The framers of the United States Constitution did not define thesuffrage boundaries. Consequently, states had the authority todetermine the qualification of individuals who voted for House ofRepresentatives. With the exception of New Jersey, all the states inthe country denied women the right to vote. However, at the end ofthe civil war, women rights movement emerged. They aimed at includinguniversal suffrage in the 13th, 14th, and 15thamendments of the United States Constitution. This was notsuccessful. Therefore, the 19th Amendment, which wasratified in 1920, was a critical step in the history of women rightsin the country (Nardo, 2014).
The 19th Amendment was as a result of resilient lobbies bywomen rights movements at the beginning of the 20thcentury. In the majority of the states, individuals weredisenfranchised based on gender. In addition to advocacy at thenational and state level, the Supreme Court had ruled that the 14thAmendment did not guarantee women suffrage. Forty years after theproposal was introduced in the legislature, it was approved by theCongress in 1919 and forwarded to the respective states forratification (Nardo, 2014).
According to the Nineteenth Amendment, all citizens have the right tovote, and no one should be disenfranchised by the state or nationalgovernments because of his or her gender. Additionally, it gave theCongress the powers to ensure that the provisions are adopted bystates through enactment of supporting legislations. The changes inthe law had huge implications. Although it was anticipated that itwould create a women political bloc, which would alter the status quoof American politics, this did not happen until the mid 20thcentury. Commentators have argued that other barriers to womensuffrage existed, which negatively affected their role in elections.Nonetheless, they have been progressively eliminated (Nardo, 2014).
Nardo, D. (2014). The split history of the women`s suffragemovement: suffragists` perspective. North Mankato, Minnesota:Compass Point Books.