The 19th Amendment Victory: A Newspaper History, 1762-1922

Accessible Archives celebrates the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, women’s legal right to vote, with yet more content. The ratification of this amendment on August 18, 1920, was a long and arduous undertaking which started during the revolutionary period when American colonists were fighting against lack of representation in government.

Mrs. Suffern, wearing a sash and carrying a sign that says "Help us to win the vote," surrounded by a crowd of men and boys, ca. 1914. Photo courtesy Library of Congress/Bain News Service

Mrs. Suffern, wearing a sash and carrying a sign that says “Help us to win the vote,” surrounded by a crowd of men and boys, ca. 1914

The first half of the 19th century found strong women, a sizable number now educated, running businesses, moving across the country as pioneers, and/or participating in reform movements.  They were making their voices heard.  Follow the issues leading up to the 1848 Seneca Falls convention in upstate New York organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Read articles about how the demand for women’s legal rights relating to property, inheritance, and education compared to the mandate for voting equality.

Delve into contemporary newspaper articles documenting how the anti-slavery movement fed into the suffrage movement. Justice and equality for all! Women’s anti-slavery activism provided them with organizational knowledge and skills to fight for themselves alongside leading abolitionists who joined in this battle.  Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison were two of the active male voices for the suffrage movement.

The 1870s saw women attempting to vote in federal and state elections and suing for the right when they were thwarted.  In 1875 the Supreme Court got involved rejecting women’s demands with  Minor v. Happersett ruling that voting rights were not written into the Constitution. Activists realized the next step was a constitutional amendment.  Even though the 19th amendment was introduced to Congress in 1878, it was not passed by that body until 1919 after years of debate, rejection, and reintroduction of the bill. Women’s World War I efforts were instrumental in winning the right to vote.

The 19th Amendment collection begins with newspaper articles from the 1760s and concludes with those surrounding legal victory in the 1920s. Accessible Archives has carefully uncovered over 18,000 articles from its rich historical archive not previously included in the Suffrage collection to bring you this exceptional cumulation in one searchable database.  Included are African American, Civil War, World War I, and numerous state newspapers.  Articles from the women’s press are also covered here.

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