People & Events|
The Fight for Women's Suffrage
1900 saw a changing of the guard among those dedicated to gaining full voting rights for all American women. After 8 years in the position, and nearly 30 fighting for women's suffrage, Susan B. Anthony stepped down as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Anthony chose as her successor Wisconsin native Carrie Chapman Catt, a suffragette regarded as a brilliant administrator and effective organizer. Chapman Catt devised a plan to win the vote for women by way of constitutional amendment, rather than working for legislative change in each of the separate states. Twenty years later the 19th amendment would guarantee women the right to vote in every state in the Union. The long and hard-fought battle began with the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Pioneers of the movement, Susan B. Anthony among them, had to content themselves with slow but steady progress. They faced a difficult battle in presenting women as autonomous, free-thinking citizens whose right to participate in the democratic process was unalienable. Even in 1900, as great change was being felt in nearly every section of society, most women, by law and custom, were still tethered to home and husband. In some states, women were denied the right to own property. And in only 4 states were women allowed to vote.