WOMAN'S SUFFRAGE AND ABOLITION MOVEMENT

TIMELINE

1920-1979

August 1920
Drama switches to Tennessee - the 36th and final state needed for ratification (19th Amendment).

10 August 1920
Tennessee Senate passes amendment handily: 25 to 4.

Vote in Tennessee House is too close to call.

18 August 1920
Vote is taken in the House -- tie is finally broken by 24-year old Harry Burn (youngest member) who votes "Aye" because he received a letter the previous night from his mother, a staunch suffragist who wrote "Don't forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt put the "Rat" in ratification."

One other "anti" member unexpectedly switches his vote and the Tennessee House passes amendment 49 to 47.

26 August 1920
Secretary of State signs into law the 19th Amendment thus ensuring to all women the right to vote.

2 November 1920
New York Times headline reads: "The greatest voting day in the city's history"; women vote in presidential election for the first time; Republican Warren G. Harding, supporter of woman's suffrage, is elected president.

Worst fears of opponents of women's suffrage do not materialize; no army of women reformers go to the polls; instead women voters show same tendency to divide along orthodox party lines as do male voters; women voters are never able to reform urban political machines.

1923
Equal Rights Amendment drafted by Alice Paul is introduced in Congress for the first time.

1932
Democrat Hattie Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas becomes first woman elected to U.S. Senate.

1933
Frances Perkins, named Secretary of Labor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, becomes first woman cabinet member.

1933
Columbus League of Women Voters dedicates plaque in Ohio Statehouse rotunda to early Columbus suffrage pioneers including Elizabeth Greer Coit and Belle Coit Kelton.

November 1956
During presidential election: for the first time in U.S. history, women vote in equal numbers to men; such an increase in voting numbers however, does not match women's growth in the overall population where they outnumber men.

10 June 1963
Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique, "the famous bestseller that ignited women's liberation," is published.

6 August 1964
Tonkin Gulf Resolution authorizing President Johnson to commit troops in Southeast Asia as he sees fit passes Senate with only two Senators opposing; passes House unanimously; U.S. involvement in Vietnam begins to escalate.

1966
National Organization for Women (NOW), the largest organization dedicated to ensuring equal rights for women is founded in Washington, D.C. with Betty Friedan as its first president (NOW currently has 250,000 members).

1971
National Women's Political Caucus is founded in Washington, D.C.

March 1971
Federal constitutional amendment for equal rights for women (the ERA) passes the House 354 to 23.

22 March 1972
Equal Rights Amendment passes Senate 84 to 8 after much debate over whether women should be drafted into armed forces.

1972
ERA is sent to the states for ratification; a deadline of seven years (22 March 1979) is imposed; 22 states ratify in 1972; then conservative backlash begins to undermine momentum.

1972
Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1972 goes into effect banning discrimination on the basis of sex in schools and colleges receiving federal funds.

27 January 1973
President Nixon announces cease-fire agreement with North Vietnam and begins U.S. troop withdrawal.

30 April 1975
Saigon falls to North Vietnam, ending U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

November 1978
Only 13 additional states ratify and 4 states rescind ratification.

15 August 1978
Only 35 states have ratified ERA; 3 more are needed; Congress grants an extension until 30 June 1982.

NEXT: TIMELINE 1980-1995


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