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Rhode Island Suffrage Timeline

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the federal constitution, which granted women the right to vote, students from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, in collaboration with the Lippitt House Museum, constructed this timeline. It brings to life the Rhode Island suffrage story from the 1663 King Charles Charter to Governor Lincoln Chafee's 2011 voter ID law, a 350-year timespan longer than the history of the United States. Many points in this timeline will be familiar, but others will be unexpected, including Rhode Island’s long resistance to broad suffrage and the role of the Lippitt family in the suffrage and anti-suffrage movements in Rhode Island. The story of the Lippitts, told at the Lippitt House Museum, is that of Rhode Island and America.


As you move through time, consider how Rhode Island compares with the rest of the United States and with the world. Imagine yourself at different points on the timeline and how your own suffrage rights might have been affected. Think of the uneven history of suffrage and the continuing struggles to achieve full voting rights today. 


Despite the shadow of a pandemic, it has been a joy to curate a project that helps to bring the story of suffrage to life. We hope that you enjoy learning about Rhode Island’s unique role in a larger story, and that you continue to fight for suffrage rights.

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