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Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less: The First Amendment and the Women’s Suffrage Movement

Explore how the suffragists embraced the First Amendment as a tool to help achieve passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.

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The Tools to Persuade

SUMMARY: Students use examples from the pro- and anti-suffrage movements to dissect the persuasive techniques used to shape public opinion then and now.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle and high school

TIME: 60 minutes

MATERIALS: Persuasion Techniques worksheet (download), Internet access


  1. Make copies of the worksheet, one per student.
  2. Review the example worksheet at the end of this packet. You may wish to distribute it to your students, as well.
  3. Share the link to the Women’s Suffrage Media Map with your students, or project it on the board.

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Overview PDF DOC
Worksheets PDF DOC
Extensions PDF DOC
Full Packet PDF DOC

To request a large print or Braille version, call 202.292.6650.


(Note: For more support, see expanded procedure in downloadable lesson plan.)

  1. Students review tools of persuasion, then chart which of those tools are used in an artifact chosen from NewseumED’s Women’s Suffrage Media Map.
  2. Students discuss the effects of these techniques on the women’s suffrage debate.
  3. Students discuss what persuasive techniques are used in today’s media and how, and compare and contrast them with examples of persuasive materials from the suffrage debate.
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Have students present their findings. Prompts include:

  • How do today’s persuasive messages look the same as those from the suffrage debate? How are they different?How do you explain the similarities and differences?
  • Look at a specific technique. How are the ways that the pro- or anti-suffrage authors used this technique the same and different from the ways that the modern-day examples use the technique? How do you explain the similarities and differences?
  • What additional persuasive techniques do the modern-day media have available to them due to technological developments?
  • Why is it important to understand the tools and influence of persuasive messages? What impact do they have on our lives today?
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