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The Movement Splits Previous Next
Digital History ID 3203


After the Civil War, women's rights supporters split over whether they should push to include women in the 15th Amendment, which extended voting rights to African American men. In 1869, two competing organizations emerged, each with its own strategies and goals. The National Woman Suffrage Association, headquartered in New York and led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, favored a constitutional amendment giving the vote to women as well as to African American men. It sought a constitutional amendment and advocated an agenda broader than suffrage, including divorce reform, property rights for women, and dress reform. It was wary of men's involvement in the organization and was willing to forge tactical alliances with Democrats who opposed equal rights for African Americans.

The American Woman Suffrage Association, led by former abolitionist Lucy Stone and based in Boston, believed that the voting rights of black men needed to receive priority. This organization welcomed men into its ranks and favored a state-by-state approach and a single-minded focus on suffrage.

In 1878, Stanton persuaded Sen. Aaron A. Sargent of California to introduce a women's suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It was reintroduced in every session for the next 40 years.

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