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We March On Celebrating 100 years of Women's Suffrage

PART 4: ONLY THE BEGINNING

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The right of the 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.

U.S. Constitution, Amendment XIX

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After years of protests and lobbying by many suffrage organizations and a plea of support from Representative Jeannette Rankin, the first woman to serve in Congress, the 19th Amendment was passed by both the House and the Senate

Soon thereafter, 17 states had ratified it, but suffragists still needed another 19 states to approve. The campaigns in each state were exhaustive, but finally, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment.

On August 26, 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the amendment into law, enfranchising millions of American women across the country.

Women have suffered agony of soul which you can never comprehend, that you and your daughters might inherit political freedom. That vote has been costly. Prize it!

Carrie Chapman Catt, 1920

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Following the victory, the National American Woman Suffrage Association ceased to exist, but its organization formed the nexus of the League of Women Voters, which emphasized voter education, civic participation, and the advancement of women.

Six National Woman's Party Members gather to decide the organization's future, c. February 19, 1921

Mary Wood Park became the first president of the League. The National Women's Party mounted Women for Congress campaigns to support women candidates. In 1923 the organization introduced the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), hoping to secure full equality for women in the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, although the ERA was passed by the Senate in 1972, it has never been officially ratified.

Ten National Woman's Party members advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment, Washington, D.C., February 14, 1924
There cannot be true democracy unless women's voices are heard. There cannot be true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives. There cannot be true democracy unless all citizens are able to participate fully in the lives of their country.

Hillary Clinton

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Today, there are more women in Congress than ever before, but it is still not enough. The fight for true equality, for all people, must march on.