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Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment

Primary Sources, Activities, and Links to Related Web Sites for Educators and Students

"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."

19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States


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. The records of the National Archives and Records Administration reveal much of this struggle.

As the 150th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 approaches, historical documents and a script that the National Archives comissioned about the decades long struggle entitled Failure is Impossible serve as valuable teaching tools.

For the Classroom

Teaching Activities

Failure is Impossible Script

Related Web Sites

Note: The image at top is a poster of an official program for a woman suffrage procession held in Washington, DC, March 3, 1913. It is from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, Special Collections, Austin, TX.
The image at bottom is a photograph of a suffrage parade in New York City, ca. 1912 (208-PR-14M-1). It is available in the Still Picture Branch at the National Archives at College Park, MD


1) A Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution
December 7, 1868

2) Petition to Congress
December 1871

3) Memorial to Congress from The American Woman Suffrage Association
February 6, 1872

4) Petition from Susan B. Anthony to U.S. Congress
January 12, 1874

5) Petition for Woman Suffrage signed by Frederick Douglass

6) Association of Army Nurses of the Civil War Letter to U.S. House Judiciary Committee
May 1, 1917

7) Petition, Anti-Suffrage Party of New York
World War I, ca. 1917

8) Photograph, Kaiser Wilson poster
November 19, 1918

9) Ratification of 19th Amendment, Tennessee
August 24, 1920

[Primary Sources] [Digital Classroom]

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Last updated: February 4, 1998