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Exhibition Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote

House and Senate Passage Leads An Exhausting Ratification Campaign

I wish you to know what faith is reposed in you, and how earnestly twenty million women are waiting for political freedom.

—Jeannette Rankin, 1918

Continued demonstrations and public sympathy for suffrage prisoners became a liability for the Wilson administration. The NWP’s dogged protests along with years of intense lobbying by the NWP and NAWSA and a last-minute plea from Representative Jeannette Rankin forced the president to support the amendment before a critical House vote in January 1918. It was increasingly difficult for him to ignore women’s contributions to the war effort and the potential impact of women voters in the upcoming elections. Opponents successfully delayed passage in the Senate, so suffragists continued to lobby, protest, and keep watch fires burning. The amendment sailed through the House again on May 21, 1919, and on June 4, 1919, the Senate, now with a Republican majority, passed it. NAWSA immediately mobilized its state ratification committees and pressed governors to convene special legislative sessions.

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