On this day August 26, 1920 the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of the Secretary of State. The Congress proposed the Nineteenth Amendment on June 4, 1919. Thirty-six states were need to approve the amendment. Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan were the first states to ratify the amendment – June 10, 1919. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts ratified the amendment on June 25, 1919 – the last state to ratify was Tennessee. After many starts and stops the process that began back with the meeting of women in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York finally was finally brought to fruition. Challenges in the form of other legislation were tried rooted in the fear of many legislators and others that a powerful women’s bloc would emerge in American politics. However, a women’s bloc did not emerge in American politics until the 1950s.
America’s woman suffrage movement was founded in the mid 19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In July 1848, 200 woman suffragists, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss women’s rights. After approving measures asserting the right of women to educational and employment opportunities, they passed a resolution that declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.” For proclaiming a women’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. However, the resolution marked the beginning of the woman suffrage movement in America.
AG Martha Coakley spoke at the Boston Common (Swan Boats obviously in the background) today on the occasion of the 91st anniversary of 19th Amendment added to the US Constitution.