Michigan and the 19th Amendment

Michigan state overlaid with the purple, white, gold suffrage flag
Michigan state overlaid with the purple, white, and gold suffrage flag, indicating it was one of the original 36 states to ratify the 19th Amendment. CC0

Women first organized and collectively fought for suffrage at the national level in July of 1848. Suffragists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott convened a meeting of over 300 people in Seneca Falls, New York. In the following decades, women 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.

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.

Women in Michigan fought for the right to vote for decades leading up to the passage of the 19th Amendment. Groups like the Michigan State Suffrage Association in Battle Creek and the Michigan Equal Suffrage Association in Flint held rallies and gave lectures about the importance of women’s suffrage.

Michigan state flag
Michigan state flag. CC0

Their efforts pressured politicians to hold a constitutional convention in 1908. Politicians debated on whether to change the state constitution to include women’s voting rights. That January, suffragists gathered at the State Capitol Building in Lansing. They made arguments for their suffrage rights in front of the constitutional convention delegates. But the delegates were not convinced.

When the U.S. Congress finally passed the 19th Amendment at the beginning of June 1919, Michigan became one of the first three states to ratify it. Wyoming, Illinois, and Michigan all ratified the amendment on June 10, 1919.

By August of 1920, 36 states (including Michigan) ratified the amendment, giving women the right to vote.

Last updated: November 15, 2018