In 1984, Mississippi became the final state of the Union to ratify the 19th Amendment, which declared ‘The right of citizens…to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex’. The Mississippian ratification was academic: to take effect the Amendment had needed 75 per cent of states to approve it and this was achieved in August 1920. The progression of female suffrage had been a tortuous affair, broadly spreading from west to east, with Wyoming first (1869). New York’s adoption in 1917 was critical, but on the eve of the resolution, the national picture was a mish-mash. Full suffrage obtained only from the Rockies westward; elsewhere it was variously restricted to primary and municipal elections, or to approving taxes/school boards. Attempts to pass the 19th Amendment had failed in 1887, 1914 and twice in 1918. With President Wilson’s belated support success was finally achieved in May 1919.
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