Votes for Women


Jeannette Rankin, The Suffragist, Saturday, March 31, 1917/tiles/non-collection/T/The-Suffragist-March-31,-1917-Cover-sewall-belmont.xml Image courtesy of the National Woman’s Party Collection at the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, Washington, D.C.
Montana elected Jeannette Rankin to Congress in 1916, before women had the right to vote nationally. The March 31, 1917, cover of The Suffragist featured an illustration by Nina E. Allender titled "Come to Mother." The drawing portrayed Rankin as a “mother” to women’s suffrage. A little girl, embodying the proposed 19th Amendment, reaches for Rankin's nurturing and supportive embrace of her "mother," Jeannette Rankin. Two women look on, and one says, "That child needs a woman to look after her." The historic election of the first woman to Congress spurred women's hopes that having one of their own in Congress as a "surrogate representative" would make the passage of a women's suffrage amendment to the Constitution possible. The profile of Rankin in The Suffragist notes, "With Miss Rankin's name set in position on her door in the House Office Building, women in every part of this nation feel that they have at last a special pleader at court. . . . Miss Rankin is a representative at large not only of Montana, but, so far as women are concerned, of the whole United States." Expectations for Rankin to advance the cause of women nationwide were high. As a member of newly created Committee on Woman Suffrage, Rankin led the fight for a constitutional amendment for women’s suffrage, which passed the House, but died in the Senate.

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