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Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution's 19th Amendment

National_Women's_Suffrage_Association.jpgThis month marks the 90th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. This amendment was won after decades of protest and activism by women's suffrage organizations.

In Utah the story of women's voting rights was unique because the right to vote for women was granted fifty years prior to the ratification of the 19th amendment. On February 12, 1870, the Territory of Utah's legislative assembly passed a law granting women 21 and over the right to vote. However, seven years later, the U.S. Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act in reaction to the practice of polygamy. Section 20 of that Act repealed Utah's law on women's right to vote. When Utah became a state in 1896, Article IV of the Utah Constitution granted equal voting rights to both men and women.

Many records and photographs exist from this movement and are available online. The Library of Congress has a digital collection of books and pamphlets published by women's suffragist organizations, selected from the library's National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection. The documents are from the 1850s to the 1910s. The Library of Congress also has an online exhibit of photographs of suffragists and their activities. The National Archives has an online lesson plan for educators featuring other rare suffrage documents.


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