Effie Hobby's Story
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Winning the Vote

  Women voting in 1920
  Women vote around 1917 in New York. Some states had the right to vote before the 19th Amendment.

Carrie Chapman Catt and suffragettes had convinced President Woodrow Wilson and other political leaders that women had the right to vote. In 1918, Congress formally proposed the amendment. After passing Congress, it took two years for the required two thirds of the states to ratify the constitutional amendment. The Nineteenth Amendment was signed on August 26, 1920.

When women got the right to vote, Effie was 23, and she made sure that she would vote. The presidential election was between Republican Warren G. Harding and Democrat James M. Cox. Effie voted for Harding, who won the election to become the twenty-ninth president of the United States.

Some other women who voted in 1920 remembered casting their first vote. Catherine Lewis was 21 in 1920. She told the Houston Chronicle, "I remember my dad telling me, 'I can't believe the first time women vote is also the first time you will vote.' He was so excited, and so was I. He took me to the polls and told everyone about it."

Ila Black Cuthbertson was also excited to vote. She was 27 in 1920, and she told the Charlotte Observer about that day, saying, "I voted the first time we got the vote. It just felt like I was getting a little more privilege. It was something new for us."

However, voting was not easy for all women. Blanche Benton remembers "many of the men said if their wives voted, they would leave them. Even my mother didn't want to vote the first time." She told the Charlotte Observer that the men did not need to worry because many women voted like their husbands or fathers in the beginning, but Blanche voted her conscience. "My husband, he said to vote the way I wanted, and he would vote the way he wanted."

Think About It:
What do you think it would feel like to vote for the first time?