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Jeannette Rankin Votes for Peace 1917, 1941

In 1916, four years before women nationwide won the right to vote, Montana’s Jeannette Rankin—the first woman elected to Congress—captured a House seat. (Montana granted women the vote in 1914.) A fighter for woman suffrage, the dedicated pacifist also was among 50 House members opposing U.S. entry into World War I.

Rankin narrowly lost a race for the Senate in 1918 but returned to the House in 1941. That December, as Pearl Harbor still smoldered from the Japanese attack, Rankin cast the sole vote against war. “As a woman I can’t go to war,” she said, “and I refuse to send anyone else.” After the vote, Rankin had to barricade herself in a phone booth until the Capitol Police escorted her to safety.

"As a woman I can’t go to war ... and I refuse to send anyone else."
—Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, 1941

1 Image In a Capitol phone booth, Jeannette Rankin calls for assistance... View All Images
1 Image Here, in a rare photograph of the House in session, Jeannette Rankin... View All Images
1 Image House Vote on Declaration of War (Tally Sheet No. 13, First Session... View All Images