Suffrage Teaching Resources From the National Archives
Suffrage teaching activities and documents via DocsTeach, from the National Archives.
Era: Post-Suffrage Era, Suffrage Era | Media: Curated Photos/Ephemera, Essay, Leaflets, Postcards, Web-based
DocsTeach, a National Archives-sponsored website of resources for teaching history, is designed to provide information and lesson plans for teachers. It may also be useful for students and others looking for primary sources on women’s rights and suffrage, however.
Likely the most useful resources for teachers are two teaching activities specifically related to suffrage. These include learning objectives, detailed lesson instructions, and extension activities. There is one lesson for high school students and one for middle schoolers. Note: There are nine more suffrage teaching activities available to those who register with the site. Registration is free and open even to those who aren’t teachers.
Additionally, the site contains:
- Nearly 200 high-quality primary sources pertaining to women’s rights
- Two dozen primary sources that explicitly pertain to women’s suffrage
Nearly all the documents include thorough citations and are copyright-free/public domain (although it’s worth looking at the Archives’ accessible and straightforward legal page before you use material from the site).
Some of the highlights include:
- A petition—sponsored by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony—asking Congress to enact a law giving US women the right to vote
- An 1888 joint Congressional resolution proposing a constitutional amendment extending voting rights to property-holding widows and spinsters—whom Elizabeth Cady Stanton half-jokingly described to Congress as “industrious, common-sense women … who love their country (having no husbands to love) better than themselves.”
- A 1917 letter in which National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage President Alice Wadsworth urges Congressman Charles E. Fuller to vote against the proposed 19th Amendment, which ultimately granted US women the right to vote. (You can view a NAOWS pamphlet opposing women’s voting rights here.)