19th Amendment Essay Example



Why was the 19th amendment needed? In the early 19th century, women were denied the right to vote in elections. They weren't allowed to vote in local or state elections or voice their opinion in any political manner. Whether it was table talk or political forum, their opinion simply didn’t matter.Women needed political independence to be allowed to speak for themselves. During this time, the right to be self governed was also reserved for only men. However, women were considered the best and highest holders of social remarks. Yet this meant nothing due to the rights not granted to them by the law. Granting women political power would give them a chance to make a vast difference in communities and homes. While fighting for their own political voice, they tried to influence their husbands' vote to help make a positive difference. For instance, many women were greatly affected by things such as their husband’s drinking and were consequently powerless to change the situation.  Elizabeth Sisson Shurtleff, Speaker of the House of the Illinois General Assembly, believed allowing women the right to vote would contain widespread use of alcohol and create stability in the family. Many men defied the idea of women’s suffrage seeing that it would shut down the local saloons in several neighborhoods. The McHenry County Historical Society says that many local newspapers were writing articles that included the following: “Women's suffrage will double the irresponsible vote. It is a menace to the home, men’s employment, and to all business.” This narrow minded conception forced on women is what kept distinct suffrage alive for many years to come.There was a faint glimmer of hope when, in 1913, Illinois became the first state to grant political rights to women, allowing them to vote in township and community elections. The result of this indicated a drastic difference in education and improved environment and the rest of the country would soon follow.

The ratification of the 19th Amendment certainly took a full force effort to accomplish for decades. When the 15th Amendment was created, people in power thought this would resolve many voting issues for American citizens. This document existed to guarantee the same privilege in voting to African American men that white American men possessed. The 15th Amendment also verified the voting of men who were former African American slaves. This resulted in the destruction of racial discrimination in voting yet still denied women of any color, race, or status any voting privledges.  Women were unfortunately still excluded from the voting process for another fifty years after this Amendment passed. The beginning of ratification of the 19th Amendment began in 1878 and was brought to Congress. The Amendment was refused and vetoed for 52 years. Supporters of passing the 19th Amendment worked tirelessly to strike, organize parades, and other public affairs. While performing these public endeavours, supporters were looked down upon, jailed, and in some cases physically abused. In the year 1918, a representative presented the idea of an Amendment granting women's suffrage to the House of Representatives. This notion ultimately led to failure as two-thirds of the Senate was in opposition to this Amendment. Shortly after this debate, President Wilson reformed his mind set on this topic and began supporting a women's suffrage Amendment. On June 4th, 1919, the Senate followed the President’s lead and passed it by attaining over two-thirds majority vote. To commence the ratification of the 19th Amendment, it was necessary for 36 states to ratify it. Illinois became the first state to ratify it on June 10th, 1919. Several states began to follow suit and 9 states ratified the amendment by the end of that month. During the next 3 months, 35 states had ratified the Amendment and supporters were anxiously waiting for the last state needed. The Tennessee Senate called for a meeting and the decision was to ratify, although the vote resulted in a tie in the House. The final deciding factor came down the one legislator, Harry Burns. This man’s decision was made solely on the fact that his mother wrote to him urging that this Amendment was necessary and would change the course of history. On August 18th, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment. President Wilson signed the 19th Amendment on August 26th, 1920. History was made when more than 8 million women casted their votes in the presidential election of 1920.  While the 19th Amendment granted American women the ability to vote African American women had to wait roughly five more decades to exercise this right. Even though the 19th Amendment brought voting freedom to most American women, African American women were still denied the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This Act was established for the sole purpose of abolishing racial and sexist discrimination in voting. 

The impact of this Amendment not only dealt with the issue of segregation in voting but helped with several other related issues. The immediate effects of the 19th Amendment meant that women could now inherit property, sign contracts, serve juries, and vote. While a single woman normally could not buy or inherit property now they could. Another thing was they could now serve on juries. This was a great difference for American women. Education for women drastically increased after this Amendment was passed. For instance, the percentage of college degrees awarded to women was 19% in the early 1900’s. The percentage increased to 39% after the 19th Amendment was passed. After fighting for the right to vote was accomplished, this sparked a desire for more equal rights. In the 1920’s, the United States federal government required that female employees be paid 25% less than men employees. After gaining the 19th Amendment, this provoked the idea of battling the gender pay gap. Even though the wage gap was still quite large at the time, work began to be very accessible to women in a variety of fields. It has been 100 years since this Amendment passed. There has been a drastic change in the rights of American women from the year 1920 to 2020. Women in the early 1900’s had very little voice in society. They had to rely on others for money and voice. Women now can run for President of the United States. What seemed impossible 100 years ago has exceeded what the suffragettes could have imagined. In fact, America now has the first woman Vice President in history. The results of the 19th Amendment have been going on for over a century and will continue to impact American society for generations to come.