Abolitionist and Suffragist Slogans: Background Information

Abolitionist and Suffragist Slogans: Background Information - Stories


Abolitionist Time Line

  • United States of America

This is a wonderful overview of slavery and the abolitionist movement in America with concise explanations and historical reference points.

1526 A group of Africans is brought to South Carolina by a Spanish explorer to erect a settlement. They escape and settle with Native Americans.

1565 African slaves are brought to Spanish colony of St. Augustine.

1607 Jamestown is settled. It is the first permanent settlement in the colony of Virginia. The Virginia Company of London finances the settlement with the expectation of seeing profits from harvesting Virginia's raw resources.

1612 John Rolfe plants Caribbean tobacco seeds in the rich Virginia soil. Tobacco becomes the exported product that makes Virginia a wealthy colony.

1619 The first recorded Africans in the colony of Virginia arrive at Jamestown on a Dutch ship. Colonial Williamsburg historians believe these Africans were indentured servants.

1639 Blacks in Virginia are not required to bear arms although white settlers must.

1640 An African servant, John Punch, and two servants of European descent are captured while attempting to run away. The European servants are required to serve additional time as part of their punishment. John Punch is sentenced to lifetime servitude. This is the first recorded case of slavery prescribed by law in the colony of Virginia.

1641 Massachusetts Bay Colony legalizes slavery.

1642 Black women are counted as tithables-taxable property. Virginia passes a law making it illegal to help runaway slaves, punishable by 20 pounds of tobacco for each night of assistance.

1660 Virginia legalizes slavery.

1661 Children born to enslaved mothers are considered slaves as well, regardless of their fathers' status. Children of enslaved fathers and free mothers are not considered slaves.

1667 By law, slaves baptized into the church are still considered to be slaves.

1669 Accidentally killing a slave during correction is not considered a crime.

1670 Blacks and Native Americans are not permitted to own servants of another race. All non-Christians arriving in the colony by water are hereafter considered slaves.

1671 Black slaves are considered property in real estate appraisals.

1672 Runaway slaves resisting capture may be killed. Virginia passes a law putting a bounty on the heads of escaped Africans who formed communities in and around the Great Dismal Swamp bordering Virginia and North Carolina.

1680 The ages of imported black children are to be determined and documented within three months of arrival in the colony.

Blacks are forbidden to possess any type of weapon.

Slaves must have permission before leaving their plantation of residence.

Slaves are forbidden to raise a hand against any Christian. An act punishing slave insurrection is in force.

1682 All non-Christians coming into Virginia by any means are considered slaves, whether or not they convert to Christianity.

A court of oyer and terminer (a Latin term meaning "hear and decide") is established to try all slaves accused of crimes. No jury hears the cases and there is no right to appeal the court's decision.

Blacks are required to give up ownership of cattle, horses, and sheep.

1688 Mennonite Quakers in Pennsylvania sign an anti-slavery resolution.

1705 "An Act Concerning Servants and Slaves" revises and strengthens most of the laws regarding slavery.

1710 Slaves who turn in other slaves planning insurrections or revolts are to be set free by law.

1739 Stono Rebellion takes place 20 miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina after the governor tells slaves they can go to St. Augustine, Florida and be free. A group of fugitives escape, killing 21 whites along the way. After their capture, 43 slaves are executed.

1740 North Carolina passes a law to prosecute people helping slaves to escape.

1769 Matthew Ashby, a free black man living in Williamsburg, Virginia, obtains the freedom (via petition and purchase) of his wife, Ann, and his two children, John and Mary. Ashby may have been one of a group that successfully petitioned the court to eliminate the tax on free black women.

In the Somerset Case, an English court rules in favor of a slave brought into England from British colony who claims he is a free man.

1773 George Lile and Andres Bryan organize the first African American Baptist Church at Savannah, Georgia. Members of this church helped escaping slaves.

<a name="1775"></a>

1775 Governor Dunmore of Virginia issues an emancipation proclamation that imposes martial law in Virginia and offers freedom to indentured servants and slaves willing to fight for the King of England.

Slave insurrection occurs in the western part of Virginia.

First abolitionist society formed in Philadelphia.

<a name="1776"></a>

1776 Delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 4, which begins, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

1787 U.S. Congress passes the Northwest Ordinance, which provides for territorial government and eventual statehood for the area north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River. Slavery is prohibited in any of this new territory.

The Free African society is organized in Philadelphia by Richard Allen and Absalom Jones. The form the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which assisted escaped slaves.

<a name="1792"></a>

1792 Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin.

1793 U.S. Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Act to protect the rights of slave owners to retrieve runaway slaves from free states and territories.

<a name="1801"></a>

1801 The Gabriel Plot for rebellion in Henrico, County, Virginia is suppressed.

1803 Haitians win independence from France and abolish slavery.

1804 Nearly all Northern states have abolished slavery by this time.

<a name="1808"></a>

1808 U.S. Congress passes a law to end the importation of African slaves.

1816 Federal troops engage in war against Seminoles and escaped slaves in Florida.

1817 The first free Africans are repatriated to Sierra Leone.

<a name="1820"></a>

1820 The Missouri Compromise admits Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state to maintain the balance of 12 free and 12 slave states in the United States. All territory north of latitude 36-30' is declared free, all territory south of the line is slaveholding.

1822 A slave revolt led by Denmark Vesey is suppressed in Charleston, South Carolina, 36 collaborators are hanged.

<a name="1830"></a>

1830 Formation of the American Anti-Slavery Society by Lewis Tappan. Vigilance commitees are formed in northern cities to prevent return of slaves to the south.

1831 William Lloyd Garrison publishes The Liberator.

Nat Turner, a slave who believed God had chosen him to lead slaves out of bondage, leads an insurrection killing 51 whites in Southampton County, Virginia. He and his followers were caught. Turner was convicted of treason at his trial; hanged, skinned and boiled. More stringent slave laws were enacted following his rebellion.

1833 Oberlin College in Ohio is founded as an integrated institution and becomes a center of abolitionist and underground railroad activity.

All slavery is abolished in the British Empire, including Canada.

1832 New England Anti-Slavery Society is formed.

1837 Abolitionist editor Elijah P. Lovejoy killed in Alton, Illinois.

1840 New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont and Ohio pass a series of "personal liberty laws."

Enslaved African revolt on the Spanish ship Amistad off the coast of Cuba.

1843 Prigg vs. Pennysylvania challenging the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.

1847 Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and tremendous abolitionist orator, begins publication of the newspaper, The North Star.

1848 First Women's Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, New York.

1849 Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery, begins helping others to escape.

1850 The Fugitive Slave Law is passed by Congress strengthening the 1793 Act. Federal officers are now offered a fee for returning runaway slaves.

<a name="1852"></a>

1852 Dew, James H. Hammond and others issue strong proslavery arguments adopted by southern states.

Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin.

1857 U.S. Supreme Court decides in the Dred Scott decision that slaves do not become free when taken into free territory.

<a name="1859"></a>

1859 John Brown and others attack the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia to prepare to free slaves. Ten of his men were killed, he and seven others were hanged after trial.

1860 Abraham Lincoln is elected president. South Carolina is the first state to secede from the Union.

<a name="1861"></a>

1861 March
First Conscription Act for Union troops made all men 20-45, liable to military service, but service could be avoided by payment of $300 or procuring a substitute to enlist for three years. State quotas were fixed (proportionate to total population) and states given credit for previous enlistments. The draft was regarded as inequitable to the poor.
The first drawings provoked serious riots in working-class quarters in New York City, culminating (13-16 July) in the New York City Draft Riots, four days of pillaging and lynching of African Americans, chiefly participated in by Irish-Americans, required the dis-patch to New York of regiments de-tached from Meade's army.

The Confederacy first relied on enlistments; then, drafted into military service every white man (18-35) for three years. The lower classes denounced the long list of exempted occupations as well as the privilege of sending substitutes; many Southern leaders questioned the constitutionality of conscription.

General. B. F. Butler, in command of Fortress Monroe, Va., ruled that slaves escaping to his lines were "contraband of war" which he would not return to their masters.

General Johm C. Fremont issued a proclamation declaring that slaves of Missourians taking up arms against the U.S. were free. Lincoln modified this order (2 Sept.) to conform to existing federal law.

Kansas admitted to the Union as a free state. Eleven states secede from the Union. The Civil War begins.

<a name="1863"></a>

1863 The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Lincoln, frees slaves in the seceding States.

<a name="1865"></a>

1865 Congress passes the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution making slavery illegal and extending civil rights to former slaves. The Civil War ends with Union victory.

1866 U.S. Congress passes the Fourteenth Amendment extending civil rights to former slaves.

1869 U.S. Congress passes the Fifteenth Amendment permitting men to vote without regard to race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

This time line was found at Kentucky's Underground Railroad: Passage to Freedom as part of the U.S. National Timeline. http://www.ket.org/underground/timeline/ustime.htm

Abolitionists: Primary Lesson Ideas

    1.  Create a time line of the abolition movement in the united states.  This may be a full class activity or a small group activity.

    Abolitionists: Secondary Lesson Ideas

      1. Make a CD case for the "Sounds of the Suffragists" Listing song names (set a number minimum) and a brief "sell point" or description of each. Have students use slogans and themes to help come up with song titles. Students have to present their CD to the class in the form of a live infomercial or record and play for the class if they have technology at home to do so.

      2.  Use a map of the U.S. to mark, number in correct chronological order, and write a 5-15 word description of (#) key events that marked this period as the Suffragist Movement.  If there's not enough room on the map to write each location's description, number the locations and in another area, explain each number location's importance.

      Suffargist Time Line

      • United States of America

      This time line takes us through the history of women's fight for voting rights.

      One Hundred Years toward Suffrage: An Overview

      Compiled by E. Susan Barber

      1776 Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John, who is attending the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, asking that he and the other men--who were at work on the Declaration of Independence--"Remember the Ladies." John responds with humor. The Declaration's wording specifies that "all men are created equal."

      1820 to 1880 Evidence from a variety of printed sources published during this period--advice manuals, poetry and literature, sermons, medical texts--reveals that Americans, in general, held highly stereotypical notions about women's and men's roles in society. Historians would later term this phenomenon "The Cult of Domesticity."

      1821 Emma Hart Willard founds the Troy Female Seminary in New York--the first endowed school for girls.

      1833 Oberlin College becomes the first coeducational college in the United States. In 1841, Oberlin awards the first academic degrees to three women. Early graduates include Lucy Stone and Antoinette Brown.

      1836 Sarah Grimké begins her speaking career as an abolitionist and a women's rights advocate. She is eventually silenced by male abolitionists who consider her public speaking a liability.

      1837 The first National Female Anti-Slavery Society convention meets in New York City. Eighty-one delegates from twelve states attend.

      1837 Mary Lyon founds Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, eventually the first four-year college exclusively for women in the United States. Mt. Holyoke was followed by Vassar in 1861, and Wellesley and Smith Colleges, both in 1875. In 1873, the School Sisters of Notre Dame found a school in Baltimore, Maryland, which would eventually become the nation's first college for Catholic women.

      1839 Mississippi passes the first Married Woman's Property Act.

      1844 Female textile workers in Massachusetts organize the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA) and demand a 10-hour workday. This was one of the first permanent labor associations for working women in the United States.

      1848 The first women's rights convention in the United States is held in Seneca Falls, New York. Many participants sign a "Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions" that outlines the main issues and goals for the emerging women's movement. Thereafter, women's rights meetings are held on a regular basis.

      1849 Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery. Over the next ten years she leads many slaves to freedom by the Underground Railroad.

      1850 Amelia Jenks Bloomer launches the dress reform movement with a costume bearing her name. The Bloomer costume was later abandoned by many suffragists who feared it detracted attention from more serious women's rights issues.

      1851 Former slave Sojourner Truth delivers her "Ain't I a Woman?" speech before a spellbound audience at a women's rights convention in Akron, Ohio.

      1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin, which rapidly becomes a bestseller.

      1859 The successful vulcanization of rubber provides women with reliable condoms for the first time. The birth rate in the United States continues its downward, century-long spiral. By the late 1900s, women will raise an average of only two to three children, in contrast to the five or six children they raised at the beginning of the century.

      1861 to 65 The American Civil War disrupts suffrage activity as women, North and South, divert their energies to "war work." The War itself, however, serves as a "training ground," as women gain important organizational and occupational skills they will later use in postbellum organizational activity.

      1865 to 1880 Southern white women create Confederate memorial societies to help preserve the memory of the "Lost Cause." This activity propels many white Southern women into the public sphere for the first time. During this same period, newly emancipated Southern black women form thousands of organizations aimed at "uplifting the race."

      1866 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the American Equal Rights Association, an organization for white and black women and men dedicated to the goal of universal suffrage.

      1868 The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified, which extends to all citizens the protections of the Constitution against unjust state laws. This Amendment was the first to define "citizens" and "voters" as "male."

      1869 The women's rights movement splits into two factions as a result of disagreements over the Fourteenth and soon-to-be-passed Fifteenth Amendments. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the more radical, New York-based National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and Julia Ward Howe organize the more conservative American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), which is centered in Boston. In this same year, the Wyoming territory is organized with a woman suffrage provision. In 1890, Wyoming was admitted to the Union with its suffrage provision intact.

      1870 The Fifteenth Amendment enfranchises black men. NWSA refuses to work for its ratification, arguing, instead, that it be "scrapped" in favor of a Sixteenth Amendment providing universal suffrage. Frederick Douglass breaks with Stanton and Anthony over NWSA's position.

      1870 to 1875 Several women--including Virginia Louisa Minor, Victoria Woodhull, and Myra Bradwell--attempt to use the Fourteenth Amendment in the courts to secure the vote (Minor and Woodhull) or the right to practice law (Bradwell). They all are unsuccessful.

      1872 Susan B. Anthony is arrested and brought to trial in Rochester, New York, for attempting to vote for Ulysses S. Grant in the presidential election. At the same time, Sojourner Truth appears at a polling booth in Battle Creek, Michigan, demanding a ballot; she is turned away.

      1874 The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) is founded by Annie Wittenmyer. With Frances Willard at its head (1876), the WCTU became an important force in the fight for woman suffrage. Not surprisingly, one of the most vehement opponents to women's enfranchisement was the liquor lobby, which feared women might use the franchise to prohibit the sale of liquor.

      1878 A Woman Suffrage Amendment is introduced in the United States Congress. The wording is unchanged in 1919, when the amendment finally passes both houses.

      1890 The NWSA and the AWSA are reunited as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) under the leadership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. During this same year, Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr found Hull House, a settlement house project in Chicago's 19th Ward. Within one year, there are more than a hundred settlement houses--largely operated by women--throughout the United States. The settlement house movement and the Progressive campaign of which it was a part propelled thousands of college-educated white women and a number of women of color into lifetime careers in social work. It also made women an important voice to be reckoned with in American politics.

      1891 Ida B. Wells launches her nation-wide anti-lynching campaign after the murder of three black businessmen in Memphis, Tennessee.

      1893 Hannah Greenbaum Solomon founds the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) after a meeting of the Jewish Women's Congress at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. In that same year, Colorado becomes the first state to adopt a state amendment enfranchising women.

      1895 Elizabeth Cady Stanton publishes The Woman's Bible. After its publication, NAWSA moves to distance itself from this venerable suffrage pioneer because many conservative suffragists considered her to be too radical and, thus, potentially damaging to the suffrage campaign. From this time, Stanton--who had resigned as NAWSA president in 1892--was no longer invited to sit on the stage at NAWSA conventions.

      1896 Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Margaret Murray Washington, Fanny Jackson Coppin, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Charlotte Forten Grimké, and former slave Harriet Tubman meet in Washington, D.C. to form the National Association of Colored Women (NACW).

      1903 Mary Dreier, Rheta Childe Dorr, Leonora O'Reilly, and others form the Women's Trade Union League of New York, an organization of middle- and working-class women dedicated to unionization for working women and to woman suffrage. This group later became a nucleus of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU).

      1911 The National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NAOWS) is organized. Led by Mrs. Arthur Dodge, its members included wealthy, influential women and some Catholic clergymen--including Cardinal Gibbons who, in 1916, sent an address to NAOWS's convention in Washington, D.C. In addition to the distillers and brewers, who worked largely behind the scenes, the "antis" also drew support from urban political machines, Southern congressmen, and corporate capitalists--like railroad magnates and meatpackers--who supported the "antis" by contributing to their "war chests."

      1912 Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive (Bull Moose/Republican) Party becomes the first national political party to adopt a woman suffrage plank.

      1913 Alice Paul and Lucy Burns organize the Congressional Union, later known as the National Women's Party (1916). Borrowing the tactics of the radical, militant Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in England, members of the Woman's Party participate in hunger strikes, picket the White House, and engage in other forms of civil disobedience to publicize the suffrage cause.

      1914 The National Federation of Women's Clubs--which by this time included more than two million white women and women of color throughout the United States--formally endorses the suffrage campaign.

      1916 NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt unveils her "winning plan" for suffrage victory at a convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Catt's plan required the coordination of activities by a vast cadre of suffrage workers in both state and local associations.

      1916 Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first American woman elected to represent her state in the U.S. House of Representatives.

      1918 to 1920 The Great War (World War I) intervenes to slow down the suffrage campaign as some--but not all--suffragists decide to shelve their suffrage activism in favor of "war work." In the long run, however, this decision proves to be a prudent one as it adds yet another reason to why women deserve the vote.

      August 26, 1920 The Nineteenth Amendment is ratified. Its victory accomplished, NAWSA ceases to exist, but its organization becomes the nucleus of the League of Women Voters.

      1923 The National Woman's Party first proposes the Equal Rights Amendment to eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender. It has never been ratified.

      William H. Chafe, The American Woman: Her Changing Social, Economic, and Political Roles, 1920-1970; Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism; Thomas Dublin, Women at Work: The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Massachusetts, 1826-1860; Sara M. Evans, Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America; Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States, rev. ed.; Debra Franklin, The Heritage We Claim: College of Notre Dame of Maryland, 1896-1996; National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) Collection, Rare Books Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Anne Firor Scott and Andrew Scott, One Half the People: The Fight for Woman Suffrage; "From Parlor to Politics," permanent exhibit at the Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and Dorothy Sterling, ed. We Are Your Sisters: Black Women in the Nineteenth Century. Zophy, Angela Howard and Frances M. Kavenik, eds. Handbook of American Women's History.

      Suffragist Slogans

        Here are several slogans and quotes that were used in the Suffragist Movement.

        "The prolonged slavery of women is the darkest page in human history." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815 - 1902)

        We touch our caps, and place tonight
        The visitor's wreath upon her,
        The woman who outranks us all

        In courage and honor.

        Ida Husted Harper (1851 - 1931)

        The Bible and Church have been the greatest stumbling block in the way of woman's emancipation.

        Elizabeth Cady Stanton  (1815 - 1902)

        Suffragist: Primary Lesson Ideas

          Susan B. Anthony Day

          Grade Level: 3rd-4th

          Author: Holly Matthews


          Susan B. Anthony Day, February 15th, is a commemorative day to celebrate the accomplishments of a great leader in the movement for women's right to vote. Susan Brownell Anthony was born February 15, 1820 to Daniel and Lucy Anthony in Adams, Massachusetts. Susan was one of the seven children in her family, five girls and two boys. Her father manufactured cotton. Susan was even able to work for a short time in the cotton mill as a young girl. Susan had strong Quaker background and therefore supported social reform. Her father believed it was just as important for his daughters to receive a good education as it was for his sons. At an early age Susan was sent away to school to study. At that time one of the few jobs a woman could hold was a teacher. She beganteaching school in New York, at the early age of 14. As a teacher, she earned $2.50 a week compared to the $10.00 a week her male colleagues earned. She felt equal pay should be received for equal work.

          Following the panic of 1837, in which Susan's family lost their cotton mill, she moved home to help her family regain their financial security. Her family later moved to Rochester, New York. While at home she strongly supported and participated in the abolition and the temperance movements. However, she often found it difficult for women to do much with these social issues because they were unable to vote.

          In 1851, Susan was introduced to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a women's right advocate. The two women became good friends and worked side by side for many years in support of women's suffrage. Susan B. Anthony felt very strongly about women's right to public speech and gave many powerful speeches throughout the country. Often she would use the Constitution as a resource in her persuasive speeches. She was known for saying "the constitution says, We the people...', not We the male citizens...'."

          In 1869 the Fifteenth amendment was ratified. This stated that black men were now allowed to vote. Women's suffrage advocates were outraged that black men could now vote, yet women still could not. Following the ratification of the fifteenth amendment, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). The NWSA was open to all who wanted to join, both men and women. The NWSA published a newspaper, The Revolution, with its motto, "Men, their rights, and nothing more: women their rights, and nothing less".

          The fifteenth amendment stated that "all citizens" could vote. Susan B. Anthony along with other women felt they too should be classified as "citizens." In 1872 Susan B. Anthony and 15 other women registered and voted in the 1872 presidential election in Rochester, New York. was set for June. Susan felt her voting was justified since she was a "citizen." During the time prior to the trial, Susan was busy giving speeches and trying to persuade any potential juror. The trial was held in a small town outside of Rochester. Susan was not allowed to speak for herself and fined $100 which she vowed she would never pay. She never went to jail. However, no appeal was ever made to the Supreme Court. If an appeal had been made and had turned in Susan's favor, women would have been given the right to vote then.

          Susan B. Anthony became the president of the National American Women's Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1892 and served until 1900. Susan continued to keep the issue of women's right to vote alive by touring nearly every state and giving public speeches wherever she went. During her 60 years of service for women's suffrage, she gave approximately 75-100 speeches a year.

          Susan B. Anthony died March 13, 1906, at the age of 86, before the amendment was passed giving women the right to vote. In 1920, the Nineteenth amendment, often referred to as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment was passed giving all women the legal right to vote. Susan B. Anthony's birthday, February 15th is now a commemorative day to remember the great leader and work she did for the women's right movement.


          Hakim, J. (1994). Reconstruction and Reform. New York: Oxford University Press.

          Libresco, A. (1995, September). Suffrage and Social Change. Social Education. 266-269, 300-302.

          Nathan, D. (1964). Women of Courage. New York: Random House.

          Stoddard, H. (1970). Famous American Women. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company.


          • Students will recognize the importance of women suffrage.
          • Students will demonstrate knowledge of significant historical events.
          • Students will identify the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments.
          • Students will acknowledge the important works of Susan B. Anthony.

          Time Allotment: Approximately 3-4 class periods

          Resources Needed:

          Ballots for simulation activity

          Paper for slogan posters

          Map of United States

          Map of New York

          Copy of the Constitution

          "Tribute to Susan" paper


          A. Simulation Activity. Introduce students to unit on Susan B. Anthony and women's suffrage through the following simulation. (Simulation adapted from: Hauser, M., Hauser, J. (1994, September/October). Women and Empowerment. Social Studies and the Young Learner, 1-3).

          Begin by telling the students that it is time to select a new book for the class story time. Hold up two options that the students may choose from and briefly describe each book. Explain to the class that today you are going to use ballots to vote on which book to read. Ballots are what we use to vote in elections. Show the ballots to the students. The names of the books are printed on the ballots. When students are ready to begin, pass out the ballots only to the boys. Explain to the class that girls are not allowed to vote in this "election." After the boys have voted, collect and tally the ballots. Debrief students on simulation. Discuss as a class, how the girls felt about not voting. Should the girls have to agree with the boys vote? Is this discrimination? What if only the girls could vote? Encourage students to share their thoughts and ideas. Make sure that all students understand the importance of letting both girls and boys vote. Introduce Susan B. Anthony and the concept of women's suffrage. Mention that she also felt it was unfair that women were not able to vote. She was a leader in the women's right to vote movement and gave many speeches about her beliefs.

          B. Slogans. Divide the class into small groups. Have the students create a slogan for women's rights or the importance of both girls and boys voting. Write the slogans up in a poster format and hang them in the classroom.

          C. Brainstorm. Draw the KWL diagram on the board. Use the KWL diagram to brainstorm as a class. List what the students "know", what they "want" to know, and what they want to "learn" about Susan B. Anthony.

          D. Mini-lecture. Talk to the students about Susan B. Anthony and give them background information about her life. Use the map of the United States and of New York, to point out important places (where she grew up, where she went to school and where significant events took place). Explain what women's suffrage is and review comments from simulation activity about why it is important for both girls and boys to vote. Discuss important historical events that took place in Susan B. Anthony's life and during the women's rights movement. Talk about the two amendments, the fifteenth and the nineteenth amendment, that affected the women's rights movement. Look up the two amendments in the Constitution. For clarification have the students make a time line portraying significant events. (Chronological list in Appendix.) They may choose to draw pictures with the dates to help remind them what took place. Review with verbal questioning as necessary.

          E. Writing Activity. Pass out the "Tribute to Susan" papers to the students. Explain to the class that we have discussed some important things that Susan B. Anthony has done. Have each student write a tribute or a letter to Susan B. Anthony. The students can use their creativity in writing the tributes or letters. Allow the students to do additional research if they wish to. When students have completed the letters and/or tributes to Susan B. Anthony compile them into a book entitled "Our Tribute to Susan."

          F. Application Activity. As a class think of something that the students as a whole want to change. Some examples may include "more recycling" or "read for fun." Have the students develop a slogan or motto to go along with the change they want to make. As a class write a newspaper, similar to The Revolution that Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote.

          Each student can write an article about why they think (there should be more recycling) and why it is important. Include slogan or motto in the newspaper. Share copies of the newspaper with other classes in the school.

          G. Closing Discussion. Review with the students by asking them what they have learned about Susan B. Anthony and what she did for women's suffrage. Students should also be able to identify Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments and their importance. Allow students to openly respond in discussion.


          Slogan poster will be assessed.

          Time lines will be assessed.

          "Tribute to Susan" will be assessed.

          Response to discussion questions will be assessed.


          Chronological list for time lines (other information may be included)

          • 1820 Susan B. Anthony was born.
          • 1851 Susan B. Anthony met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and joined women's suffrage movement.
          • 1869 Fifteenth Amendment was passed, NWSA was formed.
          • 1872 Susan B. Anthony voted in presidential election and was arrested.
          • 1892 Susan B. Anthony became president of NAWSA.
          • 1906 Susan B. Anthony died at age 86.
          • 1929 Nineteenth Amendment was passed, giving women right to vote.

          Suffragist: Secondary Lesson Ideas

            1. What methods have women employed to affect social reform? Which methods have been the most successful? Have women used methods different from those employed by men?

            2. Women have made significant inroads into politics in recent decades. Do they have more to accomplish? How can women increase their numbers in elected offices at all levels?

            3. Do you foresee a female president in the near future? A vice president?

            4. Women's rights in America have progressed since the Nineteenth Amendment was passed. Have they come far enough, though? What do you think is the most pressing women's rights issue today in this country? How could social activism effectively be used to make progress on the issue? (Feel free to address this from an international standpoint, if it better fits the subject you teach. Focus on one country, or one issue across different parts of the world.)

            5. Test your on-line investigative skills by researching the following four items using only the Internet. After each answer, list the steps you took to find your response. (If any questions stump you, record and submit your search strategy.)Find a Web site with a lesson plan, biography, article, or book advertisement about women (or a particular woman) in politics or social reform appropriate for your curriculum. What is its address?Find and list three Million Mom March chapters in North Carolina.The North Carolina Press Association named Elizabeth Dole North Carolinian of the Year in the same year that the Women Executives in State Government granted Dole its Lifetime Achievement Award. What was the year? List several highlights of Gladys Tillett’s successes as a social activist and politician.

            6. Primary sources, like the letter and newspaper excerpts, song lyrics, pamphlet, and posters in this session, can be fascinating items that make history come alive and make reading engaging. Using women's history-related primary sources create a presentation journaling Women's Suffrage in the United States.

            7. Make a CD case for the "Sounds of the Suffragists" Listing song names (set a number minimum) and a brief "sell point" or description of each. Have students use slogans and themes to help come up with song titles. Students have to present their CD to the class in the form of a live infomercial or record and play for the class if they have technology at home to do so.

            8.  Use a map of the U.S. to mark, number in correct chronological order, and write a 5-15 word description of (#) key events that marked this period as the Abolitionist Movement.  If there's not enough room on the map to write each location's description, number the locations and in another area, explain each number location's importance.

            Links to More Information

              There is a large amount of information out there on these topics.  Below are the websites I found most helpful.

              DAR Museum (Daughters of the American Revolution)


              Cornell University


              The Massachusetts Historical Library