On June 4, 1919, the Susan B. Anthony Modification got here earlier than the Senate. It was the fifth time that the proposal — first launched in 1878, and already authorised by the Home of Representatives — had been put to senators; 4 months earlier, it had fallen brief by only one vote. However on today, the federal lawmakers voted 56 to 25, to cross the regulation, amend the structure and set up ladies’s proper to vote in america.
The passage of the 19th Modification was an enormous victory for the suffrage motion, the fruits of activism spanning practically a century as ladies fought for a voice within the political system. However their work was unfinished. After Congress, the modification moved to the 48 state legislatures, three-quarters of whom needed to ratify it for it to turn into regulation. The race to 36 was on.
Suffragists had been laying the groundwork for this struggle for a long time. Lots of their early victories had been statewide suffrage measures: In actual fact, ladies in 27 states, together with the Alaska Territory, had some type of voting rights earlier than the 19th Modification. Because of these campaigns, organizations such because the Nationwide American Lady Suffrage Affiliation (NAWSA) had chapters throughout the nation, with organizers able to rally assist.
A flurry of early victories kicked off the summer season of 1919, beginning with Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin on June 10. However on July 24, in Georgia, the modification met its first defeat. Alabama rejected the regulation that September; within the early days of 1920, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Mississippi did the identical. (Mississippi would ultimately be the final state to ratify the modification — in 1984.)
By the summer season of 1920, 35 states had voted to approve the modification, and 6 had voted no. The nation waited on tenterhooks to see who may push the regulation over the end line. Delaware rejected it in June. In July, Louisiana adopted swimsuit.
The marketing campaign for ladies’s suffrage had been largely stymied within the South, so Tennessee was a considerably unlikely contender to offer the modification with the deciding vote. However the state had handed a restricted suffrage measure in 1919, and its senate had already voted for the modification, so in August all eyes turned to Tennessee. Suffragists together with the NAWSA’s president, Carrie Chapman Catt, descended on Nashville, as did anti-suffragist factions. Each teams arrange camp on the Hermitage Lodge, which was thronged by folks sporting roses on their lapels: yellow for pro-suffrage, purple for in opposition to.
On Aug. 18, 1920, state representatives began to vote. The margin was razor-thin. Then, it was Harry T. Burn’s flip.
Burn was a confirmed anti-suffragist, with a purple rose on his lapel. However he had obtained a letter from his mom, Phoebe, who supported the modification. “Be a very good boy,” she wrote, and urged him to assist Catt “put ‘rat’ in ratification.” Burn voted sure, stunning the legislature. “His change gave the suffragists the wanted majority,” The New York Instances reported, and the modification finally handed, 50 to 46.
The victorious suffragists “launched an uproarious demonstration,” The Instances mentioned. “Girls screamed frantically. Scores threw their arms across the necks of these nearest them and danced, as far as it was attainable to take action, within the mass of humanity.” In all of the hoopla, Burn sneaked out the again.
On Aug. 26, the Secretary of State licensed the modification’s ratification, enshrining its promise within the Structure that the appropriate to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by america or by any State on account of intercourse.” It appears an indeniable thought now, a century later. However the suffrage motion’s victory was by no means promised.
You may observe the lengthy highway to ratification with our “Votes for Girls” sport, which might be downloaded right here and printed. All you must play are a die and a token for every participant.