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This Day in History: Women gain the right to vote

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August 26 marks Women's Equality Day, the anniversary of the day women around the country were officially given the right to vote. (Shutterstock)

August 26 marks Women's Equality Day, the anniversary of the day women around the country were officially given the right to vote.

Exactly 96 years ago Friday, the 19th Amendment was adopted, declaring that "the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." That November, the new law allowed more than 8 million Americans to vote in an election for the first time.

Women's suffrage can trace its roots to the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, when about 200 women gathered to discuss women's rights. Among other resolutions, they issued a declaration supporting women's right to vote, a belief that led to public ridicule, according to History.com.

Over the next 70 years, the movement gained momentum as more and more women received their education and joined the workforce. The National Women's History Project explains that the movement was so remarkable because it lacked legal and financial resources, so leaders had to find other ways to raise awareness.

"To win the right to vote, women circulated countless petitions, gave speeches, published newspapers, and travelled the country to win support," the organization explained. "They were frequently ridiculed, harassed and sometimes attacked by mobs and police. Some were thrown in jail, and then treated brutally when they protested."

The Amendment, proposed in 1919, was narrowly ratified in August 1920. The vote that put it over the edge was cast by a 23-year-old Tennessee legislator who was reportedly convinced to support it by his mother.

Today, the NWHP celebrates August 26 by raising awareness about the movement's history.

"The significance of the woman suffrage campaign - and its enormous political and social impact - have been largely ignored in the telling of American history," reads the organization's website. "It is the story of women creating one of the most innovative and successful nonviolent civil rights efforts the world has ever seen."

Celebrate Women's Equality Day by learning more about the movement's history on NWHP's website.

Related Topics:
politicsvotingwomenequal rightshistoryThis Day In Historyelections