Celebrating the 19th Amendment

The wording of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is simple and straightforward:

“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.

“Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

It seems hard to believe that less than a century ago, women were denied the right to vote in the United States, But on Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified and decades of protesting and demonstrating paid off. Women were finally accorded full citizenship.

Suffragettes led by the likes of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone had been pushing for the vote since the late 1860s. A half-century’s work was rewarded (Source: Wikipedia).

Last year marked the first time a major political party had a female candidate for the presidency in the general election. Hillary Clinton made history by securing the Democratic nomination.

The passage of the 19th Amendment did not automatically open the door for a woman to ascend to the nation’s highest office. Indeed, it took 64 years after the amendment’s passage for Geraldine Ferraro to become the first woman to run for vice president. Ferraro was Walter Mondale’s running mate in the 1984 election against Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Reagan and Bush won.

It took another 24 years before women again became a major presence in presidential politics. Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic primaries’ battle for the presidential nomination to Barack Obama in 2008; Sarah Palin was John McCain’s vice presidential running mate against Obama and Joe Biden in the general election. Again the men prevailed.

Last year, finally, a woman made it to the final stage as a presidential candidate. That is a great reason to celebrate the 96th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.


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