Votes for Women in Nebraska
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Final Ratification
Sufragist parade
Women suffragists marching on Pennsylvania Avenue, March 3, 1913.
Courtesy George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress, 97500042

While the legal wrangling in Nebraska was going on, national events were overtaking local issues. In 1918, with World War I behind him, President Woodrow Wilson changed his position and began to support a national constitutional amendment to allow women to vote. In May, 1919, the House of Representatives passed a suffrage resolution that was remarkably short. Two weeks later, the U.S. Senate passed their own resolution. Now it was up to 36 states to ratify the amendment to the constitution.

Joint Resolution
Original U.S. Congress Joint Suffrage Resolution

In August, 1919, the Nebraska legislature met in a special session and unanimously ratified the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A year later, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment. Within days, the U.S. Secretary of State certified the ratification, and women were finally allowed to vote in all elections after August 26, 1920.

In addition, a Nebraska constitutional convention proposed a full suffrage amendment to the state constitution, and the amendment was approved in a special election on September 21, 1920.

Although women living in Nebraska had only limited voting rights prior to the passage of the 19th Amendment, Nebraska suffragists made a significant contribution to Nebraska’s political history. They demonstrated the fallacy of the anti-suffrage argument that women were "too delicate" for the rough and tumble world of politics. And, they waged an expensive and lengthy legal battle to protect the fundamental concept of direct democracy, a principle dear to the Progressive Movement.

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