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Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot

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The story of the tenacious American women who demanded, fought for—and finally won—their right to vote; paving the way for generations of civil rights activists.

For nearly 150 years, American women did not have the right to vote. On August 18, 1920, they won that right, when the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified at last. To achieve that victory, some of the fiercest, most passionate women in history marched, protested, and sometimes even broke the law—for more than eight decades.
 
From Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who founded the suffrage movement at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, to Sojourner Truth and her famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech, to Alice Paul, arrested and force-fed in prison, this is the story of the American women’s suffrage movement and the private lives that fueled its leaders’ dedication. Votes for Women! explores suffragists’ often powerful, sometimes difficult relationship with the intersecting temperance and abolition campaigns, and includes an unflinching look at some of the uglier moments in women’s fight for the vote.
 
By turns illuminating, harrowing, and empowering, Votes for Women! paints a vibrant picture of the women whose tireless battle still inspires political, human rights, and social justice activism. From the author of Radioactive! How Irène Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World​ and Passenger on the Pearl: The True Story of Emily Edmonson's Flight from Slavery.

312 pages, Hardcover

First published February 13, 2018

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About the author

Winifred Conkling

36 books76 followers
WINIFRED CONKLING studied journalism at Northwestern University and spent the next 25 years writing non-fiction for adult readers, including for Consumer Reports magazine and more than 30 books. As part of her transition to writing for young people, she is working toward her Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Sylvia & Aki is her first work for children.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 126 reviews
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 6 books1,204 followers
Read
February 6, 2018
This is a compelling, engaging, and balanced look at the women's suffrage movement which doesn't shy away from the racist attitudes of some of the movement's most well-known (and historically beloved) leaders. Complete with interesting images and great back matter, this is a book for readers looking for a solid history of the American push for the right for women to vote. I've read more than one book on this topic for young readers, but this is the first one I've read which doesn't shy away from the ugly.

Hand to readers who love nonfiction, to budding feminists, and to any reader who needs a starter history of the women's movement. Other reviews have noted this reads like a textbook, but I disagree. This is narrative nonfiction at its best; the challenge is that, with such a simultaneously broad and limited topic, the focus can dwell on certain aspects more than others, meaning some readers might not be as engaged with those aspects as others.

In terms of writing, I especially loved how this was bookended with the decision in Tennessee -- the decision for ratification of women's suffrage came down to a vote there, by a man influenced by his mother. Little page time is given to that, and instead, more time is spent showcasing what it was the women did to help get that man to that point.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,407 reviews256 followers
February 10, 2018
I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The 19th amendment was finally ratified on August 18th, 1920 granting women the right to vote as citizens of the United States of America. This work of narrative non-fiction discusses the suffragists achievements, politics, and their passion from Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Victoria Woodhull, Sojourner Truth, and Alice Paul. It also focuses on the darker moments within the movement in regards to their relationships to both the abolition and temperance movements.

The women's suffrage movement is a fascinating time period to read about as are the women at its forefront. Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot by Winifred Conkling is a detailed and comprehensive look into the suffrage movement and the nineteenth amendment. I love that the author gives us a look into the personal journeys of women at the heart of the fight from the early days right up until ratification, more than one would usually find in a course on the topic. The primary sources that she reference really show off each voice in the fight. I could also definitely appreciate that the author explores why the suffragists had such a tense relationship with those on the side of the abolition and temperance movements - she doesn't shy away from the darker side of the battle. The only downside to this work of narrative history is that at points it becomes too dry, as if you were reading a textbook, but overall the author does a great job of keeping it engaging and timely. Personally, my favorite part was getting to see Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President of the United States in 1872 and a woman far ahead of her time, get some much deserved page time, especially since I'm from Victoria's hometown.

Overall, Winfred Conkling's Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot is a must read for anyone interested in the suffrage movement, suitable for both adult and YA readers. It's an eye-opening read covering a nearly eighty year struggle. Know a budding feminist, or someone interested in American history, then put a copy of Conkling's new nonfiction release in their hands.

Profile Image for Alicia.
5,609 reviews103 followers
July 17, 2017
Woah, totally in love with this well-researched gem about American suffragists that doesn't hide the grittiness of the movement including the racist remarks the heroines of the movement wrote and spoke around the fight for white women's suffrage against black men's suffrage. It was particularly fascinating during Lincoln's time as president when he said "one war at a time" and another responded that this "is the negro's hour" when both battles struggled against one another. This particular element of the LONG battle for voting rights was something I did not know much about and it educated me in a way that made me sad that I didn't know these things. Namely, the arduousness of the fight and the many rounds of attempts including splitting and reunification and splitting again of action on behalf of voting rights. I can appreciate the fight that led women to stand out front of the White House, holding the conventions around the United States including Europe where Stanton met Lucretia Mott.

The biographical elements of each woman was impressive and showcased the voices of the women attempting to make the change. I was especially appreciative of the use of primary sources and loved hearing from Sojourner Truth when she stood up to speak having never known where "ain't I a woman" came from.

There was just so much in this book! And it's approach wasn't overwhelming. Specific events left an impact including Elizabeth's own father wishing she had been a boy and keeping her name Elizabeth Cady Stanton after marriage (in which she took out "obey" from the vows) rather than be referred to as Mrs. Henry Stanton. Stanton spoke "I forged the thunderbolts, and she fired them" of Stanton and Anthony's dynamic team.

And to end on a note of making connections to the past and present and how there was one woman: Charlotte Woodward who signed the Declaration of Sentiments in 1848 as a 19 year old and lived long enought o see the ratification of the 19th Amendment though she was too frail to actually go to the polls and vote on election day, November 2, 1920.

Definitely ordering copies for our library!
Profile Image for TraceyL.
988 reviews133 followers
July 15, 2019
A history of the American suffragist movement with a heavy focus on how it overlapped with the abolitionist movement. The writing was very dry and didn't keep my attention.
Profile Image for Marie Andrews.
89 reviews45 followers
April 8, 2018
Being from the UK, I was only ever taught about women's suffrage here in England, and therefore knew very little about the journey to American suffrage, so thought this would be a great book to pick up to learn about it, especially as this is marketed as a YA book. It's very clear that this book has been researched very well, and there is a good mixture of information from primary sources too, as well as reflecting back from a current perspective. However, I didn't find it that engaging and it was quite heavy on information at times, meaning I ended up skim reading a lot of it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's marketed as a YA book and being a young adult myself, didn't find the information and language very accessible or easy to understand. A great book if you're looking for a book which describes the whole American suffrage in a lot of detail (almost in a textbook fashion), but far too heavy with unnecessary details as a general read (not for academic purposes) that it is marketed as.
Profile Image for Angela Blount.
Author 3 books671 followers
January 30, 2018
Originally reviewed for YA Books Central: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yanonfi...

3.5 Stars

A candid, comprehensive, and thoroughly researched look at the long fight for women’s rights—spanning nearly a century of history while following select figureheads of the Suffrage movement through their varied efforts, missteps, divisions, and triumphs.

To be up-front honest, let me just say that this was easily the most thorough work I’ve ever read on the Women’s Suffrage movement. Which, sadly, isn’t saying much—as my previous exposure amounted to a History Chanel special, a handful of viral Facebook articles, and a glowing two-page spread on Susan B. Anthony found somewhere in the middle of my high school U.S. History textbook. (Neither of my degrees involved women’s studies.) I requested this book specifically to fill in that unfortunate gap, and to a certain extent, it did a solid job of that.

The preface opens in 1920, with the scene of the defining battle over women’s voting rights. In the Tennessee House of Representatives, the decision over whether or not to support the 19th Amendment all came down to a 24-year-old first-term Republican named Harry T. Burn. He’d already voted with the antis to delay the decision, but there was a fateful letter in his pocket that changed his mind—and ultimately, the outcome for an entire nation. The contents of that letter were, in actuality, a century in the making.

And it’s with that air of anticipation the author pauses the scene, taking readers back to 1826—where 11-year-old Elizabeth Cady endures the death of her only surviving brother, while consoling her Judge/Lawyer father. To her father’s lament that she hadn’t been born a boy, she decides: “I will try to be all my brother was.” And here is our true chosen starting point.

We follow the progress of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s life as she grows into activism, is mentored by Lucretia Mott, and is joined in like-minded cause and friendship by Susan B. Anthony. The first half of the book focuses almost exclusively on Stanton and Anthony. Though other women of the movement are given a page or two of mention and even bios—their lives and works are not followed nearly so closely. And when the book transitions to the next generation of Suffragists, the focus turns to Alice Paul.

What I Learned:

#1. The Quakers took on significant roles with both women’s rights and the abolition movement.

I never realized how the Quakers thought and operated on these issues—being so proactive in the realms of social justice and human rights, while still technically being pacifists. (It seems they knew scripture far better than most of their protestant alternatives of the day.) Their women all but took for granted their positions of equality with the males of their somewhat insular subculture. This atmosphere allowed a number of these women to develop an innate ease with public speaking and open discourse, priming them for leadership roles in societal reform work while granting them a supportive domestic partnership. Lucretia Mott being a prime example:
"Mott believed that ‘independence of the husband and wife is equal, their dependence mutual, and their obligations reciprocal.’”

#2. Susan B. Anthony was SAVAGE.

"Well, if in order to please men they wish to live on air, let them. The sooner the present generation of women die out the better. We have jack-asses enough in the world now without such women propagating any more."

At first, I found her delightfully ornery. But the more I read, the more I also gleaned the sense she was also bitterly judgmental and lacking in empathy. Decidedly single her entire life, Anthony disapproved of women within the cause getting married or having children—as it took time and energy away from suffrage work. When suffragette Lucy Stone (who’d initially decided against marriage) eventually found an exceptional man who won her over, Anthony took her change of heart as a personal betrayal—one which she long held over the woman’s head. I’d never seen Susan B. Anthony depicted as anything but a heroine—an unparalleled juggernaut of the women's rights crusade. I didn't realize she also caused so much splintering and alienation within her own organization and their allies.

#3. The Women’s Suffrage Movement was split into two main conflicting branches.

* The National Women Suffrage Association. Headed by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, this branch was more extreme in its views and approach; focused on Federal-level changes.

*The American Women Suffrage Association. Headed by Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe, this branch was more moderate; largely focused on state-level changes, with the goal of gradually turning the socio-political tide of the entire country.

#4. Women’s Suffrage and Black Suffrage were initially a more joint human rights cause.

In the book, it's admitted that the more radical wing of the Women’s Suffrage movement, headed by Anthony and Stanton, inadvertently set the women's rights efforts back by perhaps 20 years. In their desperation to achieve faster, more dramatic results, they made repeated and massive strategic errors. It began with them seeing the Black Suffrage cause as competitive with their aims. Some social reformers thought it wisest to fight one battle at a time, deciding to focus on first attaining voting rights for freed slaves. (Anthony and Stanton took an all-or-nothing stance, while more moderate suffragists felt they’d rather see someone attain rights rather than no one.) The Suffrage division widened as Anthony and Stanton began using racist and elitist language, conveying offense at the idea of illiterate black men being given the right to vote ahead of educated white women. They then went so far as to embrace a notorious racist, simply because he offered them financial support.

"Although Train was infamous for making hateful remarks about African Americans, ... some suffragists, including Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, were so eager to rally support for their cause that they were willing to overlook his bigoted fearmongering and forge an alliance with him."

What Didn’t Work For Me:

A keen effort was made to liven the prose beyond the sterile confines of textbook information, which made for a well-paced and surprisingly engaging read. However, there was also a fine line being walked—one that should rightly call readers to caution. A trading of pure objectivity for adjective spice and the risk of misattributing emotion. As a result, the author's voice and opinions are sometimes unobtrusive and sometimes intrusive. For example: I didn't mind when she called the MAOFESW "awkwardly named;" and readers are provided at least some witness claims and diary-based justification for conveying the thoughts of Anthony or Stanton. But there are also occasions like the one in which we’re given the presumed knowledge of a random audience member's thoughts. To some, this may feel like nonfiction overstep—bordering on mind-reading.

My greatest regret over this book is that it seemed to disproportionately spotlight Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Alice Paul. (Granted, they were also shown in a light that didn’t hide what would now be considered glaring white-supremacy related flaws.) As a result, women like Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett felt more like minor historical footnotes within the women’s right’s movement.

Considering Lucretia Mott helped write the Declaration of Sentiments and had so much to do with Stanton’s growth and development into the Suffrage movement, it was strange to completely lose her thread of involvement at the point she was elected president of the American Equal Rights Association. I had to look up the end of her life’s story from other sources outside of this book, and there learned that Mott actually resigned from the AERA in 1868 when Stanton and Anthony allied themselves with George Francis Train. Clearly there was a great conflict of ideals there, to say nothing of the strain it must have caused in Mott’s relationship with Stanton. But unfortunately, this isn’t an aspect Votes For Women chooses to go into.

While primarily centered on only the more radical contributors to women’s suffrage, this book is an eye-opening chronological look at nearly a century of struggle. A valuable resource for anyone looking for a more palatable and honest explanation of motives and events leading up to and including the passage of the 19th Amendment.
Profile Image for Lou.
125 reviews10 followers
June 14, 2018
A must read! It is dense but it's also critical information for the next generation.
Profile Image for Molly Dettmann.
1,289 reviews18 followers
March 21, 2019
An excellent and detailed, but not overwhelming read about the women’s suffrage movement. I loved that this one didn’t shy away from the amazing things these women did, and the not so amazing things that get glossed over in shallower books about this time period. The back matter and resources could keep me reading for days.
Profile Image for Teri.
632 reviews70 followers
January 9, 2020
This book is listed as a Young Adult book. I think that is a miscategorization, although I would encourage young adults to read it. I thought this was a very engaging book that is well researched. It covers the American Suffragist movement from pre-Civil War days through the final ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920.

The author concentrates on the birth of the movement with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Seneca Falls Convention, as well as Stanton's friendship and work with Susan B. Anthony then moves into the later era of the movement headed by Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul. This book is more than just an overview and covers key events including Stanton's Declaration of Sentiments, Anthony's arrest for voting, Catt's political relationship with President Woodrow Wilson, and Paul's demonstrations, jail time, and hunger strike. The appendices offer websites for more information, as well as a complete timeline of the movement.

This is a well-written book that should appeal to a wide range of people wanting to know more about the American suffrage movement. Not too much detail for those that know little or no information, yet hearty enough for those that need a good concise review from start to finish.
Profile Image for Martha.
1,158 reviews12 followers
November 30, 2021
Well-written, engaging history of the suffragist movement in the United States. Not too dense; the author knew how to pick interesting anecdotes that helped bring the personalities in the feminist struggle to life.
Profile Image for Tamsyn.
1,193 reviews6 followers
March 10, 2019
Enjoyed this well-written, easy-to-follow book that traces the women's suffrage movement from the childhood of Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the 1830s to the ratification of the amendment in 1920. Kudos to Winifred Conkling for making this a story with a human face as well as making it compelling.
Profile Image for  Olivermagnus.
1,788 reviews43 followers
November 3, 2020
I thought this was going to be a fairly boring book, but it ended up being so interesting I plan to give copies away as holiday gifts. I found it very readable and learned some new details about the history of the movement.

Conkling takes readers back to a time when women did not have the right to own property, could not enter into contracts or sign legal documents, could not keep their wages, had limited options for work, and had few legal rights overall. She takes a straightforward approach in relating the history of the movement and the women who drove it.

Most of the book follows Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her friendship with Susan B. Anthony and other women within the suffrage and prohibition movements. The correspondence between them highlights some of the inner conflicts that are not often covered in other books about this moment in history.

The last few chapters of the book shift the focus to Alice Paul and Lucy Burns with their more militant approach to the fight for women's suffrage including their numerous arrests, hunger strikes, forced feedings, and nonviolent protest.

I realized while reading this book how remarkable these women were and how hard they worked for decades to win modern women the right and privilege of voting. I'll try to remember that when I fill out my ballot from now on.
Profile Image for Heidi.
2,615 reviews52 followers
October 30, 2018
Conkling has written a compelling narrative around the experiences of the major leaders of the women's suffrage movement. Both those who helped start the movement and those who saw the final victory are included. Conflict from without and within hampered the movement from the beginning, but the determination and courage of those who believed so firmly lead to the movement's survival. Conkling includes lots of interesting stories, quotes, and details about both the people involved and the main events that either helped move the cause forward or lead to serious setbacks. The strengths and weaknesses of the leaders are explored as well. This book should be required reading for all young women when they gain the right to vote. There is not way they could ever take the right to vote for granted again after reading this account of the sacrifices and suffering that lead to the final passing of the 19th Amendment.
Profile Image for Susan O.
276 reviews98 followers
April 1, 2019
Gaining the right to vote in the US has been a difficult process for everyone who wasn't born a white male.

"The Nineteenth Amendment enfranchised women, but some states quickly moved to deny nonwhite women - and men - the right to vote. Native Americans were not granted the right to vote until the Indian Citizenship Act was passed in 1924. Chinese Americans didn't get the right to vote until 1943. Japanese Americans and other Asian Americans weren't granted the right to vote until 1952. And the voting rights of African Americans in the South were restricted until President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965."

In "Votes for Women", Conkling gives a good overview of this process for women. There wasn't much new in the book for me, although it was a nice review. It is well-written and fast-paced. I recommend it highly for middle and high school readers and for adults who want an overview.
Profile Image for Lori.
1,376 reviews
February 7, 2019
An interesting book on the Women's American Suffragists. It starts out in the mid 1800's when some women started up the campaign for rights for women to vote and other rights. In the beginning women like,Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Sojourner Truth, to name a few started the long road to women's rights for vote and other rights. The book writes of their struggles and what they went through. It takes the readers up to 1920 when the 19th ammendment was finally signed. These ladies faced jail, went on hunger strikes and showed up throughout the USA never giving up until 1920. A pretty good read.
Profile Image for Kathleen Duffy.
89 reviews10 followers
June 26, 2018
This is one of the most comprehensive and interesting books I’ve read on the women’s suffrage movement. It starts in 1800 with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony and works its way all the way to the 19th amendment. I love how the author connected these histories, which often seem to be segmented in texts. And I love how she didn’t put the women on pedestals, instead focused on their strengths and weaknesses so that we can learn from their mistakes. Conkling- thank you. I will be using several chapters in my gender studies class to teach this movement. You worded things so eloquently as well as bluntly to get across this very important history.
344 reviews
May 11, 2020
This is a fact based read, but it is a smooth read that moves quickly and is full of so much information about all of the women involved over the 72 years since the idea first had a voice in the US. There are many books available on the suffragists but if you want a quick and thorough read this book fits the bill. Some have written there wasn’t enough “flower” in the writing. I found learning about many of these women was a bouquet. The Bewitching Brokers who following a scam became legal investors and made a fortune speculating in gold. The horrific results of exercising free speech and being jailed under deplorable conditions was new information for me. This is listed as a YA book, I think it is more text book in nature. I felt it appropriate to read and honor all of the involved women as we are 100 years since ratification of the 19th amendment.
Profile Image for Rachel.
Author 51 books151 followers
January 24, 2018
This book is very detailed, comprehensive and engaging, but for me I found it a little boring. as a YA book, I think it might be a little heavy. Too much text book, not enough to engage the younger readers. I did enjoy it, but found MY attention span wandering, so I think the target audience would too.
39 reviews1 follower
June 10, 2020
I learned so much from this book! Conking does an amazing job of introducing American suffragist, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as well as emphasizing the hard work and dedication that so many women exhibited while fighting for the right to vote. It definitely took me a little while to get into and finish, however it was truly inspirational and I really recommend!
Profile Image for Cindy H..
1,563 reviews54 followers
April 2, 2020
This was a really informative book/audio about the US Suffragist Movement. I “met” so many brilliant women who wouldn’t be silenced or bullied by the government nor stifled from the ignorance of those who opposed them. This is a wonderful book for young budding feminists or the more mature gals and guys too 😉We can all benefit from a dose of #GirlPower

I was surprised by all the fractures within the movements. It seems many individuals had their own agendas often at the expense of the other groups.
72 reviews
July 27, 2020
A good basic story of the fight for the vote and the women who put their lives on the line for our suffrage. Sometimes a little too basic, though notes and bibliography offer a chance to dig deeper.
Profile Image for Beth.
59 reviews4 followers
April 11, 2019
Wow, what an unexpected pleasure it was to read this! I had just watched a movie about British suffragettes, and I realized I had known nothing about this movement, and I knew very little about American suffragists, either. I picked up this book on a whim, unsure if I would do more than leaf through it. But I started at the beginning and I was immediately hooked. Though the focus of the story fades from character to character, Conkling succeeded in keeping me thoroughly engrossed. The names Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were fleshed out as real people, with their beliefs and motivations explored. I was introduced to new admirable historical figures I had never heard of before. Within the first few chapters I had a handful of new people I admired. I also realized for the first time how intertwined suffrage was with abolition--reading names in a textbook had never brought me to the realization that Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth were contemporaries of Anthony and Stanton, and that these people knew one another and shared values. I also saw Quakers turn up again and again, opening my eyes to what a huge part they played in this movement. History was brought to life in a new way.
Despite knowing that in the end the suffragists would somehow succeed, I audibly gasped, laughed, raised my fist in triumph, and teared up at various points of this story. Moving speeches, a female candidate for president who seems more like she came from the 1960s than the 1870s, hunger strikes, peaceful protests and mobs of drunken men, the Civil War and WWI--I had no idea how much had gone into the campaign for suffrage. When the amendment was finally ratified, I found it poetic that . One could not ask for a better ending if this were a work of fiction.
This is an incredible story of perseverance that seems incredible to me. Everyone should read this book, and if not everyone, then at least every woman. I have always felt that it was not widely enough acknowledged that women have still had the right to vote for less than 100 years (though next year will make it a century!). If for no other reason, I personally will always vote out of respect for these brave women and men. Read and remember who Americans have been and what we can be. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,802 reviews352 followers
July 28, 2018
Votes for Women! American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot (2018) by Winifred Conkling is engaging narrative non-fiction at its best.

This book offers a nuanced history of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States from the Seneca Falls convention through to the momentous vote that ratified the nineteenth amendment with the moments leading up to the vote and its aftermath framing the book as prologue and epilogue.

Most of the book is follows Elizabeth Cady Stanton from her birth through to the moment that she realized women having the right to vote was key to equal rights and her subsequent dedication to the suffrage movement. Letters and ephemera highlight Stanton's abiding friendship with Susan B. Anthony and other women within the suffrage and prohibition movements--two groups that often overlapped. They also underscore some of the inner conflicts that are not often covered in broad strokes about this moment in history.

The last few chapters of the book shift the focus to Alice Paul and Lucy Burns with their more militant approach to the fight for women's suffrage including their numerous arrests, hunger strikes, forced feedings, and nonviolent protest.

Votes for Women! is frank in a way that many history books are not. Conkling covers some of the uglier moments of the suffrage movement thoughtfully, including the ways in which the suffrage movement divided when faced with choosing between votes for women or votes for African American men. No one within the movement was perfect and the fight for suffrage as a whole often disregarded women of color as well as the poor and working class--something that Conkling writes about thoughtfully and without apology.

The end of the book includes extensive end notes, timelines, resources, and more.

Votes for Women! is a thorough and comprehensive history with short chapters, engaging narrative and even suspense after all these years. Timely and empowering, Votes for Women! is a vital read in this current political climate. Highly recommended.
178 reviews1 follower
April 23, 2020
I love learning, it is a lifetime obsession. This brilliantly written book put the fight for suffrage into perspective. I can only be thankful to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B Anthony, Alice Paul and their sister’s in arms for making voting for women a reality and equality for women a possibility.

I wish modern day activists would use some of the organizing techniques of the suffragettes to get environmental, health care, gun control and Women’s equality enacted into law.

Read this book and learn
Profile Image for Libby Ames.
1,424 reviews41 followers
July 31, 2018
Votes for Women! follows the grueling battle for women’s suffrage in the United States. Starting with the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 until the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, this book documents the highs and lows of the struggle. Winifred Conkling aptly describes the strong women behind this cause, showing their determination as well as their humanity. Her writing flows and presents all the major historical events in a way that compels readers to continue.

This is an excellent book for teen readers. They will gain an appreciation for those women who fought for suffrage. It also made me grateful for the time in which I live and the freedoms I enjoy. I count it successful nonfiction because it was highly educating while still reading like a narrative.

Recommended ages--13 and up
Profile Image for Jocelyn.
142 reviews1 follower
May 3, 2019
Susan B. Anthony was definitely important to the cause, but she was also a racist and uncompromising person. This book makes it seem that only SBA and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were the ones who mattered, but there were plenty of other women who were involved.
Profile Image for Teenreadsdotcom.
696 reviews37 followers
December 12, 2018
VOTES FOR WOMEN is a bold new nonfiction book from Winifred Conkling, author of PASSENGER ON THE PEARL, RADIOACTIVE and SYLVIA AND AKI. Chronicling the entire suffragist movement from its birth to the ratification of the 19th amendment, Conkling’s book tells the story of American women fighting for their right to vote. The book pulls you in from the first chapter and will have readers cheering on the tenacious American women as well as mourning their losses.

As a feminist and a strong supporter of gender equality, I will admit that when the novel reached the point in history when women received the vote I teared up a little. It was amazing to read about the struggles that women overcame to reach that point. I knew a little about the suffragist movement before reading this book, but afterwards, I learned so much and was spouting facts at the dinner table --- much to my family’s annoyance.

I wrote a history paper on the American Equal Rights Association and the division between the black rights and women’s suffragist movement a few months ago and I wish that I had read this book before, because it would have really aided my paper! I loved getting to know each suffragist and joining them in their journey to be able to legally vote; the suffragist movement is such a strong and important part of American history that I wish everyone knew more about.

From the first chapter, this book had me hooked. I felt that the middle part was slower just because it had more politics in it which sometimes bores me, but the end of the book had me right back at the edge of my seat. The little known facts that the ordinary person would not know about the movement had me shocked and heartbroken, especially when describing the harsh jail and labor conditions women faced after being arrested.

This book is a work of nonfiction with primary sources in each chapter: pictures, letters, petitions, etc.. The various quotes from historical figures were interwoven so thoroughly that sometimes the book read more like a fictional story. There were also times that the book felt more like a history textbook and I think that could turn some people away. However, history also has boring elements and I think that Conkling’s thorough research of the suffragist movement really showed as the movement is brought to life in this book.

My favorite part was how many of the quotes from suffragists easily connected to today. If many of the quotes were stated in modern times, they would fit right in. At one point, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton was particularly sassy to a man in the novel, I even sent the quote to my friends to cheer one of my favorite suffragists on. I also loved how the reader was able to connect with each suffragist and I truly feel like I know who Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul were as suffragists and women.

I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to read about the suffragist movement, to either learn more, or test their knowledge. Any gender could enjoy this book and if you love history, or reading about strong and inspiring women, this book is for you. I could really tell how much time and energy went into this book by how well researched and cohesive it was, and I delighted in finding little facts that I previously did not know.

Reviewed by Ilona K., Teen Board Member
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1,416 reviews39 followers
August 16, 2018
I was given this book by Algonquin Young Readers in exchange for an honest review.
Today's Nonfiction post is on Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot by Winifred Conkling. It is 312 pages long and is published by Algonquin Young Readers. The cover is red with different pictures of different women over the course of the eighty-year battle for the vote. The intended reader is someone who is interested in women's history, voting rights, and American history. There is no foul language, no sex, and no voiceless in this book. Conkling using many first hand sources to tell this story and we read much of it from the hands of the women themselves. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- The story of the tenacious American women who demanded, fought for, and finally won their right to vote.
On August 18, 1920, ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment was the culmination of an almost eighty-year fight in which some of the fiercest, most passionate women in history marhced, protested, and sometimes broke the law inorder to win the right to vote.
In this expansive yet personal volume, author Winifred Conkling covers not only the suffragists' achievements and politics but also the private journeys that fueled their passion and led them to become women's champions. From Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (who founded the women's suffrage movement at the 1848 Senecca Falls convention) to Victoria Woodhull (the first female candidate for president) to Sojourner Truth and her famous speech ("Ain't I a Woman?") to Alice Paul (who was arrested and force-fed in prison), Conkling combines thorough research with page-turning storytelling to bring the battle for women's suffrage to vivid life.

Review- We all know how the story ends but we don't all know how it was started, how it was won, and the sacrifices made by the women who made it happen. This is a great way to introduce the battle for women's rights to young readers. It is well-written, it is the interesting, it gives the information without overloading the reader with too much detail, and it is well researched. Conkling had a hard job in this book with so much information that she could include about this right movement that she had to choose carefully so as to not overwhelm the reader but also to not leave anything important out. I think that she did a very good job. I was invested in this book and its narrative. I learned new information about the women, men, and laws around the women's right movement. I was never bored as I read this. I recommend this not just for young adults learning about the women's rights movement but for all Americans to remember our history.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars.
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