- Evaluate the relationship between women’s efforts to gain suffrage and the constitutional principles of inalienable rights, equality, and consent of the governed.
- Students will trace the contributions of leaders in the women’s suffrage movement.
- Students will assess the effects of the women’s movement for equality and suffrage and the constitutionality of the movement’s goals.
- republican government
- John Adams
- Fifteenth Amendment
- Declaration of Independence
- Continental Congress
- consent of the governed
Have students read the Votes for Women Essay to establish context for the lesson and activities.
Have students work in small groups to read Handout A and talk through the two “Critical Thinking Questions:”
Write an eight-sentence summary of this article. (Option: Have groups summarize the reading by selecting one main sentence for each of the 7 paragraphs.)
Susan B. Anthony said, “Suffrage is the pivotal right.” Write a one-paragraph response to this statement, based on your knowledge of the Constitution and on this article. (Option: discuss the definition of pivotal and have students share to what extent they agree with the statement.)
Activity 1 – 20 minutes
Compare two declarations with Handout B. Students work in small groups to annotate the Declaration of Sentiments showing Introduction, Preamble, Indictment, Conclusion, and Signatures, and then discuss the remaining questions at the end of the handout.
Activity 2 – 20 minutes
Distribute Handout C: Suffrage Amendments. Small groups read the amendments and write a paraphrase of each. Depending on your students’ grade-level and reading skills, you may opt to direct them to Handout A as a support as they write their paraphrases. Conduct a large-group discussion in which students compare, contrast, and critique the groups’ paraphrases. Re-introduce the critical question (above).
Assign a response paper in which students address the critical question: Evaluate the relationship between women’s efforts to gain suffrage and the constitutional principles of inalienable rights, equality, and consent of the governed.
Ask students to select their favorite quote from the Declaration of Sentiments, and invite a few students to share their selection with the class.
Response Paper: “Evaluate the relationship between women’s suffrage and the constitutional principles of inalienable rights, equality, and consent of the governed.”
Votes for Women Activity: Liberty and Equality
Distribute Handout D: Angelina Grimke, Handout E: Alice Paul, and Handout F: Carrie Chapman Catt. Have students read the narratives and select one to research. During their research, they should also select a friend or relative of this person, as well as a politician or government official who was her contemporary.
Depending on class size, divide class into groups of 5-7, so that each group includes the following:
- Angelina Grimké
- Carrie Chapman Catt
- Alice Paul
- One or two relatives of each woman
- At least two government officials
After assigning students to groups, have each group prepare to present a dinner-party scenario (or skit) in which a range of perspectives is portrayed. All of the portrayals should include references to the central issues related to women’s suffrage and be based on:
- Students’ research about Grimké, Chapman, or Catt
- Issues and perspectives of Grimké, Chapman’s, and Catt’s day – regardless of how directly they may seem to relate to the issue of women’s suffrage – that may have influenced peoples’ perspectives on women’s suffrage.
- The U.S. Constitution and constitutional principles.
- Differences of opinion among Grimké, Chapman, and Catt – as well as between and among the other guests.
Women’s Rights in the Late 20th Century
Votes for Women
Votes for Women: The Story of the Nineteenth Amendment guides students through the story of the women's suffrage movement in the United States. Through rich narratives, primary source activities, and classroom-ready lessons, the curriculum explores the people, places, and events of the suffragist movement, inspiring students through the perseverance and courage of those in the movement and asking them to consider how one is able to carry out long-term change in order to better align institutions with the principles of liberty, justice, and equality. This framing provides a structure that allows students to explore how the suffragists mapped out a pathway for change to achieve the vote through the Nineteenth Amendment. The resource also contains capstone projects so that students can use the lessons of this curriculum to make a positive impact in their own communities.