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US Government

Nineteenth Amendment

The Nineteenth Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote throughout the United States. It was first introduced to Congress in 1878, but wasn't ratified until over 41 years later on August 18, 1920.

From the Constitution

Here is the text of the Nineteenth Amendment from the Constitution:

"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 power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Women's Suffrage

Women began fighting for their right to vote in the mid-1800s. This movement was called women's suffrage. They held conventions and formed groups such as the National Women's Suffrage Association. Women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony played a major role in gaining the right to vote. You can learn more about the history of women's suffrage here.

The Original Proposal

The amendment was first introduced by Senator Aaron A. Sargent of California in 1878. He felt strongly that women should have the right to vote. The proposal remained stuck in a Senate committee for nine years before it was voted on by the full Senate in 1887. It was rejected by a 16 to 34 vote.

Finally Passing Congress

The momentum for passing the amendment then stopped for many years. It wasn't until the early 1900s that Congress once again began to look at the amendment. In 1918, the amendment was passed by the House of Representatives, but then failed in the Senate. The Senate voted again in early 1919, but failed to pass the amendment by one vote. President Woodrow Wilson, who was at one time against the amendment, called a special session of Congress in the Spring of 1919. He urged them to pass the amendment. Finally, on June 4, 1919, the Senate passed the amendment.

Ratification of the States

Since many states already allowed women to vote, the amendment was quickly ratified by a large number of states. By March of 1920, thirty-five states had ratified the amendment. However, one more state was needed to meet the three-fourths requirement of the Constitution. Several states had also rejected the amendment and the final decision came down to the state of Tennessee.

When the Tennessee state legislature voted on the amendment, it first appeared to be deadlocked in a tie. Then representative Harry Burn changed his vote and voted for the amendment. He later said that, although he was against the amendment, his mother had convinced him to vote for it.

Women Vote

The November election of 1920 was the first time that all women in the U.S. were allowed to vote. Millions of women of all ages voted for the first time.

Interesting Facts about the Nineteenth Amendment
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