Women’s Rights Movement: Collections
In July 1848, 300 suffrage movement activists gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, for the United States’ first Women’s Rights Convention. During the convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton presented her “Declaration of Sentiments,” which, in addition to demanding legal, moral, economic, and political equality between men and women, advocated for “the elective franchise” for women. The fight for suffrage by American women would take 70 years in the United States. The primary source materials in Gale’s Women’s Studies Archive provide researchers examining the development of the women’s rights movement and the fight for suffrage in the United States and abroad with a rich collection of materials.
Although some municipalities and states allowed women to vote in school board elections and the new state of Wyoming had given women the right to vote, in 1908, most women in the United States were still disenfranchised. The first major protest in support of women’s rights was organized by Maud Malone. The departure from the traditional tactics of the movement worried other suffragists, who believed that a march or protest could be harmful to the movement. In February 1908, Malone and 30 women marched with 2,000 men in defiance of a police ban in New York City. The response from the press to the march was universally positive. The march was peaceful, and Malone hoped that her tactics would differentiate herself from the more militant activism of the British suffragettes. Later in life, however, Malone would come to embrace more radical tactics.
Throughout the next decade in the United States, the movement began to gain momentum, eventually leading to Congress sending the Nineteenth Amendment, granting the right of women to vote, to the states for ratification. By 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified and certified as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The women’s rights movement began to move on to new battles that focused on other issues affecting the lives of women. To examine these campaigns in greater detail, researchers can explore the primary sources available in Gale’s Women’s Studies Archive, including collections charting the history of the women’s rights movement.