The little-known story about the man who voted for women’s suffrage
The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution granted white American women the right to vote in 1920 — a right known as women’s suffrage. While women influenced the American public with their many rallies and persuasive speeches, it actually came down to one man’s vote for women to be given the right to help elect the future leaders of the United States.
The final meeting to end all meetings
Nashville, Tennessee is a prominent city in American history. However, it’s not just Music City. In the summer of 1920, women’s suffragists met to face their male opponents for a final meeting. The two parties clashed over their opinions, but as we know, women eventually were granted the right to vote.
It wasn’t an easy fight, and many men were opposed to the idea of women voting during presidential elections. But one man broke the tie in the voting. If you’re wondering if it was President Woodrow Wilson, you’re wrong.
“This is the time to support woman suffrage”
President Wilson did play an important role in the women’s suffrage movement, however. By 1918, he had announced his support for the movement, strictly as a wartime measure. He said, “This is the time to support woman suffrage.” Wilson helped the amendment pass in the House of Representatives and Senate followed suit in June 1919. Now the states needed to ratify it — but it wasn’t that simple.
Many state representatives were skeptical about the suffragists and saw women’s suffrage as a threat to white supremacy and the traditional Southern way of life. But thanks to one man, things changed.
Reversing his vote
The suffrage movement in Tennessee was divided by roses — and became known as the “War of the Roses.” Suffragists and their supporters wore yellow roses, and the “Antis” wore red. Eventually, the resolution for ratification passed in the Tennessee Senate, but the House was divided. The final outcome was determined by the tie-breaking vote from Harry Burn, who reversed his vote after receiving an urgent plea from his mother.
The final vote determined the future for women on August 18, 1920, and the amendment became a part of the US Constitution on August 26. That day is now celebrated as Women’s Equality Day.