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Woman suffrage is the right of women to vote Today women in nearly all countries have the same voting rights as men But they did not begin to gain such rights until the early 1900s and they had to overcome strong opposition to get them The men and women who supported the drive for woman suffrage were called suffragists During colonial times the right to vote was limited to adult males who owned property Many people thought property owners had the strongest interest in good government and so were best qualified to make decisions Most women could not vote though some colonies gave the vote to widows who owned property By the mid-1700s many colonial leaders were beginning to think that all citizens should have a voice in government They expressed this belief in such slogans as No Taxation Without Representation and Government by the Consent of the Governed After the United States became an independent nation the Constitution gave the states the right to decide who could vote One by one the states abolished property requirements and by 1830 all white male adults could vote Only New Jersey gave women the vote but in 1807 that state also limited voting rights to men Beginnings of the movement Changing social conditions for women during the early 1800s combined with the idea of equality led to the birth of the woman suffrage movement For example women started to receive more education and to take part in reform movements which involved them in politics As a result women started to ask why they were not also allowed to vote One of the first public appeals for woman suffrage came in 1848 Two reformers Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton called a womens rights convention in Seneca Falls NY where Stanton lived The men and women at the convention adopted a Declaration of Sentiments that called for women
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