SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – The women's rights movement had been under way for the better part of a century by 1920, when the 19th Amendment marked a monumental turn in it by providing women the right to vote.
The Constitution made no mention of women voting, so it was widely interpreted that they did not have that right. But 50 years after the 14th Amendment further complicated the issue by granting the right to vote to all men, the 19th Amendment confirmed progress that had already started in several individual states.
"By the time of the 19th Amendment there were about 12 or 13 states by that point that were allowing the right of women to vote,'' said Georgia Southern University Political Science professor TH Novotny. "And so when President Wilson in 1918 came out in favor of the amendment it passed very quickly. The 19th Amendment has one of those important places too as a constitutional amendment in that reversed or overturned an earlier supreme court decision in which the supreme court had ruled that some of the amendments after the Civil War could be interpreted to not include the right for women to vote.''
As early as 1848, groups had met to discuss how to further women's rights. And women in New Jersey actually had the right to vote from 1776 until 1807.