The right of women to vote was not an opportunity that knocked suddenly out of nowhere. In fact, it was a long hard struggle for many woman suffragists. Not only was getting the actual right to vote difficult, but once it was attained there was the question of how women would be attracted to exercise this right. However, while there were thousands of eligible voters who did not vote, there were also thousands of them who did nationwide. Over two thousand of these daring feminists who cast their votes were from Beverly, Massachusetts. In doing this, these women became part of the first voter registration performed by females in this area of the country. Also, not only wealthy native born women participated in the election. Among these voters there were foreign born women as well as native born, and working as well as non-working women. There are several possible reasons for the numbers of each from the four categories. Also, there were great circumstances which led to the addition of the Nineteenth Amendment which granted women the right to vote.
In the years between 1848 and 1920, women struggled, and were often times dragged down for their vote. They were up against men, the mindset that women should have no place in government, and opposition by fellow women. There was a split in the woman’s movement in 1869. There were those women who continued on the trail towards equal suffrage rights, and those who took the other route towards anti-suffragism. Woman anti-suffragists, although constituting a relatively small minority, nonetheless managed to develop twenty-five state organizations, as well as the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage. Despite the existence of these organizations however, anti-suffragism never became a mass movement, and women moved onto be granted suffrage.
Another reason for the intiation of the woman’s suffrage movement branched from the emancipation of the slaves in the late 19th century. Woman leaders felt that if the right to vote could perhaps be passed on to free blacks then it might be a milestone that would bring suffrage closer within their reach. Woman’s rights leaders had put aside their cause during the Civil War, but when peace time came, they hoped to restart it. They hoped that suffrage would be attained with the aid of the Republican party. In the end, the Republicans in the Senate decided to support the Nineteenth Amendment, and women voters did not forget this. The increase in the Republican majority was due to the woman’s vote may be indicative of their appreciation of the Republicans for voting in their favor.
However united woman suffragists were in their struggle, their motives leading up to the struggle differed from woman to woman, depending on a variety of factors. From women in church societies to organizations of working women, the suffragists worked towards a common purpose which would lead to their individual goals.
The Republican victor of the 1920 presidential election was Warren G. Harding. He didn’t really have a distinct view regarding woman’s suffrage. Instead, he tended to vote in favor of puplic opinion rather than conscience. While in the Senate, when the vote for the Nineteenth Amendment came up, and Harding went along with the other Republicans. Due to the increasing number of people in Ohio who voted for woman’s suffrage, the Republicans in the Senate decided to support the Nineteenth Amendment, Harding included.
The Senate finally agreed to the passage of the suffrage amendment on June 4, 1919, and it went into effect in time for the 1920 election. Republican women tended to go to the polls more often than the Democratic women, and this attributed to the election of Harding. 
Once granted the right to vote, women in general tended to vote much like their male counterparts.  Overall, after the suffrage amendment went into effect, women seemed to show little interest in voting. Those who continued their interest in politics helped to increase the Republican vote, allowing for the election of President Harding, even though their vote may not even have existed as a separate vote. Also, despite the efforts of women’s clubs and the League of Women voters to get women involved in their newfound civic opportunitiy, female candidates for office were few. In spite of the hardships of the struggle however, the introduction of woman suffrage would prove to be one of the greatest achievements of women in history.
Beverly women in 1920 took an interest in politics. Women from all nationalities and social classes went to the polls. Out of 5,508 eligible female voters, 47% actually voted. Twenty-two percent of these women were foreign-born, and 78% were native born. A possible explanation for this large difference might be that the majority of immigrants had not yet been nationalized, making it impossible for them to vote. Thirty-three percent of these women were of the working class, while 37% were non-workers. A possible explanation for this difference may be that there just weren’t that may working women at that time (there was a relative lack of jobs available to woman at that time).
Whether or not the number of women who voted out of those eligible was as expected, it was the first year of their suffrage, and the beginning of a new era for women. It placed the women of Beverly in one of the greatest rights movements of all time.
The woman’s suffrage movement attracted thousands of women across the country, including women in Beverly. Their intiative to vote paved the way for future female voters in Beverly. Looking back now, in 1997, it makes me proud to see how members in our community helped change history.