WOW Museum: The Struggle for Women's Suffrage


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Voting Rights in America: A Timeline since 1776


1776-1787: Declaration of Independence ("All men are created equal"), Articles of Confederation, U.S. Constitution leave voting rights to state jurisdiction. Suffrage is limited to white male property owners.

1776-1807: New Jersey women, age 21 and over, can vote if they fulfill residency and property requirements. In 1807 the New Jersey legislature rescinds women's suffrage.

1776: Free blacks can vote in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

1792-1838: The constitutions of Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, exclude blacks from voting but expand white male suffrage.

1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ends the Mexican-American War and guarantees U.S. citizenship to Mexicans living in the newly acquired territories of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas. English language requirements limit their access to voting rights.

1860: Five states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts) allow free blacks to vote.

1867: Kansas holds the first referendum on women's suffrage in the U.S. The measure fails.

1869: Wyoming Territorial legislature grants full voting rights to women.

1870: Utah Territorial legislature grants full voting rights to women.

1870: Passage of the 15th Amendment prohibits states from denying citizens the vote based on "race, color, or previous condition of servitude," but many blacks remain disfranchised in the South by poll taxes and literacy tests.

1882: The Chinese Exclusion Act bars people of Chinese ancestry from becoming American citizens.

1883: Washington Territorial legislature grants full voting rights to women.

1884: The U.S. Supreme Court rules, in Elk v. Wilkins , that Native Americans are not citizens as defined by the 14th Amendment.

1887: Passage of the Dawes Act grants citizenship to Native Americans who give up their tribal affiliations. U.S. Congress rescinds women's suffrage in Utah. The Territorial Supreme Court rescinds women's suffrage in Washington Territory.

1888: Act of 1888 grants citizenship to Indian women who marry white men. Washington Territorial legislature grants women the right to vote but the Territory's Supreme Court quickly rescinds that right, for the second time.

1889: Washington state referendum defeats women's suffrage.

1890: Wyoming enters the Union as the first state granting full women's suffrage. The Indian Naturalization Act grants citizenship to American Indians whose applications are approved (similar to the process of immigrant naturalization).

1893: Colorado state referendum grants full voting rights to women.

1896: Utah and Idaho grant full voting rights to women.

1901: Congress grants citizenship to Indians living in Indian Territory (Oklahoma).

1910: Washington state referendum approves full suffrage for women.

1911: California state referendum approves full voting rights for women.

1912: Oregon, Kansas and Arizona state referenda approve full voting rights for women.

1913: Alaska Territorial Legislature approves women's right to vote as its first official act.

1914: Montana and Nevada referenda approve full suffrage for women.

1917: Russia enfranchises women.

1918: South Dakota and Oklahoma referenda grant full suffrage to women.

1919: American Indians who served in the military during World War I are granted U.S. citizenship.

1920: U.S. House of Representatives and Senate approve the 19th Amendment to grant suffrage to women. Amendment wins the necessary 2/3 ratification from state legislatures.

1922: Supreme Court rules, in Takao Ozawa v. United States, that people of Japanese heritage are not eligible to become naturalized citizens.

1924: The Indian Citizenship Act grants citizenship to American Indians, but many western states prohibit their voting.

1925: Filipinos barred from citizenship unless they have served three years in the U.S. Navy.

1943: Chinese Exclusion Act is repealed, making people of Chinese ancestry eligible for U.S. citizenship.

1946: Filipinos and indigenous people from India become eligible for U.S. citizenship.

1952: Walter-McCarran Act grants all people of Asian ancestry the right to become citizens.

1953: Full suffrage approved in Mexico

1965: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 suspends literacy tests in the Deep South and provides federal enforcement of black registration and voting rights.

1970: The 1970 Voting Rights Act bans literacy tests in 20 states, including New York, Illinois, and California.

1971: The passage of the 26th Amendment expands full voting rights to 18 year-old citizens.

1975: 1975 Voting Rights Act provides language assistance to minority voters.