Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
Today, August 18, marks the 95th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, or Women’s Suffrage Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. To mark this occasion, I called Tennessee’s Democratic Party Chairwoman, Mary Mancini, to congratulate Tennessee on being the 36th state to ratify this amendment. Since ratification required three-fourths of the states to vote in the affirmative, the Tennessee Legislature became the final state necessary for passage when it ratified the Women’s Suffrage Amendment by one vote on August 18, 1920.
I told my female colleague and neighboring state Chairperson, "Congratulations on your state’s making it possible for women to achieve equality at the ballot box. As women active in politics, we both appreciate the battles which were fought from 1848, when the idea was first seriously proposed at the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, until 1920, when it was ratified."
Unfortunately, Alabama lawmakers fought this amendment and did not vote to ratify it until 1953, long after it was the law of the land. These backward attitudes toward women’s voting in 1920, remind us of some of today’s Republican Presidential candidates who want to turn back the clock on women’s progress.
August 18, 1920, when the 19th Amendment was ratified, and August 26, when the Women’s Suffrage Amendment was certified as law by the U.S. Congress, are both days for celebration. Passage of the 19th Amendment gave women the opportunity to make our voices heard, but we must all register to vote and cast our ballots in every election.