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The Ballot Box Battle by Emily A

The Ballot Box Battle

Author:  Emily Arnold McCully
ISBN:  0679893121
Summary: On Election Day 1880, the women's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton teaches her young neighbor a lesson in gumption.

Unit prepared by Wende

Printables - 

Strong Women of the Bible two-flap lapbook component

State flower and bird minit books

State flower and bird coloring pages

1800’s Venn Diagram fold

19th Amendment cursive copywork fold

19th Amendment manuscript copywork fold

19th Amendment cursive copywork notebook

19th Amendment manuscript copywork notebook

Who Could Vote? Lapbook component

Presidents 20 Flaps

Horse Anatomy Print-out

 "Horse Gaits" Minit Book

What Horses Eat Accordion Minit Book

Horse Report Form with HWT lines

Horse Report Form with Regular Lines

“Why I Like Me” notebook page

Classical Language Match Worksheet and pocket

Ice Cream Election ballots, tally sheet, and pocket

Blank November Calendar

Artist Portfolio Fold
Vocabulary Flap Book


Optional Go-Along Books –


You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton? by Jean Fritz.

America Votes: How Our President Is Elected by Linda Granfield.

SchoolHouse Rock DVD, “Sufferin’ till Suffrage”

Miscellaneous books about horses


Teacher Note: Read through Bible lesson before discussing with your child. Even today, both men and women of all religions hold different opinions about what rights a woman should/shouldn’t have, and their place in society. Beliefs on whether women should or shouldn’t be preachers, should or shouldn’t work outside the home, should or shouldn’t do this or do that are still very volatile topics even today. I tried writing this lesson based on Mrs. Stanton’s actual writings, and the parallels in Godly women who made a difference in the world because of their commitment to doing what was right in spite of how they were looked upon by society. If this lesson does not fit your personal beliefs, maybe you could use it as an opportunity to introduce to your child what you do believe pertaining to a woman’s rights and responsibilities.


Bible –


Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a very strong woman. During the time she was growing up, women were recognized as only having the rights that their husbands allowed them. Women were often perceived as inferior to men. One of Mrs. Stanton’s grievances, as specified in The History of Woman Suffrage was that limiting the rights of a woman was also limiting God’s possible plan of action.
She said:
“[Mankind] has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and to her God.”
“Resolved, therefore, That, being invested by the creator with the same capabilities, and the same consciousness of responsibility for their exercise, it is demonstrably the right and duty of woman, equally with man, to promote every righteous cause by every righteous means;”

Discuss if you agree/disagree with Mrs. Stanton’s statements. Are men and women created equal in all ways? Do men and women have the same capabilities? Read Galatians 3:28:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.


You may also want to discuss some of the strong women in the Bible, Godly ladies who may have gone against the grain of society while following God’s lead for them. Some examples may be:

Deborah (Judges 4-5), a wife, mother, prophetess and leader of Israel, she was recognized and accepted as a strong woman of God.


Abigail (1 Samuel 25:2-42), married to a foolish man, she did something unheard of in Biblical times – she went behind his back and used her generosity and quick wit to save many lives and also spared David from sinning.


Wise Woman of Abel (2 Samuel 20:14-22), used her God given wisdom and courage when no man would, to save an entire city from destruction.


Proverbs 31 Woman was representative of a strong, enterprising, hard working woman, someone trusted by her husband to make business decisions on her own.


Mary of Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-12:11) who, unlike her sister Martha, went against what was culturally expected of her and sat with the men at Jesus’ feet, soaking in His every word. Jesus praised her, and wanted the story of what she did for Him told forevermore.


Priscilla (Acts 18-19), one of the first missionaries and a church leader, she preached the Gospel along with her husband, as well as courageously risking her life for Paul.


Pick any of these women to discuss with your child, and ask how the world may be different if these women didn’t challenge their husbands and/or society to carry out God’s plans for them. Complete Strong Women of the Bible lapbook component (pick three women or do all six) if desired.

Social Studies –


New Jersey – This story takes place in New Jersey. Have your child look at a United States map and locate New Jersey. The state of New Jersey is actually a peninsula, which means it juts out into the water. Have child locate bodies of water that border New Jersey on the west (Delaware River), to the northeast (Hudson River), and on east/south (Atlantic Ocean). New Jersey was the third state to enter the Union and its capital is Trenton. Even though New Jersey is one of the smallest states, there are more people per square mile there than any other state. New Jersey is called the Garden State, and is still well known for its farms, as well as its factories. New Jersey is home to Campbell’s Soup Factory, and is the location of Menlo Park where Thomas Edison worked on his 1000+ inventions. If desired, have your child research the state bird (Eastern goldfinch), state flower (purple violet), state tree (Red Oak), etc.


Free Travel Guide to order, can use to cut up for lapbook/notebook graphics.


State flower and bird minit book

State flower and bird coloring page


1825 – In 1825 Elizabeth Cady was ten years old. The flashbacks to her childhood in The Ballot Box Battle take place at this time. What was life like in 1825? It was the period of time after the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, and preceded the Alamo and Civil War. John Quincy Adams was inaugurated as the sixth President of the United States. George Stephenson’s steam locomotive ran on the first public railroad. The Erie Canal is first opened in New York, Elizabeth’s birthplace. In 1825 Congress set aside land west of the Mississippi River for American Indians. One third of the American people were now living west of the Appalachian Mountains. The south was comprised of “slave states” where slavery was still allowed, and there were many riots fighting against it. In the north, which was comprised of “free states”, many immigrants came from European countries, and worked at the factories popping up all over the northeast. It was more common for girls to work than go to school, and with very few exceptions, only boys were allowed to attend any institutes for higher learning.  In 1825 there were no cars, telephones, or electricity. Children had to work hard, with a boy’s daily chores including hunting, bringing wood and water, and the girls responsibilities being spinning, weaving, and churning.


1880 – The story pertaining to Cordelia’s childhood takes place in 1880. What was the United States like in 1880? It was after the Civil War, when we went from a country allowing slavery to a country of segregation. It was a time of heavy immigration, with over 8 milLion people coming to the United States from European countries between 1871 and 1890. It was a time for much progress and change. Cordelia would be witness to many firsts.  It was just four years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and five years before Karl Benz invented the first practical automobile. Thomas Edison, who was born in New Jersey, invented the electric light bulb, and for the very first time, American streets were lit by electricity. Look at the light fixture hanging at the polls office in 1880 and compare it to the candlelight used by Mrs. Stanton as a child in 1825. 1880 was the first year that canned fruits and meats appeared in grocery stores. Children didn’t have to work quite as hard due to the invention of many labor saving devices. More items such as clothes and food could be bought instead of having to make them.


Compare and contrast Elizabeth’s childhood to Cordelia’s childhood. How were they similar? How were they different? How do they compare to child’s life today? Use

1800’s Venn Diagram fold to itemize your findings.


Elizabeth Cady Stanton –


     Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in 1815, the daughter of Judge Cady, of Johnstown, New York. She was raised in a community where most of the people were Scotch and where the idea of a woman's place and ability was very limited in scope. Elizabeth had an older brother, upon whom her father had set his hopes and gave an excellent education. This brother, however, died just after he graduated from Union College, when Elizabeth was only ten years old. 

     Elizabeth saw her father's grief and disappointment and was determined to fill her brother's place. By his own words, he had made it clear to her that a girl was not as worthwhile to him as a boy. She applied herself to her studies and excelled in Greek, Latin, and mathematics, hoping to please her father and proving to him that a girl could be as good a student as a boy. But the expected commendation did not come. She then took up additional studies and prepared herself to enter Union College, but she was refused because of her gender.

     Upon this denial, Elizabeth entered the Troy Female Seminary and received an excellent education, the finest available to women at that time. After a few years at Troy Female Seminary, Elizabeth returned home and spent seven years studying law in her father's office.

     In time, Elizabeth met and married Henry Stanton, an activist in the anti-slavery cause. The word "obey" was omitted from the wedding ceremony at her insistence. The couple attended the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London on their wedding tour. Here Mrs. Stanton met Lucretia Mott, who, with others, had been sent as delegates from the United States. During the convention, the women delegates were not seated or allowed to vote. This convinced Elizabeth that women should hold a convention for their own rights (Adelman, Famous Women, p. 172). 

     Upon her return to America, Mrs. Stanton was instrumental in calling the first Women's Rights Convention. The idea first came about in 1847 after her move to Seneca Falls, where she was isolated and increasingly exhausted by a growing family. Her father, hearing of this, feared she had become insane and visited her to discourage her from undertaking such a project. 

     Finally, in 1848, she met with Lucretia Mott and three other Quaker women in nearby Waterloo, NY. Together they issued the call for the first Women's Rights Convention. At the convention, Stanton introduced the resolution, "That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves the sacred right of the elective franchise." (James, Notable Women, p. 343).

     Mrs. Stanton was far in advance of her age and was subjected to both opposition and ridicule, but she continued to be an educator of public opinion and a champion of women's rights. Though she died before seeing her dream come to fruition, her relentless work was instrumental in bringing about the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, which gave women the vote.
Used with permission of History's Women


For further reading, see You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton? by Jean Fritz.


Voting – Mrs. Stanton was not allowed to vote. She met all the criteria for voting, being literate, affording the poll tax, being over twenty-one years old, etc. She could not vote in 1880 because she was a woman. Does your child know who is allowed to vote today? Currently, any citizen of the United States who is 18 years or older may vote. But it wasn’t always this way. Throughout the history of America, there have been many groups of people who were not allowed to vote. Discuss the progression of voting rights with your child, and complete Who Could Vote? Lapbook component.


Colonial Times – The colonies each made their own laws regarding who was allowed to vote. Generally, you had to be a white Protestant male over the age of 21 who owned land to cast your ballot.  The colonies usually had chosen religions, and you had to be a member of that church to vote in that colony.


Post-Revolution – While voting laws were still left up to the individual states, more and more states were eliminating the restrictions of property ownership to vote. They were instead instituting a poll tax, which each person who wanted to vote had to pay. Also, since in the Bill of Rights, effective December 15 1791, no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion could be established, a person’s religious affiliation could no longer prevent them from voting.


15th Amendment  – In 1870, after the Civil War, the 15th Amendment was passed which said:


The right of citizens of the Unites States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.


This amendment gave African Americans, even those who were once slaves, the right to vote. There were still many states though that did not want the blacks to vote, so they instituted a literacy test. This was a test of reading ability and comprehension and was used to determine if a person was fit to vote. As most of the blacks could not read at that time, they therefore could not vote. This plan backfired though, as there were also many whites that could not read, so some states then made a “grandfather clause”, saying that even if you could not read, if your grandfather had the right to vote, then you do too. This still prevented many of the blacks from voting, as most of their grandfathers were slaves who had never had the right to vote.


19th Amendment – After nearly a century of suffragists trying to get women the right to vote, the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920. It said:


The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.


This amendment to the Constitution nearly doubled the number of voters, and all the work of Mrs. Stanton and others finally came to fruition. If available, listen to and/or watch Schoolhouse Rock’s “Sufferin till Suffrage”.  Have child complete 19th Amendment copywork exercise as desired.

19th Amendment cursive copywork fold

19th Amendment manuscript copywork fold

19th Amendment cursive copywork notebook

19th Amendment manuscript copywork notebook

24th Amendment – The poll taxes, which were in part to keep the blacks from voting, were abolished with the passing of this amendment:


The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.


26th Amendment – The most recent amendment concerning voting rights, the 26th Amendment was ratified in 1971. It lowered the legal voting age from twenty-one to eighteen. It states:


The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.


Presidents – Your child has most likely heard of the President of the United States, but does he know how this person got this position and what the position entails? Read this information as outlined in Article II of the Constitution to your child. While some of the words and meanings may be over his head at this time, just hearing the flow of dialogue will prepare him to be a good, knowledgeable citizen.

Requirements to be President:

~ Must be a native born Citizen of the United States

~ Must be at least thirty-five years old

~ Must be United States residents for at least fourteen years

~ Is limited to being President for two terms

Some Responsibilities of President:

~Uphold his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution

~Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy

~To nominate certain Officers of the United States

~ Keep Congress informed in State of the Union addresses


Every four years there is an election to vote in a new President and his Vice-President of choice. The states first hold Primary Elections, in which one Presidential Candidate is voted for within each Political Party. There is then a General Election in which all voters choose the President of their choice. Voters aren’t really choosing the President, but rather the Electors that will choose the President for them. This is called the Electoral College and has been in effect for hundreds of years.

            Is your child familiar with all the Presidents? You could start by first introducing the most well known, those that are on our currency. Then you could use attached Presidents 20 Flaps lapbook component to learn all the Presidents up till the 1880 election. Does your child recognize any faces?

            For further reading about the election process, your child may enjoy America Votes: How Our President Is Elected by Linda Granfield.

Science –


Horses – Has your child ever had horseback riding lessons? Cordelia got a lesson from Mrs. Stanton every afternoon all summer. Horses are very fun animals to learn about, and an entire unit study could be done about them. Here are some basics you may want to discuss with your child as interest warrants.


             Horses are mammals, meaning they are warm blooded, have live births, feed their young milk, and are covered with fur or hair. An interesting fact about horses is that every point on them has a name. Have child complete Horse Anatomy Print-out , identifying the forelock, mane, shoulder, hoof, fetlock, hock, hindquarters, withers, etc.


            Horses have been domesticated for over 5000 years. People have used them to pull carts for travel, such as the ones pulling the wagon carrying the voters. They are used as farm horses, to help plow the fields. Horses are also used for riding. Observe the picture of Cordelia riding sidesaddle, the customary way for a female in a dress to ride.  Mrs. Stanton’s horse, Jules, is said to be an old war-horse. A war-horse is a horse that was used as a charger in combat, and Jules would have been used during the Civil War, which ended in 1865. Find books at the library about the different breeds of horses and their various purposes. Write about them on these forms:

Horse Report Form with HWT lines

Horse Report Form with Regular Lines


One of Cordelia’s jobs in taking care of Mrs. Stanton’s horse was to feed it. What kind of food does Jules eat?  Horses are herbivores, which means they are plant eaters. They eat grass and hay, but what else do they consume?  (This is NOT an all-inclusive list, but it will give your student a good introduction.) You may want to do What Horses Eat Accordion Minit Book for your lapbook or notebook as you complete this lesson.

Apples - a treat!

Barley - should be boiled or soaked for at least two hours before feeding as it swells when wet (this prevents swelling in the horse's stomach)

Maize - this should be flaked and cooked to make it easier to digest

Oats - they are easily digested if crushed, rolled or cooked

Root vegetables - such as beetroot, carrots, parsnips, and turnips can be fed (but in small quantities)


You may also want to discuss some of the horse movements that are mentioned throughout the story. The first four are called the horse’s gaits. Make a    
             "Horse Gaits" Minit Book  if desired.

Walk- just a regular old walk
Trot- a jog
Canter- to run slow
Gallop- to run fast

Jump – to leap


Language Arts –


Thought question – Elizabeth desperately wanted to please her father, and was determined to be everything that her brother was. She resolved to be learned and courageous, the way she perceived boys to be. Were her perceptions correct? Would Elizabeth’s striving to be more boy-like really make her father glad? While her actions of striving for more knowledge and courage were not necessarily a bad thing, what do you think about her reasons for changing? Have your child (olders write, youngers narrate) complete,

“Why I Like Me” notebook page, including some of their positive traits, and one thing they may want to change.  Read a cute story about a kangaroo who discovered that she really can be happy with who she is, Marsupial Sue by John Lithgow.


Classical Languages - Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as a young girl, had set herself to learn Greek, and then later, Latin. Greek and Latin are classical languages, used in what some consider the most artistically developed stage of civilization, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Many of our English words are derived from Greek and Latin roots, and a person mastering these languages is considered learned. Your child probably is familiar with many Greek and Latin roots, without even knowing it. On Classical Language Match Worksheet and pocket, have child match up Greek and Latin roots to their English meanings, and use pocket to store worksheet in lapbook/notebook if desired. If you have an older child that may be interested in becoming “learned and courageous”, here are free Greek and Latin Grammars, such as the ones used by Elizabeth in the 1800’s:


A First Greek Course, Sir William Smith

First Greek Book, John Williams White


Beginner's Latin Book, Collar and Daniell

Latin For Beginners, Benjamin L. D'Ooge


Alliteration – Alliteration is a poetic term to describe the repetition of initial consonant sounds in neighboring words. Just mention the title of the story, Ballot Box Battle, as you review or introduce this term.


Vocabulary – The following words are found throughout the story. Be sure child has an understanding of their meanings as you read through it. 

Vocabulary Flap Book

            Suffrage – The act or process of voting.

            Skirmish – A light engagement or battle. “She talked about some skirmish

            Parlor – A room for reception of callers. “He sat in the darkened parlor

            Resolution – A fixed purpose; determination. “I made a resolution

            Tolled – An announcement of death or funeral, with a slow and regular sound. “The church bells tolled

            Solace – Comfort in grief. “Pastor Hosack was my great solace

            Poll – The place where votes are cast and counted. “The poll was filled with men”

            Spectacle – An unwelcome exhibition. “going to make a spectacle of yourself?”

            Reception – The manner of receiving a person. “Always our reception is the same”

            Protest – A public expression of objection. “entered to a buzz of protest

            Mock – To show ridicule, imitating.  “mouths fell open in mock amazement”

Citizen – A native or naturalized person owing allegiance to, and entitled to protection from a government. “I wish to cast my vote as a citizen


Math –


Measurements – Cordelia was told that she wasn’t a real horseman until she could jump a four-foot fence. How high is four feet? Introduce or review that there are 12 inches in a foot, and three feet in a yard. Four feet would be 48 inches. With a tape measure, measure your child, or have him measure you or a sibling. Would the horse have to jump over his head, and if so, by how much?


Tallying Votes – After all the votes are deposited into the ballot boxes across the country, they are tallied and a winner of the popular vote is announced. Encourage your child to have an election to vote on a favorite ice cream flavor. Make a list of nine kinds of ice cream, plus a write-in. These ice cream flavors will represent the political parties running for election: Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Constitution, Green, Socialist, Natural Law, Reform, and Workers World. Have your child contact at least 25 people and have them vote for their favorite ice cream. Use tally marks to calculate the winner. Use Ice Cream Election ballots, tally sheet, and pocket if desired.


Measuring Horses – Horses are measured by “hands”, which is a unit of four inches. This was the typical width of an adult’s hand. Have your child measure how many hands high he is, how many hands long the table is, or how many hands tall the pet cat or dog is.


Calendar Skills - Election Day falls on the first Tuesday of November. Review with your child that November is the eleventh month, coming after October and before December. Have him fill out Blank November Calendar reflecting the November of the year you are teaching this unit, and have child glue election clipart to the first Tuesday.


Art –


Patriotic Art – Your child may enjoy decorating a ballot box to deposit all the Official Ice Cream Election ballots, and maybe even decorating a table with red, white and blue streamers or bunting to hold the ballot box. Let him have fun with construction and crepe paper, and bee sure to take pictures to add to your lapbook/notebook.


Drawing Three Dimensional Objects - Emily Arnold McCully fills her illustrations with lots of details and dimensions. An object that is illustrated three dimensionally shows height, width, and depth. When done correctly, they seem to jump off the page. Have your child look through the story at all the hats worn by the men, women, and children. Take notice of the shading and contours. Encourage your child to try drawing a picture of a hat, either using a real life one or a pictured one as a model. If desired, you could use Artist Portfolio Fold to include artwork in lapbook/notebook, being sure drawing does not exceed 4”x4”. 


Phys Ed – Have your child walk, trot, canter, gallop, and jump around the yard, just like Jules the horse.


Recipe –

NEW JERSEY Clam Chowder

1/4 lb Bacon
2 md Onion
24 Chowder clams; liquor reserved
2-1/2 c  Potatoes; sliced cooked
1/2 ts Pepper
1 ts Celery powder
2 tb Parsley
2 ts Crab spice (Old Bay)
2 cn Cream of asparagus soup
2 pt Light cream
4 Tomato; cut & seeded
Asparagus; garnish

Fry bacon in soup pot until crisp, remove. Saute onion till clear, add clams, liquor, and heat to cook clams. Add potatoes & spices and cook briefly. Add soup, tomatoes and cream. Simmer 10-15 min. Do not boil. Add clam broth to taste. Garnish with asparagus spears. Serves 4.