North Carolina and the 19th Amendment

North Carolina depicted in gray – indicating that it was not one of the original 36 states to ratify the 19th Amendment. Courtesy Megan Springate.
North Carolina depicted in gray – indicating that 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 give them 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.

State flag of North Carolina
State flag of North Carolina. CC0
Women’s suffrage had a lot of support in North Carolina. By the time the proposal reached the North Carolina state legislature in August of 1920, 35 other states had already ratified it.

Many Americans thought North Carolina would become the 36th and final state to ratify the amendment. But many of the state representatives could not agree on whether or not to give women the right to vote. Then news came that Tennessee had ratified the amendment, making it the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment. As a result, women’s suffrage became legal all across the country, even in North Carolina.

In 1971, fifty years later, North Carolina ratified the Nineteenth Amendment.

Last updated: August 6, 2018