US National Archives
Today marks 100 years since the Senate passed the 19th Amendment.
Women fought long and hard for the franchise—the right to vote—for many reasons. Many suffragists argued that the right to vote should be universal and that it was unjust to bar American women from the polls. They also argued that women’s inability to vote resulted in economic, political, and social harm to them, their families, and their communities.
In 1879, Emily Barber, a teacher, sent this petition to Congress calling attention to the inequalities she endured as a wage-earning woman. She pointedly noted that she paid equal taxes with men but had no say in how they were spent, and that “with acknowledged superior capacities for teaching and governing schools,” she made only a third of male teachers’ pay at her school.
See more stories of suffrage in our new exhibit “Rightfully Hers” https://www.archives.gov/women