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On this day in history 100 years ago, August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing women the right to vote.

 

 

 History-dot-com is a great place to go for the story of the struggle for voting rights for women.  "A dramatic battle in the Tennessee House of Representatives ends with the state ratifying the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution on August 18, 1920. After decades of struggle and protest by suffragettes across the country, the decisive vote is cast by a 24-year-old representative who reputedly changed his vote after receiving a note from his mother."

Thanks Mom. In the end we can always count on you!   But it took a while...like 72 years to get there!

Chance are you you're familiar of the image of the sufferagettes...long dresses, big hats, protest signs, right?

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But "suffrage".  What does that mean?  Were women "suffering" for not being able to vote? Perhaps, but that has no bearing on the use of the word in this context.  Suffrage comes from the Latin root word suffragium, which means a ballot, a vote or the right to vote.

Back in 1848 the effort to win the right to vote got underway at a meeting in New York State called the Seneca Falls Convention.

It took nearly three quarters of a century but the movement was persistent and in the end, President Wilson called a special session of Congress to vote to pass the 18th amendment on to the states for ratification.

 When it came time for the third vote to break the tie, a young Representative got a letter from his mom encouraging a change to a yes vote with the reminder "Don't forget to be a good boy.” 

He listened to his mom -as all good boys do- and the 19th amendment was ratified in Tennessee and formally adopted into the Constitution.

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So today, 100 years later we are in the midst of the "virtual" Democrat National Convention with the first ever woman of color, Kamala Harris, on the ticket as Vice President.

Will she draw women voters to Biden? Or does she even need to?

Pew Research Center reports that women have enjoyed the advantage in turnout for the past 20 years. "As has been the case in the last five midterm elections dating back to 1998, women turned out to vote at slightly higher rates than men. Over half of women (55%) who were eligible to vote cast ballots in the 2018 midterms in November, as did 51.8% of men."

The bottom line is 100 years after first getting the vote, women now have the numbers to call the shots. In the 2018 midterms women cast approx. 65,317,000 votes while men cast 56,964,000. So the candidate that appeals most to women voters should control the outcome of the election -more or less.

That's the point -more or less, being made by the Washington post. (yes them)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/republican-women-falling-support-trump/2020/08/07/108bec18-d5b6-11ea-b9b2-1ea733b97910_story.html

At least that's what reporting and polling would indicate with 70+ days till the election. Stay tune for updates on that.

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In the meantime, the President has announced he will issue a presidential pardon for famed suffragette "Susan B. Anthony who was arrested in 1872 for voting, in violation of laws permitting only men to do so. Anthony was fined $100 for her illegal act, a half-century before the expansion of the franchise."

 

But then no good deed goes unpunished, right?  Apparently to some, Anthony's arrest was a badge of honor and to pardon her is to somehow lessen her impact nearly 150 years later?  But you could probably predict it because...TRUMP.

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The Guardian reports, "Trump’s pardon induced a backlash from critics who said defiance of a corrupt law was Anthony’s point and that the president had no business pardoning her.  “As the highest-ranking woman elected official in New York and on behalf of Susan B Anthony’s legacy we demand Trump rescind his pardon,” tweeted Kathy Hochul, the state’s lieutenant governor.  “She was proud of her arrest to draw attention to the cause for women’s rights, and never paid her fine. Let her Rest In Peace.”

Here's hoping we are all able to rest in peace two and a half months from now -more or less.