August 26, 1920 is the 100th anniversary of the certification of the 19th amendment (often referred to as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment) to the U.S. Constitution that in a mere 39 words empowered women with the right to vote and to run for office: "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 power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
Thank you, thank you, Suffragists!!! "Votes for Women" – Your 72-year struggle gave us a voice!
Getting the amendment passed was no easy matter:
Following the Civil War, during the Reconstruction era, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted, granting African American men the right to vote. In 1890 Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote, followed by Colorado in 1893.
In 1917, America entered World War I, and women aided the war effort in various capacities that helped break down most of the remaining opposition to woman suffrage. By 1918, while continuing to march during the Spanish Flu epidemic, women had acquired equal suffrage with men in 15 states, and both the Democratic and Republican parties openly endorsed female enfranchisement.
First introduced in congress in 1878, finally passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the amendment guaranteed the voices of American women would be heard by their local, state and national governments.
Colorado was the 22nd state to ratify on December 15, 1919. Unbelievably, the last nine states to ratify the amendment did so between 1941 and 1984! Our work is not complete. Still today people who have the right to vote are often prevented from exercising it by the purging of voter rolls, requirement of voter-identification, gerrymandered voting districts, no early voting, few polling places, etc.
We should keep that in mind as we celebrate this historic anniversary!