Rhode Island and the 19th Amendment

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

On January 6, 1920, Rhode Island voted in favor of the 19th Amendment. By August of 1920, 36 states (including Rhode Island) ratified the amendment, recognizing women's suffrage rights.

rhode island state flag
Rhode Island state flag. CC0

Rhode Island Places of Women's Suffrage: Oak Glen

Oak Glen was the home of Julia Ward Howe. While best known for writing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Howe also helped found the American Woman Suffrage Association. Her house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a private residence.

Photo of the outside of a white house with stone wall. Photo: by Swampyank, CC BY-SA 3.0

Discover More Places of Ratification

Oak Glen 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