Historical Scene Investigations

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What role did Connecticut play in the women’s suffrage movement?

The Case

The term “suffrage” refers to an individual’s right to vote. The original copy of the United States Constitution did not provide suffrage to minority groups. Over time, and through the effort of many, these minorities gained voting rights and equality in America in the form of constitutional amendments. The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution granted the right to vote to all women in August of 1920.

While many focus on the triumph of the women’s movement, there was a long struggle in the courts and on the streets leading up to this win that should not be forgotten. Legislature, propaganda, petitions and demonstrations were all part of the fight for equality. Many questions surround the initial investigation into this important time period. Who was involved in the women’s suffrage movement? What organizations were crusading for equality? What were the different views about women’s role in society? What was Connecticut’s approach to this controversial issue?

Your assignment is to investigate the role of Connecticut in this movement. You should focus on the questions: What were some supportive acts for women’s suffrage? What were some opposing acts against women’s suffrage? How did Connecticut’s actions compare to the rest of the United States?

Becoming a Detective:

Step One: You will identify the progression of women’s suffrage throughout the world by reading Alice Stone Blackwell’s record of the Progress of Equal Suffrage. You will create a timeline using a Timeline Maker. You must choose 9 events out of the many listed by Blackwell.

Step Two: After developing the timeline, you will complete Handout 1: Surprise!
You will use a background information website:  Connecticut and Women's Suffrage to answer the second part of the worksheet. WARNING: Complete the first part of Handout 1 before looking at the website.

Step Three: Now that you are up-to-date on the general information on women’s suffrage, you will read several primary documents that will demonstrate varying views on the movement that existed during the early 1900’s.

As you analyze the documents, write down any thoughts or questions you have about the material. Pay attention to documents that show opposing sides of the argument as well as those that specifically mention decisions made by Connecticut.

Source 1: Mrs. Mary Rogers Called Pioneer by Suffragettes

Source 2: First Connecticut Suffrage Parade

Source 3: The Woman Who Fights for Women's Suffrage

Source 4: Important Legislation in the United States Affecting Women and Children

Source 5: Brandegee Tells Where He Stands

Source 6: Holcomb Defies Party on Suffrage

Investigating the Evidence:

Examine the sources in the previous section for the influence of Connecticut on the national women’s suffrage movement. Look for evidence of political actions taken by Connecticut’s officials as well as actions taken by prominent (important) people living in Connecticut.

Searching for Clues:

For each primary source, answer the following questions to determine the validity (truthfulness) of the statements:

  1. Who created/wrote this document?
  2. What is the message of this document?
  3. Where was this document seen?
  4. When was this document created?
  5. Why was this document created?
  6. How does this document tell you about the issue of women’s suffrage?

Now, complete Handout 2: To Vote or Not to Vote

Cracking the Case:

You will produce two items for assessment for this HSI. Complete both assignments for a full grade.

Product 1: In a fully formed paragraph, answer the question, “How was the suffrage movement influenced by Connecticut actions?” Be sure to include details from the primary documents to support your argument.

Product 2: You have been invited to give a speech at the anniversary of the first suffrage parade in Hartford. The speech will be given to a crowd of residents from all over Connecticut who have come together to honor the effort those who fought for women’s suffrage. You will write the speech as if you were a certain character. You may write as either a descendent of Isabella Beecher Hooker OR a descendent of Frank Brandegee.

To Learn More:

Sources for Students:

Books:

Carol Rust Nash, The Fight for Women’s Right to Vote in American History (non-fiction)
Mary Ross, The Changing Roles of Women (non-fiction)
Ann Rinaldi, The Education of Mary (historical fiction)

Online Sources:

PBS presentation on Elizabeth Stanton and Susan B. Anthony

Critical Thinking Question(s):

Think about the fact that women had the right to vote in many western states long before 1920. What could be some reasons for the discrepancy (difference) between the policies of western and eastern states?

Sources for Teachers:

Books:

Anthony, Susan B. History of Woman Suffrage, Volume 1. Rochester, N.Y. 1881
Bausum, Ann With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman’s Right to Vote. Washington D. C.: National Geographic, 2004.

Online Sources:

Women's Rights, Suffrage, and Equality

The Evidence:  

Source 1: Mrs. Mary Rogers Called Pioneer by Suffragettes
Source 2: First Connecticut Suffrage Parade
Source 3: The Woman Who Fights for Women's Suffrage
Source 4: Important Legislation in the United States Affecting Women and Children
Source 5: Brandegee Tells Where He Stands
Source 6: Holcomb Defies Party on Suffrage

The Case File:

Informational Reading 1: Progress of Equal Suffrage
Informational Reading 2: Connecticut and Women's Suffrage
Handout 1: Surprise!
Handout 2: To Vote or Not to Vote
Teacher Resource: Speech Rubric


 

 

 

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