Suffrage Amendment Passes | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Suffrage Amendment Passes

Jun 12, 2020

 

The Federal Suffrage Amendment to the Constitution passed through the U.S. House and Senate on June 4th, 1919; and thereafter, suffragists rallied, cajoled, hoped and prayed that their united dream would triumph as the bill was sent out to the states to be approved by a three fourths majority. The amendment was known colloquially as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, as she had drafted it many years before.

By this date in 1919, Illinois had become the first state to ratify the amendment, passing 132 to 3 in the house, and unanimously in the Senate. The second state was Michigan. Their house and senate raced each other to pass the amendment—with the house winning by “requesting the chaplain to ‘make it snappy’ and by making the vote unanimous without roll call.” In the meantime, Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, the president of the National Woman Suffrage Association, sent many messages to governors around the country, asking them to call special legislative sessions as soon as possible for the purpose of ratifying the amendment. 

 

North Dakota’s Governor Lynn J. Frazier was one of these, since the North Dakota legislative session had adjourned in March. Without a special session, the next time they would meet was 1921.  The Bismarck Tribune noted, “North Dakota, fifth state in the union to ratify the prohibition amendment to the federal constitution, may be among the first to ratify the equal suffrage amendment.”

 

However, Governor Frazier was not inclined to hold a special session just to vote on this amendment, and soon the Tribune reported:  “Governor Lynn J. Frazier has kindly but firmly informed national suffrage leaders that he will not call a special session of the legislature for the sole purpose of acting upon the national suffrage amendment. …In a personal interview with Miss Alice Paul of St. Paul, representing the national suffrage association, and in a wire to Carrie Chapman Catt, [he] has taken the stand that while North Dakota is for equal suffrage and will undoubtedly give its unqualified approval at the earliest possible moment, the urgency of the situation is not sufficient to warrant the incurring of” costs of a special session.

 

 Moreover, Frazier advised the governors of Minnesota and Indiana the same.

 

 Of course, North Dakota would hold a special session; eventually becoming the 20th state to approve the 19th Amendment in December, 1919. 

 

 Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker

 

Sources:

 (Nebraska) Dakota County Herald, June 19, 1919, p2 https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2010270500/1919-06-19/ed-1/seq-2/

The Bismarck Tribune, June 7, 1919, p1, 4

The Bismarck Tribune, June 16, 1919, p2