Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
"the rights 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.”
It was ninety-five years ago today, June 4, 1919, that the women's suffrage movement had come full circle and the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed, guaranteeing women the right to vote. It was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives and then it was sent to the states for ratification.
This amendment had been a long time coming. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony began the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869, whose sole purpose was to get a a bill passed amending the Constitution, allowing women the right to vote in national and local elections. That same year, Lucy Stone formed the American Woman Suffrage Association, whose sole purpose was to work through the state legislatures.
It wasn't until 1890 that these two organizations combined into one organization called the National American Woman Suffrage Association and Wyoming became the first state that year to grant women the right to vote.
Although the 19th Amendment was passed in 1919, it wasn't until August of 1920 when Tennessee, by a one vote margin, ratified the amendment, becoming the 36th state to do so which in turn gave the amendment the two-thirds vote it needed to pass into law. On August 26, 1920, the 19th amendment was made into law.
This had been a long time coming especially since the Constitution was ratified in 1870 with the 15th Amendment giving African-Americans the right to vote, and, although the amendment mentioned race, color, and previous servitude, it never went on as far to mention gender.
Neither Elizabeth Cady Stanton nor Susan B. Anthony would be alive to see the amendment pass, no one can deny all of the hard work and dedication that these two great women did to get this amendment into Congress and become law. In fact, in 1979, the US Treasury put Susan B. Anthony's likeness on a dollar coin. She was the first woman ever to receive this honor.
The women's suffrage movement had come a long way from the latter part of the 19th century to the early part of the 20th century but had finally come to fruition on this day in history, June 4, 1919 when the amendment was passed by Congress and then to the states to be ratified. Who knows where the women's right vote would be today without the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and all of the other women of this time who worked hard to get the law passed.