History Brief: the 19th Amendment
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History Brief: the 19th Amendment

The 19th Amendment The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution
guarantees that no one shall be denied the right to vote based on gender. Why was this
amendment necessary? How long did it take for it to become part of the Constitution? Throughout the early 1870s, the National Woman
Suffrage Association attempted multiple legal challenges with the hope of gaining women
the right to vote. They argued that women should have this right based on the 15th Amendment,
which states that all citizens should have the right to vote. The Supreme Court heard
three cases on this matter, the most famous being Minor v. Happersett. Each time they
ruled that this amendment only referred to male citizens. After these defeats, Elizabeth Cady Stanton
and Susan B. Anthony tried a different approach. They authored a constitutional amendment which
was introduced in the Senate by Aaron Sargent, a senator from California who was a strong
advocate of women’s suffrage. He formally introduced the measure in January of 1878.
The Senate made no effort to act on the proposal until nine years later! Finally, in 1887,
the amendment was voted on and rejected by the Senate with a vote of 16 in favor and
34 opposed. Suffragists such as Carrie Chapman Catt then
began to concentrate on a state-by-state effort to achieve suffrage. Many of the new western
states such as Wyoming, Utah, and Washington were already allowing women to vote. Throughout
the early 1900s, many more western states were added to this number, with 15 states
eventually passing women’s suffrage laws prior to 1920.
However, despite these successes, the idea of a constitutional amendment would not go
away. The amendment was proposed again in 1914, as well as 1915 and 1918. Each time,
it failed to receive the required number of votes. The amendment was voted on again by
the House of Representatives in February of 1919, and once again failed to pass by one
vote. On May 21, 1919, the measure was voted on once more, finally receiving the necessary
votes. It was then voted on by the Senate who also approved the amendment after lengthy
discussion. This was only the first step in approving
the new constitutional amendment, though. It had received the necessary two-thirds vote
from both the House of Representatives and the Senate, but in order to become part of
the Constitution, another step was necessary. Three-fourths of the state legislatures needed
to ratify the amendment. This could have been a lengthy process, with some amendments not
being approved for years and years’if at all. The first three states to ratify the amendment
were Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. All three of these states did so on June 10, 1919.
Over the course of the next year, states continued to ratify the amendment, one at a time. A
total of 36 states were needed in order for the amendment to become law. Tennessee became
the 36th state to ratify, making the 19th Amendment official on August 18, 1920. The
amendment reads: 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 amendment was not a popular one amongst
some citizens. Many did not feel women should be allowed to vote. It was immediately challenged
in court. The Supreme Court case known as Leser v. Garnett argued that this amendment
took away a state’s right to determine for itself whether women should vote. The Supreme
Court dismissed this claim and upheld the amendment as being constitutional. Some states still refused to ratify the amendment,
even though it was now law. Many Southern states such as South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana,
and North Carolina did not ratify the amendment until the 1970s. Mississippi did not ratify
it until March 22, 1984! Regardless of the protests against the amendment,
the goal of the Women’s Suffrage Movement had been achieved. Women began voting immediately,
and they soon became a powerful force in the world of politics.


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  • Stella Maris

    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.

    It was ratified on August 18, 1920.

    Until the 1910s, most states did not give women the right to vote.

    The amendment was 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, in which a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not give women the right to vote.

    The Nineteenth Amendment was first introduced in Congress in 1878 by Senator Aaron A. Sargent.

    Forty-one years later, in 1919, Congress approved the amendment and submitted it to the states for ratification.

    It was ratified by the requisite number of states a year later, with Tennessee's ratification being the final vote needed to add the amendment to the Constitution.

    In Leser v. Garnett (1922), the Supreme Court rejected claims that the amendment was unconstitutionally adopted.

  • General Gray [US Continental Army]

    3 Reasons why women should not be allowed to vote

  • Cosmic Snake

    Repeal the 19th. They value safety over freedom and are easily manipulated by rhetorical appeals to sympathy and empathy. They are emotional not logical. They don't have to die in war and they spend more in taxes then they pay. If they want to vote, they need to earn it as individuals.

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