These examples of buttons and badges reflect a ground-breaking moment in American political history — women receiving the right to vote.
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which states, “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,” was passed by Congress in May 1919 and ratified more than a year later on Aug. 18, 1920.
Tennessee was the 36th and final state needed to meet the requirement that three-fourths of the states ratify an Amendment before it is added to the Constitution. The state legislature passed it by just one vote.
While women already had the right to vote in some states, many states had not yet extended the right. The presidential election of 1920 was the first national election in which Pennsylvania women could vote. The election 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding took place in November 1920. Imagine discovering that you are able to vote in this year’s election less than three months before the election takes place!
See more pieces of political memorabilia from the Krasik Collection in the History Center’s Visible Storage on the fourth floor.
The Constitutional Amendment Process, National Archives
The Mother Who Saved Suffrage: Passing the 19th Amendment, History.com
Women’s Suffrage: Organization, Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline, National Constitution Center
Carrie Hadley is a cataloger at the Heinz History Center.