AMP | Kids is proud to partner with The Mini Page, celebrating over 50 years of providing engaging and fun learning opportunities to young readers across the country. This feature was originally syndicated in newspapers the week of August 8 – August 14, 2020. It is distributed digitally here with permission from Andrews McMeel Syndication. Enjoy and share with the young learners in your life!
If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you know that we have a presidential election coming up on Nov. 3. This year’s contest is different than in years past because of the coronavirus pandemic and other issues affecting Americans.
Even with these challenges, voting remains a crucial civic duty of all adult U.S. citizens.
An important centennial
The date Aug. 26 is special. It marks the 100th anniversary, or centennial, of the date that women gained suffrage (SUFF-ridge), or the right to vote. On that date, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was approved. Women finally had full voting rights.
The amendment says, in part: “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.”
Let’s learn more about how women gained the right to vote.
No constitutional right
The U.S. Constitution did not say that women could not vote. Each state had its own qualifications or laws for who could vote.
At first, only white males who owned property were allowed to vote in most states. Women in most states were not allowed to vote in any elections. Many felt this was unfair.
Working for suffrage
From the 1850s on, women fought for the right to vote. After the Civil War ended, women continued working for voting rights. In 1869, Wyoming became the first territory (it was not yet a state) to allow women to vote. But not all women across the nation enjoyed that right — and not all women believed in suffrage.
But women kept working. They signed petitions. They met and talked with members of Congress to try to influence their vote. They wrote many letters and marched in the streets.
During World War I, many nations around the world saw how much women were doing while men were away fighting and gave women the right to vote. But suffrage bills in the U.S. Congress were defeated again and again.
Finally, in June 1919, both the House and the Senate passed the 19th Amendment, but it would not become law until Aug. 18, 1920, when three-fourths of the 48 states had ratified it.
On Aug. 26, the U.S. secretary of state made the law official in all 48 states.
In the presidential election of 2016, more women voted than men (55% to 45%). These modern women have some trailblazers to thank for their ability to help choose the president.
Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony
Along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), Anthony (1820-1906) founded the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869. The 19th Amendment of 1920 was sometimes called the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.
In 1872, Virginia Minor (1824-1894) went to the polls and tried to vote. The man in charge of the polls would not let her.
Minor went to court about the matter. She took her case all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled that being a citizen did not give women the right to vote.
On the Web:
National Park Service – Women’s History
At the Library:
The Woman’s Hour: Our Fight for the Right to Vote by Elaine Weiss
For standards-based activities to accompany this feature, visit Andrews McMeel Syndication. And follow The Mini Page on Facebook!