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“A Petition for Universal Suffrage,” January 29, 1866

After the Civil War, as Congress prepared to extend voting rights to black men, suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton recognized the opportunity to include women in any constitutional changes. This petition—signed by Anthony, Stanton and other notable suffragists—asked Congress for “universal suffrage” for all citizens, regardless of sex.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

“A Petition for Universal Suffrage,” January 29, 1866

Working for Woman Sufferage

From 1848 at a convention in Seneca Falls, New York, and continuing into the 20th century, several generations of woman suffragists worked tirelessly for the right to vote. Over time, they employed different strategies—some worked for a constitutional amendment, and others pursued suffrage state by state. Tactics included petitions, parades, public speaking, civil disobedience, imprisonment and hunger strikes. Women finally achieved suffrage in 1920 with ratification of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing them the right to vote.