Lesson Plan: 19th Amendment and the origins of the Woman's Suffrage Movement

Women's Suffrage and the 19th Amendment

Kristen Gwinn-Becker, historical consultant for the National Women’s History Museum, talked about the 19th Amendment and the origins of the Woman's Suffrage Movement.


In 1920, the 19th Amendment of the US Constitution was ratified giving women the right to vote. This lesson looks at the historical context of women's suffrage, tactics used in the movement and different perspectives of the suffrage movement.


  • WARM-UP:

    Have the students answer the following question at the start of class.

    • Who has the right to vote in the United States?

    Before beginning the class, have the students either define or review the following vocabulary words before beginning the lesson.

    • Abolitionism
    • Amendment
    • Suffrage
    • Temperance

    Review the amendment process or have the students view the Bell Ringer: The Process of Amending the Constitution.


    Have the students view the following videos and answer the questions associated with each. Teachers may opt to use the Women's Suffrage Handout to aid students. Review each of the questions before continuing with the lesson.

    Video Clip: Woman's Suffrage and the 19th Amendment (1:57)

    • When did the women's suffrage movement start according to Ms. Gwinn-Becker?
    • What were obstacles to this movement?

    Video Clip: Women's Rights before Suffrage (5:20)

    • Describe the conditions and rights that existed for women prior to women's suffrage?
    • How did the abolitionist movement influence the women's suffrage movement?

    Video Clip: Women's Suffrage before the 19th Amendment (2:36)

    • Describe the voting rights for women in the United States prior to the 19th Amendment.
    • How did these voting rights for women influence the women's suffrage movement?

    Video Clip: American and British Suffrage Movements (3:48)

    • How did women's suffrage start as a grassroots movement?
    • How did the women's suffrage movement in Britain influence the women's suffrage movement in the United States?
    • What tactics does Ms. Neuman describe that took place during the women's suffrage movement?

    Video Clip: African-Americans and the Women's Suffrage Movement (3:41)

    • Describe the relationship between white and black suffragettes.
    • How did black suffragettes organize to accomplish their efforts?
    • Describe the reasons why some men did not support the women's suffrage movement.
    • What was Booker T. Washington's response to women's suffrage?

    Video Clip: The National Woman's Party and Alice Paul (2:28)

    • Why was the National Women's Party founded? How did the National Women's Party continue the mission and tactics of prior suffragists?
    • Describe the tactics that the National Women's Party used. How was this different than prior organizations?
    • What were some of the legal consequences of these tactics?

    Video Clip: Women's Suffrage and the March on Washington (3:23)

    • Describe the events that occurred during the women's march in Washington.
    • Explain the impact that the women's march on Washington had on public opinion.

    Video Clip: National Woman's Party and Lobbying (2:06)

    • How did the suffragist lobby members of Congress to support the 19th Amendment?

    Video Clip: The Passage of the 19th Amendment and the Equal Rights Amendment (1:17)

    • Describe the process of getting the 19th Amendment approved.
    • What was the Equal Rights Amendment and
    • What does Ms. Krafchik mean by "the right to vote as a means to an end?" How does this relate to the Equal Right Amendment?

    Based on the videos from the lesson, have the students either discuss or provide a written response to the following prompt.

    Describe the obstacles that women faced and the tactics that women used to secure the right to vote. Evaluate the effectiveness of these tactics.


    Letter-to-a-Congressman- From the perspective of a suffragist in the early 1900s, write a letter to a member of Congress or a state legislature arguing for women's suffrage.

    Equal Rights Amendment- Research the Equal Rights Amendment. Analyze arguments for and against the ERA. Argue whether or not it should be added to the US Constitution.

    Additional Writing Prompts-

    • How effective was the passage of the 19th Amendment in securing equal rights for women?
    • How was the fight for voting rights different for African-American women?
    • Explain how the fight for voting rights for African-American men impacted the women's suffrage movement?

Additional Resources


  • 19th Amendment
  • Abolitionist Movement
  • Alice Paul
  • Equal Rights Amendment
  • Lobby
  • Mary Church Terrell
  • Ratification
  • Suffrage
  • Temperance


Civil Rights & Civil LibertiesU.S. History


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