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In 1920, the United States became the eleventh nation in the world to extend the right to vote to women.
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The Nineteenth Amendment
Although the defeat was depressing, the women suffragists soon had something to cheer about. On June 4, 1919, the U.S. Senate finally passed the "Susan B. Anthony" amendment. If three-fourths of the states ratified the amendment, women would have the vote nationwide.
Jane Y. McCallum once again was in charge of the effort to persuade Texas legislators to ratify the amendment. Governor Hobby had called a special session to begin June 23, but women's suffrage was not on the agenda. Opponents of women's suffrage, led by Pauline Wells and former congressman Robert Henry, argued women's suffrage had been defeated by the voters just a few weeks before. Obviously, suffrage was not the will of the people. The suffragists countered that only the citizenship clause had sunk women's suffrage.
In the end, Hobby placed the amendment on the agenda. As in years past, opponents of the measure mobilized with colorful rhetoric and predictions of dire consequences if women were granted the vote. But by this time, it was their arguments that were out of step. The women suffragists had become part of the mainstream, and it became clear early in the session that the amendment would pass easily. After the anti-suffragists had their say, Senator Paul Page of Bastrop summed up the debate for those in favor of the measure: "The man who votes against suffrage here and now may as well bow his head forever so far as political ambition is concerned, for women are going to vote in Texas and the women voters will remember who have been their friends."
On Saturday, June 28, 1919, Texas became the ninth state in the Union and the first Southern state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In August 1920, the amendment achieved final ratification, and women throughout the United States could vote at last.
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