9-12 U.S. History Arkansas

Women’s Suffrage

This inquiry leads students through an investigation of voting rights in America.  By investigating the compelling question “Was the vote enough?” students evaluate both sides of the early twentieth century quest to expand suffrage to women.  The formative performance tasks build on knowledge and skills through the course of the inquiry and help students determine if getting the vote was enough to give women full social and political equality.   Students create an evidence-based argument about whether or not the vote is enough.


Compelling Question:

Was the Vote Enough?

Staging the Question: View clips from Iron Jawed Angels (2004) to open the discussion.

Supporting Question Why did Americans oppose granting suffrage to women?

Formative Task Write a letter to an imaginary daughter explaining why she is not allowed to vote.

Sources Source A: October 5, 1875
Letter from AG Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell
Source B: Excerpt by Rev. John Todd
Excerpt by Rev. John Todd
Source C: Information about the Texas Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage


Supporting Question What were the primary arguments used by suffragettes and the opposition?

Formative Task Prepare a broadside illustrating the arguments for or against suffrage.

Sources Source A: National Association Woman Suffrage Association Broadside
Source B: New York State Woman Suffrage Party Brochure
Source C: The Oberlin Women’s Suffrage Debate


Supporting Question Were some rights not gained in the 19th Amendment?

Formative Task Create a T chart to determine who could and could not vote after the 19th Amendment.

Sources Source A: US Constitution, 19th Amendment
Source B: 19th Amendment Did Not Affect All Women


Supporting Question What was the Equal Rights Amendment?

Formative Task Debate whether the ERA would have improved equality for women.

Sources Source A: Text of the ERA
Source B: Blog from the Arkansas Times
Source C: Is the Equal Rights Amendment Relevant in the 21st Century?

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Was the vote enough? Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay or debate) that discusses the compelling question using specific claims and relevant evidence from both historical and current sources while acknowledging competing views.
Extension: Students can debate why the ERA failed and what chances it has in the future.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Investigate a current threat to civil rights focused specifically on a particular portion of the population.
Assess: Determine the motivations for the current threat and the expected outcome of the actions for a given population.
Act: Create a series of posters that illustrate the struggle for civil rights, especially in marginalized populations.