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Suffrage parade, New York City, May 6, 1912

[Detail] Youngest parader in New York City suffragist parade

Lesson Overview

Women obtained the right to vote nationwide in 1920. Before 1920, only criminals, the insane, Native Americans, and women were denied the vote. The modern woman's suffrage movement began in the 1840s with the Seneca Falls Convention. How did it happen and why?


Students will be able to:

  • understand the importance of primary sources in historical inquiry;
  • use keyword searching strategies;
  • understand the societal role of women from 1840 to 1920 and reforms women wanted;
  • describe and compare methods used by suffragists to pass the 19th amendment at the national level;
  • understand the importance of altering methods for achieving reforms in response to changing times and barriers; and
  • compare the states' methods for achieving suffrage with the national methods; analyzing reasons for their differences.


Time Required

  • Two weeks

Recommended Grade Level

  • 9-12
  • 6-8


  • Women's History


  • Progressive Era to New Era, 1900-1929


Eliza Hamrick & Donna Levene