The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote, known as women's suffrage. The Amendment was ratified in 1920, after almost a century of protest.
Women were denied basic rights. Married women couldn't own property and had no legal claim to any money they earned. No female had the right to vote.
Many American women fought the idea that a woman is concerned only with home and family.
The movement for women's rights started nationally in 1848 with the Seneca Falls Convention.
During the Civil War, the suffrage movement was paused, since many women were helping in efforts related to the war
Afterwards, some suffrage leaders objected to the proposed 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, because it gave Black men the right to vote, but did not give American women of any skin color the same right.
Pushed out of national suffrage organizations, Black suffragists founded their own groups. They fought hard for passage of the 19th Amendment, seeing the women's right to vote as a crucial tool to winning legal protections for Black women and men against continued repression and violence.
When the proposal reached the Senate floor in 1886, it was defeated.
In 1869 the Wyoming Territory granted women the right to vote. Between 1910 and 1918, many states gave voting rights to women.
At the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson in 1913, women held a large suffrage parade in the nation's capital.
That same year, Alice Paul founded the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage. The organization held demonstrations and picketed the White House. Some group members were arrested and served jail time.
In 1918, President Wilson decided to support women's voting rights, connecting the proposed suffrage amendment to the role women had played in the World War I efforts.
In 1919, the Susan Anthony Amendment granting women the right to vote passed a House vote.
Two weeks later, the U.S. Senate passed the 19th Amendment and sent it to the states for ratification.
By March of the following year, 35 states had approved the amendment, just short of the three-fourths required for ratification.
Southern states were strongly opposed to the amendment. Tennessee finally approved the Amendment, gaining its ratification.
On November 2, more than 8 million women across the U.S. voted in elections for the first time.
It took 60 years for the remaining 12 states to ratify the 19th Amendment. Mississippi was the last to do so, in 1984.
The 19th Amendment reads: "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."
Source: 19th Amendment
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