Timeline of the Women's Suffrage Movement: 1869-1873 AERA, African, Anti-Suffragism, Association, Attorney, AWSA, Constitutional, Convention, Equal Rights, 15th Amendment, House, Jurors, Legislation, Legislature, Men, NWSA, States, Supreme Court, Territory, Vote, Woman’s Journal

Timeline of the Women's Suffrage Movement: 1869-1873 [The editors of Americans All Maryland ] (January 1, 1869 - December 31, 1873) AERA, African, Anti-Suffragism, Association, Attorney, AWSA, Constitutional, Convention, Equal Rights, 15th Amendment, House, Jurors, Legislation, Legislature, Men, NWSA, States, Supreme Court, Territory, Vote, Woman’s Journal

The word “suffrage” means “voting as a right rather than a privilege,” and has been in the English language since the Middle Ages. Suffrages originally were prayers. Then the meaning was extended to requests for assistance, then the assistance provided by a supporting vote, and finally the vote itself. Therefore, in 1787 the Constitution used suffrage to mean “an inalienable right to vote.”

And the right to vote was what advocates of women’s equality sought. They used suffrage in the phrase “female suffrage” or simply by itself, with the understanding that suffrage referred to voting rights for half of the adult population that had been excluded. The goal of the suffrage movement was accomplished in 1920 with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged ... on account of sex.” With that, the word suffrage was also retired. Since then, campaigns to extend the vote have simply called for “voting rights.”

The numbers in [bold brackets] identify the images in the photograph collection at the bottom of the page.

1869: AERA Suffrage Movement Splits
     At this meeting, major differences caused a split. Elizabeth Cady Stanton [4] was accused of only wanting the educated to vote. Frederick Douglass [27] took her to task for denigrating black male voters. The 1868 ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment angered many who had wanted it defeated if it did not include women. The debate was sharp and the polarization clearly beyond easy reconciliation. The AERA disbanded and formed two competing women's suffrage organizations (see below). [https://www.britannica.com/topic/American-Equal-Rights-Association]

1869: National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA)
     The National Woman Suffrage Association was founded two days after that 1869 meeting and did not include racial issues in its founding purpose. All members were women. It was formed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony [16] after their accusing abolitionist and Republican supporters of emphasizing black civil rights at the expense of women's rights. They represented millions of women and was the parent organization of hundreds of smaller local and state groups. Stanton was the first president. [http://www.crusadeforthevote.org/nwsa-organize]

1869: American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA)
      Lucy Stone [17], Henry Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe [28] and others form the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) that focuses exclusively on gaining voting rights for women through amendments to individual state constitutions. The organization protested the confrontational tactics of the National Woman Suffrage Association and tied itself closely to the Republican Party while concentrating solely on securing the vote for women state by state. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Woman_Suffrage_Association]

1869: St. Louis, Missouri, Woman’s Suffrage Convention
     At this convention, Virginia Minor [29] made an impassioned speech urging women to no longer submit to their inferior condition. Her husband, Francis Minor drafted a set of resolutions, based on the terms of the 14th Amendment which asserted the right of woman suffrage under the U.S. Constitution, When printed in pamphlet form, this message was sent around the country. His argument was that women were citizens of the U.S. and entitled to all the benefits and immunities of citizenship. Thus, women already, by law, had the right to vote. All they had to do was go out and exercise this right. [https://www.nps.gov/jeff/learn/historyculture/the-virginia-minor-case.htm]

1869: Wyoming Territory Suffrage
     A U.S. territory in 1869, Wyoming's first legislature, made up entirely by men, voted to give women the right to vote and to hold public office. In 1890, Wyoming became the first U.S. state allowing its woman citizens to vote. [https://www.nps.gov/articles/wyoming-women-s-history.htm]

1869: Iowa suffrage
     Iowa Supreme Court ruled that women may not be denied the right to practice law in Iowa and admitted Arabella Belle Babb Mansfield [30] to the bar.

1870: Washington Territory suffrage
     Mary Olney Brown [31] attempts to vote in Olympia, Washington Territory, and is turned away because she is not considered a citizen. [https://olympiahistory.org/mary-olney-brown-8-4-19/]

1870: Utah Territory suffrage

1870: Woman’s Journal
     This weekly newspaper publishes its first issue with Lucy Stone and her husband Henry Browne Blackwell serving as editors. It was published until 1931. The new paper incorporated Mary A. Livermore's The Agitator, as well as a lesser known periodical called the Woman's Advocate. [https://snaccooperative.org/ark:/99166/w6bq3bnz]

1870: The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is adopted.
     The amendment holds that neither the United States nor any State can deny the right to vote "on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude," leaving open the right of States to deny the right to vote on account of sex. Although the Fifteenth Amendment does not specifically prohibit women from voting, it does not specifically guarantee them the right either. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton oppose the amendment. Many of their former allies in the abolitionist movement, including Lucy Stone, support the amendment. [https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=44]

1870: First female Grand Jurors
     On March 7, for the first time in the world, women served on a formal jury. It happened in Laramie because passage of the Suffrage Act by the Wyoming Territorial Assembly in December of 1869 gave women the right to vote and hold office. [https://www.wyoachs.com/laramies-living-history-people-page-3-1/2019/3/7/the-ladies-of-the-laramie-jury-first-in-the-world-to-serve1870]

1870: Utah Territory suffrage

      On February 12, all women over the age of 21 years could vote in any election. [https://www.nps.gov/articles/utah-women-s-history.htm]

1870: First woman announces candidacy for President
     On April 2, Victoria Claflin Woodhull [32] announces her candidacy for President of the U.S. in a letter to the editor of the New York Herald. [https://ehistory.osu.edu/biographies/victoria-woodhull]

1870: First woman attorney
     Arabella Belle Babb Mansfield took the Iowa bar exam even though the law allowed only while and male applicants. A court ruling stated that “upon appeal, the affirmative declaration that male persons may be admitted, is not an implied denial to the right of females.” Belle passed the bar exam in June 1869, at the age of 23. Iowa opened the profession to women in 1870. [https://www.mikeschaferlaw.com/blog/arabella-mansfield--first-female-lawyer-in-the-us.cfm]

1870: Washington Territory suffrage
     On June 6, Arabella Belle Babb Mansfield, despite her professional standing, again tries to vote in Olympia, Washington Territory, and is denied. Her sister, Charlotte Olney French and seven other women successfully vote in Grand Mound, Washington. Eight women in the Black River precinct of the state also successfully vote. [https://olympiahistory.org/history-of-womens-suffrage-in-olympia]

1870: Vermont suffrage
     At the Vermont state constitutional constitution, this amendment was soundly defeated. [https://vermonthistory.org/journal/misc/InvasionStrongMindedWomen.pdf]