“Votes for Women a Success: The Map Proves It,” circa. 1914. (Manuscript Division, Library of Congress)

If you haven’t noticed it yet, we here at GovBeat love maps. We stumbled across the one above Monday morning and thought we’d share it since it’s a nice snapshot of the country a hundred years ago.

On March 3, 1914, representatives of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage participated in a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee as the movement for women’s suffrage gained steam.

New York’s Crystal E. Benedict addressed the assembled members, distributing maps to show support for the cause. States that backed the movement were shaded white, but a similar map above from the same year shows where states stood. By 1914, a large number of states in the west had granted women the right to vote (symbolized in red). Shaded states offered partial suffrage, and black states, largely in the southeast offered none. The key to the bottom right offers more detail.

With women able to vote in some states, they were in a position to issue not-so-veiled political threats, as the article below from the evening edition of The Washington Times that day noted.

“Do you want to put your party in the delicate position of going to four million women voters next fall after you have failed even to report out an amendment creating a woman’s suffrage committee or submitting to the States the question of women’s suffrage?” Benedict asked. “No Democrat replied,” the paper reported.

Later that month, the Senate would hold its first vote in more than a quarter-century on a constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote. It failed, but was reintroduced a day later. The House held its first-ever vote on the amendment the next January. By 1920, the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote was ratified.


Women’s suffrage hearing, 1914. (The Washington Times, March 03, 1914)