Skip to Main Content

We March On - Women's Suffrage Exhibit

Exhibit at UConn Law Library

Research Databases

19th Amendment Websites

Legal Context

The Awakening

“The Awakening,” Henry Mayer, Puck Magazine, February 20, 1915

Silent Sentinel

“Silent Sentinel” Alison Turnbull Hopkins Picketing at the White House, January 30, 1917

Hedwig Reicher as Columbia

Hedwig Reicher in Costume of Columbia, Women’s Suffrage Parade, Washington, D.C., March 3, 1913

Alice Paul Unfurls the Ratification Banner

Alice Paul Unfurls the Ratification Banner at National Women’s Party Headquarters, August 18, 1920

The 19th Amendment, signed by leaders of the House and Senate

The 19th Amendment, signed by leaders of the House and Senate

19th Amendment to the Constitution

A women's suffrage amendment was first introduced in Congress in 1878. Forty-one years later, on June 4, 1919, Congress approved the women’s suffrage amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. Soon thereafter, 17 states had ratified it, but suffragists still needed another 19 states to approve.  Finally, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the Amendment.  On August 26th, 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the Amendment into law. 

Authority to Amend the Constitution

Since ratification in 1788, more than 11,000 amendments have been proposed, though the Constitution has been amended only 27 times, most recently in 1992.  

Article V of the United States Constitution outlines basic procedures for constitutional amendment One method—the one used for every amendment so far—is that Congress proposes an amendment to the states; the states must then decide whether to ratify the amendment. But in order for Congress to propose an amendment, two-thirds of each House of Congress must vote for it. And then three-quarters of the states must ratify the amendment before it is added to the Constitution.

 Article V does potentially provide a way for the states to bypass Congress, although it has never been used. Article V says that “on the Application of two thirds of the Legislatures of the several States, Congress shall call a Convention for proposing amendments.” The convention can propose amendments, whether Congress approves of them or not. Those proposed amendments would then be sent to the states for ratification. As with an amendment proposed by Congress, three-quarters of the states would have to ratify the amendment for it to become part of the Constitution.  Read here for a discussion of Article V.

The Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is the name given to the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The amendments, which were intended to expand the Constitution's protection of individual liberties, were written by James Madison and ratified by the states in 1791. The full text of the Bill of Rights can be viewed here, more information about the Bill of Rights can be found on the National Archives web page

Proposed Amendments not Ratified by the States

Print Resources

What is an Amendment?

An amendment to the Constitution is an improvement, a correction or a revision to the original content approved in 1788. To date, 27 Amendments have been approved, six have been disapproved and thousands have been discussed.

Websites : The Amendments

Amendment Research with ProQuest Congressional