19th Amendment


Until the 20th century, women in the United States didn’t have the right to vote. So they had no say whatsoever on who was elected to the parliament or who became the President of the country. Many women in the country tried to change this. Efforts began as early as the mid-19th century to achieve suffrage for women.

One of the first events in this regard was the Seneca Falls Convention in New York. At the time, many bills were introduced in state legislatures to ensure suffrage for women but nearly all of them failed. This was because at the time, no state was ready to give women the right to vote.

What was the 19th Amendment?

The 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution says that the state governments or the federal government can’t stop women from casting votes. This amendment effectively gave women the right to vote and have their say in the political matters of the country.

The amendment was adopted by the U.S. Congress on August 18, 1920. Before this amendment came into effect, several states had already given women the right to vote. However, a number of states still refused to give them voting rights. When the amendment was adopted, all states were now bound to grant women the right to vote.

Events leading up to 19th Amendment

Until the mid-19th century, women had no right to vote and very efforts were made to change this. As the American Civil War broke out, women became more and more involved in the public affairs. They also rose to different important social positions.

This brought an all-new awareness among women who realized that they should be granted the right to vote. As America expanded westwards, new states came into being with new constitutions. Women also tried to gain suffrage rights in these constitutions. They succeeded in some instances.

Women Suffrage at State Level

The Wyoming Territory granted women the right to vote in 1869. Utah granted the right in 1870 whereas Washington Territory adopted women suffrage in 1883. These states became the first territories in the United States where women could cast their votes.

Women Suffrage and Supreme Court

Women rights leaders made several attempts in the late 19th century for female suffrage. They initiated several court challenges in the U.S. Supreme Court. The purpose was to reinterpret the Constitution so that it would support women’s right to vote. Between 1873 and 1873, the Supreme Court rejected 3 such claims. Ultimately, the women rights groups decided to make efforts for an all-new constitutional amendment.

The Success of the 19th Amendment

After many failures, a new proposal for women suffrage was brought before the U.S. Congress on January 10, 1918. President Woodrow Wilson strongly supported this proposal and encouraged the Congress and the Senate to pass it. After repeated failures, the proposal was finally passed by both houses by June 4, 1919.

It was then ratified by the states. The state of Tennessee was the last to ratify the bill on August 18, 1920. With this ratification, the bill effectively became a part of the Constitution. Women now had the right to cast vote all across America.

Learn more about womens rights and the 19th Amendment at wikipedia