2020 will mark the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote, joining the political life of the country. Even when this is a part of our history, there might be some interesting facts about the passage of this amendment and the suffragist movement that you may not know. Here are some of these interesting facts.
- The 19th Amendment doesn’t actually mention women. The actual text talks about guaranteeing the right of citizens to vote regardless of their sex, but it doesn’t include the words “male” or “female” nor “men” or “women” either. This is because the U.S. Constitution is a gender-neutral document, which helps to reassure equality among genders as one of its core values.
- Since 1868, universal suffrage was an important issue for Congress. Then, in 1878, California Senator Aaron A. Sargent tried to introduce a bill from 1878 until 1919, but it was rejected every time. It wasn’t until 1920 that Congress approved the exact text of his bill, being also ratified by three-fourths of the states.
- Before the amendment, anti-suffrage groups sprung up in the country. There were many groups of women who were opposing the passage of the amendment, as they considered it would result in negative social changes, as well as causing them to lose some of the privileges and status they had because of their sex.
- It took more than 40 years for all states to ratify the amendment. Even when Congress approved the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920, some states didn’t ratify it immediately. Some examples include Maryland (1941), Virginia (1952), Alabama (1953), Florida (1969), Georgian and Louisiana (1970), North Carolina (1971), and Mississippi (1984).
“There never will be complete equality
until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.”
― Susan B. Anthony