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New Primary Source Set: Women's Suffrage

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Published on Tue, 07/05/2016

[caption id="attachment_9313" align="alignright" width="160"]Poster shows the interior of a prison cell where a woman is being forcibly held seated in a chair by a man and a woman while another man pours liquid into a tube inserted in the woman's nose; written on the prison wall is "votes for women." Poster shows the interior of a prison cell where a woman is being forcibly held seated in a chair by a man and a woman while another man pours liquid into a tube inserted in the woman's nose; written on the prison wall is "votes for women."[/caption]

“We the women of America, tell you that America is not a democracy! Twenty million women are denied the right to vote”, the words of the great suffragist and women’s rights activist Alice Paul rang out loud and clear in front of the White House in 1917. The demand for women’s suffrage began in the 1840s and culminated by 1920 with the passage of the nineteenth amendment. The following primary source set explores materials from the time including cartoons, newspaper articles, songs and pictures. Students can evaluate the message behind a cartoon of Susan B. Anthony chasing Grover Cleveland with an umbrella while Uncle Sam laughs in the background or question the motives behind the anti women’s suffrage movement song entitled “Since my Margaret became a suffragette”. They may view a large collection of “votes for women” buttons or wonder why a group of men were photographed reading materials posted outside the National Anti-Suffrage Association headquarters. The documents contained in this set lend themselves towards instruction and debate by tapping into some of the same kinds of civil rights violations students hear about on the news everyday. Whether you are searching for materials for an upcoming project on the Women’s Rights Movement or looking to add visual interest and excitement to your lesson plan, the following set is sure to provide students with a better understanding of what the movement actually looked and felt like at the time.

View more details, download and access the lesson plan online

Emerging America brings this primary source set to you thanks to the outstanding primary sources and materials provided free by the Library of Congress. The set was developed during 2015 History in Motion courses offered by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources at the Collaborative for Educational Services.

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Karen Albano

History eNews Editor, Emerging America
Karen Albano began working with the Emerging America program in 2015. She is currently the editor of the weekly History eNews, and has contributed to many facets of the Emerging America program, including developing curriculum, improving the accessibility of the website to educators, and overseeing social media outreach.