Timeline of Women's Suffrage

Written By:
Molloy, Jill

A timeline of the major events in the long campaign for women's voting rights, from the nation's independence in 1776 to North Carolina's ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1971.

Despite Abigail Adam’s appeal her husband John Adams to “remember the ladies,” the writers of the Declaration of Independence state that “all men are created equal.”
The United States Constitutional Convention places voting qualifications in the hands of the states.
The New Jersey colony gives all free inhabitants, both men and women, the right to vote.
Women lose the right to vote in New Jersey, the last state to revoke the right.
The first women's rights convention takes place in Seneca Falls, New York, where a Declaration of Sentiments is composed, outlining the goals of the women’s movement.
More than 1,000 people gather in Worcester, Massachusetts, to participate in the first National Women's Rights Convention.
Those writing the North Carolina Constitution reject a recommendation to include woman suffrage.
Women twenty-one years and older are given the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association. Their goal is to secure woman suffrage through the passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and others form a separate organization called the American Woman Suffrage Association. They believe woman suffrage can be achieved through amendments to individual state constitutions.
The Utah territory gives women full suffrage.
Susan B. Anthony is arrested for attempting to vote in a presidential election in Rochester, New York. In the same election, Sojourner Truth attempts to vote in Battle Creek, Michigan, but is denied a ballot.
In the case of Minor vs. Happersett, the Supreme Court rules that the Fourteenth Amendment does not grant women the right to vote.
A Woman Suffrage Amendment, written by Susan B. Anthony, is introduced in the United States Congress.
The Washington territory gives women full suffrage.
Wyoming enters the union as a state where women have full suffrage.
The National Women Suffrage Association and the American Women Suffrage Association merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
After losing a state referendum for suffrage in 1877, women in Colorado win a surprising victory when their state adopts an amendment enfranchising women.
North Carolina Equal Suffrage Association (NCESA) is formed and elects Helen Lewis, a music teacher from Buncombe County, as its president.
Idaho gives women full suffrage.
Utah enters the union as a state where women have full suffrage.
The Colored Women's League of Washington and the National Federation of Afro-American Women merge to become the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), an organization that works toward woman suffrage.
Senator J.L. Hyatt of Yancey County introduces a woman suffrage bill in the North Carolina General Assembly. This bill dies after being sent to the committee on psychiatric hospitals.
Washington gives women full suffrage.
California gives women full suffrage.
The platform of Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive (Bull Moose/Republican) Party includes support for woman suffrage.
Oregon, Arizona, Kansas and the Alaska territory give women full suffrage.
Illinois women gain the right to vote in presidential elections.
North Carolina Equal Suffrage Association (NCESA) becomes part of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
Alice Paul and Lucy Burns create the Congressional Union, later called the National Women's Party, to work toward the passage of a federal woman suffrage amendment.
Montana and Nevada give women full suffrage.
The Second Annual Convention of the Equal Suffrage Association of North Carolina takes place at Battery Park Hotel, Asheville, N. C.
A bill allowing women to be appointed notary publics passes both houses of the North Carolina state legislature, but is deemed unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.
An Equal Suffrage Bill is defeated in both houses of the North Carolina state legislature.
NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt introduces her plan to carry out the battle for suffrage at both the federal and state levels.
When America enters World War I, women have the opportunity to demonstrate their patriotism and capabilities by raising money for the war effort, forming Red Cross chapters and taking jobs previously held by men.
The Arkansas legislature grants women partial suffrage in such a way that black women remain disenfranchised.
New York becomes the first Eastern state to give women full suffrage.
Michigan, South Dakota, and Oklahoma give women full suffrage.
With President Woodrow Wilson’s support, the Nineteenth Amendment passes in the House of Representatives, but fails to pass through the Senate.
Despite a state campaign by suffragists, only one congressman from North Carolina supports the proposed amendment.
Both the House and the Senate approve the Nineteenth Amendment. Suffragists campaign at the state level for ratification.
August 17: Moments before a North Carolina State Senate vote on the Nineteenth amendment is to take place, Lindsay C. Warren of Beaufort County proposes delaying the vote until the next legislative session. The vote is postponed, and it appears that suffragists will remain one vote short if Tennessee votes against ratification.
August 24: Despite a strong campaign by anti-suffragists and a petition from the North Carolina legislature encouraging them to reject the amendment, the Tennessee legislature votes in favor of enfranchising American women by a vote of 47-49.
August 26: The Nineteenth Amendment is officially ratified.
November 2: Lillian Exum Clement becomes the first woman elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives.
More than fifty years after American women won the vote, the North Carolina State Legislature makes the symbolic gesture of ratifying the Nineteenth Amendment.