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Introduction - Background   Page 1, 2, 3

BackgroundAlice PaulCarrie Chapman CattBooksNY Times Archive



     In 1848, at the First Woman’s Rights Convention in the US, Elizabeth Cady Stanton proposed the right to vote for women. Following the Civil War, the Thirteen Amendment, abolishing slavery, and the Fourteenth Amendment, granting citizenship to former slaves, were added to the US Constitution in 1865 and 1868 respectively. In 1868 and 1869, constitutional amendments to give women and black men the right to vote were drafted. In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified to prevent voting rights from being denied to a citizen based upon race.

     In 1872, Susan B. Anthony attempted to vote as a test of whether the Fifteenth Amendment would apply to women. She was arrested and found guilty of voting illegally. On January 10, 1878, an amendment, written by Susan B. Anthony and modeled after the Fifteenth Amendment, was introduced to the US Congress to give women the right to vote. The Amendment never even came up for a vote in the US House of Representatives until January 12, 1915 — but, it was defeated 174 to 204.

     By 1917, two very different women’s organizations are at the forefront of the final battle to win the right to vote — the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), established in 1890 by Lucy Stone and Susan B. Anthony and initially led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the newly-formed National Woman’s Party, founded by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. Carrie Chapman Catt is president of NAWSA, and Alice Paul chairs the National

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