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Stanton’s Address to the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections

When suffrage leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton addressed a Senate committee in 1878, her speech invoked Senator Charles Sumner’s words that “Our Constitution...already secures to the humblest individual all the rights...of American citizens. But as statesmen differ in their interpretation” of the Constitution, she argued, an amendment was needed specifying women’s right to vote. Stanton was president of the National Woman Suffrage Association.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Stanton’s Address to the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections Stanton’s Address to the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections Stanton’s Address to the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections

Extending the Vote to Women

Begun in the mid-19th century, the women’s suffrage movement was eclipsed by the Civil War. When the Fifteenth Amendment ensured all citizens the right to vote regardless of race, it was not interpreted to include women. Suffrage leaders intensified their lobbying efforts on Congress. The Nineteenth Amendment, granting franchise to women, passed in 1919, with ratification completed in 1920.