Next year, we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to participate in elections. The suffragist movement was one with a legacy that, to this day, still inspires generations of women to fight for equal rights. There were many women and men who joined the cause and fought for more than 70 years, and here are five essential figures of the women’s suffrage movement.
- Susan B. Anthony: Probably the most well-known suffragist of the movement, Susan B. Anthony was an important supporter and promoter of women’s right to vote. Anthony was an essential speaker and a crucial strategist, and her thanks to her experience in politics, she played an important role in the fight against slavery and in favor of women’s suffrage.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton: working very closely to Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton played an essential role in the suffragist movement, as she devoted her skills as a writer and theorist to the movement. Even when Stanton had limited time because of her family of seven children, she became a crucial member of the movement. Along with Lucretia Mott, Stanton called for the 1848 Seneca Falls convention and was the primary writer of the Declaration of Sentiments for the convention.
- Alice Paul: Even when she joined the suffragist movement in the 20th century, Paul was responsible for bringing a much more radical and confrontational approach after returning from a trip to England. This approach was essential for the passing of the 19th Amendment. Besides, she was the one who proposed the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
- Emeline Pankhurst: along with her daughters Christabel and Sylvia Pankhurst, they led a more radical and confrontational wing in the British Suffrage movement, becoming major figures in the founding of the WSPU, or Women’s Social and Political Union. They represent the British fight for women’s suffrage and inspired the American movement through their actions and approach, too.
- Carrie Chapman Catt: After Susan B. Anthony left the presidency of the NAWSA, or National American Woman Suffrage Association, Catt was elected as her successor. Carrie Chapman Catt represented a less confrontational and more conservative wing of the movement and eventually helped with the founding of the Women’s Peace Party as well as the International Woman Suffrage Association.
“To the wrongs that need resistance,
to the right that needs assistance,
to the future in the distance, give yourselves.”
—Carrie Chapman Catt