The 90th anniversary of the 19th amendment in Mississippi will be in 2074

Today is the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—which granted women the right to vote and be just as disappointed in their choices at the ballot box as men. Delightfully, while most of the states ratified the amendment in 1919 and 1920, 10 states either initially rejected the measure, or simply put it off altogether. (Federal law trumped, so women could still vote in the 10 holdout states, even before they got around to ratification.) Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Alabama had all ratified by the mid 1950s. Florida signed on in 1969. The Carolinas, Georgia and Louisiana all agreed that women should be able to vote during the 1970s. Mississippi held out until 1984. (Via hectocotyli)


  1. Strangely, though, the document you reference says “ratified…by Mississippi on March 29, 1920” in the footnote on the bottom of p36.

    1. Mississippi (March 22, 1984, after being rejected on March 29, 1920) – from Wikipedia

      1. It looks like someone is messing around with the wikipedia entry. Currently says:

        “Mississippi (March 30, 2267, after being rejected on March 29, 2113)”

  2. But remember folks, Big goverment is always evil! Good on Mississippi for clinging to their cherished rights to be sexist! ;p [Sarcasm]

  3. I predict a similar pattern for national acceptance of gay marraige unless a Supreme Court ruling renders the legislative approach unnecessary.

  4. I thought that it was not an actual amendment until the 26th, even though it was fully ratified on the 18th? I know that the official holiday for it is on the 26th. Now I’m confused, and google is failing me — anyone have any idea?

  5. #1; you missed some text (so did I on the first read-through):

    “… The amendment was rejected by … Mississippi on March 29, 1920;…”

    I don’t see any mention in this document of when it WAS eventually ratified by Mississippi, though. (The last one listed is “Louisiana in 1970”)

  6. yup… someone’s playing on wikipedia…

    “Mississippi (March 30, 1967, after being rejected on March 29, 1913)”

    This page was last modified on 18 August 2010 at 21:44.

  7. If it was already ratified, why would the other 10 states even put it on their ballot? It costs some amount of money, I assume rather a large amount, to add things to ballots, print the ballots, distribute them, and tally them up and such, and if it is already law then why go to all that trouble and expense?

    1. For a state to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not require a popular vote in that state. Generally this happens through action by the state legislatures.

      I guess you could still object that this was a waste of time for them, but I suggest that the ratifications were important symbols of the continuing progress toward extending basic rights to all citizens.

  8. Interesting list of ratifications of the US amendments:

    “The 13th Amendment, which prohibits slavery, was proposed on January 31, 1865.
    * Mississippi ratified the amendment in 1995, but because the state never officially notified the US Archivist, the ratification is not official.”

    Looks like they were positively speedy on the 19th (unless the time machine entry of 2267 on wikipedia was right)

  9. It baffles me why any female politician or political pundit would identify as a conservative.

    If conservatives had their way 90 years ago, there would be no female politicians today.

  10. To nit pick: The 19th didn’t give women the right to vote. As a right, women had the right to vote. The 19th merely formally recognized a right women already had. It’s very easy to slip into patriarchy with language like, “We gave them the right.”

    1. You’re confusing “human rights” with “legal rights.”

      If voting was a (legal) right that women already had then there would be no reason to go through the legislative process at all, the courts could have simply ruled that universal suffrage was guaranteed by the Constitution.

      1. I understand your point on the difference between human and legal rights. In some cases, like the right to vote, that is a distinction without a difference.

        For the courts to step in and make such a ruling there would have to have been a legal challenge that lead to the courts. There wasn’t a case that made it so high and whenever cases were brought the recognition of women’s right to vote was struck down. So it came about through the legislative process. The system isn’t especially good at recognition of rights. There hasn’t been such a universal declaration of rights in our history. I think you’ll agree that everyone has the right to live freely and not be enslaved and yet we had to amend to Constitution to affirm that right.

  11. Interestingly Mississippi was one of the first states to give women some property rights (including ownership of slaves), in the late 1830s. My understanding is that this was at least partially because the Choctaw indian tribe in Mississippi was a matriarchy with property owned and passed from mother to daughter and likely was part of the reason that the Choctaws fought on the side of the confederacy.

  12. I get the sentiment, but once an amendment’s been ratified, it’s the law of the land and any further states ratifying it are doing so only for symbolic purposes.

  13. Agreed with prev. commentors that the date of MS’s ratification is March 29 1920 — per the GPO document itself (not Wikipedia, etc.).

    Also, I am from Mississippi and well remember Evelyn Gandy. She ran for Lieutenant Governor in 1975, and for Governor in 1979 and 1984. She lost the Governor bids, but she was LG, and she did have the right to vote for herself at the !^@$*#@% polls. for more on her, too.

    Mississippi is still strongly matriarchal, in parts.

    1. “Agreed with prev. commentors that the date of MS’s ratification is March 29 1920 — per the GPO document itself (not Wikipedia, etc.).”

      You may have missed the word “rejected” in the relevant section of the GPO document

      “The amendment was rejected by Georgia on July 24, 1919; by Alabama on September 22, 1919; by South Carolina on January 29, 1920; by Vir- ginia on February 12, 1920; by Maryland on February 24, 1920; by Mississippi on March 29, 1920;”

      I would guess that these after the fact ratifications have to do with the fact some people may consider it looked bad to have the last recorded vote on the subject be against the 19th amendment.

  14. This post is really a bummer. What’s the point — to beat up on 1983 Mississippi? Is late progress better than no progress at all? This was almost 30 years ago! I’m from Mississippi and I want to encourage my home state in their social progress, even if it happens (much) later than I’d like.

  15. The 19th amendment has been the law in Mississippi and everywhere else in the U.S. since 1920. Whether they ratified it the day after it passed, in 1984, or 50 years from now doesn’t make a bit of difference; women have still been able to vote in Mississippi all that time.

  16. These are interesting comments all, even if sort of like Thomas Aquinas’ famous”how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” One comment, though, bears some clarification. When an Amendment to the U.S.Constitution is ratified, that ratification is performed, or denied, by the Legislature of the individual state, not by the public; the comment that to ratify an amendment already ratified and accepted as part of the Constitution would be a waste of public time and money is fatuous; all it take is a vote on ratifying by the legislature

  17. Miss Anthony never lived to see ratification of the federal amendment. And it took even more years for states like Mississippi! Our work is not done. Please help continue Miss Anthony’s legacy – visit Thanks!

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