Pennsylvania and the 19th Amendment

State of Pennsylvania depicted in purple, white, and gold (colors of the National Woman’s Party suffrage flag) – indicating Pennsylvania was one of the original 36 states to ratify the 19th Amendment. Courtesy Megan Springate.
State of Pennsylvania depicted in purple, white, and gold (colors of the National Woman’s Party suffrage flag) – indicating Pennsylvania was one of the original 36 states to ratify the 19th Amendment.

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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.

On June 24, 1919, Pennsylvania voted in favor of the Nineteenth Amendment. By August of 1920, 36 states (including Pennsylvania) approved the Amendment, making women’s suffrage legal all across the country.

State flag of Pennsylvania
State flag of Pennsylvania. CC0

Pennsylvania Places of Women's Suffrage:
Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square, a public park in Philadelphia, was the site of the state’s first suffrage march. Inspired by Alice Paul’s newly formed organization, the Congressional Union (CU), suffragists in Philadelphia protested in Rittenhouse Square in 1914. They then marched down Market Street to Washington Square where they concluded the demonstration. Rittenhouse Square is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photo of trees and flowers in Rittenhouse Square. Photo: by Daderot. Self-photographed-Public Domain

Discover More Places of Ratification

Rittenhouse Square is an important place in the story of ratification. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sources used to make these state pages include: Ida Husted Harper's History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920, Volume 6 (1922), the National American Woman Suffrage Association papers (Library of Congress), and National Register nominations from the National Park Service.

Last updated: April 11, 2019