front page - 1920

On June 18, 2019, LNP celebrated its 225th anniversary. The earliest newspaper to which today’s LNP traces its roots was the Lancaster Journal, first published on June 18, 1794, by William Hamilton and Henry Willcocks from a news office located in a tavern building at the King Street site of the current LNP building.

To celebrate 225 years of Lancaster newspapers, we present this series of 52 front pages from the history of the newspapers which would eventually become LNP. 

A long battle finally won

On Oct. 30, 1756, a widow named Lydia Taft used her husband Josiah’s proxy vote to help decide whether the town of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, would increase its contributions to the French and Indian War. Whether she knew it at the time, Taft was the first woman in colonial America to cast a vote.

The U.S. Suffrage movement began in earnest following the first Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. It was at this event that the first notable public call was made to allow women to vote, thanks to an impassioned speech given by Frederick Douglass. Throughout the next decade, conventions would begin to pick up steam for the movement, up until the outbreak of the Civil War. By the time the war had ended, the end of slavery would prove initially to be a dividing issue, as some women weren’t confident that advancement of both African Americans and women could be pursued simultaneously.

This led directly to Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton creating the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869, based on the idea that the 15th Amendment should be opposed until it included women’s right to vote. Anthony would be arrested in 1872 for voting in that year’s presidential election and was given a $100 fine that would remain unpaid.

In the remaining years of the 19th century, the suffrage movement would find enemies on all sides. Upper class white women would band together to denounce suffrage because of racism against non-white women potentially having a right to a vote, as well as a biblical belief in women’s subservience to their husbands. Some politicians feared having to cater to an entirely new voting bloc, and the priorities that bloc would hold.

Beginning in 1910 in the state of Washington, women slowly began making inroads towards meaningful change nationwide. World War I would help create change, as women filled roles in work environments previously only occupied by men, now gone to fight for their country. In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson would praise the suffrage movement in a State of the Union address, which helped finally push the 19th Amendment toward the finish line. Due to the requirement that 36 states must ratify an amendment before it passes, it wasn’t until Aug. 18, 1920, that Tennessee voted 49 to 47 to accept and fully allow women to legally vote in the United States. In an instant, 17 million women were given a voice that generations had fought decades for.

While icons of the movement such as Anthony and Stanton receive and deserve credit, it was thousands of women - dating all the way to the time of Lydia Taft - that made the tiny inroads that led to the triumph of 1920.