Fighting for the Forgotten Woman
August 18, 2021
One hundred and one years ago today, Tennessee became the final state necessary to ratify the 19th Amendment and ensure that the right of women to vote across the United States could not be denied. At a time when concerns about women’s rights across the world are front-page news, the Constitution and the 19th Amendment remind us of the importance of the forgotten woman that we work each day to protect.
The Founders drafted the Constitution in a universal language — its seven articles and Bill of Rights use the term “persons” — and nothing bars women from voting. Several states and territories permitted women to vote as far back as the 1780s, although many states restricted the right.¹ It was the fundamental principles of the rights of citizens under the Constitution, particularly the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment, that supporters of women’s suffrage turned to in advancing their arguments that a woman’s right to vote could not be denied.² By the time of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, 30 states and one territory recognized voting rights for women.³
On January 10, 1878, Republicans first introduced the Amendment as Senate Resolution 12.⁴ In January 1882, Republicans established a Select Committee on Woman Suffrage that recommended a suffrage amendment.⁵ It would take 4 more decades of effort and influence before the 19th Amendment’s ratification. It is only for a truly significant and righteous cause that a fight would continue for nearly 40 years. The right to vote in fair and safe elections turns a subject into a citizen; it turns an oligarchy into a democracy.
On May 21, 1919, a Republican reintroduced the 19th Amendment in the House of Representatives, which passed with the votes of over 200 Republicans. In the Senate, lopsided Republican support — 82 percent of Republican Senators supported the amendment, while only 41 percent of Democrat Senators did — led to final approval of the 19th Amendment on June 4, 1919.⁶ On this day 101 years ago, Republicans fought to ensure fair elections. Today, we find ourselves back in that fight.
Republicans continue to be champions for women’s votes and women’s lives. We were honored to be among the record number of women empowered by President Donald J. Trump to serve at the highest levels of government. The Trump Administration pushed for women’s economic empowerment in the United States and worldwide by launching the Woman’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative — the first-ever whole-of-government approach to women’s economic empowerment — that reached over 24 million women worldwide.⁷ The Trump Administration supported women at work and home. Under these economic policies, women’s unemployment hit its lowest rate in nearly 70 years.
We continue to fight for the forgotten woman through the America First Policy Institute. Our efforts to ensure that opportunity and freedom reign for women at home and at work, that national security holds abroad and public order prevails here, and that the sanctity of a woman’s vote is protected will continue. On this 101st anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, a reminder of the hard work undertaken to advance women’s rights inspires us to continue the fight.
¹Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 531 (New Jersey permitted women to vote between the late 1780s to 1807).
²Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 531
³Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 531
⁴https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/People/Women/Nineteenth_Amendment_Vertical_Timeline.htm ⁵https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/People/Women/Nineteenth_Amendment_Vertical_Timeline.htm ⁶https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/People/Women/Nineteenth_Amendment_Vertical_Timeline.htm ⁷https://trumpwhitehouse.archives.gov/trump-administration-accomplishments/
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