Women's Suffrage Led to First Illinois Vote in 1913

Article excerpt

On June 26, 1913, the state of Illinois approved women's suffrage. A short time later, Clara Colby of Libertyville became the first woman in Illinois to vote.

Illinois was one of many states that approved women's right to vote in advance of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920, which gave all women the right.

Until this time, women were considered second-class citizens, with limited rights and privileges, and were beholden to their husbands. It was the Anti-Slavery Movement of the early 1800s that spurred progressive-minded women, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), to begin a women's rights movement.

In 1848, Stanton held a convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., to discuss the "social, civil and religious rights of women." This was the official beginning of the Women's Suffrage Movement.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) joined the movement in 1850, and became a central figure. Anthony was famously arrested for trying to vote for Ulysses S. Grant for president in 1872.

Many opposed elevating women to the status of voters. In 1905, President Grover Cleveland stated that "sensible and responsible women do not want to vote."

The suffrage movement spread, and in 1910, chapter houses of the American Woman's League were built in North Chicago and Zion. …