Petition from the Citizens of Massachusetts in Support of Women’s Suffrage

During the 1870s and 1880s, hundreds of petitions bearing the signatures of thousands of people flooded Congress, asking for a suffrage amendment. Local activists went door-to-door in their communities, gathering the signatures of sympathetic women and men. These Massachusetts activists followed a template circulated by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton; the template provided the proper wording for a petition and suggested that there be separate places for the signatures of men (who could vote) and women (who could not). Suffrage leaders compared their methods to similar anti-slavery petition drives, also led by women, in the antebellum period.

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To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States. 

In Congress Assembled: 

The undersigned, citizens of the United States, Residents of the State of Massachusetts, County of Essex, City of Salem, earnestly pray your Honorable Body to submit to the several States the following Amendment to the National Constitution, now pending in Congress (Senate Resolution No. 55, House Resolution No. 175) 

Article 16 

Sec. 1. The right of suffrage in the United States shall be based on citizenship, and 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, or for any reason not equally applicable to all citizens of the United States. 

Sec. 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. 

MenWomen 

(List of Signatures)(List of Signatures)

Source | Petition from the Citizens of Massachusetts in Support of Women’s Suffrage, circa 1879 (Washington D.C.: National Archives).
Creator | Various
Item Type | Pamphlet/Petition
Cite This document | Various, “Petition from the Citizens of Massachusetts in Support of Women’s Suffrage,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed October 20, 2014, http://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1683.