The 19th amendment of the United States Constitution stated, “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.”
The Journey for Equal Rights at the Polls
Although the nineteenth amendment didn’t pass until 1920, the women’s suffrage movement began in June 1848 when the Liberty Party (composed of men) made women’s rights a priority. This was the beginning of a 70-year struggle by women to secure the right to vote.
Slowly, states like Wyoming in 1869, and Utah in 1887, started to grant women the right to vote. By the beginning of the 20th century, women’s suffrage continued to be an agenda, including efforts by the National Women’s Party led by suffragist Alice Paul.
Women’s Suffrage Movement Gains Momentum
In 1917, the movement moved to picket outside the White House. Paul and Lucy Burns led protests against the Woodrow Wilson Administration for over six months. On June 20, 1917, the women suffragists hung a banner that stated, “We women of America tell you that America is not a democracy. Twenty million women are denied the right to vote. President Wilson is the chief opponent of their national enfranchisement.”
Finally, Woodrow Wilson changed his position in 1918 to advocate women’s suffrage. However, the key vote didn’t occur until June 4, 1920 when the senate approved the amendment by 56 to 25. The nineteenth amendment was then ratified, prohibiting state or federal sex-based restrictions on voting.
Today, women can enjoy rights like voting or owning a home, thanks to the early trailblazers.
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