Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the
AUGUST 18, 1920
by Lea Young

On August 18, 1920 the 19th amendment granted all American women the right to vote. Today, LWVLA is proud to commemorate 100 years of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

During the 1800s women began to organize and picket in order to win the right to vote but it would take many years for them to accomplish their goal. We have all seen the movies and documentaries about the Suffrage movement beginning in 1848, a struggle which lasted 72 years. The ladies who called themselves Suffragists confected a list of 18 grievances called The Declaration of Sentiments and the right to vote was only one of those grievances. These were strong, angry women who felt they had been left out of the management of their lives, homes, children, property, education, and wages. They marched, lobbied and practiced civil disobedience, and picketed to win the right to vote.

As the country moved into the industrial age, women continued to face years of disappointments in order to win the right to vote. The passage of the 14th amendment, granting citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, including former slaves recently freed, still denied women equal treatment and equal pay. Even after the passage of the 15th amendment in 1870 stating that men regardless of color, creed or former enslavement were given voting rights, women were still denied this right.

Many suffragists continues to try different strategies and tactics to try to gain the right for women to vote by using hunger strikes, parades, and passing suffrage acts in each state rather than nationally. Determined to win the right to vote, the Suffrage amendment was introduced into Congress every year from 1878 until President Woodrow Wilson changed his position to support the amendment in 1918. In May of 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment, and the Senate followed. When the state of Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18,1920, the amendment then obtained the three-fourths of the states needed to pass.

On August 26, 1920, President Wilson signed the 19th Amendment into law with Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the National League of Women Voters, by his side.

After 72 years of struggles and fighting, we can say that women won the right to vote, we should say that women fought for the right to vote and took it!