One hundred years ago this week, American women won the guaranteed right to vote. 

On Aug. 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, accomplishing a huge milestone for the women’s suffrage movement. It was now a right for women to be allowed to vote across the country.

Tuesday precisely, marked a very special and important anniversary in the United States: 100 years since women got the right to vote.

The House of Representatives and Senate had approved the amendment the previous year, sending it to the states for ratification.

 

Three-fourths of states had to ratify it. The last one that needed to do so was Tennessee, making the amendment part of the Constitution. The push for women’s suffrage had been underway for years, starting in the mid-19th century.

For decades, several generations of women’s suffrage advocates marched, lobbied and practiced civil disobedience to get women the right to vote.

Their long, brave fight for change culminated in the drafting, passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment.

THE STORY OF THE SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT: In July 1848, a group of people got together in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and set forth a series of demands for women’s rights, including the right to vote. But the history of women and voting in the United States extends well before, and beyond, Seneca Falls. In the years after the American Revolution, there were women who voted — in New Jersey. The state’s original constitution assigned voting rights to all free, property-owning residents — regardless of gender or race — and some women, and African-Americans, there voted until 1807, when the state passed a law limiting the franchise to white men. And while the campaign for women’s suffrage may have formally kicked off in Seneca Falls, it quickly expanded across the country.

The 19th Amendment guarantees American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation. Beginning in the mid-19th century, woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered radical change.

Many of the movement’s leaders were based in the East, where organizations such as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and the National Woman’s Party (N.W.P.) were headquartered, but its earliest victories came in the West. Women including Susan B. Anthony and the NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt traveled to states such as Washington and Colorado in the late 1800s, giving speeches and helping them wage successful campaigns for the right to vote, but they continued to be excluded from the franchise themselves back home. As momentum grew in the West, women in the rest of the country asked, “Why not us?”

The women’s suffrage movement actually started to take its roots earlier in the 1800’s when women would organize, picket and petition for voting rights. In 1878 the amendment was introduced to Congress for the first time.

In the years before for the 19th Amendment, voting rights advocates worked relentlessly to try and pass various suffrage acts in each state. By 1912, nine states in the Western U.S. has adopted different pieces of women’s suffrage legislation. 

As the summer of 1920 saw huge changes in the face of the electorate, the suffrage battle for many minorities still continues to this day. And as the U.S. fights a pandemic in 2020, barriers to voting continue with geographic and logistical hurdles continuing to pop up. 

Giant strides recorded by Women, what do you think?