The movement to expand the franchise to women built momentum during the 19th century, achieved part of its goal with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, and continues to press on to ensure protection of voting rights for all. This section provides compelling questions for teaching about the long road to women's suffrage rights and activity ideas for teaching about this topic across U.S. history. A collection of lesson plans can be found at the bottom of the page.
- To what extent did the strategies of the Suffrage Movement change between Seneca Falls (1848) and ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920?
- Who did the Suffragettes represent?
- Why was there resistance to granting women the right to vote?
- To what extent was passage of the 19th Amendment a turning point in U.S. history?
- Why were the Suffragettes finally successful in achieving the right to vote?
- How have women participated in elections since 1920?
- To what extent do issues raised by 19th and 20th century Suffragettes remain?
In the interest of fostering inquiry-based teaching and learning that utilizes primary source materials and offers students space for creative application, consider the following strategies when engaging students in research on the 19th Amendment and women’s history across your curriculum:
Construct a digital timeline that centers on women’s writings, speeches, publications, artistic creations, and performances to avoid limiting discussion to an era or topic of study. Combined with storyboard software, students can record voice overs and use images to construct a response to a compelling question while addressing change over time analysis.
- Create a digital or hard copy commonplace book when reading biographies, literature, poetry, reviewing art, films, or other multimedia produced by women across U.S. history. From time to time students can be asked to synthesize what they record around themes, concepts, topics of study, and the inquiry questions they have designed.
- Use digital mapping software in combination with EDSITEment’s Chronicling America to plot stories and connections within and across time and place on topics chosen by students (i.e. Suffragette meetings, women’s organizations, education, sports, fashion, entertainment, the travels of characters in a novel or short story, historic homes, etc.).
- Create a short documentary film using storyboard software and primary sources, including audio-visual resources, on a theme or concept that spans beyond a single unit or era.