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Belva Ann Lockwood - Amendment Xix

vote women congress constitution


The Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution states, "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." The amendment guaranteeing all American women the right to vote was the result of decades of effort by many people. Women and men alike worked tirelessly from 1878, when the amendment was first introduced in Congress, until its passage in the summer of 1920.

Those who championed a woman's right to vote used a variety of strategies. Besides joining others in lecturing, writing, and petitioning Congress, Belva Lockwood also challenged male-only voting in courts of law. Others used more militant tactics such as marches, civil disobedience, and hunger strikes to draw attention to their cause. All were met with intense opposition and sometimes hostility. The political balance began to change when President Woodrow Wilson supported an amendment to the Constitution in 1918. The House of Representatives passed the amendment in May 1919 and two weeks later the Senate followed. The U.S. Constitution was radically changed forever when the U.S. Secretary of State confirmed the official endorsement on August 26, 1920, and women were permitted to vote.

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