A Publication of The League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham

Published September 2005

A Significant Anniversary

The following is an excerpt from an article that appeared on the "Other Opinions" page of The Birmingham News Friday, August 26, 2005. This was the 85th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The author, Carol Ann Vaughn, PhD, is director of the Christian Women's Leadership Center at Samford University. She is also a member of the LWVGB. The complete text of this thoughtful article on the history of women's rights in the United States can be accessed at

"By 1920, women in such states as Alabama were still disenfranchised - and would have remained so without a change to the U.S. Constitution. The Alabama Legislature was not about to amend its 1901 constitution to enfranchise women. Anti-suffragists, including religious conservatives, argued that politics were too dirty for women; that it was "unnatural" for women to participate in public life; that current gender roles would be undermined if women voted and held office. Suffragists, however, maintained that women would help "clean up" government and public policy. First Wave feminists emphasized that human beings' worth - and citizenship - should not be based on sex."

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