A look behind ratifying the 19th Amendment
I’ve seen two different August ratification dates for the 19th Amendment; what’s the story?
— Pat, Jacksonville
Pat, great you ask, because we are coming up on the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On Aug. 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state — giving it the needed three-fourths of the country — to ratify the legislation that granted women of all races the right to vote in federal elections.
The 19th Amendment 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 power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
Congress passed the amendment to allow women’s suffrage June 4, 1919, and Wisconsin became the first of our 48 states to grant women the right to vote June 10, 1919. Illinois and Michigan were right on the badger state’s heels, ratifying the amendment the same day.
Our state of Oregon took another six months and became the 25th state to ratify the proposed amendment Jan. 13, 1920. Proposed constitutional amendments must be passed by a two-thirds vote in both houses of congress, and U.S. states were able to ratify women’s suffrage in just over a year.
The 27th Amendment, concerning pay raises to members of Congress, holds the record for the longest ratification timeline — it took from Sept. 25, 1789, to May 7, 1992, to become an amendment.
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