The 19th Amendment Is Ratified (Aug. 18, 1920)
The ratification of the 19th Amendment did more than give women the right to vote. It was also a stepping-stone to many other areas of progress by women, from higher education and the professions to economic rights and even being able to serve on a jury. The ratification was the product of more than 70 years of fighting, going all the way back to women like Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton met in Seneca Falls, N.Y.
In my fifth-grade classroom, we study from Civil War Reconstruction to present times, and my students—particularly the girls—notice that we start with African-American men getting the right to vote, but not women. They get really upset by that, and I have to tell them that women were seen as inferior. When we got to the 19th Amendment this year, they cheered. It brought tears to my eyes. It’s an empowering moment, from back then all the way to 2016.
Mary Huffman, a fifth-grade teacher at Charles Pinckney Elementary in Mount Pleasant, S.C., was named 2015’s National History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.