Major Department



College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2020

Honors Major Advisor

Alyssa Park

Thesis Mentor

Landon Storrs


Rather than viewing the Nineteenth Amendment as an endpoint of the woman suffrage movement, this amendment should instead be viewed as a stop along the way. No one piece of legislation guaranteed all women the right to vote, nor did the Nineteenth Amendment grant women equal citizenship status with men. Founded in 1919, the League of Women Voters of Iowa became the successor of the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association, carrying on a legacy of activism and resistance to gender-based discrimination. While the right to vote made up a large part of what most suffragists thought of as citizenship, many women quickly realized there were other legal and social discriminations against women that limited women’s autonomy. The League of Women Voters of Iowa (LWV of Iowa) continued to fight for gender equality, capitalizing on the existing organizational structures left behind by the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association. Moving into the 1920s and 1930's, the League of Women Voters of Iowa participated in the enduring women's movement, focusing primarily on women-specific legislation and reform, as well as voter education and educated suffrage. This paper utilizes primary archival sources to argue that the LWV of Iowa’s activity between 1920 and 1940 demonstrates the continuation of the women's movement post-Nineteenth Amendment during a period many scholars view as a silent period for women’s activism. In cooperation with the National League of Women Voters, the LWV of Iowa worked to define and redefine citizenship throughout the 1920s and 1940s at both the state and national levels.


woman suffrage, women suffrage, league of women voters, league of women voters of Iowa, lvw, nlwv, lwv of Iowa, lwvia, lwvi, citizenship, women's history, Iowa, United States, americanization

Total Pages



Copyright © 2019 Emily Lefeber