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.

August 18, 1920: The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified.

The Nineteenth Amendment, which prohibited laws denying U.S. citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex, was first drafted by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and introduced to Congress in 1878.

A focused American women’s rights movement is traditionally said to have begun thirty years before in 1848, when the Seneca Falls Convention met in Seneca Falls, New York. In the post-Civil War era, groups such as the American Equal Rights Movement began advocating specifically for women’s suffrage, but a schism over support for the Fifteenth Amendment, which prohibited disenfranchisement on the basis of race but not sex, divided the movement. Anthony’s and Stanton’s organization, the National Woman’s Suffrage Association, condemned the Fifteenth Amendment and sought to obtain women’s suffrage through a federal constitutional amendment. 

The initial failure of the proposed amendment (rejected by the Senate in 1887) was followed by a period during which most states in the western United States granted its female citizens full suffrage and many others adopted partial suffrage laws. The amendment was considered in Congress several more times after Woodrow Wilson’s election in 1912, first in 1914, and then in 1915, 1918, and 1919. In May 1919, both houses passed the amendment, whereupon it was sent to the states, who ratified it in succession until the necessary 36th (Tennessee) approved the amendment on August 18, 1920. 

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