On this date in 1919 the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed the Senate by a vote of fifty-six to twenty-five. This amendment prohibited any United States citizen being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex, and thus guaranteed women’s suffrage. The amendment was first introduced to Congress by California Senator Aaron A. Sargent in 1878, but it would take another forty-one years and the efforts of numerous individuals and organizations before it passed both chambers of the legislature. On 20 August 1920 Tennessee became the thirty-sixth state to ratify the amendment, assuring that the necessary two-thirds of the states had ratified the amendment and it was formally adopted.
It should be pointed out that only three states of the former Confederacy (Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee) ratified the amendment prior to 1952, with Mississippi being the last state in the country to do so — in 1984.
Make sure to check back tomorrow for a longer piece on an organization and Southern lady that were key in the fight to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.
Pictured here courtesy of the Library of Congress is Mrs. Guilford Dudley of Nashville with an ear trumpet, talking into the ear of a Democratic donkey, played by Mrs. Mary Semple Scott, in a skit at the 1920 National American Woman Suffrage Association in Chicago.
by Graham Duncan