The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution that guarantees American women the right to vote celebrated its big birthday on June 4, as it was passed by both chambers of Congress exactly 100 years ago, on June 4, 1919.
The House of Representatives first passed the amendment on May 21, 1919, and it was followed by the Senate two weeks later, on June 4, with a vote of 56 to 25.
Following approval by three-fourths of state legislatures, the amendment was ratified into the Constitution the next year.
This is what the opening of the 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.
Women have helped inaugurate a new era of American politics since 1919, and many historians can point a clear line from the passage of the 19th amendment to the passage of Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s.
The 19th Amendment emerged in a period of increased social activism and economic reform, and the first female member of the House of Representatives, Jeannette Rankin, brought greater attention to the rights of women.
The first states, like California, Washington, and Arizona, passed their own legislation granting women either full or partial suffrage in the early 1910s, and Wyoming was the first to do so in 1869, when it was still a territory.
The 19th Amendment changed the electorate forever, and some names are firmly etched in the annals of American history.