Museum BlogRoyal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center

Votes for Women!

It’s been 241 years since Abigail Adams asked her husband John Adams to “remember the ladies” in a letter dated March 31, 1776. It’s also been 241 years since the Founding Fathers declared “all men are created equal” and conveniently forgot the ladies. It was another 144 years before that equality in regards to voting was finally achieved. To put it in perspective, it hasn’t even been 100 years since women gained the vote in the United States! So why is this topic on the forefront today? Well, August 18, 1920 was the day the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was ratified by the two-thirds majority needed to make it national.

Some states had already granted women the right to vote but the next step was nationwide suffrage. On June 4, 1919, the senate passed the 19th Amendment, which meant the next step was for state ratification. By March of 1920, 35 states had approved the amendment and only one more state was needed to achieve two-thirds majority. On August 18th, Tennessee voted for the ratification and women nationwide gained the right to vote. The amendment was certified into law on August 26 and women were finally allowed to cast a vote during the November election.

The fight for suffrage was a long one. Women had long desired the right to vote but the first organization at a national level for women’s suffrage wasn’t until 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Susan B. Anthony soon joined the ranks and throughout her life campaigned strongly for women’s rights. In fact, here in the museum we have a letter, written on National Women Suffrage Association letterhead and signed by Susan B. Anthony!

The letter was written to a prominent resident of Cañon City, Maria M. Sheetz, in which she is urged to keep pushing the 16th Amendment [1]. This letter was written in 1877, around the time Anthony was gathering petitions with signatures from multiple states towards suffrage. To have this piece of history right here in the museum is incredible. Sadly, Susan B. Anthony never lived to see women gain the right to vote nationwide as she died in 1906. However, Maria M. Sheetz lived to see both Colorado grant women the right to vote in 1893 and the nation grant women the right to vote in 1920!

Interested in learning more history facts? Stop by the museum, give us a call, or send us a message!

If you would like to see the letter mentioned above, we’ll have it on display during our presentation on Fremont County Women on August 26 at 1 PM here at the museum.

[1] Women’s suffrage was originally proposed as the 16th amendment though it later became the 19th amendment.

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