The Race to Pass Suffrage Before the 1920 Election

The year 1917 was very important for the suffrage movement. Having lost the chance to defeat the reelection of President Woodrow Wilson, who had initially been lukewarm towards suffrage, campaigners set out to guarantee women’s suffrage in the 1920 presidential election.

A wing of activists began a daily picket of the White House, the first in American history. Another organized a lobbying campaign to win congressional votes. Then, in April of the same year, the United States entered the First World War, and whatever political will had been built for the emancipation of women, it evaporated.

Again, the suffragettes have not been deterred. One of the most powerful weapons they had was the four million women already authorized to vote by the constitution of their state. These women were able to vote in all elections, up to the federal level, including for Congress representatives and the President. All of these “suffrage states” were still west of the Mississippi, but in November the suffragettes won the richest state suffrage award, New York.

“data-full-height =” 1417 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcxMzYxOTEwNTcwNws29.www “data-full-width =” 2000 “data-image-id =” ci0260ccc2400026b3 “data-image-slug =” Womens Suffrage-GettyImages-514700294 “data-public-id =” MTcxMzYxOTEwNTc3NDQwNzUw “data source -name =” Archive Bettmann / Getty Images “/> American suffragettes led by Beatrice Brown publish bills announcing a conference of the English suffragist Sylvia Pankhurst in New York, 1913. & nbsp;

“data-full-height =” 1542 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcxMzYxOTEwMzA5Mpg047images. “data-full-width =” 2000 “data-image-id =” ci0260ccc0100027ee “data-image-slug =” Womens Suffrage-GettyImages-3066547 “data-public-id =” MTcxMzYxOTEwMzA5MDA0OTc5 “data source -name =” Archive Hulton / Getty Images “/> This huge women’s march drowned a presidential inauguration in 1913

“data-full-height =” 1411 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcxMzYxOTEwMzA5Mdcettyimages. “data-full-width =” 2000 “data-image-id =” ci0260ccc1100026b3 “data-image-slug =” Womens Suffrage-GettyImages-2035233 “data-public-id =” MTcxMzYxOTEwMzA5MDcwNTE1 “data source -name =” FPG / Archive photos / Getty Images “/> Hanging paper sign affirming the success of women’s voting and showing the states in which rights were granted, 1914. In 1917, & nbsp; some four million women were already empowered to vote in national and local elections by their constitution.

“data-full-height =” 1321 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcxMzYxOTEwNTcIN3572. “data-full-width =” 2000 “data-image-id =” ci0260ccc2f00026b3 “data-image-slug =” Womens Suffrage-GettyImages-1155203572 “data-public-id =” MTcxMzYxOTEwNTc3NTcxODIy “data source -name =” Buyenlarge / Getty Images “/> Chief Suffragist Harriot Stanton Blatch (1856-1940) expresses his disapproval of anti-suffrage spokesman Richard Barry outside the Lyceum Theater in New York, 1915.

“data-full-height =” 1393 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcxMzYxOTEwMzA5Mjpg.x “data-full-width =” 2000 “data-image-id =” ci0260ccc0d00026b3 “data-image-slug =” Womens Suffrage-GettyImages-3087725 “data-public-id =” MTcxMzYxOTEwMzA5MjAxNTg3 “data source -name =” Paul Thompson / News Agency / Getty Images “/> Women’s suffrage parade supporting Woodrow Wilson’s campaign for women’s votes, 1916. Wilson first opposed national suffrage.

LEARN MORE: & nbsp;American women have fought for suffrage for 70 years. It took World War I to finally get there

“data-full-height =” 1349 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcxMzYxOTEwNTcQN15577b557 “data-full-width =” 2000 “data-image-id =” ci0260ccc1e00027ee “data-image-slug =” Womens Suffrage-GettyImages-515578720 “data-public-id =” MTcxMzYxOTEwNTc3NjM3MDQz “data -name =” Archive Bettmann / Getty Images “/> Miss Lucy Burns in prison after a suffragette stake in Washington, 1917. & nbsp; After protesting peacefully outside the White House, 33 women were brutally beaten overnight.

LEARN MORE: & nbsp;The night of terror: when the suffragists were imprisoned and tortured in 1917

“data-full-height =” 2000 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcxMzYxOTEwNTc3NTA119272 Photos “data-full-width =” 1125 “data-image-id =” ci0260ccc2a00026b3 “data-image-slug =” Womens Suffrage-GettyImages-515421972 “data-public-id =” MTcxMzYxOTEwNTc3NTA1OTcx “data source -name =” Archive Bettmann / Getty Images “/> A suffragette stands next to a sign that reads: “American women! If you want to vote in 1920, put a (.10, 1.00, 10.00) in Now, National Ballot Box for 1920”, around 1920. & nbsp ;

On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified, freeing all American women and declaring for the first time that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

“data-full-height =” 1369 “data-full-src =” https://www.history.com/.image/c_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Ch_2000%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_2000/MTcxMzYxOTEwNTc3NTcs940 “data-full-width =” 2000 “data-image-id =” ci0260ccc3b00026b3 “data-image-slug =” Womens Suffrage-GettyImages-614094430 “data-public-id =” MTcxMzYxOTEwNTc3NTcxNTA3 “data source -name =” Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group / Getty Images “/>

READ MORE: The Night of Terror: When the Suffragists were Imprisoned and Tortured in 1917

New York was the richest and most politically powerful state in the union. Henceforth, its delegation of 46 people, the largest in Congress, was responsible to voters, men and women. Barely two months later, the only member of Congress, Jeannette Rankin of Montana (a state where women could vote) introduced the bill authorizing a constitutional amendment in the House of Representatives. The legislative change requires the support of two-thirds of each chamber, and the bill was passed without an alternative vote.

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