As 1919 dawned, eight states still prohibited women from voting. Period.
They ran along the (mostly) southeastern seaboard:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Only 15 states had granted full voting rights to women. With two exceptions, they were all west of the Mississippi River:
- 1890: Wyoming
- 1893: Colorado
- 1896: Idaho, Utah
- 1910: Washington
- 1911: California
- 1912: Arizona, Kansas, Oregon
- 1914: Montana, Nevada
- 1917: New York
- 1918: Michigan, Oklahoma, South Dakota
The other 25 states had various degrees of voting rights, from “primary only” to “municipal only” to “presidential only.”
On June 4, 1919, Congress passed a joint resolution proposing a constitutional amendment extending the right of suffrage to women. The 19th Amendment was ratified August 18, 1920.
The road to the vote
The most famous public protest focused on women’s suffrage was held in Seneca Falls, New York, in July 1848. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were the instigators.
Seventy years later in January, entering the last year of World War I (1914-1918), the U.S. House of Representatives passed (274-136) a constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote.
Rep. Jeannette Rankin (MT), the first women in the House, called for passage by referencing the war:
How shall we answer the challenge, gentlemen: how shall we explain to them the meaning of democracy if the same Congress that voted for war to make the world safe for democracy refuses to give this small measure of democracy to the women of our country?
The U.S. Senate, however, failed to take up the measure.
It was reintroduced in the 66th Congress (1919–1921) and overwhelmingly passed the House (304-90) on May 21, 1919. The areas where Congressmen voted no are not a surprise.
:: Featured photo: Library of Congress
:: Cross-posted from WiredPen
Known for gnawing at complex questions like a terrier with a bone. Digital evangelist, writer, teacher. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill, wiredpen.com