As difficult as it may be to believe, the The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on August 18th, 1920, less than 100 years ago. It stated that: “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.” In plain English, it gave the vote to all women of voting age.
However, before its passage, not all women had been denied the vote as the map above demonstrates.
By 1919, 15 out of 48 states had full suffrage for women, while 12 had absolutely no suffrage. The rest had some sort of complex arrangement part way between the two. These included:
- Primary Suffrage: Women could vote in primaries, but not in elections themselves.
- Presidential suffrage: Women could vote for the President but not municipal or state officials.
- Presidential and municipal suffrage: Women could vote for the President and in local elections but not for state offices.
- Municipal suffrage: Women could vote for local officials but not for higher offices.
- Municipal suffrage in charter cities: Women could vote in local elections in only certain cities of a state.
- School Bond or Tax: In these states women may have been able to vote on matters relted to school bonds (funds for schools) and/or matters relating to tax.
What the Nineteenth Amendment did was to simplify matters by giving voting rights to all women, no matter what state they lived in.
To learn more about women’s suffrage in the United States, have a look at:
- A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot
- Sisters: The Lives of America’s Suffragists
- How Women Got the Vote: The Story of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in America
You may also be interested in our post: A 1917 Map of Women’s Suffrage in North America.
Why do you think it took so long for women to get the vote in America? Share your thoughts below:
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