One Hundred Years Ago Today, July 3, 1919

Alice Hay Wadsworth, President of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage

The Suffrage Fight Goes On

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919 and by July 3, 1919 had been ratified by eleven of the thirty-six needed states. But opposition to the amendment was still alive and well, and on July 3, 1919 the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage reported in the New York Times that it had moved its headquarters from Washington DC to New York to better consolidate its forces and continue the fight. Since they needed only to succeed in thirteen legislatures, many members of the twenty-six State Association were confident they could prevail and stop the Amendment in its tracks.

Although the contingent of anti-suffragists was dwindling, there were still many who objected to the Amendment. Their reasons were varied – many believed the vote would “disturb the social order” of home and family, destroying woman’s “proper place” in society. Some women feared the vote would destroy their power base of being the head of the home, or emasculate and anger men. Whatever the reason, the anti-suffragists persisted in their opposition to expanding voting rights to women until the very last moment, August 26, 1920 when it became the law of the land.

For an excellent account of the controversy read Susan Goodier’s book, No Votes for Women, that adds clarity to an otherwise perplexing story.

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