Women's Suffrage Petitions

Cover Image:
Fleming NY Petition
Fleming NY Women's Suffrage Enrollment - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:

Historical Context

Cayuga County was at the center of the women’s rights movement and many of its citizens played a part in the fight, leading New York to allow women to vote three years before the 19th amendment was ratified. As early as 1865, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and other activists organized a petition campaign, collecting signatures to send to members of Congress in support of suffrage for women.

The fight for suffrage began in earnest in 1848 with the Seneca Falls Convention. Organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martha Coffin Wright, Mary Ann M’Clintock, and Jane Hunt, the convention marked the beginning of the formal women’s suffrage movement.

The first constitutional amendment for women’s suffrage introduced in 1878 failed, but because of the tireless efforts of suffrage supporters, the 1919 amendment passed both the House and Senate with the states ratifying it in 1920. The 19th amendment did not give voting rights to all women however. Native American women were not considered U.S. citizens until 1924 and therefore could not vote and African American women, particularly in the south, faced Jim Crow laws that prevented them from exercising their right to vote.