Teaching With Documents:
Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment


Thumbnail of Suffrage Rally Program, 1913Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change in the Constitution. Militant suffragists used tactics such as parades, silent vigils, and hunger strikes. The records of the National Archives and Records Administration reveal much of this struggle.

As the 150th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 approaches, historical documents and a script that the National Archives commissioned about the decades long struggle entitled Failure is Impossible serve as valuable teaching tools.

The Script

Introduction to Failure is Impossible

The Documents

A Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution
December 7, 1868

Petition to Congress
December 1871

Memorial to Congress from The American Woman Suffrage Association
February 6, 1872

Petition from Susan B. Anthony to U.S. Congress
January 12, 1874

Petition for Woman Suffrage Signed by Frederick Douglass, Jr.

Association of Army Nurses of the Civil War Letter to U.S. House Judiciary Committee
May 1, 1917

Petition, Anti-Suffrage Party of New York
World War I, ca. 1917

Photograph, Kaiser Wilson poster
November 19, 1918

Ratification of 19th Amendment, Tennessee
August 24, 1920



Teachers >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272