What Is the History of the Women's Rights Movement?


Quick Answer

The Women's Rights Movement in the United States lasted from 1848 until 1920. The first organized meeting to discuss the women's rights movement occurred in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York and was led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. The movement concluded in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment on August 26, which guaranteed women the right to vote.

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Full Answer

Following the meeting of 100 women's rights activists in 1848, Stanton joined forces with Susan B. Anthony, a Massachusetts school teacher. They unsuccessfully attempted to get Congress to add women's suffrage to the 14th and 15th Amendments. Following the Civil War, two women's suffrage groups formed: the National Woman Suffrage Association led by Stanton and Anthony, and American Woman Suffrage Association created by Lucy Stone. In 1878, California Senator Aaron Sargent attempted to pass an amendment granting women the right to vote.

In 1880, an uptick in women volunteering in progressive and charity causes, joining women's clubs and groups, and participating in local civic organizations pushed the women's suffrage movement forward. In 1890, the NWSA and AWSA merged to form the NAWSA, which gained support from groups such as the Women’s Trade Union League, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, or WCTU, and the National Consumers League. By this time, four states granted women the right to vote in local and state politics, which paved the way for a national amendment.

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