitution. Militant suffragists used tactics such as parades, silent vigils, and hunger strikes. Civil Disobedience • Women spoke out for suffrage from horsedrawn wagons and street corner soapboxes. Some discussed politics in genteel tea parties, others were arrested for picketing for suffrage in front of the White House. Suffrage is the right to vote in public affairs. Susan B. Anthony In 1872, Susan B. Anthony attempted to cast a vote, hoping to be arrested. She was arrested and indicted for "knowingly, wrongfully and unlawfully voting for a representative to the Congress of the United States." Found guilty and fined, she insisted she would never pay a dollar of it. Susan B. Anthony When she died in 1906, only four states allowed women to vote, but Anthony's single-minded dedication to the cause of suffrage was largely responsible for the passage of the nineteenth amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920 giving women the vote. Elizabeth Cady Stanton • In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized a large convention to discuss women’s rights. She drafted a Declaration of Sentiments that outlined what the women wanted to achieve. Elizabeth Cady Stanton • The Declaration of Sentiments that Stanton drafted for the convention listed eighteen legal grievances suffered by women, including lack of the franchise and the right to their wages, their person, and their children. It also called attention to women's limited educational and economic opportunities. Political Cartoons The newspapers finally picked up the story of women’s rights and reported on the methods used by the suffragists. In addition, political cartoons were used to illustrate both sides of the issue. Political Cartoons Political Cartoons Political Cartoons War of the Roses • The 19th amendment needed one more state to pass it to be ratified. Tennessee was the site of a great political battle called The War of the Roses. • People against the amendment wore red roses and people for the amendment wore yellow roses. The War of the Roses On August 18, 1920, it appeared that Tennessee had ratified the amendment--the result of a change of vote by 24 year-old legislator Harry Burn at the insistence of his elderly mother. Rep. Henry Burn With wilted collars and frayed nerves, the legislators squared off for the third roll call. A blatant red rose on his breast, Harry Burn--the youngest member of the legislature-suddenly broke the deadlock. Despite his red rose, he voted in favor of the bill and the house erupted into pandemonium. With his "yea," Burn had delivered universal suffrage to all American women. Rep. Harry Burn • The outraged opponents to the bill began chasing Representative Burn around the room. In order to escape the angry mob, Burn climbed out one of the third-floor windows of the Capitol. Making his way along a ledge, he was able to save himself by hiding in the Capitol attic. Passage of the 19th Amendment When President Woodrow Wilson changed his position to support an amendment in 1918, the political balance began to shift in favor of the vote for women. On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment, and two 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. The 19th Amendment • Text of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States • "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. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." Writing Assignment: • Write an essay describing the cultural changes in American society associated with the fight for and passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution giving women the right to vote.
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