Women's Suffrage in New Jersey

Above images are from the collections of the Alice Paul Institute

A Look at Women's Suffrage in New Jersey

By Sarah Kiefer

Women have always been a strong influence in the development of New Jersey, but their struggle for equal rights has been a long and arduous one. At the end of the Revolutionary War, New Jersey adopted its new constitution. This legal document gave women the right to vote in 1776. Unfortunately this right was revoked, since many believed women did not have the intelligence or political savvy to vote. At the same time, schooling increased and even women were able to further their education. For instance, schools such as Newark Academy and Morristown Academy were opened to women's education. Women Suffragist Clara Barton even taught at Bordentown in Burlington County . Yet, if women desired a college education, they had to go outside New Jersey .

New Jersey was still rural during this time period, and women's roles were confined to maintenance of home and community. As the state grew, so did women's desire to vote and be involved politically. In 1844 a petition was submitted for women's rights, but it was not acknowledged. Many women activists such as Lucy Stone and Dorothea Lynde Dix (whose efforts helped establish New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum), fought within the state to increase women's rights.

Suffrage activism in New Jersey was mainly influenced by Antoinette Brown Blackwell and Lucy Stone. Organizations such as the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association were formed for women to voice their opinion. Alice Paul established the National Women's Party which went and picketed Washington D.C. Although the suffrage movement was not universal among women, organizations still thrived to push for their rights. When World War I broke out, many women put aside their fight to aid their country. At the end of the war, women's efforts for their country appeared to soften resistance to the suffrage movement. Finally, on February 10, 1920, New Jersey became 29th state to ratify the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote.



Featured Lesson Plans

New Jersey and Women's Suffrage

Grade Level: Grade 11, US History II

By Ivy Urdang and Angela Funk

The project, New Jersey and Women's Suffrage, enables students to explore the impact of the Women's Suffrage in New Jersey by focusing on the opposing forces in the Women's Suffrage Movement. Students will analyze voting records and news articles to evaluate the extent support for women's suffrage in the various New Jersey counties. Students will also assess the approach taken to gain suffrage (state vs. national approach) and the controversy this presented for suffragists


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