The women’s suffrage movement formally began at the Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, New York in July 1848. Many of the early suffragists were involved in abolition, but the movement split in the 1860s over the 15th Amendment, which granted all men the right to vote regardless of race. The National Women’s Suffrage Association (NWSA), led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, felt that educated white women should be granted the vote before black men. The American Women’s Suffrage Association (AWSA), led by Lucy Stone, supported the 15th Amendment. Both felt a women’s suffrage amendment was needed, but the AWSA favored a state-by-state approach. The two merged to form the National American Women’s Suffrage Association in 1890.
Four western states granted women the vote in the late 1800s. During the 1910s, an additional 13 states, including New York, granted them complete suffrage, with other states offering partial suffrage. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote, passed in Congress with the support of President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. It was ratified and became federal law in 1920.
Chemung County and Women’s Suffrage focuses on the role of Chemung County residence within the larger struggle for women’s voting rights.
For additional information about the wider suffrage movement, visit the Women’s Rights National Historic Park (https://www.nps.gov/wori/learn/historyculture/index.htm)