19th Amendment Essay

Total Length: 2336 words ( 8 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 7

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An extensive period in US history has witnessed specific segments of the nation's population (such as females, Blacks, etc.) deprived of voting rights. The female suffrage movement or struggle for winning voting rights for females continued throughout the major part of the 1800s and into the early 1900s[footnoteRef:1]. While a few states allowed female participation in elections, both as contesters and voters, before the 19th Amendment's enforcement, its ratification on 18th August, 1920 ensured voting rights were extended to every woman in America[footnoteRef:2]. Ever since its ratification, US society has universally acknowledged female voting rights. [1: William W. Hodes, "Women and the Constitution" Rutgers L. Rev. 25 (1970): 26.] [2: Carol Lynn Yellin, "COUNTDOWN IN TENNESSEE" American Heritage 30, no. 1 (1978): 12.]

The American Constitution's Nineteenth Amendment accords an equal right to both males and females to vote. It asserts that the federal and state governments shall not curtail or deny citizens' voting rights based on gender[footnoteRef:3]. While Amendment XIV, ratified in 1868, did suggest such equality, a majority of states overlooked it and kept up with limiting or forbidding female suffrage[footnoteRef:4]. [3: Supra, note 1.] [4: National American Woman Suffrage Association. "Victory: How Women Won it"]

Female rights movements in America, which commenced somewhere during the 1830s, becoming entwined with the slavery elimination movement, led to Amendment XIX being proposed and introduced into the Congress in the year 1878. The recommended constitutional amendment continued to be a controversial matter for more than four decades -- a period that witnessed increasing aggressiveness in the nature of the female rights movement.
Advocates increasingly organized protests and campaigns to coerce the Congress into passing Amendment XIX and ensuring its enforcement by all states[footnoteRef:5]. The above political action, buttressed by American females' contribution to the industrial sector in the crucial WWI era, led to the Amendment's enforcement. [5: Supra, note 2.]

Thesis statement

Amendment XIX proved to be one among the greatest milestones in American women's history, finally according them equal voting rights. Prior to this Amendment's enforcement, America's female citizens utterly lacked self-representation besides that they enjoyed from their fathers and husbands. This milestone in female social and political rights is chiefly responsible for the current power enjoyed by females in the country today.

Research question

Undoubtedly, Amendment XIX proved to be a salient achievement for America's female suffrage movement. However, how far did its enactment contribute to the achievement of equal female rights, in general? Is it possible the suffrage movement's progress decelerated as they believed they had finally triumphed? Was the Amendment really a great boost or did it lead to the suffrage movement's stagnation? Why?

Part II

How far did Amendment XIX's enactment contribute to the achievement of equal female rights, in general: Annotated.....

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Hodes, W. William. "Women and the Constitution: Some Legal History and a New Approach to the Nineteenth Amendment." Rutgers L. Rev. 25 (1970): 26.

National American Woman Suffrage Association. Victory: How Women Won it: A Centennial Symposium, 1840-1940. HW Wilson Company, 1940.

Yellin, Carol Lynn. "COUNTDOWN IN TENNESSEE, 1920+ 19th AMENDMENT RATIFICATION CAMPAIGN." American Heritage 30, no. 1 (1978): 12.

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