Happy 90th Birthday 19th Amendment!

What's the big deal about the 19th amendment? In addition to giving women the right to vote, it was an integral moment in the civil rights and equality movements. Victory took decades and few of the initial supporters lived to see their dream realized. Ratified 90 years ago today, we celebrate our freedoms and those who inspired them.

Our 19th amendment guarantees, "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." Tennessee provided the requisite approval of three-fourths of the states, being the 36th state to ratify the amendment.

24 year-old legislator Harry Burn tipped the scales because he changed his vote at the request of his mother, Phoebe (Febb) Ensminger Burn, in the following note, altering our lives for the better. (And proving that it is a good thing to listen to your mother).

Dear Son:

     Hurrah, and vote for suffrage!  Don’t keep them in doubt.  I notice some of the speeches against.  They were bitter.  I have been watching to see how you stood, but have not noticed anything yet.

     Don’t forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt put the “rat” in ratification.

Your Mother

Though not available for checkout, Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement by Robert P.J. Cooney, Jr. in collaboration with the National Women's History Project, housed in the Western History and Genealogy department combines primary sources such as photographs, cartoons, posters, and newspaper articles to create a beautiful window into history.

Written by Tara on August 26, 2010


Carlyn on August 26, 2010


Fantastic Blog!
Thanks so much for the reminder of this important date.
We tend to take these steps forward for granted, forgetting how hard and how long people worked to improve conditions for the rest of the populace (Us!). Now, I've gotta go check out one of those books!

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