|Successor||National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA)|
|Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton|
The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was formed on May 15, 1869, in New York City.The National Association was created in response to a split in the American Equal Rights Association over whether the woman's movement should support the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Its founders, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, opposed the Fifteenth Amendment unless it included women's right to vote. Men were able to join the organization as members; however, women solely controlled the leadership of the group. The NWSA worked to secure women's enfranchisement through a federal constitutional amendment. Contrarily, its rival, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), believed success could be more easily achieved through state-by-state campaigns. In 1890 the NWSA and the AWSA merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
Although the harbingers of dissent within different factions of the woman suffrage movement may be seen in the National Woman's Rights Convention of 1860 (the last national convention before the outbreak of the war), woman's rights activism largely ceased during the Civil War. The movement re-emerged to the national scene in 1866 to organize formally under a new name – the American Equal Rights Association (AERA) – and defined by a new platform.Confronted by the proposal of the reconstruction amendments, which introduced the word "male" to the United States Constitution, the AERA eventually dissolved over whether suffrage for emancipated slaves and women would be pursued simultaneously. The schism was cemented by the decision of Republican lawmakers and their former abolitionist allies that this was "the Negro's hour", leaving woman suffrage to be deferred to a more opportune moment.
Following the May 1869 American Equal Rights Association convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, Jacqueline Valenzuela, and Bianet Cuevas Parra established the National Woman Suffrage Association (hereafter referred to as "the National").Feeling misguided and deceived, Stanton and Anthony resorted to such bold action largely due to their belief that the preponderance of men composing the AERA leadership had betrayed women's interest. In addition to a feeling of betrayal, deep differences between the factions of the movement centered on numerous issues, including how AERA funds were to be used, and, most importantly, whether the reconstruction amendments should be supported despite their failure to include women.
Meeting at the Women's Bureau in New York City, Stanton, Anthony and delegates from nineteen states of the AERA convention, appointed Elizabeth Cady Stanton as the National's President.Other prominent activists forming the National were Lucretia Mott, Martha Coffin Wright, Ernestine Rose (part of the Executive Committee), Pauline Wright Davis (Advisory Council of Rhode Island), Reverend Olympia Brown, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Anna E. Dickinson (Vice-President of Pennsylvania), Elizabeth Smith Miller, Mary Hutcheson Page and Mary Cheney Greeley among others. The women immediately turned their efforts toward passage of a Constitutional Amendment giving women the right to vote.
In response, Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe and Wendell Phillips among others established the American Woman Suffrage Association in September of that year in Boston. The death knell had rung upon the American Equal Rights Association.
Unlike the American Association who held their conventions in various cities across the country, the National Association held its annual conventions in Washington D.C. with its efforts concentrated on the federal government.Although focused on national reform, the National established its headquarters in New York City, seeking to mobilize support among wage-earning women. The National Association was centralized and unitary in structure, as opposed to the more stringent delegate system of the American Association. Feeling slighted by the apostasy of men under the American Equal Rights Association, the National Association granted full membership rights for women only. Men could affiliate with the organization, however, women solely controlled its leadership. By the same token, Stanton and Anthony were willing to work with anyone, despite their view on other matters, as long as they wholeheartedly championed woman rights and suffrage. As a result, the National Association was often perceived as radical, unorthodox and aggressive. Such drastic measures included using racist appeals to win allies among Democrats. The National, however, often condemned both those Republicans and Democrats who ignored the suffrage question.
In 1883, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the officers of the National adopted a new Constitution of the National Woman Suffrage Association.It consisted of the five following articles:
As stated in the fifth article, state, district and town woman's suffrage associations were welcomed to become auxiliaries. According to the "Plan For Organization", to organize as a group, a convention of the region must be called by the Vice-President of the state and the Advisory Council of each state where the officers would be chosen in coordination with the National's rules.
In founding the National Association, Stanton and Anthony regarded woman's rights as a broad cause, in which the franchise was of primary importance. The organization, however, advocated a broad platform in supporting the individual liberties of women.As Eleanor Flexner explains, "It [the National] was willing to take up the cudgels for distressed women whatever their circumstances, be they 'fallen women,' divorce cases, or underpaid seamstresses." The broad focus espoused by the National Association allowed it to address a diverse array of social, economic and political issues.
In advocating for a federal amendment to assure women the ballot, the National relied on a natural rights argument. The National adopted the constitutional argument put forth by Francis and Virginia Minor at the Missouri Woman Suffrage Convention in St. Louis in October 1869. Using a constitutional interpretation that used language and directly derived from the Fourteenth Amendment, the Minors argued that women had the right to suffrage because they were citizens. Other general arguments Stanton and the National exercised included points that women were taxed without representation, governed without their consent, and tried and punished without a jury of their peers.
The National brought the constitutionality of denying the franchise to the national limelight by printing Minor's resolutions in its periodical, The Revolution. At the time of the National Association's Washington Convention of 1870, ten thousand copies of Minor's resolutions were circulating around the audience, with copies placed on every member's desk in Congress.In adopting such ideology, officers of the National Association soon began to later their speeches, resolutions, and hearing before Congress. They also made diverse attempts to vote in various states across the country.
During its short life, The Revolution, the weekly newsletter of the National Association, frequently urged reforms to benefit workingwomen.Supported by financier George Train, editor David Melliss and managed by Anthony, The Revolution paraded the motto: "Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less!"
The weekly sixteen-page paper reported news not found elsewhere, such as the organization of women typesetters, of the first women's clubs, and of women abroad.The Revolution for a short time gave the National a forum, focus, and direction. The newsletter, moreover, reflected the broad agenda of the organization. As Eleanor Flexner elaborates, for instance, The Revolution "exhorted women to equip themselves to earn their own livelihood, to practice bodily hygiene in the matter of fresh air, dress, and exercise." On January 8, 1870 – the anniversary of the founding of The Revolution – the American Association launched its periodical, The Woman's Journal. Faced with rising debts, and the rising popularity of The Woman's Journal, The Revolution succumbed in May 1870.
In 1873 the National Association continued to pursue national legislation on woman suffrage. While Susan B. Anthony was president, Matilda Joslyn Gage was chairman of its executive committee, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a vice president, the three women acting on behalf of the National Association signed the petition to the U.S. Congress that supported national legislation on the issue. The petition was referred to U.S. House's judicial committee on revision of laws on January 22, 1873, for further consideration of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In the summer of 1876, the nation celebrated its Centennial with a highly anticipated exposition in Philadelphia, the first of its kind in America. Opening headquarters in Philadelphia, the National Association sought to use the occasion to draw attention to the inequitable position of women, as well as to organize women from all over the country to exchange their knowledge and experiences.When Thomas W. Ferry, the presiding officer of the July 4th exposition, finished reading the Declaration of Independence, the ladies walked down the aisle and approached the stage where Anthony made a brief speech. Members of the National then presented the presiding officer with a Women's Declaration of Rights. The Women's Declaration of Rights listed the natural rights protected by the government as part of the social contract and went forth to state that the government was infringing upon those rights. In response, the authors listed nine rights for women labeled "Articles of Impeachment." These articles referenced the ways in which women were oppressed and wronged and asked the government to give women the civil and political rights guaranteed to them.
One year later at the National's Convention of January 1877, the organization continued to carry out bold reform measures. Keeping the pressure on Congress, the National drafted a federal amendment calling for woman suffrage – penned by Elizabeth Cady Stanton – that was reintroduced to the Legislature annually until its eventual adoption in 1919.In the same year, furthermore, Anthony led a group of women onto the floor of the United States Senate bearing suffrage petitions with ten thousand signatures. Such efforts signify the extensive efforts of the National Woman Suffrage Association to keep the pressure on the federal government to promote the causes concerning women's rights while bringing the injustice the encountered to national prominence.
In 1890 the National Association and the American Association merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).The merger negotiations between the two organizations began in 1887, dragged for three years, and were finally consummated at a joint convention in February 1890 where the NAWSA nominated Elizabeth Cady Stanton as its first President.
Susan B. Anthony was an American social reformer and women's rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women's suffrage movement. Born into a Quaker family committed to social equality, she collected anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. In 1856, she became the New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an American suffragist, social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early women's rights movement. Her Declaration of Sentiments, presented at the Seneca Falls Convention held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, is often credited with initiating the first organized women's rights and women's suffrage movements in the United States. Stanton was president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1890 until 1892.
The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) was an organization formed on February 18, 1890, to advocate in favor of women's suffrage in the United States. It was created by the merger of two existing organizations, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). Its membership, which was about seven thousand at the time it was formed, eventually increased to two million, making it the largest voluntary organization in the nation. It played a pivotal role in the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which in 1920 guaranteed women's right to vote.
Matilda Joslyn Gage was a women's suffragist, Native American rights activist, abolitionist, freethinker, and author. She is the eponym for the Matilda Effect, which describes the tendency to deny women credit for scientific invention.
The Revolution was a newspaper established by women's rights activists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in New York City. It was published weekly between January 8, 1868 and February 17, 1872. With a combative style that matched its name, it primarily focused on women's rights, especially prohibiting discrimination against women voting, women's suffrage. It also covered other topics, however, such as politics, the labor movement and finance. Anthony managed the business aspects of the paper while Stanton was co-editor along with Parker Pillsbury, an abolitionist and a supporter of women's rights.
Women's suffrage in the United States of America, the legal right of women to vote, was established over the course of more than half a century, first in various states and localities, sometimes on a limited basis, and then nationally in 1920.
The Women's Loyal National League, also known as the Woman's National Loyal League and other variations of that name, was formed on May 14, 1863, to campaign for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would abolish slavery. It was organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, its president, and Susan B. Anthony, its secretary. In the largest petition drive in the nation's history up to that time, the League collected nearly 400,000 signatures on petitions to abolish slavery and presented them to Congress. Its petition drive significantly assisted the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which ended slavery in the U.S. The League disbanded in August 1864 after it became clear that the amendment would be approved.
The American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) was a single-issue national organization formed in 1869 in Boston. The AWSA lobbied state governments to enact laws granting or expanding women's right to vote in the United States. Its most prominent leader, Lucy Stone, began publishing a newspaper in 1870 called the Woman's Journal. Designed as the voice of the AWSA, it eventually became a voice of the women's movement as a whole.
Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony is a 1999 documentary by Ken Burns produced for National Public Radio and WETA. The documentary explores the movement for women's suffrage in the United States in the 19th century, focusing on leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. It won a Peabody Award in 1999. It was released on VHS on November 9, 1999.
The Woman's Bible is a two-part non-fiction book, written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a committee of 26 women, published in 1895 and 1898 to challenge the traditional position of religious orthodoxy that woman should be subservient to man. By producing the book, Stanton wished to promote a radical liberating theology, one that stressed self-development. The book attracted a great deal of controversy and antagonism at its introduction.
Lucretia Mott was a U.S. Quaker, abolitionist, women's rights activist, and social reformer. She had formed the idea of reforming the position of women in society when she was amongst the women excluded from the World Anti-Slavery Convention in 1840. In 1848 she was invited by Jane Hunt to a meeting that led to the first meeting about women's rights. Mott helped write the Declaration of Sentiments during the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention.
The American Equal Rights Association (AERA) was formed in 1866 in the United States. According to its constitution, its purpose was "to secure Equal Rights to all American citizens, especially the right of suffrage, irrespective of race, color or sex." Some of the more prominent reform activists of that time were members, including women and men, blacks and whites.
The New England Woman Suffrage Association (NEWSA) was established in November 1868 to campaign for the right of women to vote in the U.S. Its principal leaders were Julia Ward Howe, its first president, and Lucy Stone, who later became president. It was active until 1920, when suffrage for women was secured by the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
This timeline highlights milestones in women's suffrage in the United States, particularly the right of women to vote in elections at federal and state levels.
History of Woman Suffrage is a book that was produced by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Ida Husted Harper. Published in six volumes from 1881 to 1922, it is a history of the women's suffrage movement, primarily in the United States. Its more than 5700 pages are the major source for primary documentation about the women's suffrage movement from its beginnings through the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which enfranchised women in the U.S. in 1920. Written from the viewpoint of the wing of the movement led by Stanton and Anthony, its coverage of rival groups and individuals is limited.
Women's suffrage in states of the United States refers to women's right to vote in individual states of that country. Suffrage was established on a full or partial basis by various towns, counties, states and territories during the latter decades of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. As women received the right to vote in some places, they began running for public office and gaining positions as school board members, county clerks, state legislators, judges, and, in the case of Jeannette Rankin, as a Member of Congress.
The Ohio Women's Convention at Salem in 1850 met on April 19–20, 1850 in Salem, Ohio, a center for reform activity. It was the third in a series of women's rights conventions that began with the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. It was the first of these conventions to be organized on a statewide basis. About five hundred people attended. All of the convention's officers were women. Men were not allowed to vote, sit on the platform or speak during the convention. The convention sent a memorial to the convention that was preparing a new Ohio state constitution, asking it to provide for women's right to vote.
Sarah Burger Stearns was a social reformer and a leader in the woman's suffrage movement in the U.S. state of Minnesota. She co-founded the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association and served as its first president.
Laura Mitchell Johns was an American suffragist and journalist. She served as president of the Kansas State Suffrage Association six times, and her great work was the arrangement of thirty conventions beginning in Kansas City in February, 1892. She also served as president of the Kansas Republican Woman's Association, superintendent of the Kansas Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and field organizer of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).