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The Nineteenth Amendment Amendment XIX to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. Initially introduced to Congress in , several attempts to pass a women's suffrage amendment failed until passing the House of Representatives on May 21, , followed by the Senate on June 4, It was then submitted to the states for ratification.
On August 18, , Tennessee was the last of the necessary 36 states to secure ratification. The Nineteenth Amendment was officially adopted on August 26, the culmination of a decades-long movement for women's suffrage at both state and national levels.
Prior to , women had the right to vote in several of the colonies in what would become the United States, but by every state constitution denied even limited suffrage. Organizations supporting women's rights became more active in the mid-nineteenth century and, in , the Seneca Falls convention adopted the Declaration of Sentiments , which called for equality between the sexes and included a resolution urging women to secure the vote. Pro-suffrage organizations used variety of tactics, including legal arguments that relied on existing amendments.
After those arguments were struck down by the U. Supreme Court , suffrage organizations, with activists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton , called for a new constitutional amendment that would guarantee women the right to vote. By the late nineteenth century, new states and territories, particularly in the West , began to grant women the right to vote. In , a suffrage proposal that would eventually become the Nineteenth Amendment was introduced to Congress, but it was rejected in In the s, suffrage organizations focused on a national amendment while still working at the state and local levels.
Lucy Burns and Alice Paul emerged as important leaders whose different strategies helped move the Nineteenth Amendment forward. The National American Woman Suffrage Association , led by Carrie Chapman Catt , supported the war effort, making the case that women should be rewarded with enfranchisement for their patriotic wartime service. The National Woman's Party staged marches, demonstrations, and hunger strikes while pointing out the contradictions of fighting abroad for democracy while limiting it at home by denying women the right to vote.