1 Reply Latest reply on Mar 18, 2021 3:30 PM by National Women's History Museum Branched to a new discussion.

    Did the 19th Amendment give voting rights to all women?

    history fan Adventurer

      After the 19th amendment was passed to grant voting rights, did it apply to all women?  I had read somewhere that certain groups, such as Native American women were still prevented from voting?

       

      Thanks for any information you can provide.

        • Re: Did the 19th Amendment give voting rights to all women?
          National Women's History Museum Wayfarer

          Hi History Fan,

           

          Thanks for your question!

           

          The short answer is: No. The Nineteenth Amendment did not actively grant the right to vote to all women.

           

          The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified on August 18, 1920, opened up the right to vote to women. The text of the document reads, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

           

          Based on the language in the Nineteenth Amendment itself, you can see that it does not give women the right to vote, but rather took away sex as a barrier to voting for U.S. citizens. States and localities could still prevent women—and men—from voting through other means such as poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, or other discriminatory practices under Jim Crow. Native American women also did not receive the vote with the Nineteenth Amendment as they were not considered U.S. citizens until the passage of the Snyder Act in 1924. Immigrant women could also not vote with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment because they were not citizens of the U.S. For example, Chinese-American women did not receive the vote with the Nineteenth Amendment because the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act barred them from becoming U.S. citizens.

           

          The 1965 Voting Rights Act curbed many of the practices that limited the voting rights of many women (and men) across the country. However, the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby V. Holder, which invalidated a key provision in the 1965 Act, made it far easier to change election and voting laws at the local level to discriminate against or suppress the vote of certain groups. Despite the Nineteenth Amendment, many women who are citizens of the United States still find their right to vote denied or made practically impossible to exercise.

           

          You can read more at the following links:

           

          https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendment/amendment-xix

          https://www.loc.gov/classroom-materials/elections/right-to-vote/voting-rights-for-native-americans/

          https://www.npr.org/2020/08/26/904730251/yes-women-could-vote-after-the-19th-amendment-but-not-all-women-or-men

          https://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/us/supreme-court-ruling.html

           

          I hope that helps!

           

          NWHM Logo


          National Women’s History Museum
          Educate | Inspire | Empower
          www.womenshistory.org

          3 people found this helpful