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Elementary

Examining (and Debating) Women’s Suffrage Arguments and Memorabilia

Recommended Instructional Time: 30-90 minutes Recommended Grade Level(s): 5th grade

Lesson Overview

This lesson begins with an overview of the national women’s suffrage movement through a picture book read-aloud: Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote (or through an alternative voting simulation. Then, students will analyze primary source documents and suffrage memorabilia to identify arguments made by the anti-suffrage and pro-suffrage sides. Students will create their own pro- or anti-suffrage items.Students will consider how they can personally affect change and improve their communities. Teachers may choose to extend the lesson by staging a women’s suffrage debate or rally.

Woman Suffrage Association of Utah stamp emblem with a beehive in center

Historical Background for Educators

Key Utah State Standards Addressed

Learning Objectives

Guiding Questions

  • Why is voting important?
  • How has the Constitution been amended to grant voting rights to various groups of people?
  • What tactics and strategies are employed by those involved in social movements like the women’s suffrage movement?
  • What impact did the women’s suffrage movement have on the United States?
  • What role did Utah play in the national women’s suffrage movement?
  • Why did some people support women’s suffrage? Why did others not support women’s suffrage?
  • Why are voting rights denied of certain groups? Why were women denied voting rights?
  • How did race play a part in the women’s suffrage movement and the ratification of the 19th Amendment?

Vocabulary

amendment

(noun) a change in the words or meaning of a law or document (such as a constitution)

The 19th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution grants women voting rights.

ballot

(noun) a ticket or piece of paper used to vote

Seraph Young was the first woman in the modern United States to cast a ballot in an election.

campaign

(noun) a series of events designed to influence voters in an election

Suffragists like Susan B. Anthony led the campaign for women’s voting rights.

(verb) to take part in a series of events to influence voters

Suffragists campaigned for women’s voting rights.

delegate

(noun) a representative who votes on behalf of others

Susa Young Gates was one of many delegates representing the women of Utah at national suffrage conventions.

lobby

(verb): to try to influence government officials to make decisions for or against something.

Anti-polygamists lobbied Congress to make polygamy illegal.

petition

(noun) a written document that people sign to show that they want a person or organization to do or change something

Suffragists wrote petitions to convince lawmakers to pass a women’s suffrage amendment.

(verb) to ask a person, group, or organization for something in a formal way

Anti-polygamists petitioned Congress to pass anti-polygamy legislation.

ratify

(verb) to make official by voting for and signing (a constitutional amendment)

In August 1920, the 19th Amendment granting women’s voting rights was ratified by three-fourths of the states.

suffrage

(noun) The right to vote in a political election

During the women’s suffrage movement, women fought for and won the right to vote in political elections.

suffragist

(noun) a person who worked to get voting rights for women

Suffragists fought for women’s voting rights.

Materials Needed

Lesson

Assessment

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