“Everybody counts in applying democracy,” said Carrie Chapman Catt. Democracy is a way of making decisions by letting people get together and vote on what should be done. But women didn’t always have the right to vote in the United States.
Women who wanted the right to vote formed groups as early as the 1820s. But people really started paying attention to them when Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott got together in 1948 and hosted the Women’s Rights Convention. This took place in in Seneca Falls, New York. Women who fought for the right to vote were called women suffragists or suffragettes. The suffragettes argued for the right to vote for nearly 100 years.
The 19th Amendment
Suffragette Carrie Chapman Catt led a lot of women to put pressure on Congress to give women the right to vote. Congress formed a Suffrage Committee, and in May of 1919, Representative James R. Mann from Illinois argued that Congress should approve the Susan Anthony Amendment. This would add to the United States Constitution so the government couldn’t stop people from voting because of their gender. It passed the House of Representatives with 304 votes for it and only 89 against. It passed the Senate in June of 1919 with 56 votes for it and 25 against. Enough of the states then agreed, and the Constitution was amended, or changed.
The 19th Amendment says, “The right of 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.” This amendment echoes what Carrie Chapman Catt said in 1917: “Everybody counts in applying Democracy. And there will never be a true democracy until every responsible and law-abiding adult in it, without regard to race, sex, color or creed has his or her inalienable and unpurchaseable voice in government.” And ever since the 19th Amendment took effect, women have joined the men of the United States in voting to determine who leads the country.