Introduction

Section of Working Women's Picket

This exhibit was inspired by the campaign for women’s suffrage in the United States; particularly the 100th anniversary of the final push in the Senate for the Nineteenth Amendment and its eventual ratification nationally. Alliances formed for and against women’s suffrage reveal important divisions in American society in the first part of the 20th century, with roots before the Civil War, and branches that are visible to this day.

Votes for Women explores women’s spheres as it expands to include political office, considers the changing understandings of civic virtue, and reveals difficult choices that political movements must make in pursuit of their goals. Throughout, it highlights topics with a contemporary resonance: women’s position in society, social protest, racial divisions, and political engagement.

Introduction