Commission to Investigate Equal Suffrage

Commission to Investigate Equal Suffrage/tiles/non-collection/c/c_056imgtile1.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
Commission to Investigate Equal Suffrage/tiles/non-collection/c/c_056imgtile2.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
Commission to Investigate Equal Suffrage/tiles/non-collection/c/c_056imgtile3.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration

Description

Citizens of Ottumwa, Iowa, sent a letter to their Member of Congress, John Lacey, requesting a congressional commission to investigate full voting rights for women. When the petition was introduced by Congressman Lacey on the House Floor on April 7, 1902, it was referred to the Committee on Rules, where it died without action.

The Senate created its own Select Committee on Woman Suffrage in 1882, and it had failed on many occasions to pass bills proposing constitutional amendments to extend the right of suffrage to women. Jeannette Rankin, the first woman in Congress, advocated for the creation of a House Committee on Woman Suffrage, which did not occur until 1917. In an unusual move, Rankin was named Ranking Member on the committee as a freshman. The committee played an instrumental part in the passage of what would become the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.

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