Blog: Vote

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


You should vote next week, or RIGHT NOW if your state allows early voting.

Your vote matters. Republican, Democrat, Monarchist, Libertarian, black, white, Asian, Native American, woman, man, … HUMAN.

For 70 years, woman fought for the right to vote. Some states and localities initially didn’t restrict voting based on gender, but gradually, deliberately franchise whittled down to white, male property owners only. Elected officials matched the voting demographics.

In a country where “no taxation without representation” had been a battle cry, women (and non-whites) could not use the ancient fighting words since taxation required right to property and money – and they had no legal claim to either. The female’s father or spouse owned whatever she had in her possession.

Industrialization changed things, putting cracks in the restricted culture, and some early precursors to woman suffrage struggled within the cracks for decades. Then the civil war started. Women willingly put their cause on the back burner to support freeing the slaves and granting them rights as human beings, being well aware of what being property felt like.

When amendments thirteen (prohibition of slavery), fourteen (all people USA born or naturalized are citizens regardless OF COLOR), and fifteen (all citizens have the right to vote regardless OF COLOR) were crafted, the women who had fought so long and hard had hoped the words would include OF COLOR AND SEX. Gender equality wasn’t included. The fifteenth amendment passed Federal Congress on February 26, 1869. Less than a year later (February 3, 1870) enough states ratified the amendment and the voting rights for ex-slaves took effect nationally. (Seven states took their time, with the first one taking an extra year, 1871, and the last one ratifying the amendment on April 8, 1997 … yep, just 21 years ago.)

Time passed, as did three more amendments. None of them dealt with suffrage.

Grinding wheat and teeth, women had enough. With real experience on making change under their petticoats, women took the cause up several levels. Wyoming Territory was the first win, passing an amendment to their constitution in 1869 which remained when they joined the Union ten years later. Women attacked the states for state-by-state amendments and the federal for an overreaching amendment with silent protests. They had no vote and therefore had no “voice”. Arrests of the silent protesters shocked those with the mentality of protecting women.

State by territory by state they made their cause heard. Nineteen more states passed amendments to their constitutions over 48 years. Wars work faster, but women took their patience of drudgery tasks and pushed and prodded. They even managed to change President Wilson’s opinion on the matter toward the end of the Great War. In 1918 the amendment was presented to Congress, and the Senate failed to pass it by two votes. Fifty years of work stopped.

In 1919, it popped up again thanks to a Republican representative from Illinois. Republicans, at the time, strongly supported suffrage, believing in the power of the individual means supporting the rights of all individuals; the Republican Party was birthed out of anti-slavery and pro-suffrage. (That changed – grrr. Hey, blogging here, I am allowed to have asides with my opinion. Again VOTE!)

The amendment passed the House, the more responsive of the two bodies having just undergone the every two-year election cycle, with 78% – well above the two-third required. Then nineteenth went to the Senate who just the year previous had shot down a similar measure by two votes. This time it passed by two votes. The 1918 elections meant the Senate seats had changed six in the Republicans favor. Yay, election years!

Finally a live amendment, states reviewed the nineteenth for ratification – quickly thirty-five states approved including the twenty already granting franchise at the state level – but one more state was needed. The southern states having had everything forced on them by the “progressive” north for the last fifty years fought back the constant change and demands the only way they could and shot the amendment down.

Tennessee was it – the only one left to vote. One of the five states still leaving the fifteen amendment unratified (and, in fact, the last state to ratify the African-American right to vote in 1997). If it didn’t pass, the whole process would begin again. The year of our Lord 1920, over a year after the amendment got through the Senate, and decades after the battle started.

The Tennessee State Senate passed the amendment without difficulty. The State House was another matter. Initially the amendment matter was attempted to be silenced after a week of hard lobbying and debate simply by tabling the measure, an action ending in a 48-48 tie. Yellow roses (indicating pro-suffrage) knew a dead-lock would finish things when the final vote was taken. The Red Roses, including one 24-year old and youngest member of the state legislature, Harry Burn, had great confidence.

Then Harry Burn got a letter from his mother. Wearing a red rose and clenching the letter, he voted quickly with a single word … changing everything.

Ending a fifty-two year battle by women on the establishment intent on locking them out.

The next day, after successfully hiding from the initial lynching mob in the state’s building attic, Harry spoke on his last-minute change before the assembly. “I know that a mother’s advice is always safest for her boy to follow.” Presumably, from this statement, a lynching mob is less dangerous than a Tennessee mother.

One vote gave us the right to vote. And that vote was a young person in a low-level state legislature. Your vote matters; every political office matters.


In case you were wondering, it took another sixty years for the remaining twelve states to ratify the 19th with Mississippi being the last in 1984 – only 34 years ago.

Again, women HAD the right to vote in several states before the 1800s and THEY LOST THAT RIGHT.

Black and other non-white races still are fighting for their franchise to this day, as are women, because some idjits are constantly looking for loopholes.

Idjits being elected.

Idjits you need to stop.


I will not hold a gun to your head to make you vote, but I will fight against anyone keeping you from voting.

Your vote matters. A single vote changed woman’s rights.




“19th Amendment” (viewed 4 November 2017)

“The Mother Who Saved Suffrage: Passing the 19th Amendment” (viewed 4 November 2017)

“United States Senate elections, 1918”,_1918 (viewed 4 November 2017)