When examining the suffrage movement in early 20th
century America, one must first trace history and
see when the cause originated. Suffragists of the
early 1900s were not the first to fight for a woman’s
right to vote. They were continuing a struggle that
had been building for more than 60 years. This
movement extended from 1848, with the first convention
for women’s rights in Seneca Falls, New York,
until 1920, when all women in the U.S. won the right
to vote with the adoption of the 19th Amendment.
After successes and struggles in the decades after
Seneca Falls, the movement picked up speed in the
beginning of the 20th century. Many suffrage groups
began to take action: The National American Woman
Suffrage Association, the Congressional Union for
Woman Suffrage and – a political party – the National Woman’s
Party. The members of these organizations demanded a woman suffrage amendment
be added to the Constitution.
In order to accomplish this goal, they took many measures. They established headquarters
in order that they might organize suffrage business. The Congressional Committee
worked to establish a suffrage committee in the U.S. House of Representatives
because they were fed up with the House Judiciary Committee, which routinely
stalled suffrage bills. The Congressional Union sponsored conferences, mass meetings,
and conventions. Also, on October 14, 1913, they founded The Suffragist,
a weekly journal that recorded information about the movement. At the same time,
they began aggressive picketing. They organized parades and assemblies. These
actions resulted in the imprisonment of many protesters.
The National Woman’s Party moved into its headquarters on Jackson Place
at Lafayette Park in 1916 and from there they staged a series of pickets in front
of the White House. From this vantage point, President Woodrow Wilson
could not escape their calls for the vote. As a result of the suffragists’ endurance,
women in the United States were finally granted the right to vote in 1920.