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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Groundbreaking Gilded Age Women in Politics

The passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 gave some women the right to vote on a federal level, but certainly not all.  As two examples: Native Americans were not allowed to be citizens in 1920, so indigenous women did not gain suffrage as a result. Despite their very active role in fighting for women's suffrage, Black women's right to vote was less clearly secured by the passage of the Amendment, but that did not deter them from advocating consistently for their right and engaging in electoral politics. In some parts of the country, some women had been allowed to vote in local elections long before 1920, and many women ran for office!  Exactly 100 years after the 19th Amendment was ratified, the United States elected the first female vice-president.  Because of this groundbreaking election, and amidst the backdrop of much controversy regarding voting rights in our current day, we want to highlight other women who also achieved political firsts.

Women's Political Union Votes for Women Sash
Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution

This essay will explore the groundbreaking political campaigns of five different women during this era.  We will explore the first female to legitimately run for president as well as first woman elected to various offices including administrator of a statewide office, mayor, state senator, and US representative.