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The Nineteenth Amendment: Women's Suffrage (Lafayette)

The Nineteenth Amendment

The Nineteenth Amendment reads as follows:

  • 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 guide is dedicated to those individuals, both men and women, who stood up for women's suffrage. While some states allowed women to vote in local and state elections prior to the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, its passage allowed all women, in every state, to vote in local, as well as national, elections. An amendment to the Constitution means that it has become a national, or federal, concern, as opposed to something which can be controlled exclusively by the states. 

However, what must also be noted is that, while women were granted the legal right to vote by this amendment, non-white women often struggled to utilize this right. This struggle, along with that of non-white male voters, would continue and culminate in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Additionally, Native American women were denied the right to vote based on their citizenship status, which meant they had no legal basis upon which to demand voting rights. Even once citizenship was recognized, Native Americans, like other racial minorities, continued to face discrimination when attempting to vote. As noted above, it wasn't until the passing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that many of these practices (poll taxes, literacy tests, etc.) were declared illegal, making it theoretically easier for all groups, no matter their race or sex, to vote within the United States of America.