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August 26 Marks 89 Years of Women’s Right To Vote Pennsylvania Plays A Big Part

By Staff | Aug 25, 2009

Today, Wednesday, August 26 is the anniversary of women’s suffrage and the passage of the 19th amendment to the constitution of the United States. This granted the women of our country the right to vote which has a long history in the making.

Pennsylvania replicates this history especially through the Quaker religion which has a strong presence in our local area. Quakers always believed in the equal treatment of women which was unusual during colonial times. Back then, women were not granted political rights nor could they own property.

Lucretia Mott, a Quaker in Philadelphia organized Women’s Rights Conventions and rallies, and demanded with the help of others, full political rights for women. Pennsylvania’s political leaders did abolish the property guidelines, but there were no voting rights.

In 1876, Susan B. Anthony read a suffragette’s declaration of independence at Independence Square in Philadelphia. But it wasn’t until 1915 that the Pennsylvania General Assembly approved a referendum on an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution allowing women to vote. The referendum failed and the pressure continued until June 4, 1919. The U.S. Congress approved the constitutional amendment for women to have the right to vote, and Pennsylvania became the 8th state to ratify the amendment on June 27.

In August 1920, the 19th amendment was officially certified as part of the United States Constitution.

In 1971, Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day” to commemorate the hard work and achievements and the perseverance of those who helped secure those rights.