At a convention in Seneca Falls, New York, prominent women's rights advocates draft the "Declaration of Sentiments," including a provision to extend the right to vote to all women.
During a debate over a District of Columbia suffrage bill, Senator Edgar Cowan (R-PA) introduces an amendment to provide for woman suffrage. The Senate defeats Cowan’s amendment by a vote of 9-37.
As Congress debates the nation’s postwar reconstruction, Senator Samuel Pomeroy (R-KS) introduces S. Res. 180, a constitutional amendment: “The basis of suffrage in the United States shall be that of citizenship, and all native or naturalized citizens shall enjoy the same rights and privileges of the elective franchise….” Three days later, the Senate agrees to let Pomeroy’s bill “lie upon the table.”
Senator Aaron Sargent (R-CA) introduces S.Res. 12, providing for woman suffrage: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." The Senate refers the so-called Susan B. Anthony Amendment to the Committee on Privileges and Elections. The following day, suffragists testify for the first time before senators on the issue of woman suffrage.
The Committee on Privileges and Elections, after reviewing 30,000 petitions requesting a woman suffrage amendment, recommends that consideration of the issue be "indefinitely postponed."
Senators approve a resolution introduced by George Hoar (R-MA) to establish a Select Committee on Woman Suffrage, 35-23.
For the first time in Senate history, a committee submits a report to the full Senate supporting a woman suffrage amendment to the Constitution.
In February 1886 the Senate Select Committee on Woman Suffrage favorably reports the Susan B. Anthony Amendment to the full Senate. Nearly a year later, after much prodding by Henry Blair (R-NH), the Senate holds its first vote on the proposal, which suffers a lopsided defeat.
Dozens of suffragists, including spouses and daughters of members of Congress, lobby senators in the Marble Room, a meeting space near the Senate Chamber. Their presence in the Capitol had become an annual tradition, organized in conjunction with the yearly meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Washington, D.C.
At the first national woman suffrage parade held in Washington, D.C., spectators assault marching suffragists. A subsequent Senate investigation of the incidents of that day, which draws upon dozens of eyewitness accounts, concludes that “uniformed and…special police acted with more or less indifference while on duty.”
Belle La Follette, prominent suffragist and spouse of Senator Robert La Follette (R-WI), testifies before the Senate Committee on Woman Suffrage in support of the constitutional amendment. “Ours is a government of the people by the people and for the people. And are not women people?”
In a carefully orchestrated event, suffragists deliver petitions with more than 75,000 signatures to senators. Suffragists call it the "Siege of the Senate." When the Senate convenes that afternoon, senators formally submit the petitions for committee referral.
For the second time in its history, the Senate holds a vote on a constitutional amendment to extend suffrage to women. The measure falls 11 votes short of the constitutionally required two-thirds of senators present and voting, 35-34.
Alice Hay Wadsworth, wife of Senator James Wadsworth, Jr., (R-NY), and president of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, testifies before the Senate Committee on Woman Suffrage.
Only the third president to address the U.S. Senate in the Senate Chamber, Woodrow Wilson, a converted suffragist, pleads with senators to immediately pass the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, which had been approved by the House of Representatives in January 1918.
The Senate fails to approve the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, falling two votes short, 53-31. Five weeks later, in the midterm election of 1918, Democrats lose their majorities in both chambers of Congress.
The Senate fails to approve the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, falling one vote short of the necessary two-thirds present and voting, with a vote of 55-29.
After 41 years of debate, the Senate finally approves a constitutional amendment to provide for woman suffrage, 56-25. Vice President Thomas Marshall, flanked by suffragists, signs the Susan B. Anthony Amendment in the Vice President's ceremonial office in the Capitol. Upon Tennessee's approval on August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified.
Four decades after passage of the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, President Johnson signs into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which had been passed by Congress two days earlier. The goal of extending voting rights to all women had remained elusive, as some states continued to disenfranchise African American women and men well into the mid-20th century. The Voting Rights Act provides enforcement mechanisms to protect voting rights under the provisions of the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments to the Constitution.