Votes for Women

100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

On June 4th, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed by Congress and ratified on August 18th, granting women the right to vote after a 73 year struggle. Women’s suffrage began before the Civil War and included civil disobedience, vandalism and even arson, resulting in women protesters being beaten, jailed and starved into submission. After having their cause “shelved” during the War Between the States, women activists were not relinquishing it for the distractions of World War I, and mounted signs outside the White House criticizing the President for visiting dignitaries to read.

It seems absurd to those of us who hold individual freedom as our highest good, that a mere 100 years ago, women were banned from the polling places. But this particular truth wasn’t all that self-evident to a nation founded and governed by men. A closer look at the struggle for women’s suffrage makes it clear that few men wanted to give up their exclusivity and finally allow women to pull the lever alongside them. It took intelligence, perseverance and the efforts of both conservative and radical factions to kick open this door.

Although they could vote in some states and jurisdictions even before the 19th Amendment was passed, Black, indigenous and other women of color did not have their voting rights secured nationwide until President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into federal law on August 6th, 1965.


—High Priestess Peggy Nadramia