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Women’s Movement Splits Over Civil Rights Issue


Disagreements over the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and the relationship between women’s suffrage and the movement for racial equality split the women’s rights movement with allegiances divided between two main organizations: the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association. With the passage of the 15th Amendment (the first step toward ratification), which granted the right to vote to men of color and former slaves, but not women, the National Women’s Suffrage Association, led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, broke with their abolitionist and Republican supporters. Accusing them of emphasizing civil rights for African Americans at the expense of women’s rights, Stanton and Anthony lobbied for a constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote at the federal level. At the same time, the American Woman Suffrage Association worked for voting rights state by state.