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Women's Equality Day / 19th Amendment: Women's Rights Timeline
Learn about Women's Equality Day on August 26, 2020, and how this date marks the 100th anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
The Seneca Falls Convention, July 19-20, 1848, is known as the the first American women's rights convention. The convention's goals were to "discuss the social, civil, and religious conditions and rights of women." Organizers included well-known leaders of the women's suffrage movement, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Of the estimated 300 attendees, a large majority were also actively involved in the anti-slavery movement. Read more about the Seneca Falls Convention and the Declaration of Sentiments on the Library of Congress website.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) in New York City in 1869. The NWSA not only wanted to secure women's voting rights, but also supported more radical reforms that aimed to make women equal members of society. The NWSA merged with the more conservative American Woman Suffrage Association in 1890 to build a single, united front under the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
During World War I, women's suffrage became linked with the work of the war. Leaders of the movement argued that women were going above and beyond the sacrifices asked of them during war time and thus had earned the right to vote. Toward the end of the war, New York became one of the first states to grant women the right to vote in 1917.
The amendment was originally introduced in Congress in 1878, but it didn't have national support until 1916. Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, with a tie-breaking vote from state representative Harry Burn. He had recently received a letter from his mother "urging him to 'be a good boy' and vote for the amendment."