19th Amendment ratified thanks to one vote

Year
1920
Month Day
August 18

A dramatic battle in the Tennessee House of Representatives ends with the state ratifying the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution on August 18, 1920. After decades of struggle and protest by suffragettes across the country, the decisive vote is cast by a 24-year-old representative who reputedly changed his vote after receiving a note from his mother.

America’s suffrage movement was founded in the mid 19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In July 1848, 200 woman suffragists, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss women’s rights. After approving measures asserting the right of women to educational and employment opportunities, they passed a resolution that declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.” 

READ MORE: A Timeline of the Fight for All Women’s Right to Vote

For proclaiming a woman’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. However, the resolution marked the beginning of the woman suffrage movement in America.

When Carrie Chapman Catt took over from Anthony as President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1900, she prioritized the push for a constitutional amendment to give women the vote. At the outset of World War I, NAWSA urged women to prove their worth to the war effort while the National Women’s Party, led by Lucy Burns and Alice Paul, engaged in civil disobedience, directly targeting President Woodrow Wilson with protests outside the White House. 

Finally, facing growing pressure on multiple fronts, Wilson called a special session of congress in May of 1919 and personally appealed for women’s suffrage. Having voted down the amendment six times, Congress finally approved it, sending it to the states for ratification.

READ MORE: How Suffragists Raced to Secure Women’s Right to Vote Ahead of the 1920 Election

By March of 1920, just one more state was needed to ratify the 19th Amendment in order for it to become law. The Tennessee General Assembly took up the question in August, and suffragists and anti-suffragists bore down on Nashville. The State Senate voted convincingly to ratify, but the House failed to do so twice, by two votes of 48 to 48. State Rep. Harry T. Burn, a 24-year-old from McMinn County, was one of the “nay” votes. Reportedly, he had intended to vote for ratification but had been persuaded not to by telegrams from his constituents and members of his party. 

LISTEN ON APPLE PODCASTS: Suffrage Isn’t Simple

Just as a third vote was set to begin, Burn received a letter from his mother, Febb Ensminger Burn, that read, in part, “Hurrah and vote for Suffrage and don’t keep them in doubt … I’ve been watching to see how you stood but have not seen anything yet … Don’t forget to be a good boy.” 

On the third vote, Burn changed his mind. Thanks to his single vote, the House approved the amendment, Tennessee ratified it, and the Constitution was changed to guarantee women the right to vote.

On August 26, the amendment was formally adopted into the Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.

Despite the ratification of the amendment and the decades-long contributions of Black women to achieve suffrage, poll taxes, local laws and other restrictions continued to block women—and men—of color from voting. It would take more than 40 years for all women to achieve voting equality. 

READ MORE: How American Women’s Suffrage Came Down to One Man’s Vote

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Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman to receive a medical degree


Year
1849
Month Day
January 23

At a graduation ceremony at a church in Geneva, New York on January 23, 1849, Geneva Medical College bestows a medical degree upon Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the United States to receive one. Despite the near-uniform opposition of her fellow students and medical professionals, Blackwell pursued her calling with an iron will and dedicated her life to treating the sick and furthering the cause of women in medicine.

Blackwell’s family was remarkable by any standard. Her father was a staunch abolitionist and both her brother and his wife were active in the women’s suffrage movement. Another sister-in-law was the first female minister to be ordained in a mainstream Protestant denomination, and Elizabeth’s younger sister Emily also studied medicine. A gifted student, Elizabeth felt compelled to become a doctor after a conversation with a dying friend, who told her that her ordeal had been that much worse because her physicians were all men. Elizabeth’s family approved of her ambition, but the rest of society still found the idea of female doctors laughable. It was, quite literally, a joke even to the men who accepted her to Geneva Medical College—the question of whether or not to accept a woman was put up to a vote of the students, who voted in favor as a practical joke. Nevertheless, Blackwell received her acceptance letter and started school in 1847.

Blackwell’s fellow students shunned her. So did the townspeople of Geneva. Her professors complained that teaching her was an inconvenience, and one even tried to stop her from attending a lesson on anatomy, fearing it would be immodest for her to be present. When Blackwell graduated, the dean of her school congratulated her in his speech but went as far as adding a note to the program stating that he hoped no more women would attend his school. The sentiment was echoed by the rest of the American medical community—a letter to the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal described her graduation as a “farce.” Again, Blackwell succeeded in the face of indignities, not only graduating but publishing her thesis in the Buffalo Medical Journal.

Blackwell set up a clinic for the poor of New York City, where she met what she described as “a blank wall of social and professional antagonism,” but remained determined to treat as many patients as possible. She founded a hospital, the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, in 1857 with the help of her sister and another protégé, both women who had followed in her footsteps and received medical degrees. She and her sister trained nurses during the Civil War and opened their own medical college in 1868. She eventually moved to London, becoming a professor of gynecology at the School of Medicine for Women. 

Faced with sexist discrimination at every turn, Blackwell not only received her degree and practiced medicine but contributed greatly to the education of the first generation of female doctors in America. The profession remained notoriously male for many, many years, but the progress that started with Blackwell continues. In 2017, for the first time ever, a majority of medical students in the United States were women.

READ MORE: Elizabeth Blackwell: Her Life and Legacy

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Jeannette Rankin, first woman elected to U.S. Congress, assumes office

Year
1917
Month Day
April 02

Jeannette Pickering Rankin, the first woman ever elected to Congress, takes her seat in the U.S. Capitol as a representative from Montana.

Born on a ranch near Missoula, Montana Territory, in 1880, Rankin was a social worker in the states of Montana and Washington before joining the women’s suffrage movement in 1910. Working with various suffrage groups, she campaigned for the women’s vote on a national level and in 1914 was instrumental in the passage of suffrage legislation in Montana. Two years later, she successfully ran for Congress in Montana on a progressive Republican platform calling for total women’s suffrage, legislation protecting children, and U.S. neutrality in the European war. Following her election as a representative, Rankin’s entrance into Congress was delayed for a month as congressmen discussed whether a woman should be admitted into the House of Representatives.

Finally, on April 2, 1917, she was introduced in Congress as its first female member. The same day, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress and urged a declaration of war against Germany. On April 4, the Senate voted for war by a wide majority, and on April 6 the vote went to the House. Citing public opinion in Montana and her own pacifist beliefs, Jeannette Rankin was one of only 50 representatives who voted against the American declaration of war. For the remainder of her first term in Congress, she sponsored legislation to aid women and children, and advocated the passage of a federal suffrage amendment.

In 1918, Rankin unsuccessfully ran for a Senate seat, and in 1919 she left Congress to become an important figure in a number of suffrage and pacifist organizations. In 1940, with the U.S. entrance into another world war imminent, she was again elected as a pacifist representative from Montana and, after assuming office, argued vehemently against President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s war preparations. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the next day, at Roosevelt’s urging, Congress passed a formal declaration of war against Japan. Representative Rankin cast the sole dissenting vote. This action created a furor and Rankin declined to seek reelection. After leaving office in 1943, Rankin continued to be an important spokesperson for pacifism and social reform. In 1967, she organized the Jeannette Rankin Brigade, an organization that staged a number of highly publicized protests against the Vietnam War. She died in 1973 at the age of 93.

READ MORE: 7 Things You May Not Know About Jeannette Rankin 

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Nancy Pelosi becomes first female Speaker of the House


Updated:
Original:
Year
2007
Month Day
January 04

On January 4, 2007, John Boehner handed the speaker of the House gavel over to Nancy Pelosi, a Democratic Representative from California. With the passing of the gavel, she became the first woman to hold the Speaker of the House position, as well as the only woman to get that close the presidency. After the Vice President, she was now second in line via the presidential order of succession. Pelosi became Speaker again in 2018. 

“It is an historic moment for the Congress, and a historic moment for the women of this country. It is a moment for which we have waited over 200 years,” Pelosi said after receiving the gavel. “For our daughters and granddaughters, today we have broken the marble ceiling. For our daughters and our granddaughters, the sky is the limit, anything is possible for them.”

Pelosi’s Congressional career began 20 years before, when she was one of only 25 women who served in both the House and the Senate. She became the Democratic whip in 2001 and served as the minority leader between 2003 and her election as speaker in 2007. In 2002, she was one of the House members to vote against President George W. Bush’s request to use military force in Iraq.

During her first two terms as Speaker of the House from 2007 to 2011, she developed a reputation as a tireless fundraiser and a successful securer of votes within her caucus. Her terms as speaker also coincided with Barack Obama’s first presidential term, and Pelosi was instrumental on organizing House votes for the Affordable Care Act.

During the 2010 midterms, the National Republican Congressional Committee cited her in 70 percent of its ads. The Democrats lost their House majority that election and Pelosi returned to her position as minority leader. After Democrats reclaimed the House in the 2018 midterms, she received her party’s nomination to be its official candidate for Speaker of the House. In 2019, as Speaker, Pelosi oversaw the impeachment of President Donald Trump. 

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Women’s March


Year
2017
Month Day
January 21

On the first full day of Donald Trump’s presidency, hundreds of thousands of people crowd into the U.S. capital for the Women’s March on Washington, a massive protest in the nation’s capital aimed largely at the Trump administration and the perceived threat it represented to reproductive, civil and human rights.

At the same time, more than 3 million people in cities across the country and around the world held their own simultaneous protests in a global show of support for the resistance movement. It was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. 

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the release of a 2005 recording of Trump commenting in crude language about how his celebrity status allowed him to force himself on women prompted numerous women to come forward with accusations about his past inappropriate sexual conduct. Trump dismissively called the recording “locker room talk” and disputed the accusers’ claims.

But his unexpected victory over his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton—the first female presidential nominee of a major party in U.S. history—outraged and saddened many who objected to his past treatment of and statements about women, as well as his controversial positions and rhetoric during the campaign.

The idea of the Women’s March began on the social networking website Facebook the day after the election, when a Hawaii woman named Teresa Shook voiced her opinion that a pro-woman march was needed as a reaction to Trump’s victory. After thousands of women signed up to march, veteran activists and organizers began planning a large-scale event scheduled for January 21, 2017, the day after Inauguration Day.

Leading up to the Women’s March on Washington, the organizers expected some 200,000 people to attend. As it turned out, as many as 500,000 showed up, with buses, trains, airplanes and packed cars ferrying large groups of protesters to the capital from far-flung locations. Many of the marchers donned pink clothing for the occasions, as well as the unofficial uniform of the march: pink knit hats with cat-like ears on top, dubbed “pussy hats” in a nod to Trump’s unfortunate word choice in the 2005 recording.

On the same day, millions more people took part in sister marches held in all 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries, ranging from Antarctica to Zimbabwe. According to later estimates collected by the Washington Post, some 4.1 million people reportedly took part in the various Women’s Marches across the United States, along with around 300,000 worldwide.

In New York City—Trump’s hometown—some 400,000 people marched up Fifth Avenue, while in Chicago the crowd grew so large (more than 150,000) that organizers called off the march and rallied in the city’s Grant Park instead. Los Angeles reportedly saw the largest demonstration in the country, with as many as 750,000 demonstrators. Despite the size of the demonstrations, they remained largely peaceful, with no arrests reported in Washington, D.C., and only a handful in other cities.

The protesters who took part in the various Women’s March events voiced their support for various causes, including women’s and reproductive rights, criminal justice, defense of the environment and the rights of immigrants, Muslims, gay and transgender people and the disabled—all of whom were seen as particularly vulnerable under the new administration.

Rather than a single-day demonstration, the Women’s March organizers and participants intended their protests as the start of a resistance movement. After the march in Washington, D.C., organizations like EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood held workshops designed to encourage civic participation among women, including running for office.

And in October 2017, MarchOn, a progressive group founded by march leaders from around the country, launched a Super PAC as part of its efforts to create political change, including mobilizing supporters to vote in the 2018 midterm elections and beyond.

Sources

“At 2.6 million strong, Women’s Marches crush expectations,” USA Today, January 22, 2017.
“Shaded pink, women’s protest fills the streets of downtown L.A.,” Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2017.
“This is what we learned by counting the women’s marches,” Washington Post, February 7, 2017.
The March, Women’s March website.

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Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister, dies

Year
2013
Month Day
April 08

Margaret Thatcher, the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom, dies in London at age 87 from a stroke on April 8, 2013. Serving from 1979 to 1990, Thatcher was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century. She curbed the power of Britain’s labor unions, privatized state-owned industries, led her nation to victory in the Falklands War and as a close ally of U.S. President Ronald Reagan played a pivotal role in ending the Cold War. A polarizing figure, Thatcher, nicknamed the Iron Lady, was credited by her admirers with championing free-market, conservative policies that revitalized the British economy, while critics charged these initiatives hurt the nation’s lower classes.

Margaret Hilda Roberts was born on October 23, 1925, in Grantham, a town in northeast England. Her family lived in an apartment above the grocery store owned by her father, who also was a local politician. After graduating from Oxford University in 1947, the future prime minister worked as a research chemist. In the early 1950s, she twice ran unsuccessfully for parliament as a Conservative Party candidate. After marrying Denis Thatcher (1915-2003), a well-off businessman, in 1951, she studied law and gave birth to twins in 1953. That same year, she qualified as a barrister.

In 1959, Thatcher was elected to the House of Commons from the Finchley district in north London. She rose through her party’s ranks, and when the Conservatives came to power under Edward Heath in 1970, she was named secretary for education. In that role, Thatcher was vilified by her Labour Party opponents as “Thatcher the Milk Snatcher” after she made cuts to a free-milk program for schoolchildren. In 1975, with Labour back in power, Thatcher, to the surprise of many, defeated Heath to become head of her party, as well as the first woman to serve as opposition leader in the House of Commons.

In 1979, with Britain’s economy in poor health and labor union strikes rampant, the Conservatives returned to power and Thatcher was elected prime minister. Her government lowered income taxes but increased taxes on good and services, slashed or eliminated government subsidies to businesses and implemented other austerity measures. Unemployment soared and Thatcher’s approval ratings plummeted. Then, after Argentina invaded the British-ruled Falkland Islands in April 1982, she sent troops there and by June the Falklands had been recaptured. The victory helped Thatcher win re-election as prime minister in 1983.

READ MORE: How the Falklands War Cemented Margaret Thatcher’s Reputation as the ‘Iron Lady’

During her second term, Thatcher’s government defeated a bitter, yearlong miner’s strike and passed legislation restricting the rights of trade unions, while also privatizing a number of state-owned enterprises, selling off public housing and de-regulating the financial industry. In 1984, Thatcher survived unscathed a bomb attack by the Irish Republican Army at a Conservative Party conference in Brighton, England; the blast killed five people and injured more than 30 others.

In foreign affairs, Thatcher, an opponent of communism, had a close relationship with Ronald Reagan, who served in the White House from 1981 to 1989, and with whom she shared a number of conservative views. Yet she also forged ties with Mikhail Gorbachev, who led the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. Thatcher famously said after meeting him, “I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together,” and her leadership played an important role in helping to end Cold War tensions between America and the Soviets. In other foreign policy issues, Thatcher, controversially, spoke out initially against international efforts to impose economic sanctions on apartheid South Africa, arguing such sanctions wouldn’t work.

After being elected to an unprecedented third term in 1987, the hardheaded Thatcher experienced dissent in her own party over her opposition to further economic integration between Britain and the rest of Europe, and her introduction of a widely unpopular poll tax system. In November 1990, at the urging of her fellow party members, she resigned as prime minister and was succeeded by John Major. When she departed 10 Downing Street, Thatcher was the longest continuously serving prime minister in more than 150 years.

She left the House of Commons in 1992, and was appointed to the House of Lords, with the title Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. She went on to pen her memoirs and travel the world giving lectures. Following a series of minor strokes in the early 2000s, Thatcher largely retreated from public view. Meryl Streep earned an Oscar for her portrayal of the former prime minister in the 2011 biopic “The Iron Lady,” which generated criticism from some Conservative politicians for its depiction of Thatcher’s decline into dementia during her later years. After Thatcher died in April 2013, more than 2,000 guests from around the world attended her funeral at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, which in 1965 was the site of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s funeral.

READ MORE: 10 Things You May Not Know About Margaret Thatcher

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Female cadets enrolled at West Point

Year
1976
Month Day
July 07

For the first time in history, women are enrolled into the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. On May 28, 1980, 62 of these female cadets graduated and were commissioned as second lieutenants.

The United States Military Academy–the first military school in America–was founded by Congress in 1802 for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science. Established at West Point, New York, the U.S. Military Academy is often simply known as West Point.

Located on the high west bank of New York’s Hudson River, West Point was the site of a Revolutionary-era fort built to protect the Hudson River Valley from British attack.

Ten years after the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy in 1802, the growing threat of another war with Great Britain resulted in Congressional action to expand the academy’s facilities and increase the West Point corps. Beginning in 1817, the U.S. Military Academy was reorganized by superintendent Sylvanus Thayer–later known as the “father of West Point”–and the school became one of the nation’s finest sources of civil engineers. 

In 1877, Henry Ossian Flipper became the first African American graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. The academy is now under the general direction and supervision of the department of the U.S. Army and has an enrollment of more than 4,000 students.

READ MORE: Women’s History Milestones: A Timeline

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Margaret Thatcher sworn in as Britain’s first female prime minister

Year
1979
Month Day
May 04

Margaret Thatcher, leader of the Conservative Party, is sworn in as Britain’s first female prime minister. The Oxford-educated chemist and lawyer was sworn in the day after the Conservatives won a 44-seat majority in general parliamentary elections.

Margaret Hilda Roberts was born in Grantham, England, in 1925. She was the first woman president of the Oxford University Conservative Association and in 1950 ran for Parliament in Dartford. She was defeated but garnered an impressive number of votes in the generally liberal district. In 1959, after marrying businessman Denis Thatcher and giving birth to twins, she was elected to Parliament as a Conservative for Finchley, a north London district. During the 1960s, she rose rapidly in the ranks of the Conservative Party and in 1967 joined the shadow cabinet sitting in opposition to Harold Wilson’s ruling Labour cabinet. With the victory of the Conservative Party under Edward Heath in 1970, Thatcher became secretary of state for education and science.

READ MORE: 10 Things You May Not Know About Margaret Thatcher 

In 1974, the Labour Party returned to power, and Thatcher served as joint shadow chancellor before replacing Edward Heath as the leader of the Conservative Party in February 1975. She was the first woman to head the Conservatives. Under her leadership, the Conservative Party shifted further right in its politics, calling for privatization of national industries and utilities and promising a resolute defense of Britain’s interests abroad. She also sharply criticized Prime Minister James Callaghan’s ineffectual handling of the chaotic labor strikes of 1978 and 1979.

In March 1979, Callaghan was defeated by a vote of no confidence, and on May 3 a general election gave Thatcher’s Conservatives a majority in Parliament. Sworn in the next day, Prime Minister Thatcher immediately set about dismantling socialism in Britain. She privatized numerous industries, cutback government expenditures, and gradually reduced the rights of trade unions. In 1983, despite the worst unemployment figures for half a decade, Thatcher was reelected to a second term, thanks largely to the decisive British victory in the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina.

In other foreign affairs, the “Iron Lady” presided over the orderly establishment of an independent Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) in 1980 and took a hard stance against Irish separatists in Northern Ireland. In October 1984, an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb exploded at the Conservative Party conference in Brighton. The prime minister narrowly escaped harm.

READ MORE: How the Falklands War Cemented Margaret Thatcher’s Reputation as the ‘Iron Lady’

In 1987, an upswing in the economy led to her election to a third term, but Thatcher soon alienated some members of her own party because of her poll-tax policies and opposition to further British integration into the European Community. In November 1990, she failed to received a majority in the Conservative Party’s annual vote for selection of a leader. She withdrew her nomination, and John Major, the chancellor of the Exchequer since 1989, was chosen as Conservative leader. On November 28, Thatcher resigned as prime minister and was succeeded by Major. Thatcher’s three consecutive terms in office marked the longest continuous tenure of a British prime minister since 1827. In 1992, she was made a baroness and took a seat in the House of Lords.

In later years, Thatcher worked as a consultant, served as the chancellor of the College of William and Mary and wrote her memoirs, as well as other books on politics. She continued to work with the Thatcher Foundation, which she created to foster the ideals of democracy, free trade and cooperation among nations. Though she stopped appearing in public after suffering a series of small strokes in the early 2000s, her influence remained strong. In 2011, the former prime minister was the subject of an award-winning (and controversial) biographical film, “The Iron Lady,” which depicted her political rise and fall. Margaret Thatcher died on April 8, 2013, at the age of 87.

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Seneca Falls Convention begins

Year
1848
Month Day
July 19

At the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York, a woman’s rights convention—the first ever held in the United States—convenes with almost 200 women in attendance. The convention was organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, two abolitionists who met at the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. As women, Mott and Stanton were barred from the convention floor, and the common indignation that this aroused in both of them was the impetus for their founding of the women’s rights movement in the United States.

READ MORE: The Women’s Suffrage Movement Started with a Tea Party

In 1848, at Stanton’s home near Seneca Falls, the two women, working with Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Jane Hunt, sent out a call for a women’s conference to be held at Seneca Falls. The announcement, published in the Seneca County Courier on July 14, read, “A Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women will be held in the Wesleyan Chapel, at Seneca Falls, on Wednesday and Thursday, the 19th and 20th of July current; commencing at 10 o’clock A.M. During the first day the meeting will be exclusively for women, who are earnestly invited to attend. The public generally are invited to be present on the second day, when Lucretia Mott, of Philadelphia, and other ladies and gentlemen, will address the Convention.”

On July 19, 200 women convened at the Wesleyan Chapel, and Stanton read the “Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances,” a treatise that she had drafted over the previous few days. Stanton’s declaration was modeled closely on the Declaration of Independence, and its preamble featured the proclamation, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…” The Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances then detailed the injustices inflicted upon women in the United States and called upon U.S. women to organize and petition for their rights.

READ MORE: Women Who Fought for the Vote 

On the second day of the convention, men were invited to intend–and some 40 did, including the famous African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass. That day, the Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances was adopted and signed by the assembly. The convention also passed 12 resolutions–11 unanimously–which called for specific equal rights for women. The ninth resolution, which declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise,” was the only one to meet opposition. After a lengthy debate, in which Douglass sided with Stanton in arguing the importance of female enfranchisement, the resolution was passed. For proclaiming a women’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. However, the resolution marked the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement in America.

The Seneca Falls Convention was followed two weeks later by an even larger meeting in Rochester, N.Y. Thereafter, national woman’s rights conventions were held annually, providing an important focus for the growing women’s suffrage movement. After years of struggle, the 19th Amendment was adopted in 1920, granting American women the constitutionally protected right to vote.

READ MORE: Women’s History Milestones: A Timeline 

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Supreme Court defends women’s voting rights


Year
1922
Month Day
February 27

In Washington, D.C., the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing for female suffrage, is unanimously declared constitutional by the eight members of the U.S. Supreme Court. The 19th Amendment, which stated that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex,” was the product of over seven decades of meetings, petitions, and protests by women suffragists and their supporters.

In 1916, the Democratic and Republican parties endorsed female enfranchisement, and on June 4, 1919, the 19th Amendment was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, achieving the required three-fourths majority of state ratification, and on August 26 the 19th Amendment officially took effect.

READ MORE: Women Who Fought for the Vote

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