Saturday, November 20, 2010

The 19th Amendment

It is hard for me to believe that if it were not for the 19th Amendment I would not have to chance to vote next year purely because I am a woman. It is hard to imagine a world where women do not have the freedoms that I have had or seen women have in my mere 17 years of life. I have witnessed many elections come, and have watched my mother drive off to go vote at the polls. The 19th Amendment has allowed women take part in the voting process and has had a huge affect on our country since it was put in place.

Prior to 1920, women were not allowed to participate in voting. From around 1848 to 1920 a movement had been progressively growing known as the Women Suffrage Movement. The women behind the movement were incredibly brave and strong. They knew exactly what they wanted, the right to vote. They gained this right in 1920 when the 19th Amendment was put into place. The process of gaining this right took over 7 decades and was fought for by hundreds of women. (Bausum) (Mass8-9)

The 19th Amendment reads, "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. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." Now both men and women can participating in voting. Women do not take this right for granted.

The amount of women voting has increased greatly over time. In past presidential elections, more women vote than men. For example, in 1964 39.2 million women and 37.5 million men voted. A difference of 1.7 million which is a large amount. However, in 1996 56.1 million women and 48.9 million men voted. A difference of 7.2 million! In 2004, even more voted. 67.3 million women and 58.5 million men voted. That was a difference of 8.8 million. The amount of women that vote is incredible, and 100 years ago they would not be able to based solely upon their sex.

Our country has come so far since 1848. When the Women Suffrage Movement began, I do not think that they could have for seen how many women would vote. When the 19th Amendment was put into place it allowed tens of millions of more votes to be counted. This is so significant. The ability of women to be allowed to vote has greatly changed our nation for the better.

Bausum, Ann. With Courage and Cloth Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote. New York: National Geographic Children's, 2004. Print.
Mass, Wendy. Women's Rights. San Diego, CA: Lucent, 1998. Print