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Teaching Guide: Exploring the Campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment

This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, Women’s Suffrage: Campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment, in the classroom. It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools. It is intended to spark pedagogical creativity by giving a sample approach to the material. Please feel free to share, reuse, and adapt the resources in this guide for your teaching purposes.

Discussion questions

  1. Examine the postcard of nurses and the photo of a suffragette appealing to striking workers. Why do you think the suffrage movement aligned itself with professionals in fields like teaching, nursing, and other striking labor groups? What common causes did these different groups of people share?

  2. Compare and contrast the anti-suffrage lithograph illustration, the 1914 poster for the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, and the flyer listing reasons for a constitutional amendment. How does each address women’s roles in the family?

  3. Using the items in this collection, explain the specific arguments made by those who advocated for women’s suffrage and those who opposed it.

  4. Many of the items in this set are postcards. Why was the postcard such a popular method of communication for both suffragists and anti-suffragists? What are its advantages? With the 1915 postcard of Kewpie dolls, which strategies was the National Woman’s Party using to appeal to readers?

Classroom activities

As this set shows, postcards were an important way that both suffragists and anti-suffragists recruited followers to their causes. Design a pro-suffrage postcard that uses symbols and illustrations to encourage readers to join this side of the debate. For a more modern twist, craft a pro-suffrage argument in the form of a 140-character tweet.

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