Women's Suffrage

In 1920, after more than a century of activism, women won the right the to vote with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. The House, led by Jeannette Rankin on Montana, had first passed the suffrage amendment in 1918. That bill died in the Senate, but in 1919 Congress quickly secured its passage. Despite its ratification, decades of discrimination continued to restrict who could exercise the right to vote.

As the drive to pass the 19th Amendment gathered steam toward a successful 1919 vote in Congress, these buttons became part of supporters’ uniforms./tiles/non-collection/n/nhd_suffrage-button.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
As the drive to pass the 19th Amendment gathered steam toward a successful 1919 vote in Congress, these buttons became part of supporters’ uniforms.

Historical Summaries

Jeannette Rankin’s election as the first woman to Congress in 1916 generated huge press coverage, including this article from the <i>Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette</i>./tiles/non-collection/n/nhd_rankin-newspaper.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Jeannette Rankin’s election as the first woman to Congress in 1916 generated huge press coverage, including this article from the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette.
"Women Must Be Empowered": The U.S. House of Representatives and the Nineteenth Amendment [PDF]
A downloadable PDF publication exploring the House’s role in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Congress and the Women’s Suffrage Movement
A blog showcasing House records that shed light on the ways citizens and advocacy groups interacted with Congress regarding suffrage for women.

“Why Not Have it Constitutionally?”: Race, Gender, and the Nineteenth Amendment
A blog revealing the resistance some lawmakers had to women’s suffrage.

The House’s 1918 Passage of a Constitutional Amendment Granting Women the Right to Vote
A historical highlight describing the first time the House passed a women’s suffrage amendment.

The Nineteenth Amendment
A historical highlight outlining the debate that took place before the final vote on a women’s suffrage amendment.

Jeannette Rankin and the Women’s Suffrage Amendment
A blog detailing Representative Jeannette Rankin’s efforts in the fight for women’s suffrage.

The First Woman to Address a House Committee
A historical highlight detailing the time Victoria Woodhull demanded the right to vote before the House Judiciary Committee.

Suffragette City
A blog illustrating the first time a woman testified before a House committee.

Suffragist Susan B. Anthony’s Petition to the 43rd Congress
A historical highlight outlining Susan B. Anthony's arrest for "knowingly and unlawfully" voting.

Primary Sources

In this print, suffragist Victoria Woodhull argues for the right to vote. She was the first woman to testify before a House committee./tiles/non-collection/n/nhd_woodhull.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
In this print, suffragist Victoria Woodhull argues for the right to vote. She was the first woman to testify before a House committee.

Petition for Woman Suffrage
Signed by Frederick Douglass Jr., this 1878 petition for woman suffrage asks the House and Senate to amend the Constitution and allow women to vote.

WCTU Petition for Woman Suffrage
The Nebraska branch of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) sent this petition urging passage of a proposed constitutional amendment that “prohibited disenfranchisement on the basis of sex” to the House in 1886.

Commission to Investigate Equal Suffrage
Citizens of Ottumwa, Iowa, sent a letter to their Member of Congress, John Lacey, in 1902 requesting a congressional commission to investigate full voting rights for women.

Petition for Woman Suffrage Committee
On April 10, 1917, woman suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt sent this letter on behalf of the National American Woman Suffrage Association to urge the House to create a Committee on Woman Suffrage.

House Joint Resolution 1 for Women’s Suffrage
House Joint Resolution 1 proposing an amendment to the Constitution extending voting rights to women was introduced in the House on May 19, 1919.

Women’s Suffrage Amendment Tally Sheet
This tally sheet shows how the House voted on H. J. Res. 1 in 1919.

Missouri Ratifies Nineteenth Amendment
Missouri was the 11th state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment in 1919.

Minnesota Ratifies Nineteenth Amendment
The Minnesota legislature granted women the right to vote in presidential elections in 1919 and later that year, on September 8, it became the 15th state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.