The Constitution: The 19th Amendment
August 1995 marked the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the Constitution. The amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920.
Between 1878, when the amendment was first introduced in Congress, and August 18, 1920, when it was ratified, champions of voting rights for women worked tirelessly, but strategies for achieving their goal varied. Some pursued a strategy of passing suffrage acts in each state–nine western states adopted woman suffrage legislation by 1912. Others challenged male-only voting laws in the courts. Militant suffragists used tactics such as parades, silent vigils, and hunger strikes. Often supporters met fierce resistance. Opponents heckled, jailed, and sometimes physically abused them.
By 1916, almost all of the major suffrage organizations were united behind the goal of a constitutional amendment. When New York adopted woman suffrage in 1917 and President Wilson changed his position to support an amendment in 1918, the political balance began to shift.
On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment, and 2 weeks later, the Senate followed. When Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, the amendment passed its final hurdle of obtaining the agreement of three-fourths of the states. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the ratification on August 26, 1920, changing the face of the American electorate forever.
Source: Featured Documents
In 1869, Wyoming (as a territory) granted women the right to vote. God bless Wyoming!
In 1890, Wyoming was admitted to the Union as the first state that allowed women to vote, and in fact insisted it would not accept statehood without keeping suffrage. In 1893, voters of Colorado made that state the second of the woman suffrage states and the first state where the men voted to give women the right to vote. In 1896 Idaho approved a constitutional amendment in statewide vote giving women the right to vote.
The first woman to act as governor was Carolyn B. Shelton, who served as “acting governor” of Oregon for one weekend – 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, through 10 a.m. Monday, March 1 – in 1909.
The first elected female governor was Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming, who was elected on November 4, 1924, and sworn in on January 5, 1925.She was preceded in office by her late husband William B. Ross.
The first female governor elected without being the wife or widow of a past state governor was Ella T. Grasso of Connecticut, elected in 1974 and sworn in on January 8, 1975.