Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution Information
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The Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. The amendment was adopted on August 18, 1920, as the culmination of the women's suffrage movement in the United States, which fought at both state and national levels to achieve the vote. It effectively overruled Minor v. Happersett (1875), in which a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not give women the right to vote. Since the 1860s, an increasing number of states had given women the right to vote, but several states still denied women the right to vote at the time the amendment was ratified.
The Nineteenth Amendment was originally introduced in Congress in 1878 by Senator Aaron A. Sargent. Forty-one years later, in 1919, Congress submitted it to the states for ratification. It was ratified by three-fourths of the states a year later, with Tennessee's ratification being the last needed to add the amendment to the Constitution. In Leser v. Garnett (1922), the Supreme Court rejected claims that the amendment was unconstitutionally adopted.
- 1 Text
- 2 Background
- 3 Proposal and ratification
- 4 Legal challenges
- 5 Effects
- 6 Legacy
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
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.
Early woman suffrage efforts
The United States Constitution, adopted in 1789, left the boundaries of suffrage undefined. The only directly elected body created by the original Constitution was the U.S. House of Representatives, for which voter qualifications were explicitly delegated to the individual states.  While women had the right to vote in several of the early colonies in what would become the United States, after 1776, with the exception of New Jersey, all states adopted constitutions that denied voting rights to women. (Beginning in 1776, New Jersey's constitution initially granted suffrage to property-holding residents, including single and married women, but the state rescinded women's voting rights in 1807 and did not restore them until New Jersey ratified the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.) 
While scattered movements and organizations dedicated to women's rights existed previously, the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention in New York is traditionally held as the start of the American women's rights movement. Attended by nearly three hundred women and men, the convention was designed to "discuss the social, civil, and religious rights of women," and culminated in the adoption of the Declaration of Sentiments.  Signed by 68 women and 32 men, the Declaration called for equality of the sexes and addressed sixteen areas in which U.S. women experienced oppression. The ninth of document's twelve resolved clauses reads, "Resolved, That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise."  This was the only clause that did not receive unanimous support by the convention's attendees, and passed by only a small majority.  While some attendees claimed that failure to enfranchise women was central to women's full equality, others felt this was too radical and could undermine efforts to successfully address the other issues raised in the Declaration, and thus some chose not to sign the document or to later remove their support of the Declaration of Sentiments.  Conveners Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton became key early leaders in the U.S. women's suffrage movement, often referred to at the time as the woman suffrage movement, and the Seneca Falls Convention can be viewed as a foundational event in the movement for women's suffrage at the federal level in the United States. 
Activism addressing federal women's suffrage was minimal during the Civil War. While suffrage bills were introduced into many state legislatures during this period, but they were generally disregarded and few came to a vote. 
Reconstruction Amendments and woman suffrage
The women's suffrage movement, delayed by the American Civil War, resumed activities during the Reconstruction era (1865–1877), which included the formation of two rival suffrage organizations were formed in 1869: the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), led by suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), led by Lucy Stone.  Each organization had their own agenda and employed different strategies.  The NWSA's main effort was lobbying Congress for a women's suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The AWSA generally focused on a long-term effort of state campaigns to gain women's suffrage on a state-by-state basis. 
During the Reconstruction era, women's rights leaders advocated for inclusion of universal suffrage as a civil right in the Reconstruction Amendments (the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments). Despite their efforts, these amendments did nothing to promote women's suffrage.   Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly discriminated between men and women by penalizing states who deprived adult male citizens of the vote, but not for denying the vote to adult female citizens. 
The NWSA attempted several unsuccessful court challenges in the mid-1870s.  Their legal argument, known as the "New Departure" strategy, contended that the Fourteenth Amendment (granting universal citizenship) and Fifteenth Amendment (granting the vote irrespective of race) together guaranteed voting rights to women.  The U.S. Supreme Court rejected this argument. In Bradwell v. Illinois, 83 U.S. 130 (1873), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Supreme Court of Illinois’s refusal to grant Myra Bradwell a license to practice law was not a violation of the U.S. Constitution and refused to extend federal authority in support of women’s citizenship rights.  In Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1874), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not provide voting rights to U.S. citizens, it only guaranteed additional protection of privileges to citizens who already had them. If a state constitution limited suffrage to male citizens of the United States, then women in that state did not have voting rights.  After U.S. Supreme Court decisions between 1873 and 1875 denied voting rights to women in connection with the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, suffrage groups shifted their efforts to advocating for a new constitutional amendment. 
Suffrage in western states
Continued settlement of the western frontier, along with the establishment of territorial constitutions, allowed the women's suffrage issue to be raised as the western territories progressed toward statehood. Through the activism of suffrage organizations and independent political parties, women's suffrage was included in the constitutions of Wyoming Territory (1869), Utah Territory (1870), and Washington Territory (1883).   In the late 1800s, women's suffrage in the American West was viewed as a way attract new settlers and it was hoped that the presence of more women in the territories might provide a civilizing influence on the region. Women's suffrage also satisfied other political goals in the western states. In the Utah Territory, for example, women were granted voting rights in order to maintain a Mormon voting majority; however, women's suffrage was revoked in the territory in 1887, when Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act that also prohibited polygamy. Women's suffrage was not restored in Utah until it achieved statehood in 1896.  
Existing state legislatures in the West, as well as those east of the Mississippi River, also began to consider suffrage bills in the 1870s and 1880s, and several even held voter referenda, but they were unsuccessful  until the suffrage movement was revived in the 1890s. Full women's suffrage continued in Wyoming after it became a state in 1890. Colorado granted partial voting rights that allowed women to vote in school board elections in 1893 and Idaho granted women suffrage in 1896. Beginning with Washington in 1910, seven more western states passed women's suffrage legislation, including California in 1911, Oregon, Arizona, and Kansas in 1912, Alaska in 1913, and Montana and Nevada in 1914. Not all women in the western states were in favor of women's suffrage and not all western states granted full suffrage to women before final ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. However, all of the states that were successful in securing full voting rights to women before 1920 were located in western states.  
By the 1890s suffrage leaders began to recognize the need to broaden its base of support to achieve success in passing suffrage legislation at the national, state, and local levels. While western women, state suffrage organizations, and the AWSA concentrated on securing women's voting rights for specific states, efforts at the national level persisted through a strategy of congressional testimony, petitioning, and lobbying.   To win support, the suffragists had to publicly campaign for the vote, convince male voters, state legislators, and members of Congress that American women wanted it and that women voters would benefit American society. Suffrage supporters also had to convince American women, many of whom were indifferent to the issue, that suffrage was something they wanted. Apathy among women was an ongoing obstacle that the suffragists had to overcome through organized grassroots efforts. 
There were several attempts to amend the Constitution, prior to the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, to grant universal and limited suffrage to women. One of the attempts, the "Petition for Universal Suffrage", signed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, among others, called for a Constitutional amendment to "prohibit the several states from disenfranchising any of their citizens on the ground of sex" in 1865.  In another attempt, an amendment proposed in the House of Representatives called for limited suffrage for women who were spinsters or widows and owned property in 1888. 
Proposal and ratification
The Nineteenth Amendment is identical to the Fifteenth Amendment, except that the Nineteenth prohibits the denial of suffrage because of sex and the Fifteenth because of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude".  Colloquially known as the "Anthony Amendment", it was first introduced in the Senate by Republican Senator Aaron A. Sargent of California. Sargent, who had met and befriended Anthony on a train ride in 1872, was a dedicated women's suffrage advocate. He had frequently attempted to insert women's suffrage provisions into unrelated bills, but did not formally introduce a constitutional amendment until January 1878.  Stanton and other women testified before the Senate in support of the amendment.  The proposal sat in a committee until it was considered by the full Senate and rejected in a 16 to 34 vote in 1887. 
A three-decade period known as "the doldrums" followed, during which the amendment was not considered by Congress and the women's suffrage movement achieved few victories.   During this period, the suffragists pressed for the right to vote in the laws of individual states and territories while retaining the goal of federal recognition.  A flurry of activity began in 1910 and 1911 with surprise successes in Washington and California.  Over the next few years, most western states passed legislation or voter referenda enacting full or partial suffrage for women.  These successes were linked to the 1912 election, which saw the rise of the Progressive and Socialist parties, as well as the election of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson.   Not until 1914 was the constitutional amendment again considered by the Senate, where it was again rejected. 
Carrie Chapman Catt was instrumental in the final push to gain ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. In 1900, she succeeded Susan B. Anthony as the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Starting in 1915, Catt revitalized NAWSA and led a successful campaign in New York to achieve state-level suffrage in 1917. When the U.S. entered World War I, Catt made the controversial decision to support the war effort, despite the widespread pacifist sentiment of many of her colleagues and supporters.  NAWSA women's work to aid the war effort turned them into highly visible symbols of nationalism.
While the NAWSA and other state and local suffrage groups continued their efforts win state-level suffrage, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns founded the Congressional Union for Women Suffrage in 1913 to pressure the federal government to take legislative action. The two women also organized a women's suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. on March 3, 1913, the day before Wilson's inauguration. The procession of more than 5,000 participants attracted a crowd of an estimated 500,000, as well as national media attention, but Wilson took no immediate action. In March 1917, the Congressional Union joined with Women's Party of Western Voters to form the National Woman's Party (NWP), whose aggressive tactics included staging more radical acts of civil disobedience and controversial demonstrations to draw more attention to the women's suffrage issue. 
In April 1917 the Anthony Amendment, which eventually became the Nineteenth Amendment, was reintroduced in the U.S. House and Senate. In the meantime, women suffragettes, nicknamed the "Silent Sentinels," continued their protests on the sidewalks outside the White House. On July 4, 1917, police arrested 168 of the protestors, who were sent to prison in Lorton, Virginia. Some of these women, including Lucy Burns and Alice Paul went on hunger strikes, while others were harshly treated by prison guards. The release of the women a few months later was largely due to increasing public pressure. 
Catt's success in turning NAWSA into a patriotic organization, entirely separate from the NWP, was rewarded when President Wilson spoke out in favor of women's suffrage in his 1918 State of the Union address before Congress. 
Another proposal was brought before the House on January 10, 1918. During the previous evening, President Wilson made a strong and widely published appeal to the House to pass the amendment. It was passed by the required two-thirds of the House, with only one vote to spare. The vote was then carried into the Senate. Wilson again made an appeal, but on September 30, 1918, the proposal fell two votes short of passage. On February 10, 1919, it was again voted upon and failed by only one vote.
There was considerable desire among politicians of both parties to have the proposal made part of the Constitution before the 1920 general elections, so the President called a special session of the Congress so the proposal would be brought before the House again. On May 21, 1919, it passed the House, 42 votes more than necessary being obtained. On June 4, 1919, it was brought before the Senate and, after a long discussion, it was passed with 56 ayes and 25 nays. Within a few days, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan ratified the amendment, their legislatures being in session. Other states followed suit at a regular pace, until the amendment had been ratified by 35 of the necessary 36 state legislatures. Much of the opposition to the amendment came from Southern Democrats, a trend which remained consistent with Tennessee as the last state to pass the amendment, during a special session right before the ratification period was to expire.  On August 18, 1920, Tennessee narrowly approved the Nineteenth Amendment, with 50 of 99 members of the Tennessee House of Representatives voting yes.  This provided the final ratification necessary to add the amendment to the Constitution,  making the United States the twenty-seventh country in the world to give women the right to vote. 
- Illinois (June 10, 1919)   Because of a miswording in the introduction of the bill, but not the amendment itself, Illinois reaffirmed passage of the amendment on June 17 and submitted a brief to confirm that the second vote was merely a legal formality. Illinois was acknowledged by the US Secretary of State as the first state to ratify the amendment. 
- Wisconsin (June 10, 1919)  
- Michigan (June 10, 1919) 
- Kansas (June 16, 1919) 
- Ohio (June 16, 1919)  
- New York (June 16, 1919) 
- Pennsylvania (June 24, 1919)
- Massachusetts (June 25, 1919)
- Texas (June 28, 1919)
- Iowa (July 2, 1919) [note 1]
- Missouri (July 3, 1919)
- Arkansas (July 28, 1919)
- Montana (August 2, 1919) [note 1]
- Nebraska (August 2, 1919)
- Minnesota (September 8, 1919)
- New Hampshire (September 10, 1919) [note 1]
- Utah (September 30, 1919) 
- California (November 1, 1919)
- Maine (November 5, 1919)
- North Dakota (December 1, 1919)
- South Dakota (December 4, 1919)
- Colorado (December 15, 1919) [note 1]
- Kentucky (January 6, 1920)
- Rhode Island (January 6, 1920)
- Oregon (January 13, 1920)
- Indiana (January 16, 1920) 
- Wyoming (January 27, 1920)
- Nevada (February 7, 1920)
- New Jersey (February 9, 1920)
- Idaho (February 11, 1920)
- Arizona (February 12, 1920)
- New Mexico (February 21, 1920)
- Oklahoma (February 28, 1920)
- West Virginia (March 10, 1920, confirmed on September 21, 1920)
- Washington (March 22, 1920)
- Tennessee (August 18, 1920)
Ratification was completed on August 18, 1920, and the following states subsequently ratified the amendment:
- Connecticut (September 14, 1920, reaffirmed on September 21, 1920)
- Vermont (February 8, 1921)
- Delaware (March 6, 1923, after being rejected on June 2, 1920)
- Maryland (March 29, 1941, after being rejected on February 24, 1920; not certified until February 25, 1958)
- Virginia (February 21, 1952, after being rejected on February 12, 1920)
- Alabama (September 8, 1953, after being rejected on September 22, 1919)
- Florida (May 13, 1969) 
- South Carolina (July 1, 1969, after being rejected on January 28, 1920; not certified until August 22, 1973)
- Georgia (February 20, 1970, after being rejected on July 24, 1919)
- Louisiana (June 11, 1970, after being rejected on July 1, 1920)
- North Carolina (May 6, 1971)
- Mississippi (March 22, 1984, after being rejected on March 29, 1920)
Leser v Garnett
Oscar Leser sued to stop two women registered to vote in Baltimore, Maryland, because he believed that the Maryland Constitution limited the suffrage to men and the Maryland legislature had refused to vote to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment. Two months before, the federal government had proclaimed the amendment incorporated into the Constitution on August 26, 1920. 
First, Leser said the amendment "destroyed State autonomy" because it increased Maryland's electorate without the state's consent. The Court answered that the Nineteenth Amendment was worded like the Fifteenth Amendment, which had expanded state electorates without regard to race for over 50 years by that time despite being rejected by six states, including Maryland.  
Second, Leser claimed that the state constitutions in some ratifying states did not allow their legislatures to ratify. The Court replied that state ratification was a federal function which came from Article V of the Constitution and so is not subject to limitations by a state constitution. 
Third, those bringing suit asserted the Nineteenth Amendment was not adopted, because Tennessee and West Virginia violated their own rules of procedure. The Court ruled that the point was moot, because since then Connecticut and Vermont had ratified the amendment and so there was a sufficient number of ratifications for the Nineteenth Amendment to be considered adopted even without Tennessee and West Virginia. Also, the Court ruled that Tennessee and West Virginia's certifying of their ratifications was binding and had been duly authenticated by the Secretary of State. 
Thus, the two women were permitted to be registered to vote in Baltimore. 
Fairchild v Hughes
Fairchild v. Hughes, 258 U.S. 126 (1922),  was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that a general citizen, in a state that already had women's suffrage, lacked standing to challenge the validity of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.
Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment enfranchised twenty-six million American women in time for the 1920 U.S. presidential election.  Many legislators feared that a powerful women's bloc would emerge in American politics. This fear led to the passage of such laws as the Sheppard–Towner Act of 1921, which expanded maternity care during the 1920s.  However, a women's bloc did not emerge in American politics until the 1950s. 
According to political scientists J. Kevin Corder and Christina Wolbrecht, few women turned out to vote in the first elections after they got the right to do so. In 1920, just 36% of eligible women turned out to vote (compared with 68% of men).   The low turnout was partly due to other barriers to voting, such as literacy tests, long residency requirements and poll taxes. Inexperience with voting and persistent beliefs that voting was inappropriate for women may also have kept turnout low.   The gap was lowest between men and women in states that were swing states at the time, such as Missouri and Kentucky, and where barriers to voting were lower.  
In popular culture
- The 1976 song "Sufferin' Till Suffrage" from Schoolhouse Rock!, performed by Essra Mohawk and written by Bob Dorough and Tom Yohe, states in part, "Not a woman here could vote, no matter what age, Then the 19th Amendment struck down that restrictive rule ... Yes the 19th Amendment Struck down that restrictive rule."  
- One Woman, One Vote is a 1995 PBS documentary narrated by Susan Sarandon chronicling the Seneca Falls Convention through the ratification of the 19thAmendment. 
- A 1999 documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns, Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony, used archival footage and commentary by actors Ann Dowd, Julie Harris, Sally Kellerman and Amy Madigan. 
- Iron Jawed Angels is a 2004 film depicting suffragists Alice Paul ( Hilary Swank) and Lucy Burns ( Frances O’Connor) as they help secure the 19thAmendment. 
- In 2013, best-selling author of The Fault in Our Stars, John Green, produced a video entitled Women in the 19th Century: Crash Course US History #31 providing an overview of the women's movement leading to the 19th Amendment. 
- On August 26, 2016, a monument commemorating Tennessee's role in providing the required 36th state ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment was unveiled in Centennial Park (Nashville).  The memorial, erected by the Tennessee Suffrage Monument, Inc.  and created by Alan LeQuire, features likenesses of suffragists who were particularly involved in securing Tennessee's ratification: Carrie Chapman Catt; Anne Dallas Dudley; Abby Crawford Milton; Juno Frankie Pierce; and Sue Shelton White.
- In 2018 an album was released by various artists called 27: The Most Perfect Album, featuring songs inspired by the 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution; the song inspired by the 19th amendment is called "A Woman's Right" and is by Dolly Parton.  
- In August 2018, Hillary Clinton and Steven Spielberg announced plans to make a television series based on Elaine Weiss's best-selling book, The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote. 
- Women's suffrage in the United States
- Timeline of women's suffrage
- List of suffragists and suffragettes
- List of women's rights activists
- History of feminism
- Women's Equality Day
- Women's rights
- Women's suffrage organizations
- Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1971, uniform voting age of 18 or older)
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