Rights for Women: The Suffrage Movement and Its Leaders

Men Support the Woman Suffrage Movement

Since the beginning of the woman suffrage movement, men had been involved as active supporters. Some abolitionist men were supporters of women’s rights. The Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 was presided over by Lucretia Mott’s husband, James Mott. Thirty-two men, including Frederick Douglass, signed the Declaration of Sentiments.

After the Civil War, some men were involved in the American Equal Rights Association (AERA), the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), and later with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The AWSA was actually co-founded by Lucy Stone and her husband, Henry Blackwell.

Men were involved with the suffrage movement in the 20th century as well. Beginning in about 1910, men began forming Men’s Leagues for Woman Suffrage. In 1912, the National Men’s League had 20,000 members.

During the 1910s and 1920s, male state legislators agreed to summit woman suffrage measures to state voters. Millions of male voters voted to approve these measures. Union men, in particular, were often strong supporters of woman suffrage.

After much persuasion by the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman's Party, President Wilson finally worked to pass a woman suffrage federal amendment to the Constitution. Suffragists also counted numerous supporters in Congress. When the House of Representatives voted on the suffrage amendment in 1918, pro-suffrage Congressmen made heroic efforts to be there for the vote. Some Congressmen left their sickbeds to vote for the amendment. Congressman Henry A. Barnhart was unable to walk and had to be carried in on a stretcher. Congressman Thetus W. Sims had broken his shoulder, but despite the pain he refused to have it set in order to make the vote. At her request, Congressman Frederick C. Hicks left his wife’s deathbed in order to vote for woman suffrage.

In Tennessee, the last state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment, one young state Congressman had been planning to vote against woman suffrage. However, after listening to pleas from his mother, he promised to vote for suffrage if his vote was needed. When the time came, and one vote was needed to ratify the amendment, he kept his promise and voted for suffrage.


Frederick Douglass and Henry Blackwell
Frederick Douglass, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division; Henry Blackwell, Library of Congress
Rare Book and Special Collection Division, NAWSA Miller Scrapbook Collection

Men's League Dinner Invitation
Click for larger image

Dinner invitation for The Men's League
for Woman Suffrage, Library of Congress
Rare Book and Special Collection Division, NAWSA Miller Scrapbook Collection

Men March in Suffrage Parade
Men march in NY City Suffrage Parade, 1911,
Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collection Division,
NAWSA Miller Scrapbook Collection

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