Segments in this Video

Nineteenth Amendment (02:44)


For over a century, millions of women carried out a crusade to secure the right to vote. Introducing women as a voting block disrupted a political culture built on exclusion. Suffragists changed the idea of a woman's role in society.

Movement in England (07:09)

Alice Paul joined a contingent of 200 women insisting on an audience with the Prime Minister. Most democracies denied women suffrage. Emmeline Pankhurst was a co-founder of the Women's Social and Political Union; Christabel Pankhurst was not allowed to speak at the University of Birmingham.

First Generation Suffragettes (08:24)

Abolitionist Elizabeth Cady Stanton compared her condition as a free married woman with children to slavery. Husbands retained custody of children in a divorce. The first suffragists included Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, Sojourner Truth, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Sarah Redmond, and Susan B. Anthony.

Civil War Ends (08:35)

Women were considered too emotional to vote; they could not decide civil rights or make laws. The National American Woman Suffrage Association gained traction in the West. Politicians disenfranchised African Americans in the South and barred them from voting.

Women Need the Vote (10:15)

Harriet Stanton Blatch entered a polling place in New York City. The transformation of American life advanced the cause of women's rights. The Equality League of Self-Supporting Women was open to any woman who earned her own money.

Women's Role (05:57)

Men believed women participating in elections would disturb the family unit. Pearson's Magazine commissioned Richard Barry to investigate the suffrage movement by profiling women who were opposed to the vote.

Alice Paul's Imprisonment (05:22)

While serving her sentence in London's Holloway Jail, Paul declared she was a political prisoner and went on a hunger strike. British authorities force-feed the suffragettes. A swarm of reporters met Paul on the dock in Philadelphia.

Ballot Approval (04:31)

Washington State voters approve a suffragette measure. Tens of thousands of women belonged to the National Association of Colored Women, the National American Women Suffrage Association, local equality leagues, franchise associations, and Votes for Women clubs. California joins the cause in 1911.

Suffrage in Ohio (04:51)

An anonymous pamphlet suggested the state would close saloons if women were permitted to vote. Susan B. Anthony was a leader in the temperance movement. Harriet Taylor Upton claimed the suffrage association was not a temperance organization, but the vote was defeated.

New Direction (06:37)

Women were still without full voting rights in 39 states by the end of 1912. White men controlled the political power in the South. Paul planned a parade a day before Woodrow Wilson's inauguration to petition for a federal amendment.

Parade Preparations (03:36)

National protests were nonexistent in Washington, D.C. Lucy Burns recruited volunteers and roused crowds on street corners. Paul oversaw the organization, solicited donations, arranged lodging, and kept reporters interested in the suffrage movement.

Admitting African American Women (07:47)

Ida Wells-Barnett formed the Alpha Suffrage Club. She decided to march in the parade and advocated for racial justice. Paul concluded that African Americans would not be excluded, but also not encouraged.

Band of Suffragists (04:20)

"Pilgrims" clad in brown capes and heavy boots walked from New York to Washington D.C. Wells-Barnett arrived from Chicago by train. Paul and Burns received twice the expected marchers.

Suffrage Parade (10:25)

The Chicago delegation chair was advised to keep the delegation "entirely white." Men taunted and assaulted marchers. Paul demanded an amendment for women's rights. Harriot Stanton Blatch penned a letter to Woodrow Wilson.

Anti-Suffragette Propaganda (02:06)

The Thomas A. Edison company debuted "Votes for Women." Suffragists were portrayed as spinsters, unsexed, and psychologically unbalanced.

Public Position (07:56)

President Wilson avoided commenting on the suffragette movement. Paul and Burns launched a weekly newspaper and formed the Congressional Union. Emmeline Pankhurst engaged in guerilla warfare in England.

New York Referendum (06:34)

The “New York Times” published an editorial admonishing the referendum that would put votes for women before the electorate. Blatch realized power and intention would force politicians to act. The NAACP featured endorsements from some of America's foremost public figures.

Movement at the Crossroads (04:27)

President Wilson agreed to vote for the referendum, but it was defeated in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York. Anna Howard Shaw decided not to run for re-election.

Credits: The Vote: Episode 1 (01:19)

Credits: The Vote: Episode 1

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The Vote: Episode 1

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This program traces the rise of suffrage militancy, a direct-action approach to politics inspired by Britain’s notoriously militant suffragettes. By 1911, “votes for women” had become, as one journalist noted, “the three small words which constitute the biggest question in the world today.” While galvanizing to many, such radical action was also divisive.

Length: 114 minutes

Item#: BVL215270

Copyright date: ©2020

Closed Captioned

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