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Defining Moments

Women’s Suffrage

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Many Americans today see voting as an inalienable right. But this was not true for American women until the courageous acts of many and the leadership of a few culminated in the passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the suffrage they had been denied since the nation’s inception. It was a long and often painful journey—filled with alliances, schisms, militancy, repression, and ultimately, self-sacrifice—to attain equality.

Defining Moments: Women’s Suffrage presents an authoritative account of the origins and progression of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. It also explores the era’s lasting impact on America’s political and cultural landscape. The volume is organized into three distinct sections—Narrative Overview, Biographies, and Primary Sources—which offer a one-stop resource for student research.

  • The Narrative Overview section provides a detailed, factual account of what led up to the Women’s Suffrage movement, the events and issues during the era, and its legacy in American society
  • The Biographies section presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the women’s suffrage movement
  • The Primary Sources section collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era, including official documents, song lyrics, memoirs, editorials, and other important works

Other notable features include a glossary of important people, places, and terms; a detailed chronology featuring page references to relevant sections of the narrative; an annotated listing of selected sources for further study; an extensive general bibliography; and a subject index.

Standard Features

  • Library binding, 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
  • 240 pages
  • 30-40 photographs and other illustrations
  • Narrative Overview section: Provides a detailed, factual account of the “defining moment”
  • Biographies section: Presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the event
  • Primary Sources section: Collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era
  • Research Topics: Proposes a list of topics suitable for conducting historical research and writing reports, a valuable starting point for student research
  • Source Attribution: Contains references for primary sources and other quoted material that guide users to other historical research resources
  • Glossary of Important People, Places, and Terms: Gives brief definitions for the many terms used in the book
  • Chronology: Highlights the related events in chronological order, along with “see” references that direct the reader to pages in the narrative with additional information
  • Sources for Further Study: Provides annotated citations for selected sources that are most useful to students
  • Bibliography: Lists books, periodicals, web sites, and videos consulted in preparing the volume
  • Subject Index: Includes people, places, organizations, events, and other topics

Research Topics

Each volume in the Defining Moments series covers a wide range of topics that students can use as starting points for further research. Potential research topics for Defining Moments: Women’s Suffrage are below:

  • Summarize the social and legal status of women in Europe and early America
  • Investigate the democratic and religious underpinnings of the suffrage movement
  • Explain the goals and outcomes of the historic 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls
  • Define the complex relationship between America’s suffrage and abolitionist campaigns
  • Explore the tensions within the women’s rights movement on strategy and philosophy, especially how the different beliefs of suffrage leaders led to deep schisms in the movement
  • Discuss the various strategies employed by pro- and anti-suffrage organizations to advance their respective causes
  • Survey the triumphs and setbacks for suffrage in the courts
  • Describe evolving public perceptions of the suffrage cause
  • Compare and contrast the heroic actions and human frailties of suffrage leaders from Susan B. Anthony to Alice Paul
  • Research the process of amending the Constitution and explain how the 19th Amendment was passed
  • Explicate the changing roles of women in American families, society, and politics
  • Examine the enduring impact of women’s suffrage on American culture and politics


“In Hill’s Women’s Suffrage, a lively writing style illuminates the struggle from the origins of the movement through marches, hunger strikes, and determined action. Biographical sketches of prominent suffragettes, source documents, and a chronology provide a grounding for readers. A final chapter on ‘The Legacy of Women’s Suffrage’ brings the history up-to-date with a discussion of women in government today.”

—School Library Journal, Oct ’06

“This reference book gives an overview of the history of the women’s movement in America, a glimpse into the lives of the women involved, and the documents that were critical to the movement. Using these different perspectives, readers can see history unfold itself and understand the impact that women’s suffrage has had on American culture and politics. Teaching resource for MS, HS.”

—Skipping Stones, Jan/Feb ’06

“This admirable offering includes a lively discussion of the history of the movement, the personalities involved, and the strategies used to finally obtain the vote. … A feature that sets this book apart is a chapter on ‘The Legacy of Women’s Suffrage,’ which examines the effects of the passage of the 19th Amendment on society as a whole and particularly on women’s rights and the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s.”

—School Library Journal, Mar ’06

“The Defining Moments series will appeal to readers who are well beyond its story telling style generally aimed at middle and high school students because of its selection of primary texts not often reproduced in other histories. … The ladies’ words, as well as numerous photographs and biographies, remind the reader that history is flesh and blood and lives also in the present. Within 200 pages, this volume ably reviews the impetus and hard-won battle for voting rights, while retaining traditional study aids such as a timeline, glossary, bibliography, and opposing viewpoints. Women’s Suffrage is recommended for school and public libraries.”

—American Reference Books Annual, 2006

“Women’s Suffrage is highly recommended for all high school libraries.”

—Feminist Collections, Fall ’05