This day marks the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1920), granting women the right to vote. Ratification came in Tennessee, where Tennessee state legislator Harry T. Burn, age 24, cast the deciding vote after reading a letter from his mom, Febb Burn. “I know that a mother’s advice is always safest for a boy to follow,” he said, “and my mother wanted me to vote for ratification.”
The country’s 26 million voting-age women were enfranchised by this change in the Constitution. Longtime suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt summed up her experiences in the battle this way: “Never in the history of politics has there been such a nefarious lobby as labored to block the ratification.” Upon ratification, Catt founded the League of Women Voters, an organization now dedicated to providing impartial, in-depth information about candidates, platforms, and ballot issues.