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Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment

Access primary sources and activities for a unit on the suffrage movement, from the Seneca Falls Convention to the passage of the 19th Amendment.


This lesson is anchored by nine primary source documents related to the women's suffrage movement, from 1868 to 1920. Students and teachers alike will appreciate that the site includes images of the original documents—not simply transcriptions.

It also has six teaching activities that range from document analysis, to role-play, to student research. Activity three, which asks students to use textbooks, library resources, and documents to make a timeline, can be an effective way of helping younger students understand historical chronology. For older students, activity six, which asks students to write and stage a one-act play, presents an opportunity to interpret and synthesize primary sources. The script for a one-act play commissioned by the National Archives, "Failure Is Impossible," is available as a model.

This lesson also includes links to related websites, including those from the Library of Congress, the National Park Service, the National Register of Historic Places, and the National Women’s History Project.

Teachinghistory.org Lesson Plan Rubric
Field Criteria Comments
Historical Content Is historically accurate?


Includes historical background?

Includes a one-act play based on archival sources.

Requires students to read and write?

Students are asked to read multiple documents, and there are opportunities for original student writing based on document analysis.

Analytic Thinking Requires students to analyze or construct interpretations using evidence

Activities two and six ask students to assess suffragist strategies and write an evidence-based play, respectively.

Requires close reading and attention to source information?

Activity one focuses on these skills, and can be paired with a downloadable Document Analysis Worksheet.

Scaffolding Is appropriate for stated audience?

Audience is unstated.

Includes materials and strategies for scaffolding and supporting student thinking?

Teachers may need to supplement the provided materials.

Lesson Structure Includes assessment criteria and strategies that focus on historical understanding?


Defines clear learning goals and progresses logically?


Includes clear directions and is realistic in normal classroom settings?

The lesson is designed for easy adaptation by teachers.

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