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H.J. Res. 1, Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution extending the right of suffrage to women, May 28, 1919

Calls for woman suffrage began in the 1840s. Three decades later, the first resolution for a constitutional amendment extending voting rights to women was introduced in Congress, but it failed. The suffrage movement gained strength in the twentieth century, culminating with congressional approval of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1919 and its ratification by three-fourths of the states on August 26, 1920.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

H.J. Res. 1, Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution extending the right of suffrage to women, May 28, 1919

The First Female Senator

Generations of American women fought to have a voice in government through the right to vote, finally achieving suffrage in the Progressive Era with ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Suffragist Rebecca Felton, not content with exercising her rights at the ballot box, entered politics in 1874 as campaign manager for her husband, Representative William H. Felton of Georgia. In 1922 Georgia’s governor cultivated the support of his state’s newly enfranchised women by appointing Rebecca Felton to a brief term in the U.S. Senate, making her the first female senator.

When the women of the country come in and sit with you, . . . I pledge you that you will get ability, . . . integrity of purpose, . . . exalted patriotism, and . . . unstinted usefulness.

Rebecca Felton, Speech to the U.S. Senate, November 22, 1922