Monday, June 13, 2016

Book Review: The 19th Amendment

We The People: The 19th Amendment by Michael Burgan, Compass Point Books, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2006.
This is a very brief look at the struggle for women’s suffrage in America, and as such equal rights.  The women’s struggle for suffrage began as early as 1848 in upstate New York with a first meeting at Seneca Falls.  Elizabeth Cody Stanton and Lucretia Mott were the force behind the movement at that time.  Susan B. Anthony was also much involved.  The suffrage movement, and the movement for abolition of slavery saw many of the same characters, as thee women were also involved in collecting signatures to free the slaves.  Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman were also involved in the suffrage movement.   Initially the struggle involved victories in territories and states.  Wyoming was the first territory to grant the right to vote to women in 1869, followed by Utah territory in 1870.  Colorado and Idaho were the only other areas to grant the right to vote before the turn of the century.  However state to state victories were too slow.  Finally it was determined that a nationwide amendment was the only way to win the right to vote for women.  Again there were two strategies, a more confrontational attitude, and another that worked within the politics of the day.  There were many marches in Washington, trying to put pressure on politicians, and particularly President Woodrow Wilson.  After passage in Congress 36 states were needed to ratify the amendment.  Tennessee ended up being the 36th state, and the 19th amendment became law: 
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.

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