August 18 is the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing American women the right to vote. The road to achieving voting rights was a long and difficult one. Nationally, women began organizing in the mid-1800s into suffrage groups that spoke out publicly, wrote letters and lobbied legislators, and engaged in acts of civil disobedience for many years before results were gained.
A Constitutional amendment was first introduced in 1878. In the meantime, some groups worked for passing suffrage rights in individual states. Washington Territory almost became the first to pass women’s suffrage in 1854, the proposal losing by one vote. To squash the movement, the Territorial Legislature decreed that "no female shall have the right of ballot or vote."
In 1910, the Washington State Constitution was permanently amended to grant women the right to vote. The House of Representatives passed the amendment on May 21, 1919, and the Senate followed two weeks later. The final barricade fell as Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, completing the requirement of three-fourths of the states. The 19th amendment was officially certified on August 26, 1920, forever altering America’s political landscape.
This discussion on the role of women will feature the full company.