Connecticut and the 19th Amendment

Picture of state of Connecticut in gray – indicating it was not one of the original 36 states to ratify the 19th Amendment. CC0
Image of the state of Connecticut in gray – indicating it was not one of the original 36 states to ratify the 19th Amendment. CC0

Women fought for the right to vote since the mid-1800s. They marched, protested, lobbied, and even went to jail. By the 1870s, women pressured Congress to vote on an amendment that would recognize their suffrage rights. This amendment became known as the 19th Amendment.

Around this time, women in Connecticut became more active in the fight for suffrage rights. In 1869, Frances Ellen Burr and Isabella Beecher Hooker (half-sister of Harriett Beecher Stowe) established the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association (CWSA). This group advocated for women’s suffrage in local elections and eventually worked with national leaders to organize protests and demonstrations.

Minnie Hennessy of Connecticut picketed the White House in protest of women’s suffrage rights. She was arrested and sentenced to six months at Occoquan Workhouse. Library of Congress, Records of the National Woman’s Party Collection.
In 1917, Minnie Hennessy of Connecticut picketed the White House in protest of women’s suffrage rights. She was arrested and sentenced to six months at Occoquan Workhouse.

Library of Congress, Records of the National Woman’s Party Collection.
https://www.loc.gov/resource/mnwp.152004/

Not all Connecticut women and men were in favor of women’s suffrage. By the early 1900s, the Connecticut Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage had local branches all across the state. Members of the organization thought voting put an unnecessary burden on women. Like many other states in America, Connecticut was split on the issue of women’s suffrage.

But Connecticut suffragists did not give up. In 1918, women protested in the cities of Hartford and Simsbury. They wrote a telegram to President Woodrow Wilson asking him to support women’s suffrage. He publically endorsed a woman’s right to vote later that year.

After decades of arguments for and against women's suffrage, Congress finally voted in favor of the 19th Amendment in 1919. This is called ratification. After Congress ratified the 19th Amendment, at least 36 states needed to vote in favor of it for it to become law.

State flag of Connecticut, CC0.
State flag of Connecticut, CC0.

On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment. Representatives from Connecticut were not scheduled to vote on the amendment until September. By the time Connecticut representatives met for the vote, the 19th amendment was officially part of the US Constitution, recognizing women’s suffrage rights. Connecticut was not one of the original 36 states to ratify the amendment, but it did become the 37 state to ratify it on September 14, 1920.

Last updated: August 23, 2018