The best books on Women's suffrage 📚

Browse the best books on Women's suffrage as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Eighty Years and More: Reminiscences 1815-1897

Eighty Years and More: Reminiscences 1815-1897

By Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Why this book?

I am recommending this autobiography of the great nineteenth-century feminist intellectual and activist. Eighty Years and More is one of the great autobiographies in American history, up there with that of Frederick Douglass and Henry Adams. Stanton told the account of her early years, her path to becoming a reformer, and the epic battles in which she fought for women’s rights in an engaging writing style that still speaks to women today. Readers who only know of Stanton through the controversies over her racism and elitism will be well served by learning about the many, path-breaking facets of her life…
From the list:

The best books to read about the history of women's rights

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Book cover of One Woman Against War: The Jeannette Rankin Story

One Woman Against War: The Jeannette Rankin Story

By Kevin S. Giles

Why this book?

Jeannette Rankin is so well known for being the first woman elected to the US Congress, and for voting against American entry into both world wars, that her vital role in achieving women’s suffrage goes unappreciated. In this full biography, Giles engagingly recounts her tireless work across the nation as a suffrage campaigner, as well as her introduction, as a member of the House of Representatives, of the Susan B. Anthony amendment that would guarantee women the vote. There are many biographies of Rankin—this one is especially balanced and lively.

From the list:

The best books on the fight for American women’s suffrage — the movement’s good, bad, and ugly

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Book cover of The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement: 1890-1920

The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement: 1890-1920

By Aileen S. Kraditor

Why this book?

This book, published first in 1965 and then revised and reissued, was required reading when I was in graduate school. With this intellectual history of women’s suffrage, Kraditor sparked my interest in how ideas spur and shape political and social movements. Arguments, tactics, and strategies originate in the ideas of participants, and these ideas have consequences for how and what is eventually achieved. My favorite chapter explained the two kinds of arguments suffragists used. The argument from “justice” asserted women’s equal humanity with men, while the argument from “expediency” affirmed the benefits of extending women’s domestic caretaking into politics. 

My…

From the list:

The best books on the history of voting rights in the United States

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Book cover of Suffrage: Women's Long Battle for the Vote

Suffrage: Women's Long Battle for the Vote

By Ellen Carol DuBois

Why this book?

Written to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, this lively, exciting book provides a fresh and comprehensive history of the fight for women’s suffrage. DuBois is a leading scholar who presents her expertise in prose that appeals to scholars and general readers alike. There are lots of books on the long history of women’s suffrage—this is the best.

From the list:

The best books on the fight for American women’s suffrage — the movement’s good, bad, and ugly

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Book cover of Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement

Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement

By Cathleen D. Cahill

Why this book?

Recasting the Vote retells the familiar story of the movement for women’s suffrage with a new cast of characters and an expanded set of goals. Focusing on Indigenous, African American, Hispanic, and Asian American activists, Cathleen Cahill places the fight for women’s voting rights within the context of BIPOC communities’ struggles for self-determination. For these women, the battle for women’s suffrage was connected to protests against lynching and segregation and demands for tribal self-government and freedom of religion, among other issues. By highlighting the work of Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (Zitkala-Sa), Laura Cornelius Kellogg, Carrie Williams Clifford,…

From the list:

The best biographies about American women activists

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Book cover of Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement

Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement

By Robert P. J. Cooney Jr.

Why this book?

When I began researching suffrage history I was captivated by the images I found, including illustrations the suffragists created. Yet most books written about the suffrage movement are nonfiction narratives, with only a handful of images. The suffragists were brilliant at using images to skewer the anti-suffragists’ ridiculous statements about how women voting would ruin families and society.

A graphic designer by trade, Cooney upended that model by gathering together a vast array of photographs, cartoons, and other images depicting both pro-and anti-suffrage sentiment. It’s a great gift to us, and to future generations, to have all of these images…

From the list:

The best books about the amazing fight for women’s voting rights

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