Tuesday marks a very special and important anniversary in the U.S. — 100 years since women got the right to vote.
The Constitution's 19th Amendment was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920.
The House of Representatives and Senate had approved the amendment the previous year, sending it to the states for ratification. Three-fourths of states had to ratify the amendment. The last one to do so, Tennessee, officially made the amendment part of the Constitution.
The Tennessee General Assembly took up the question in August, and suffragists and anti-suffragists bore down on Nashville. The State Senate voted convincingly to ratify, but the House failed to do so twice, by two votes of 48 to 48. State Rep. Harry T. Burn, a 24-year-old from McMinn County, was one of the “nay” votes. Reportedly, he had intended to vote for ratification but had been persuaded not to by telegrams from his constituents and members of his party.
Just as a third vote was set to begin, Burn received a letter from his mother, Febb Ensminger Burn, that read, in part, “Hurrah and vote for Suffrage and don't keep them in doubt … I've been watching to see how you stood but have not seen anything yet ... Don't forget to be a good boy.”
The push for women's suffrage had been underway for years, starting in the mid-19th century. For decades, several generations of women's sufferage advocates marched, lobbied and practiced civil disobedience to get women the right to vote.
Their long, brave fight for change culminated in the drafting, passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment.