Suffrage Movements Merge 1890

National American Woman Suffrage Association's support for Bristow-Mondell amendment.

The nation's two largest women's organizations, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Women's Suffrage Organization, merged to form the National American Women's Suffrage Association. NAWSA was dedicated to obtaining the vote for women.


After the Civil two different Women’s organizations developed the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Women Suffrage Association. Susan Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton had formed the NWSA while the AWSA was led by Lucy Stone her husband Henry Blackwell and Julia War Howe. The two organization while both working for women's rights had different focus. The AWSA worked exclusively to get women the right to vote, while NWSA worked on other women's issues including divorce rights and equal pay. The AWSA had both men and women in the leadership roles. The tactics of the two organizations differed somewhat with the AWSA trying to cultivate a more respected image while Elizabeth Stanton of the NWSA got arrested while voting illegally,

There had been a number of attempts to bring about a merger between the two organizations but they had not been successful. In 1887 this changed when Stone who was 70 and in failing health attempted to bring about a merger. She suggested creating an umbrella organization that would include the two separate organizations. That idea did not go far but soon the two sides were meeting to try to negotiate an agreement to merge. By January 1889 an agreement in principal was reached to merge the two organizations. In February all of the main leaders issued a ‘Open Letter to the Woman of America “ indicating their intention to merge.

On February 18, 1890 the founding convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association was held. The new organization was the merged entity of the the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Women Suffrage Association. Elizabeth Stanton was elected the first President of the new organization with Susan Anthony being the Vice President.