Amendment to the U. S. Constitution

After publishing Minor’s analysis, Anthony and Stanton urged American women to defy the laws of the states which prohibited them from voting, a call which was ultimately heeded by women in no less than 10 states. Anthony, herself, after soliciting the written opinion of Judge Henry R. Selden, registered and successfully cast her vote along with several women. On November 28, however, Anthony, including the other women who voted as well as the election inspectors who were responsible for registering them, were all arrested and put to trial.

During the trial, since Anthony was not allowed to testify for the simple reason that she was a woman and therefore could not be a competent witness, Judge Selden testified in her behalf. After confirming that he, indeed, advised Anthony to exercise her right to vote under the Constitution, Judge Selden declared that If the same act had been done by her brother under the same circumstances, the act would have been not only innocent, but honorable and laudable; but having been done by a woman it is said to be a crime.

The crime, therefore, consists not in the act done, but in the simple fact that the person doing it was a woman and not a man (United States v. Susan B. Anthony: 1873). The presiding judge, however, who found Anthony guilty as charged, instructed the jury to return a guilty verdict, telling them that: “I have decided as a question of law . . . that under the Fourteenth Amendment, which Miss Anthony claims protects her, she was not protected in a right to vote. . . . I therefore direct you to find a verdict of guilty.

” As a consequence, she was fined $100 and required to shoulder the costs of prosecuting her as well. Susan Anthony continued to defy the ruling until 1920 (United States v. Susan B. Anthony: 1873). The split between the two organizations lasted for twenty-one years until the two factions finally managed to effect a reunification in 1890, giving birth to the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). A splinter organization, the National Woman’s party, surfaced a few years later when Alice Paul was evicted from NAWSA because of her predilection for “militant direct-action tactics” like hunger strikes.

The two organizations, however, pressed their common objective until victory was finally achieved on August 26, 1920 in the form of the Nineteenth Amendment which finally granted American women the right to vote (Grolier Online, n. d. ). Actually, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed on June 4, 1919 but was ratified only on August 18, 1920. The proposal to amend the constitution was introduced in Congress as early as 1878 but the majority of Congress at the time was not inclined towards the idea.

In 1912, nine states in the western United States decided to pass laws which granted women the right to vote. By 1916, most of the major organizations which were campaigning for the women’s right to vote organized a unified campaign for a constitutional amendment. Perhaps as a result of the pressure exerted by these groups, by 1917, New York allowed the women in the state to vote. In 1918, the political balance shifted in favor of an amendment when President Wilson also changed his mind, adding his support to the amendment.

These developments prompted the House of Representatives to pass the amendment on May 21, 1919. The Senate followed suit two weeks later. When the state of Tennessee ratified the amendment on August 18, 1920, it effectively completed the required three-fourths vote of the states needed for an amendment. The 19th Amendment was certified by then Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby as duly ratified eight days later (19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, n. d. ).

Hence, the women of the United States finally earned their right to vote by virtue of the Nineteenth Amendment 52 years after the male emancipated slaves earned theirs under the Fourteenth Amendment. This was also 27 years after the right to vote was granted to the women in New Zealand in 1893 and 18 years after the Australian women earned theirs in 1902. Other countries which granted the right to vote to women earlier than the United States were Finland in 1906, Norway in 1913, and Iceland and Denmark, which both granted the right to their women in 1915 (Grolier Online, n. d. ).

References Grolier Online. (n. d. ). Women’ Suffrage. Retrieved April 20, 2008 from http://content. scholastic. com/browse/article. jsp? id=5193 Justice Learning. (n. d. ). Fourteenth Amendment. Retrieved April 20, 2008 from http://www. justicelearning. org/justice_timeline/Amendments. aspx? id=14 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution: Women’s Right to Vote (1920). Retrieved April 20, 2008 from http://www. ourdocuments. gov/doc. php? flash=true&doc=63

The Seneca Falls Convention. (n. d. ) Retrieved April 20, 2008 from http://www. npg. si. edu/col/seneca/senfalls1. htm Timeline of Women’s Suffrage in the United States. (2008). Retrieved April 20, 2008 from http://dpsinfo. com/women/history/timeline. html United States v. Susan B. Anthony: 1873. (1997). Women’s Rights on Trial, 1st Ed, Gale, p. 312. Retrieved April 20, 2008 from http://gale. cengage. com/free_resources/whm/trials/anthony. htm Women’s Justice Center. (2000). Fourteenth Amendment, For Women? Retrieved April 20, 2008 from http://www. justicewomen. com/fourteenth_amendment. html

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