The United States Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women full and equal voting rights on this day in 1920. Every year on August 26, we commemorate this right with National Women’s Equality Day.
Seeds were planted for the women’s rights movement 80 years before when Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Staton, while in London at the World Anti-Slavery Convention, were denied access to the convention floor. Once back in The United States, along with Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Jane Hunt, the women set in motion plans for the first woman’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Held at Wesleyan Chapel on July 19-20, 1848, the conference drew 200 women the first day. On the second day, the convention was opened to men and some did attend.
Resolved, that it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise. ~ 9th Resolution of the Seneca Falls Convention 1848
During the convention, 12 resolutions were presented. These resolutions enumerated the rights of that women should be equal to men socially, economically, legally and representatively. Of the resolutions, all but the 9th were approved unanimously. It was the right to vote that many women felt would cause many of their backers to withdraw their support. However, after much debate and the support of Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the 9th resolution too passed.
For more information, visit the National Day Calendar page for National Women’s Equality Day.