Text of the Nineteenth Amendment
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.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment on August 18, 1920 which gave women the right to vote was the culmination of a struggle which consumed decades to achieve. The Constitution ceded the voting franchise requirements to the States who, as a whole, disenfranchised women. New Jersey was the only state which allowed women to vote and this right was revoked in 1807.
Although there were earlier efforts to secure the right to vote for women the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention in New York is recognized as the official beginning of the women's suffrage movement. It was at this Convention that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, who had been active in the abolitionist movement, expanded their scope to women's suffrage. The impetus for this had been provided by the refusal to allow Lucretia Mott the right to speak at an anti slavery convention in London, England even though she was an official delegate to the convention. These women organized the Seneca Falls Convention from which the "Declaration of Sentiments" was issued. The Declaration was modeled on the Declaration of Independence and called for the extension of full rights to females. The Declaration was signed by sixty eight women and thirty two men.
This convention was followed by the Woman's Rights Convention in Syracuse, New York in 1852 at which Susan B. Anthony joined the cause. The breakout of the Civil War in 1861 superseded most of the movement's activities for the next decade. The next attempt to gain the right to vote was an attempt in 1872 to utilize the newly passed Fourteenth Amendment to extend the right to vote to women. The attempt failed and in 1878 Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted a constitutional amendment to allow women to vote and had it introduced to Congress. The amendment failed. This amendment was introduced to every session of Congress for the next forty years, failing every time it was passed.
During this interim women attacked the issue on a state by state basis. This was partially successful as most of the western states and territories ingrained women's suffrage in their constitutions in the early portion of the Twentieth Century. Repeated tries to get the amendment passed in Congress failed.
Momentum began to build in the years prior to World War I. The attempts at passage became more numerous and the votes in Congress kept getting closer. Both political parties and President Woodrow Wilson wanted to get the amendment ratified before the 1920 elections. Finally on May 21, 1919 during a special session of Congress the Nineteenth Amendment passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 274 to 136. On June 4, 1919 the amendment was introduced to the Senate. It passed, after furious debate, with 56 ayes and 25 nays. It was then submitted to the States for Ratification.
The States ratified in the following order:
1.Wisconsin (June 10, 1919)
2.Illinois (June 10, 1919, reaffirmed on June 17, 1919)
3.Michigan (June 10, 1919)
4.Kansas (June 16, 1919)
5.New York (June 16, 1919)
6.Ohio (June 16, 1919)
7.Pennsylvania (June 24, 1919)
8.Massachusetts (June 25, 1919)
9.Texas (June 28, 1919)
10.Iowa (July 2, 1919)
11.Missouri (July 3, 1919)
12.Arkansas (July 28, 1919)
13.Montana (August 2, 1919)
14.Nebraska (August 2, 1919)
15.Minnesota (September 8, 1919)
16.New Hampshire (September 10, 1919)
17.Utah (October 2, 1919)
18.California (November 1, 1919)
19.Maine (November 5, 1919)
20.North Dakota (December 1, 1919)
21.South Dakota (December 4, 1919)
22.Colorado (December 15, 1919)
23.Kentucky (January 6, 1920)
24.Rhode Island (January 6, 1920)
25.Oregon (January 13, 1920)
26.Indiana (January 16, 1920)
27.Wyoming (January 27, 1920)
28.Nevada (February 7, 1920)
29.New Jersey (February 9, 1920)
30.Idaho (February 11, 1920)
31.Arizona (February 12, 1920)
32.New Mexico (February 21, 1920)
33.Oklahoma (February 28, 1920)
34.West Virginia (March 10, 1920
35.Washington (March 22, 1920)
36.Tennessee (August 18, 1920)
Ratification was completed on August 18, 1920. The states listed below ratified after the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the Constitution.
37.Connecticut (September 14, 1920
38.Vermont (February 8, 1921)
39.Delaware (March 6, 1923)
40.Maryland (March 29, 1941)
41.Virginia (February 21, 1952)
42.Alabama (September 8, 1953)
43.Florida (May 13, 1969)
44.South Carolina (July 1, 1969)
45.Georgia (February 20, 1970)
46.Louisiana (June 11, 1970)
47.North Carolina (May 6, 1971)
48.Mississippi (March 22, 1984)
On August 26, 1920 Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the ratification and the Nineteenth Amendment became the law of the land.
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