The League of Women Voters was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The convention was held just six months before the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote after a 72-year struggle.

The League began as a "mighty political experiment" designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. It encouraged them to use their new power to participate in shaping public policy. From the beginning, the League has been an activist, grassroots organization whose leaders believed that citizens should play a critical role in advocacy. It was then, and is now, a nonpartisan organization. League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan stance would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day. However, League members were encouraged to be political themselves, by educating citizens about, and lobbying for, government and social reform legislation.

This holds true today. The League is proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public. The League has a long, rich history,that continues with each passing year.

For additional historical information about the League, please visit the Issues section of this web site.

Photo Highlights

Video Highlights

Civic Activism: Past and Present

A Special Program Celebrating 90 Years of Making Democracy Work:  A History of Change. A Future of Hope

Eleanor Roosevelt: League leader

In the 1920s, Eleanor Roosevelt served as vice president for legislative affairs at the League, monitoring federal legislation and hearings in Congress. Watch this short video about how Eleanor's membership changed the League -- and how the League changed her.

League of Women Voters and the United Nations

During the post World War II period, the League helped lead the effort to establish the United Nations and to ensure U.S. participation.

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Articles about the League

The League of Women Voters Through the Decades!

Founding and Early History:

From the spirit of the suffrage movement and the shock of the First World War came a great idea - that a nonpartisan civic organization could provide the education and experience the public needed to assure the success of democracy. The League of Women Voters was founded on that idea.

The League of Women Voters Through the Decades! - Founding and Early History

From the spirit of the suffrage movement and the shock of the First World War came a great idea - that a nonpartisan civic organization could provide the education and experience the public needed to assure the success of democracy. The League of Women Voters was founded on that idea.

The League of Women Voters Through the Decades! - The 1920s

Since the League had inherited its structure from the National American Women Suffrage Association, in 1920 it was a federation of affiliated state Leagues, most of which had been in existence as state headquarters of the NAWSA. State Leagues were the keystone of the League's structure, and had the responsibility for organizing local Leagues. By 1924, the National League was organized in 346 of 433 congressional districts. Twenty-three state Leagues and 15 city Leagues maintained regular business headquarters, nearly all with one or more paid staff.

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