Yesterday was Women’s Equality Day, celebrating the 93rd anniversary of women in the United States of America receiving the right to vote. While today, this right might be taken for granted, at the time, the nineteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution was passed by one vote.
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.
Before the Nineteenth Amendment, individual states determined whether or not a woman could vote. This was reinforced by judgements such as the Supreme Court ruling on Minor v. Happersett in 1875, where a unanimous court found that the Constitution did not grant women the right to vote.
The Nineteenth Amendment was proposed in congress on June 4th, 1919 and took over a year to ratified. Ratification of an amendment to be added to the Constitution requires a 2/3rds majority vote from both houses of Congress or a convention called by 2/3rds of the states and ratified by 3/4ths of the states. In the case of the Nineteenth Amendment, votes trickled in over the course of a year until, on August, 18th, 1920, it achieved the 2/3rds vote needed, receiving the final vote from Tennessee.