Woman suffrage (19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States) becomes law on August 26, 1920.

  • By Mildred Andrews
  • Posted 2/16/2003
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 5214
On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which grants women the right to vote, becomes law. Washington women had won the vote in 1910, after which Washington suffragists had helped with the national campaign to amend the constitution so that all American women could vote.

In Washington state, various woman suffrage organizations had been working to win votes for women since the 1880s, with some successes, later repealed. Finally, on November 8, 1910, Washington state's male electorate granted women the franchise by an overwhelming majority, breaking a 14-year gridlock in the national crusade and making Washington the fifth state in the United States where women could vote.

Washington's enactment of woman suffrage opened the floodgates for other Western states, which quickly followed suit. To counter strong resistance in the older and more entrenched East and South, the national crusade escalated its demand for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Washington women remained involved in the national crusade until the passage of the 19th Amendment to the constitution in 1920.

The 19th Amendment

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads:

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. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The 19th Amendment was proposed by resolution of the U.S. Congress on June 4, 1919. It was ratified by more than three-fourths of the states, and declared ratified in a proclamation of the U.S. Secretary of State on August 26, 1920, on which day it became the law of the land.


Sources: T. A. Larson, "The Woman Suffrage Movement in Washington," Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 2 (April, 1976), 49-62; Mildred Tanner Andrews, Woman's Place: A Guide to Seattle and King County (Seattle: Gemil Press, 1994).

Related Topics:   Government & Politics | Women's History

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