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19th Amendment

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This document, which simply states, “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 the account of sex. “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” Was the final goal of the nearly century long battle between the women rights activists and the rest of the nation to make the right to vote equal for all who live under the colors of this great nation. Ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment granted American women the right to vote, a right known as woman suffrage. At the time the U.S. was founded, its female citizens did not share all of the same rights as men, including the right to vote. It was not until 1848 that the movement for women's rights launched on a national level. Abolitionists Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) and Lucretia Mott (1793-1880) organized a convention in Seneca Falls, New York to demand for the right to vote. This action would later become a centerpiece of the women's rights movement. Stanton and Mott, along with Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) and other activists, formed organizations that raised public awareness and lobbied the government to grant voting rights to women as well as bringing moral up for the women in our country.
The campaign for woman suffrage did not take full swing till in the decades before the Civil War. During the 1820s and 1830s, various reform groups proliferated across the U.S. groups such as, temperance clubs, religious movements and moral-reform societies, anti-slavery organizations. In a number of these, women played a prominent role. Meanwhile, many American women were beginning to chafe against what historians have called the "Cult of True Womanhood"; that is, the idea that the only "true" woman was a pious, submissive wife and mother concerned exclusively with home and family. Put together, these factors contributed to a new way of thinking about what it meant to be a woman and a citizen in the United States.
When Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized there rally, or convention, more than 300 people, most of them women, but also some men attended, including former African-American slave and activist Frederick Douglass (1818-95). In addition to their belief that women should be afforded better opportunities for education and employment, most of the Seneca Falls delegates agreed that American women were autonomous individuals who deserved their own political identities. A group of delegates led by Stanton produced a "Declaration of Sentiments" document, modeled after the Declaration of Independence, which stated: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." What this meant, among other things, was that the delegates believed women should have the right to vote.

Following the convention, the idea of voting rights for women was mocked in the press and some delegates withdrew their support for the Declaration of Sentiments. However, Stanton and Mott persisted, they went on to spearhead additional women's rights conferences and they were quickly gaining support of the American female consensus. But amending the US constitution is a tortuous process, and requires a proposed amendment to be ratified by three-fourths of the individual states. Carrie Chapman Catt, a leader in the US suffragette movement, once estimated that the struggle had required more than 50 referendums, as well as "480 campaigns to get legislatures to submit suffrage amendments to voters, 47 campaigns to get constitutional conventions to write woman suffrage into state constitutions; 277 campaigns to get state party conventions to include woman suffrage planks, 30 campaigns to get presidential party campaigns to include woman suffrage planks in party platforms and 19 campaigns with 19 successive congresses."
Then, finally, on 18 August, 1920, the Tennessee state legislature met to consider the amendment, with local politicians subject to heavy lobbying to vote against it from various factions – including those who feared that women's votes would make it impossible to repeal the 18th amendment that prohibited the sale of liquor. The result of this was the inevitable ratification of this the 19th Amendment of the US Constitution.
Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land. The package containing the certified record of the action of the Tennessee legislature was sent by train to the nation's capital, arriving in the early hours of August 26th. At 8 a.m. that morning, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed it without ceremony at his residence in Washington D.C. None of the leaders of the woman suffrage movement were present when the proclamation was signed, and no photographers or film cameras recorded the event. That afternoon, Carrie Chapman Catt, head of the National American Suffrage Association, was received at the White House by President Woodrow Wilson and Edith Wilson, the first lady. A gratifying end to a long battle of what should have been a simple fix for the American people. . .

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