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19th Amendment: Topics in Chronicling America

On August 20, 1920, the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave women the right to vote. This guide provides access to materials related to the “19th Amendment” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

"Tennessee house of representatives in the special suffrage session, which ratified the suffrage amendment. This completes ratification, giving the women of the entire nation the vote." August 19, 1920. The Pensacola Journal (Pensacola, Florida), Image 2. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certifies the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920, giving women the Constitutional right to vote.  First proposed in Congress in 1878, the amendment did not pass the House and Senate until 1919.  It takes another fifteen months before it is ratified by three-fourths of the states (thirty-six in total at the time) and finally becomes law in 1920. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Timeline

1890 Wyoming enters the union with its suffrage laws intact, becoming the first state to allow women to vote.
1916 Jeannette Rankin is elected as a Representative for Montana, becoming the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.
1917 Women picketing for suffrage in front of the White House are arrested in August and November. Some are sent to prison.
1918 The House of Representatives passes a resolution for a woman suffrage amendment. The resolution is defeated in the Senate.
1919 The Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which gives women the right to vote, is adopted by a joint resolution in Congress.
August 26, 1920 After Tennessee becomes the thirty-sixth state to ratify the 19th Amendment, the Amendment is officially adopted and women are given the right to vote.