October 11, 2019

Remarks from the Commission Chair

The centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment in 2020 celebrates a historic time in American democracy—the U.S. Constitution granted women the right to vote.  It is sometimes called “the Anthony Amendment” because of the prominent role of suffragist Susan B. Anthony.  Long before the right was recognized on a national level, which began with an effort launched at Seneca Falls, New York, the western states led the way.  In 1870, Wyoming was the first territory to grant women the right to vote and followed on with the first female judicial officer, first female bailiff, and first female jurors.  After Wyoming became the first state with women’s suffrage in 1890, Colorado, Idaho, and California followed suit. By 1915 four million women in the western states were enfranchised.  Today, more than 80 million women are registered to vote.

The centennial gives lawyers, judges, state and local bar associations, educators, and civic organizations the opportunity to educate the public about the 19th Amendment and the importance of promoting the full and equal exercise of the right to vote and to participate in our democracy. The ABA Commission on the 19th Amendment has developed a range of resources to assist in these efforts.  

On this website you will find digital tool kits to help support public and student programming; free streaming videos that can be used for commemoration events and programs; information on displaying the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress’ traveling exhibit on the 19th Amendment; links to other organizations planning commemoration activities; state anniversary dates; interesting facts about the 19th Amendment and the battle for full suffrage; and a gallery of 19th Amendment images and photos.   

The 2020 Law Day theme is “Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: The 19th Amendment at 100.”  Law Day is held on May 1 every year to celebrate the role of law in our society and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession.  For more information on Law Day,  visit www.lawday.org.

We invite you to take advantage of the resources provided and to join us in commemorating this historic milestone in our nation’s history.

Hon. M. Margaret McKeown
Chair, ABA Commission on the 19th Amendment