Women's History: Parading Through History
Spotlight on a pennant for women’s suffrage from the early 1900s.
How is this pennant connected to the fight for women's voting rights?
Estimated Time Required
1-2 class periods
Students view images from the women's suffrage movement and then watch an excerpt from the History Detectives episode Suffrage Pennant.They then hold a mock convention where students, in the roles of characters from history, present arguments for and against the women's right to vote.
Students use this reproducible to view and analyze suffrage posters, pennants, and propaganda.
Students use this reproducible to record research notes and guide their planning for a mock suffrage convention.
Before class, assemble 20 or so images from the women's suffrage movement, including photographs of women's parades, placards, banners and the like. Before students enter, prepare to show them in a slide show on a screen or arrange them around the room for students to view.
After students are finished circulating or viewing the images, invite them to share their impressions of the images. What did they notice about the women's clothing, sashes, banners, signs and other items depicted in the images? Which one was most eye-catching? Why?
Alternatively, have students analyze a collection of propaganda images used by the suffragists (pro and anti) using the Propaganda Analysis Guide reproducible.
After they have watched the History Detectives Suffrage Pennant episode, tell the class that they will hold a mock convention on the topic of whether women should be granted the right to vote. Assign each student a specific historic or history-based role to play, including leaders in the suffrage movement, politicians and other leading voices in the anti-suffrage movement, and imaginary regular citizens like Addie Blemly from the History Detectives episode.
Have students start by researching their historical or history-based role and the arguments their character would present for or against women's suffrage. They can use the Convention Planner reproducible to organize their thoughts and research. And review the events that occurred at the historic Seneca Falls convention so that students have a sense of what can happen. Based on their understanding, plan together how the class convention will run.
When research is complete, convene the convention. Give "floor time" to each "delegate." At the end, hold a vote, giving the imagined characters an opportunity to vote according to how persuasive the arguments they heard were.
Students write a pro- or anti-suffrage speech or song that they imagine could have been used to try to persuade people before the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment. For inspiration, they might watch the Sister Suffragette segment of the movie "Mary Poppins."
Another way to take this further is to have students design a pennant, button, bracelet, T-shirt, bumper sticker, lawn sign or other promotional item for the political candidate or cause of their choice.
United States History
12. Understands the sources and character of cultural, religious, and social reform movements in the antebellum period
20. Understands how Progressives and others addressed problems of industrial capitalism, urbanization, and political corruption
22. Understands how the United States changed between the post-World War I years and the eve of the Great Depression
1. Understands and knows how to analyze chronological relationships and patterns
2. Understands the historical perspective
4. Understands the visual arts in relation to history and cultures