The 19th Amendment: A Woman’s Right to Vote

Voting is the most basic right of a citizen and the most important right in a democracy. When you vote, you are choosing the people who will make the laws. For almost a century and a half of our nation’s history, women were barred from exercising this fundamental right. This is a film about their long, difficult struggle to win the right to vote. It’s about citizenship, the power of the vote, and why women had to change the Constitution with the 19th Amendment to get the vote.

Extending Suffrage to Women

In this activity, students will analyze documents pertaining to the women’s suffrage movement as it intensified following passage of the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed the right to vote for African American males. Documents were chosen to call attention to the struggle’s length, the movement’s techniques, and the variety of arguments for and against giving women the vote.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Expansion of Voting Rights

This lesson provides students with a brief overview of the historical evolution and expansion of voting rights in the United States. Students will discuss examples of previous “voting qualifications” used by states in the past to deny minorities the right to vote. They will reflect on why the right to vote is important, and appreciate the outcomes of constitutional amendments, Supreme Court decisions, and the Voting Rights Act in the expansion of this right.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

Lessons for Women’s History Month

Here is a collection of lessons and resources on key individual women’s contributions to U.S. and world history, as well as movements that have aimed at equality for women. Key figures in world history include: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth I, Cleopatra and Joan of Arc.  Notable women in U.S. history include activist and journalist Ida B. Wells, environmentalist Rachel Carson  and Harriet Tubman. Other lessons focus on how women won the right to vote, whether women have achieved equality, women serving in Congress, and women in the military.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Cast Your Vote (Game)

What issues do you want to ask candidates about? In Cast Your Vote, you choose the questions in a debate, rate their responses, and vote for the candidate of your choice.

  • Resource Type: Games, Interactives
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

Should YOU Have the Right to Vote?

Since 1971, when the 26th Amendment was ratified, the minimum voting age in the United States has been 18, an age qualification that many other countries also use. Is there a good reason for drawing the line at 18, or should younger citizens also have the vote? That question is being debated not only around the United States, but around the world as well. In this unit, you will have the opportunity to explore a proposed federal law extending the right to vote to persons 16 years of age and older.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Voting Rights in America

The history of the amendments to the Constitution is, in one sense, a history of the expansion of certain political freedoms, including voting. At the Founding of the United States, many groups, including landless white men, slaves, free blacks, and women, could not vote. Much has changed since then. Almost a third of the amendments added to the Constitution after the Bill of Rights was ratified concern the ability to vote. The Nineteenth Amendment gave the vote to women, while the Twenty-third, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-sixth amendments gave representation to the District of Columbia, forbid poll taxes, and lowered the voting age to 18, respectively. The passage of each of these Amendments reflected a shift towards making voting a right of all citizens, and indeed a fundamental part of citizenship.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12