(Episode 39) Our Daughters' Daughters Will Adore Us: The 19th Amendment
Welcome, suffragists and suffragettes! (Yes, they're different.) In this episode, we discuss the 19th Amendment, which states in full:
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.
That's right, ladies and gents - the 19th Amendment solidified women's right to vote. Fun fact: the Constitution itself is gender-neutral. It isn't until the 14th Amendment that gender is mentioned with regard to the right to vote. But typically, the right to vote was restricted to landowners, and landowners were generally white males of a certain age. There were, of course exceptions - some states permitted free black men to vote; some states permitted women to vote. But it wasn't a widely-accepted practice.
The crusade to get women the right to vote started before the Civil War, but the War put the movement largely on hold. After the War, the Reconstruction Amendments focused largely on ensuring the freedom and citizenship rights of freed slaves. But the women's suffrage movement carried on in tandem with these other conversations, including with the support of African American women (but the movement was not without its own racial tensions). The Amendment was passed in 1920, so you now know that it took nearly 80 years to accomplish that goal. And it was by no means an easy road. Women who fought for the right to vote were mocked, jailed and tortured.
Join us for a discussion of the 19th Amendment, its major players and history - and raise a glass to those who came before us.
Some additional sources:
-The Declaration of Rights of Women, from July 4, 1876;
-Leser v. Garnett (1922), which argued that the 19th Amendment was defective and thus never ratified. SCOTUS said, "No dice."
-Dueling perspectives: What the Fourteenth and Nineteenth Amendments Changed for Women, and Did the Nineteenth Amendment Modify the Fourteenth?
-TRIGGER WARNING: The following link and video may be very uncomfortable and/or traumatic for some viewers. It depicts the force-feeding we describe in the episode which was performed on some of the advocates who attempted hunger strikes. Yasiin Bey (AKA Mos Def) undergoes the procedure (torture) in this video. We always want you to know our sources, but we also want to warn you when they are disturbing. This one is. With that, here is the link.
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