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How Women Got the Right to Vote, Among Other Things August 26, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in A Few Good Books on the Subject, Books, Reading.
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On this day in 1920, the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment gave female citizens of the United States the right to vote.  You can visit the website of the New York Times for the front page of the day.  Strangely, this event was not even one of the major headlines.

To those of us born at a time when the right to vote is taken for granted and even undervalued by some, it may seem incomprehensible that it was ever a controversy. 

But what a controversy it was!  Suffragettes faced scorn, danger, and imprisonment in their battle for the right to vote.  It was a long and amazing saga that led to the Nineteenth Amendment, and it’s worth knowing about.  Here are a few good books on the subject: 

The Ladies of Seneca Falls:  The Birth of the Women’s Rights Movement by Miriam Gurko – Five women sitting around a tea table in upstate New York organize “A Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman.”  There are many consequences. 

Not for Ourselves Alone:  The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony by Geoffrey C. Ward.  The towering figures of the movement. 

The Trial of Susan B. Anthony.  Her own narrative of the trial leading to her conviction for voting “knowingly, wrongfully, and unlawfully.”  For primary source enthusiasts. 

Sex Wars by Marge Piercy.  Not just about the suffrage movement, this novel is set against the lively background of post-Civil War New York and the social ferment of the era. 

The Nineteenth Amendment is an important part of the story of how we got from then to now, and I for one am profoundly grateful to the women and men who brought it about. 

Happy Reading! 

The Book Goddess


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