GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — On August 26th, 1920, Congress certified the 19th Amendment, allowing women the Right To Vote. Women suffrage supporters lobbied, marched, and participated in acts of civil disobedience for years to achieve this goal.
The amendment was first introduced to Congress in 1878, but the women’s rights movement on a national level launched even earlier than that – in 1848. Supporters overcame decades of challenges. Strategies to get legislation passed included parades, silent vigils, and hunger strikes. Supporters were heckled, jailed, and sometimes physically abused.
Even with the passage of the amendment – poll taxes, local laws, and other restrictions continued to block women of color from voting. Black men and women also faced intimidation and often violent outbursts at the polls or when attempting to register to vote.
In this September 1916 file photo, demonstrators hold a rally for women’s suffrage in New York. The Seneca Falls convention in 1848 is widely viewed as the launch of the women’s suffrage movement, yet women didn’t gain the right to vote until ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. (AP Photo/File)
In 1869 the National Woman Suffrage Association, with Miss Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton at its head were formed in New York and in the same year, the American Woman Suffrage Association was organized in Cleveland with Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe as its leaders. At first differing widely in policy, the National Association, working to put a suffrage amendment through the federal Congress and its sister organization bending its efforts to convert the country state by state, the two associations later united under the name of the National Woman Suffrage Association. The Association’s drive for the vote was led, in turn by Mrs. Stanton, Miss Anthony, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, and Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, the latter of whom is now its president.
The nineteenth amendment, which bears her name, was drafted by Susan B. Anthony in 1875 and first introduced in Congress in 1878 by Senator A.A. Sargent of California, and it is in the same language that the new principal of the national law reads:
“Article—, Section 1. 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.
“Section 2. Congress shall have power, by appropriate legislation, to enforce the provisions of this article.”
The amendment holds the record of being before the country longer than any other successful amendment of the Constitution. It was introduced as the 16th Amendment and has been successively the 17th, 18th, and 19th and has been before every session of Congress since its initial appearance.
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