August 18, 2015 7:00 AM EDT U.S. National Archives
The struggle for women’s right to vote in the United States was a long one: It began pretty much as soon as the country came into existence, continued as suffrage was expanded within the male population, neared completion as the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was
passed in June of 1919 and was finally victorious 95 years ago today, on Aug. 18, 1920.
It was then that Tennessee ratified the Amendment—thus putting it over the three-quarters mark it needed to become a Constitutional Amendment. It was certified by the Secretary of State within days. This document, which is held in the
U.S. National Archives (and which you can zoom in on by rolling over it with your mouse, or tapping on mobile), is the Congressional resolution that originally proposed “an amendment to the Constitution extending the right of suffrage to women.” 13 Great American Suffragettes Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), pictured circa 1880. Truth, whose legal name was Isabella Van Wagener, was born into slavery but later freed. She worked as an abolitionist, suffragette, and evangelist. She was well known for the speech "Ain't I a Woman?" that she delivered at the 1851
Women's Rights Convention. Corbis Lucy Stone (1818-1893), pictured circa 1860s.Stone, the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree, was an abolitionist and suffrage supporter. She helped plan the first U.S. Women's Rights Convention in 1850. Fotosearch—Getty Images Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1838-1927), pictured circa 1872.Woodhull ran against Ulysses S. Grant in the 1872 presidential election, as the Equal Rights Party candidate. Corbis Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910), pictured circa 1890s.Howe, a poet and heiress, wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic. She was an editor of the suffragist paper The Woman's Journal. Corbis Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), pictured in 1898.Anthony, one of America's most famous suffrage supporters, spent the bulk of her life traveling the nation advocating for women's rights. She was one of the founders of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Corbis Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), pictured in 1910.Stanton helped to organize the 1848 Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls and to write the Declaration of Sentiments, one of the founding documents of American women's rights. Universal History Archive—UIG via Getty Images Carrie Chapman Catt (1849-1947), taking part in a New York parade, in an undated photo.Catt was a leader of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and later founded of the League of Women Voters. Corbis Kate M. Gordon (1861-1932), pictured in 1914.Gordon was a founder of the Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference. She was, surprisingly enough, opposed to an Constitutional amendment giving women the vote; rather, she supported suffrage guarantees on a state level. Harris & Ewing Collection—Library of Congress Alice Paul (1885-1977), pictured in 1920.Paul was a founder, in 1916, of the National Woman's Party, a group that supported suffrage through federal channels rather than state action. Universal History Archive—UIG via Getty Images Ida B. Wells (1862-1931), pictured in 1920.In 1913, Wells founded a suffrage organization specifically for black women and worked to integrate the women's-rights movement. Chicago History Museum—Getty Images Alva Ertskin Belmont (1853-1933), pictured in 1910.Belmont, a socialite who came to the suffrage movement relatively late in life, was president of the National Woman's Party and a founder of the Political Equality League. She also provided great financial support for the movement. Corbis Jeannette Rankin (1880 - 1973), pictured in 1924.Rankin was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress, after her efforts with the National American Woman Suffrage Association led to statewide suffrage in Montana. FPG—Getty Images Minnie Fisher Cunningham (1882-1964), pictured in 1927.Cunningham, who traced her involvement in the suffrage movement to inequality in pay, was a four-term president of the Texas Woman Suffrage Association and was instrumental in persuading Western states to ratify the 19th Amendment. She ran for Senate unsuccessfully in 1928, but remained active in politics for the rest of her life. Bettmann—Corbis More Must-Reads From TIME East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment How Tech Giants Turned Ukraine Into an AI War Lab In the Belly of MrBeast The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap How Long Should You Isolate With COVID-19? The Best Romantic Comedies to Watch on Netflix Taylor Swift Is TIME's 2023 Person of the Year Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time