Lucretia Coffin was born into a Quaker family in Nantucket, Massachusetts, the second child of six by Anna Folger and Thomas Coffin. At the age of thirteen, she was sent to the Nine Partners Quaker Boarding School in what is now Millbrook, Dutchess County, New York, which was run by the Society of Friends. There she became a teacher after graduation. Her interest in women's rights began when she discovered that male teachers at the school were paid three times as much as the female staff. On April 10, 1811, Lucretia Coffin married James Mott at Pine Street Meeting in Philadelphia, becoming Lucretia Mott. They had six children. Their second child, Thomas Coffin, died at age two. Their children all became active in the anti-slavery and other reform movements.
Mott and Stanton became well acquainted at the World's Anti-Slavery Convention. Stanton later recalled that they first discussed the possibility of a women's rights convention in London.
In 1848 Mott and Stanton organized a women's rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York. Stanton noted the Seneca Falls Convention was the first public women's rights meeting in the United States. Stanton's resolution that it was "the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves the sacred right to the elective franchise" was passed despite Mott's opposition. Mott viewed politics as corrupted by slavery and moral compromises, but she soon concluded that women's "right to the elective franchise however, is the same, and should be yielded to her, whether she exercises that right or not.” Mott signed the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments. Over the next few decades, women's suffrage became the focus of the women's rights movement. While Stanton is usually credited as the leader of that effort, it was Mott's mentoring of Stanton and their work together that inspired the event.
Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony was convinced by her work for temperance that women needed the vote if they were to influence public affairs. She was introduced by Amelia Bloomer to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the leaders of the women's rights movement, in 1851 and attended her first women's rights convention in Syracuse in 1852.
In 1866 Anthony and Stanton founded the American Equal Rights Association and in 1868 they started publishing the newspaper The Revolution in Rochester, with the masthead "Men their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less," and the aim of establishing "justice for all."
In the 1870s Anthony campaigned vigorously for women's suffrage on speaking tours in the West. Anthony, three of her sisters, and other women were arrested in Rochester in 1872 for voting. Anthony refused to pay her streetcar fare to the police station because she was "traveling under protest at the government's expense." She was arraigned with other women and election inspectors in Rochester Common Council chambers. She refused to pay bail and applied for habeas corpus, but her lawyer paid the bail, keeping the case from the Supreme Court. She was indicted in Albany, and the Rochester District Attorney asked for a change of venue because a jury might be prejudiced in her favor. At her trial in Canandaigua in 1873 the judge instructed the jury to find her guilty without discussion. He fined her $100 and made her pay courtroom fees, but did not imprison her when she refused to pay, therefore denying her the chance to appeal.
In 1887 the two women's suffrage organizations merged as the National American Woman Suffrage Association with Stanton as president and Anthony as vice-president. Anthony became president in 1892 when Stanton retired. Anthony campaigned in the West in the 1890s to make sure that territories where women had the vote were not blocked from admission to the Union. She attended the International Council of Women at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.
In 1900, aged 80, Anthony retired as President of NAWSA. In 1904 Anthony presided over the International Council of Women in Berlin and became honorary president of Carrie Chapman Catt's International Woman Suffrage Alliance.
Susan B. Anthony died in 1906 at her home on Madison Street in Rochester. All American adult women finally got the vote with the Nineteenth Amendment, also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, in 1920.
Shortly after her graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, Paul joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and was appointed Chairwoman of their Congressional Committee in Washington, DC. After months of fundraising and raising awareness for the cause, membership numbers went up in 1913. Their focus was lobbying for a constitutional amendment to secure the right to vote for women. Such an amendment had originally been sought by suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who tried securing the vote on a state-by-state basis.
Paul's methods began to create tension between her and the leader of NAWSA, who felt that a constitutional amendment was not practical for the times. When her lobbying efforts proved fruitless, Paul and her colleagues formed the National Woman's Party (NWP) in 1916 and began introducing some of the methods used by the suffrage movement in Britain.
In the US presidential election of 1916, Paul and the NWP campaigned against the continuing refusal of President Woodrow Wilson and other Democrats to support the Suffrage Amendment actively. In January 1917, the NWP staged the first political protest to picket the White House. The picketers, known as "Silent Sentinels," held banners demanding the right to vote. This was an example of a non-violent civil disobedience campaign. In July 1917, picketers were arrested on charges of "obstructing traffic." Many, including Paul, were convicted and incarcerated at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia and the District of Columbia Jail.
In a protest of the conditions in Occoquan, Paul commenced a hunger strike, which led to her being moved to the prison’s psychiatric ward and force-fed raw eggs through a feeding tube. This, combined with the continuing demonstrations and attendant press coverage, kept pressure on the Wilson administration. In January, 1918, Wilson announced that women's suffrage was urgently needed as a "war measure", and strongly urged Congress to pass the legislation. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution secured the vote for women.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton-
Elizabeth Cady, the daughter of Daniel Cady, a lawyer and politician, was born in Johnstown, New York, 12th November, 1815. She studied law under her father, who later became a New York Supreme Court judge. During this period she became a strong advocate of women's rights.
In 1840 Elizabeth married the lawyer, Henry Bewster Stanton. The couple both became active members of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Later that year, Stanton and Lucretia Mott, travelled to London as delegates to the World Anti-Slavery Convention. Both women were furious when they, like the British women at the convention, were refused permission to speak at the meeting. Stanton later recalled: "We resolved to hold a convention as soon as we returned home, and form a society to advocate the rights of women."
However, it was not until 1848 that Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls. Stanton's resolution that it was "the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves the sacred right to the elective franchise" was passed, and this became the focus of the group's campaign over the next few years.
In 1866 Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone established the American Equal Rights Association. The following year, the organization became active in Kansas where Negro suffrage and woman suffrage were to be decided by popular vote. However, both ideas were rejected at the polls.
In 1868 Stanton and Susan B. Anthony established the political weekly, The Revolution, and the following year the two women formed a new organization, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). The organization condemned the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments as blatant injustices to women. The NWSA also advocated easier divorce and an end to discrimination in employment and pay.
Another group, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), was also active in the campaign for women's rights and by the 1880s it became clear that it was not a good idea to have two rival groups campaigning for votes for women. After several years of negotiations, the AWSA and the NWSA merged in 1890 to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Stanton was elected as NAWSA first president but was replaced by Susan B. Anthony in 1892.
Stanton was also a historian of the struggle for women's rights and with Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage, complied and published the four volume, The History of Woman Suffrage (1881-1902). Elizabeth Cady Stanton, whose autobiography, Eighty Years and More, was published in 1898, died in New York, on 26th October, 1902.
Carrie Chapman Catt-
She was born Carrie Clinton Lane in Ripon, Wisconsin. Catt spent her childhood in Charles City, Iowa and graduated from Iowa State College (later called Iowa State University) in Ames, Iowa, graduating in three years. She was a member of Pi Beta Phi, the valedictorian of her class, and the only woman. She became a teacher and then superintendent of schools in Mason City, Iowa in 1885.
In 1885 Carrie married newspaper editor Leo Chapman, but he died in California soon after. Eventually she landed on her feet but only after some harrowing experiences in the male working world. In 1890, she married George Catt, a wealthy engineer. Their marriage allowed her to spend a good part of each year on the road campaigning for women's suffrage, a cause she had become involved with in Iowa during the late 1880s. Catt also joined the Women's Christian Temperance Union.
Catt became a close colleague of Susan B. Anthony, who selected Catt to succeed her as head of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). She was elected president of NAWSA twice; her first term was from 1900 to 1904 and her second term was from 1915 to 1920. Her second term coincided with the climax of the women's suffrage movement in the U.S., and culminated in the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. NAWSA was by far the largest organization working for women's suffrage in the U.S. From her first endeavors in Iowa in the 1880s to her last in Tennessee in 1920, Catt supervised dozens of campaigns, mobilized numerous volunteers (1 million by the end), and made hundreds of speeches. After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Catt retired from NAWSA.
Catt founded the League of Women Voters in 1920 as a successor to NAWSA. In the same year, she ran as the Presidential candidate for the Commonwealth Land Party.
Catt was also a leader of the international women's suffrage movement. She helped to found the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) in 1902, serving as its president from 1904 until 1923. The IWSA remains in existence, now as the International Alliance of Women.