Today we celebrate the 86th anniversary of the 19th amendment. The 19th amendment guaranteed women the right to vote. This was a long battle that begun seriously in 1848. That year Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others organized the Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention.
The anti-suffrage movement was well funded and strong. They opposed a woman’s right to vote with arguments such as women were not smart enough to vote and most women really did not want to vote.
It took several decades for America to warm up to the idea. Slowly, suffragists won the hearts and minds of their compatriots. Things really changed during World War I when women supported the war by doing factories jobs that men were no longer around to do. President Woodrow Wilson was aware of their contributions. In 1918, he threw his support behind the movement. Wilson stated, “We have made partners of women in this war. Shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toll and not to a partnership of right?”
The tide had turned. That year, the House passed an amendment, 304 to 90. On June 4, 1919, the Senate voted 56 to 25 in support of the amendment. They then needed 36 states for ratification. Tennessee became number 36 on August 18, 1920. The 19th Amendment was passed August 26, 1920 and women voted in their first election that November.