Monday, August 18, 2014

Suffrage Amendment Ratified, Women Have Vote

The above was the headline in the New York Times on August 25, 1920 announcing the cerfication of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The privilege of voting has always been important to me. I remember the distress of not being able to vote in the 1980 Presidential election along with the rest of my dorm because I didn't turn 18 until nine days later. Following in my Grandma Armstrong's footsteps, I have worked as a poll worker on Election Day for over 20 years. As a woman of the 21st century, it is hard to believe that less than 100 years ago, women in the United States did not have the right to vote. By 1920 when the country finally granted women the right to vote my Nana Burket had survived growing up with nine brothers, lived through a world war, married and given birth to her first child. Unfortunately Nana died in 1981 long before I had grown out of the “it's all about me” teen stage. I missed out what would have been a profound discussion of what it was like to have gained the fundamental right of a citizen... to participate in government by our vote.

Women’s Suffrage Timeline

1787: The Constitutional Convention places voting rules in the hands of the states. Only New Jersey granted women the right to vote
1807: Women lose the right to vote in New Jersey
1848: The Seneca Falls Convention proposes women’s suffrage by Elizabeth Cady Stanton
1861-1865: The American Civil War. The suffrage movement was largely on hold during the conflict
1867: Susan B Anthony forms the Equal Rights Association
1869: The 1st US territory, Wyoming grants unrestricted suffrage to women
1870: The 15th amendment to the US Constitution is adopted granting voting rights to former male African-American slaves
1872: Susan B Anthony registers and votes in Rochester, New York, stating that the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution gives her the right to vote
1874: The Supreme Court in the case of Minor vs. Happersett rules that the 14th Amendment to the US
1875: Women begin winning the right to vote in school election starting with Minnesota and Michigan
1878: A federal amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote is introduced by Senator A.A. Sargeant of California
1882: The US House and Senate appoint committees on women's suffrage
1884: The House of Representatives debates women suffrage
1886: The suffrage amendment is defeated in the Senate
1887: The Supreme Court strikes down the law that gave women the right to vote in the Washington territory
1887: Women win the right to vote in Kansas municipal elections
1893: Colorado votes for women suffrage as western states and territories continue to lead the charge on women’s right to vote 
1912: Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party includes women suffrage as a part of its platform
1913: The Senate votes on a women suffrage amendment, but again it does not pass
1916: Woodrow Wilson and the Democratic Party Platform pledge to endorse women suffrage
1916: The first woman is elected to the US Congress. Montana sends Jeannette Rankin to the House of Representatives
November 14th, 1917: The "Night of Terror” suffragist prisoners are beaten and abused
1917: The New York becomes the 1st Eastern state to grant women full suffrage
1918: The House of Representatives passes the women’s right to vote
1918 Women suffrage is once again struck down in the Senate
1918: President Wilson declares his support for women suffrage
1919: The National American Woman Suffrage Association becomes the League of Women Voters
June 4, 1919: The Senate finally passes the women suffrage
August 18, 1920 Tennessee ratifies the suffrage amendment
August 26, 1920: The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, stating, "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. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation," becomes law.

The suffrage fight took over 100 years to result in women gaining the right to go into the voting booth. The least we can do is get out and vote every first Tuesday of November.

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