Virtual Event

Reconstructing the Polity (1870)

Voting Matters: Gender, Citizenship, and the Long 19th Amendment

The reconstruction of the American polity after the Civil War—in particular, the adoption of the 15th Amendment in 1870—marked a key moment in the long history of the 19th Amendment, women’s political mobilization, and the contested boundaries of United States citizenship.

During the campaign for the 15th Amendment, and the campaign of racial terror that accompanied its passage, Black women mobilized to defend themselves and their communities, innovating ideas and strategies that would reshape the women’s suffrage movement. As federal troops moved from the South to the West, Native women faced new forms of violence and questions about whether to defend tribal sovereignty or seek rights within the American nation. Chinese American women, meanwhile, confronted efforts to exclude them from citizenship. This panel will use gender as a lens to understand the cross-cutting trends of enfranchisement and disenfranchisement that came together in the wake of the Civil War.


Photo by Nina SubinPhoto by Nina SubinJane Kamensky, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University 




Courtesy of Amanda Cobb-GreethamCourtesy of Amanda Cobb-GreethamAmanda Cobb-Greetham (Chickasaw), professor of Native American studies and director of the Native Nations Center, University of Oklahoma





Courtesy of Brittney CooperCourtesy of Brittney CooperBrittney Cooper, associate professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and cofounder, Crunk Feminist Collective




Courtesy of Beth Lew-WilliamsCourtesy of Beth Lew-WilliamsBeth Lew-Williams, associate professor of history and Philip and Beulah Rollins Bicentennial Preceptor, Princeton University





Courtesy of Manisha SinhaCourtesy of Manisha SinhaModerated by Manisha Sinha RI ’20, James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History, University of Connecticut






Audience Q and A will follow the discussion.

More in the "Voting Matters: Gender, Citizenship, and the Long 19th Amendment" conference series