How Did The Nineteenth Amendment Come To Be Part Of Our Constitution And Why Was It Significant? A History Of The Female Right's Movement And The Importance Of The 19th Amendment

1560 words - 7 pages

The Nineteenth Amendment was a great victory for women, which had been in the works for decades before its ratification. This amendment says that, "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." Surprisingly, this amendment was not ratified until August 18, 1920. (Find Law 1) It took years of struggle and protest before women achieved the right to vote, a right that men have possessed since the beginning of our nation.The beginning of the women's rights movement can be traced all the way back to 1848, where the first women's rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, NY. Under the guidance ...view middle of the document...

Susan B. Anthony chose to interpret the law as so, and was criminally prosecuted for illegally voting in the election of 1872. She used this defeat as a means of power. As she awaited trial she published numerous pamphlets on the subject of female suffrage and circulated them throughout New York. Other women fought vigorously to take similar cases to the high courts, but were consistently denied. The fight for universal suffrage would drag on. (law.umck.edu 1)In 1875, the issue of the Fourteenth Amendment and the right of females to vote was finally brought before the Supreme Court. In the case of Minor vs. Happersett, a native-born, white citizen of the United States (Missouri), named Virginia Minor, argued that it was her constitutional right to have been allowed to vote in the prior presidential election of 1872. Happersett denied registering her as a lawful voter, thus depriving her of the vote. Minor argued in her case that since she was a United States citizen, that she was entitled to all the privileges of citizens in the state of Missouri, one of them being the right to vote. The Supreme Court ruled that she was indeed a citizen, but neither the immunities and privileges clause, nor the Fourteenth Amendment officially extended the vote to women. Although the case was not a victory per se, it was a monumental leap in the fight for women's suffrage. The issue was now at the center of controversy throughout the United States. (Minor v. Happersett 1-5)On January 1878, Senator A.A. Sargent of California first introduced a women's suffrage amendment in Congress. However, this proposition met insurmountable odds in Congress. Many other senators were apprehensive about approving this idea for fears that it would hurt their political careers. The proposed amendment sat on the shelves of Congress before finally being voted in. In 1887, the amendment was defeated by an overwhelming vote of 34 to 16. As the proposed amendment collected dust in the Senate, suffragists decided to take their approach to the state level. (Kobach 1-2)In 1890, the state of Wyoming became the first ever to allow women's suffrage. In the next ten years, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado would join Wyoming in giving suffrage to women, but these states were not nearly influential enough to persuade other states to do the same. Susan B. Anthony once again led the fight for female suffrage by intense campaigning and protesting throughout the major cities on the Eastern Seaboard. On the subject of her state-by-state campaign she said, "I don't know the exact number of States we shall have to have.... but I do know that there will come a day when that number will automatically and resistlessly act on the Congress of the United States to compel the submission of a federal suffrage amendment. And we shall recognize that day when it comes." Her powerful oratory was a key factor in this movement. The only mistake these women made was discussing their view of prohibition. They took...

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